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Oct 20, 2022 | 5 min read

It Starts with a List: Why Audience Building is the First Step in Any Successful Marketing Program

Digital Marketing

As a founder or marketing leader, you’ve almost certainly done some thinking about your target audience. But are you taking the time to really dial in on who your ideal customer is?

What comes to mind if I were to ask you to identify your most important marketing asset? Is it your website? Your logo? Your social media profiles?

Those are all essential pieces, but without anyone to engage with your brand or marketing materials, it’s all just for show. Every business needs buyers, and every buyer starts out as a member of your target audience, waiting to be engaged.

How do you engage your audience? You have to find them first. And to do so, you must be rigorous in gaining a full understanding of who they are, what they are looking for, and where they spend time online; this will unlock you to take an audience-first approach in your marketing program.

You might now ask, “Why is this kind of approach so great?” It’s simple: When your marketing efforts are more targeted and tailored to your audience, you can better stand out from the noise of mass marketing today.

Let’s now break down the three crucial steps you can take to reach the right people as you begin to map out your company’s marketing plan.

Step 1: Create Profiles of Your Future Customers

Maybe you’ve already done some preliminary market research. Now it’s time to develop a focused set of profiles (AKA personas) based on what you already know as an industry expert.

Start by asking yourself, “Who does my product or service help the most?” Although it sounds like a simple question, getting to a highly specific answer is essential. Other questions you can seek to answer as you build these profiles include:

  • Who are the people interacting with my content online?
  • How do they like to interact with my content? (By Googling? Through social media? By receiving a newsletter?)
  • How knowledgeable are they about my industry or service?
  • Why do they want to learn about my industry or service?

The goal here is to build an extremely clear picture of how the people who fit inside your target audience think and act, so you need to get as specific as possible in your answers.

Step 2: Learn Where Your Audience Spends Time Online

Once you’ve honed in on your target audience, find out where they hang out on the web. This is the time to be ultra-focused on how you plan to invest your money and resources in attracting new leads. So ask yourself and answer these kinds of questions:

  • Who are the 10,000 most likely people in the world to buy my product or service?
  • What online communities do these people participate in?
  • How would I get 1,000 of them to demonstrate some level of interest in my company?

To help influence your decisions, look at relevant social media channels, threads, and groups. Where do you see the majority of engagement? Is it a closed LinkedIn group for financial executives? A trending Twitter hashtag around hilarious software fails? They might be hard to find, but those are the areas where you should likely focus on engaging your audience.

Step 3: Build Your List

Once you determine who you want to talk with, it’s time to build a list of 25, 100, or even 1,000 contacts you would be thrilled to have as a user, client, or customer. The work doesn’t end here, however.

Remember the personas of your ideal target audience you created in Step 1? Use these profiles to guide how (and where) you reach out to these high-value prospects.

Now going back to Step 2, it’s time to actually track down your audience on social media and try to open the conversation around whether they will use and pay for your product or service. It might be slow going at the outset, but sometimes all it can take is a short, simple, and persuasive cold message on LinkedIn to get the ball rolling.

Get Ready to Define Your Audience

Good content is the path, not the destination, in your marketing plan. Your audience is an irreplaceable business asset, so start by focusing on who you want to attract, who you’re creating content for, and what formats and messages will spark the most interest, engagement, and conversion.

If defining and reaching your perfect audience seems daunting to accomplish on your own, Thunderfoot can help. We’ve worked with many innovative, fast-growing companies to develop highly tailored campaigns that speak clearly and consistently to the needs and pain points of niche audiences.

By defining the audiences first and then doing the hard, human work of executing a great marketing plan, the Thunderfoot team consistently delivers transformative bottom-of-funnel results for our clients.

Interested in exploring how we can help you grow? Get in touch to talk with one of our dedicated digital strategists.

We’re looking forward to working with you, too.

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