You need to know about your target audience to craft a message that makes sense to them. But what if your client doesn’t know anything about the people to whom they sell? Then it might just be up to you to find out. Read on…
Today’s question comes from Mikael C., who asks, “We were filling out the creative brief together, and my client told me that they basically have no idea of what their target audience is all about. What do I do now?”
It’s shocking, but it’s true: There are some companies who have no idea who they’re selling to. Sure, if they’re a cable provider, you can guess that they are selling to people who like to watch television, but what about beyond that. What are their frustrations? What problems would they love someone to solve? Heck, what’s their favorite show?
The best solution to this problem is the simplest: If they don’t know about their clients, find out about them.
A good way to learn about the people a company is trying to target is by learning about the people who have already purchased. After all, if you can find more people who are like the people who have already purchased, you’ll have a much better chance of getting sales.
Since calling 10,000 customers isn’t feasible (though it may be an excellent idea to call five), you need a better way to get in these people’s heads. To do that, with your client’s approval, you should set up a survey.
Surveys can be a great way to quickly and easily get a lot of useful data. That said, though, surveys can be deceptively difficult to write. So let’s break it down, shall we?
First, you need to figure out what you need to know about this group of people.
Sure, you want to learn about their demographics (age, gender, household income, location, etc.). But you also want to know about their interaction with your client’s product or service. (I’ll say “product” from now on just to keep it simple.)
What have been their greatest frustrations regarding the issues the product solves? For example, if your client manufactures car seats, what frustrations have customers had with child safety seating? What frustrations have they had with transporting their children?
Then, too, you want to find out their greatest wishes regarding the product. How would they know the product had solved all of their problems? And if those problems were solved, how would they feel?
As you can probably tell, a lot of these questions lend themselves to an open-ended question style. (As opposed to multiple choice or yes/no.) Open-ended questions yield more detailed answers that take longer to go through, but that can be very valuable.
When you’re writing your survey, be sure to keep it short. It’s hard enough to get people to spend their valuable time answering questions for your benefit. If you surprise them with a long and tedious survey, people are going to drop off before completion and maybe even start feeling negative about your client (since the survey will be coming from your client, after all).
Along those same lines, be sure not to ask unnecessary questions. Just like when you write copy, everything in your survey should have an important purpose. If not, lose it.
And finally, be sure to keep your questions clear and unambiguous. This is much harder than it sounds; questions that seem straightforward to you might confuse other people. For example, a question like, “Do you travel more for business or pleasure?” could be confusing because it’s not clear if you mean the number of trips or duration of trips.
You should read over your questions again and again, but the best way to guard against unclear/confusing questions is to have people you know and trust take the survey and let you know if there were any questions that stumped them or that they felt didn’t have adequate options for answers.
You can build a survey pretty easily (and for free) through a site like SurveyMonkey, and you can test it through there, too. Bear in mind that you’ll want to test it thoroughly and then you’ll need to get your client’s buy-off before you (or they) send it to their clients.
It can be a lot of work (and work that you should charge for), but it can be invaluable for crafting messages that reach the right audience and get them to take action.
Your turn! What kinds of insights have your clients had into their target audiences? Let us know in the comments below!