Know your audience
So you've heard the phrase know your audience. You may have been told that it's the secret to a successful business.
As an equation it might look something like this….
Know your audience = make more money 😍
But as anyone whose jumped in and tried to put a KYA strategy in place knows, it’s really not that straight forward. Knowing your audience involves the creation of a continual feedback loop through multiple touch points in your customers journey, from complete strangers to die-hard users. It requires constant experimentation and thorough analysis — if you dive in without a plan, it might end up to be a lot of fruitless hard work.
However, with a proper understanding of the basics, and some guidelines for your strategy, you can develop a process that works for your company and produces actual benefits.
So what are these elusive benefits gained from knowing you audience?
1. Make better, more informed decisions
2. Use time and resources efficiently
3. Increase your sales
Our Know Your Audience Strategy
Knowing your audience is all about asking questions. As a survey platform founded on the idea that understanding your audience is key to growing a thriving organisation, we know a thing or two about asking questions. Because of this; surveys are a key component of our product strategy, but they’re not the only thing we use.
We believe getting to know your audience should be a holistic process that features every side of your business. Over the years we’ve refined this into a fairly comprehensive strategy that has been instrumental in helping our company to grow.
To start with we’re going to broadly outline the main two categories of people in your audience. To ask the right questions and make the most of your efforts it’s important to know where in the customer journey your target audience member is. While some questions may be relevant to your whole audience, some are better focused on a more specific niche.
Understanding who makes up your audience
Leads are web visitors, social media audience, blog subscribers. People who’ve found you, but haven’t bought yet. They might have just typed in ‘best drill bits’ on google and landed on your site, or they signed up for your blog because of an interesting article related to your industry / product, maybe they are free trials user who haven’t yet engaged.
These are people who are trying to solve a problem they have. By finding their way into your network it’s likely that problem has something to do with the solution your product provides. This makes them an incredible source of insights. It’s easy to see leads that don’t convert as either a failure, or just an unfortunate but inevitable part of your funnel. Instead you should see them as an asset that can make your business grow.
2. Customers & users.
Customers and users are folks who have already purchased or started using your product. They could be casual purchasers, or huge fans returning frequently and getting a lot of value from your offering. They know your product and have opinions on the experience they had with it.
Just because they’ve already paid for your product, doesn’t mean the journey ends. They will often have valuable insights about your product and how it compares to the market in general. If they’ve spent money on your product they are also very likely to be the type of customer you’re looking for more of. All information about these customers can feed back into your marketing strategy to ensure you target similar people in your outreach.
Is one more valuable than the other?
Yes and no.
The bottom line is, it depends on what you're looking to find out. For may people talking to customers may provide way more value than leads, but it really depends on the leads. If you could get a detailed insight from someone who is currently purchasing from your direct competitor, this could be equally if not more valuable than an insight from one of your paying customer, although really you want both.
Getting both enables you to compare. Does a customer fully understand the core benefits of your product over your competitor, is this also true for your lead or has that information fallen through the cracks?
If so, ask about the customer's process for learning about and purchasing your product. How is this different to how your lead found you? This could help identify key areas of your onboarding (onboarding as in going from not a stranger to your product, all the way through to a sale - not just a signup flow) where some form of information or educational content is missing.
What tools can you use to interact with your audience?
Chatbots / Messengers
These work great on landing pages and can be used to generate leads as well as gain new insights. Try asking a question to visitors who land on your page. As well as understanding more about them, you’ll be encouraging them to stay longer on your site.
An example we’ve used in the past is this →
“Hi, what are you currently using to gather feedback and present your results?”
In case you didn’t know already, doopoll is a survey tool so understanding this about our visitors is really helpful
Simple and innocuous, we posed this question using Intercom automated messenger. Visitors could answer directly in the live chat. We generated great insights that gave us an idea about what people were looking for when they hit doopoll.
What I like about this question is it accepts that in many cases people visiting would already have ‘some’ solution to the problem we’re solving. So it cuts the fluff out and gets insights from people who are already actively paying for another solution.
These are just a couple of examples of the insights we got back. Condensing it down we can see the bi-lingual surveys and single device surveys are topics of interest. These themes came up a number of times and (if we hadn’t already built them) this might have sparked research into these types of features.
While using Intercom here to get this feedback was useful, particularly as the conversation could be continued by our support team. This isn’t enough to start building new features and making big assumptions. The next phase would be “more research”. The insights from here could be taken on to our next touch points, or cycled back into more specific questions to our broader audience. For instance we could go on to ask to our existing customers about they’re opinions on bi-lingual surveys. We do this regularly, by emailing out surveys to our customers and users.
Since our Intercom campaign we’ve adopted the Pipedrive bot - and we’re currently using this to get feedback on our pricing model.One of our most read posts is our icebreaker questions post. People really dig it and that’s great. Most people who visit are just casual readers though, so we told our friendly Pipedrive bot to ask a quick question to those visitors so we can find out more about them, and what drives people to purchase survey software.
It goes something like this..
‘Here’s an icebreaker for you…!’
"Would you rather have?"
- Unlimited Surveys
- Unlimited Responses
- Unlimited users
We want to know what matters more for people visiting our site, and this simple question is helping us figure that out. Don't forget these aren't questions for the sake of it, a big part of this strategy is evidence based action. We'll be reviewing what comes back and looking to update our pricing accordingly
Psst... feel free to check it out at doopoll.co/pricing
These can be used on any style of page but are often used to find out about website issues or problems, such as if a user goes to abandon their cart or checkout page. Triggering a popup survey can help you understand what went wrong. While this is really powerful and can be a useful start to a conversation, one of the coolest uses we’ve seen for popup forms was just to help generate leads.
Rather than a popup which directly requests an email (for a newsletter or blog signup). Instead you can begin with a simple question. Initiating engagement in this manner is really effective as asking for an email right off the bat can put some visitors off. Instead - almost counter intuitively - providing a short survey first makes it more likely to get an email, which you can ask for at the end. By drawing a user in with positive engagement and genuinely caring about their story and opinions, you’re not only more likely to get a new lead, that lead has amore intrinsic value because it can be fleshed out by the responses you’ve collected. This could be used to make any marketing efforts more valuable and more relevant to the respondent, which generally leads to increased conversion.
You might ask →
“Hey, what did you find most interesting about this blogpost?”
“Hey, what’s your opinion on [x] topic?” (keep it relevant to the post)
Just remember - when using popups of any kind they can be a bit off putting for visitors. We’ve all been frustrated by a popup in the past so use them sparingly and perhaps as a last resort, such as when a user shows intention to leave. We tried this in the past with ouibounce npm package.
Potentially your most powerful tool. Embedding surveys into your blog posts or long form articles is a must. These niche posts mean you already have a pretty good idea about who the reader is, and your questions can therefore be more specific.
For instance - we might ask how you currently find out about your audience in an embedded survey.
Pretty meta right?!
Similarly to the popup surveys you can use this methodology to, discover important insights about your audience as well as generating leads that can be later targeted with more valuable material. Amplitude, the product analytics platform, recently did a great version of this, by embedding a survey that challenged users to test their knowledge of product led growth. A resource kit full of valuable insights was then sent to respondents and aimed specifically at their level of understanding, making it much more useful then it otherwise would have been.
Sending surveys by email is another important method. In particular this should be used in your onboarding, as well as continued outreach with existing customers. Using automation software such as ActiveCampaign allows us to send specific surveys out at different points in the customer journey.
For instance, at doopoll we can send surveys out to disengaged users who haven’t interacted in a while, as well as users who have been using the platform repeatedly and transitioned into paying customers. Being able to see the different between these two is instrumental in growing the platform as it allows us to understand what type of customer gets the most out of doopoll and what we can do for users that don’t.
You could also email your customers with surveys that aim to get feedback on future company or product developments. We’re not saying you should base your entire strategy in your customers hands, but its an important place to go when making decisions that can give you a more rounded view.
Finally you can use emails to get testimonials - including NPS feedback. The feedback you get can be posted on your site as social proof to new visitors.
What should you know about your audience?
So let’s get down to the finer details of what you actually need to know.
What problem are they trying to solve?
Who to ask? — Leads & Customers
Use the insights you gain to write better copy and inform your SEO Strategy
By discovering more about the problem your leads are trying to solve you can be more specific in your marketing. You’ll pick up terminology relevant to them and can adapt this into the keywords you target so your future visitors will be much more likely to convert.
Discover if you’re targeting the right keywords.
It’s possible you’re getting the wrong visitors to your site. Not all traffic is made equal and if you have exceptionally low conversion rates it may be that the keywords you’re targeting are attracting the wrong type of customer. Finding out what they were actually looking for is important.
Improve your product offering.
You might discover that many people are looking for a specific detail, or feature that your product doesn’t have. This could inform your product roadmap and may lead to additional features or alternate versions of your product.
What specifically can you ask?
Hey! Did you find what you were looking for today?
What’s the biggest problem you’ve faced this year?
What do you spend most of your time on at work?
There are plenty of great options here
Who are they?
Who to ask? — Customers & Leads
Finding out who your paying customers are, and the difference between your casual browsers, can open up some really interesting insights. Some people do this as part of an onboarding (for SaaS) but this can create friction and for e-commerce this might not be an option. For customers you can simply email and ask, and for casual browsers, try social media polls or popups on your website. You can even offer incentives just for visitors telling you a little more.
Depending whether you’re B2B or B2C you might want to know about their job role, department, budget allowances, or more individual information such as gender, age range, hobbies and interests.
One of the most interesting things to find out is where someone goes for trusted information. E.g influencers, podcasts, news sites, subreddits. This sort of information can help you get your advertising in the right place, and ensure you can really put yourself in your customers shoes.
What do they think about your current offering?
Who to ask? — Customers
We love asking our users about this. It can be scary, particularly when the feedback isn’t what you want to hear, but what you need to hear. Other than support requests and bug reports this is the best way we can find out the flaws in our offering, and conversely to discover what keeps our most loyal customers engaged.
There are two questions I like to ask.
"If there was one thing you could change about doopoll what would it be?"
"If you could only keep one feature on doopoll, what would it be?"
You might be surprised what you find. We’ve often found features we thought would be game changers, met with lukewarm reception, and vice versa. Working these questions into your support requests, or any ongoing active engagement can be a powerful step forward.
Why did they chose to buy / not buy?
Who to ask? — Customers
This is a great one. It’s surprising most people don’t use it as much as they should.
Scenario: You’ve just landed a sale, and everyones happy and congratulating themselves. Another day another dollar. Life goes on. But unless you’re in a business with exceptionally high ticket prices , a single sale means very little.
What you really want is to find out why this person bought. So ask them.
“Thanks for your purchase today! We’d love to know what made you decide on doopoll for your survey needs”
Equally important is users lost at checkout, or anywhere further down your funnel. We’ve set up an automation in Active Campaign to message users who get 5 responses to a survey but don’t convert. That’s because we’ve found that 5 responses in normally when people get value out of doopoll and deice to buy. For those who don’t we ask why.
If you’re selling single ticket products this won’t apply but cancellations of a subscription is also a great time to find out what’s going on with your users.
We developed a customer screen after users cancel to ask for a few words from them on the reason for their decision. The important thing is placement here. Don’t make it pushy, don’t do an Amazon and put five confusing screens trying to convince them to stay. This can cause more harm than good, whereas knowing why can have compounding value and can ensure your experience improves for new users down the line.
To finish off I just wanted to offer a quick few bullet points to help you structure your strategy.
- Identify your target audience (split leads and customers)
- Decide what you want to ask and how
- Set up engagement at multiple touch points (right questions, at the right time)
- Analyse and feed this into your product strategy
- Update! New data means new questions (don't let this stagnate)
If your looking to get started with your know your audience strategy, having a solid survey platform to use is a great place to start. We're a little biased but at doopoll we've been working with organisations globally for over 6 years, from focus groups to worldwide businesses, governments, health sectors charities and more. What sets us aside is our personal touch and willingness to get stuck in and help. We also have some fantastic templates to help you get started. You could be up and running in minutes.