Most online marketers and content creators fail because they don’t understand what their readers actually want.
Hint: More often than not, it’s not what you want.
Unless you are facing similar problems as your audience is, chances are that you will be thinking differently from them. You can only provide efficient solutions to their problems and the right type of content to them when you understand what they want.
Here are 7 tips to help you understand who your readers are and what they want.
1. Create buyer/reader personas
What does your ideal reader/customer/website visitor look like? How does she feel? What are her preferences? What are her problems? What are the solutions to those problems?
These are some of the many questions you should answer while creating buyer personas. These buyer personas, in turn, help you understand who your audience is and what it wants. All this leads to a deeper understanding of the people you are trying to serve.
There are many ways to learn more about your target audience. You can start by analyzing the type of keywords they search for (more on it later!). However, perhaps the best way to find that information — if you already have a website with a decent amount of traffic — is to check the ‘Acquisition’ tab in your Google Analytics account.
With these reports, you can learn more about website visitors, e.g., what language do they speak, which country and city do they belong to, what mobile device do they use to land on your website, what are their age groups, what are their interests, and behavior.
2. Identify your best-performing content and content types
While we are on the topic of Google Analytics, you should also identify your best-performing content and content types. This information has details about the preferences of your website visitors and helps you craft better, high-impact content.
Log into your Google Analytics account and go to > Behavior > Site Content > All Pages and identify your top-performing web pages. Once you have done that, try to answer a few questions:
- What do these web pages have in common?
- What topics do they revolve around?
- What is the average word-count for these pages?
- Do they have a similar type of headline that is resonating with your audience?
In short, try to identify a few solid reasons why these pages are performing better than the others. You can filter traffic coming from social channels, for example, to get a clearer picture.
Similarly, also identify the type of content that is performing especially better with your particular group of target audience. For example, is it an infographic, video, or long-form blog posts? What type of content do your readers like and want?
Identifying all these traits will enable you to provide the exact type of content that would resonate the most with your readers.
3. Divide content by different stages of the sales funnel
While the above-mentioned technique will help you identify the content that is resonating the most with your audience, it has its limitations. For example, it may not give you any valuable insights on the mindset and buyer journey of your website visitors. For that, you will need to divide your content by the different stages of a sales funnel.
For instance, you can divide all your web pages in terms of a basic sales funnel:
- Awareness (top of funnel content)
- Research (middle of funnel content)
- Consideration (bottom of funnel content)
Once all the contents on your website have been divided as per these three stages, you will be able to see which stage of the funnel is performing better with your website visitors and which stages require more efforts.
4. Ready your blog comments and respond to them
Many content marketers and online businesspeople ignore their blog’s comment section. However, that can be a goldmine of insights and a valuable resource when it comes to understanding your readers’ needs.
Try to read and respond to each and every comment you receive. Some of those comments will be useless, but you will find that many of these comments will contain something valuable. For example, you may identify a few shortcomings in your website, while some commenters may give you an excellent idea for your next piece of content. You never know.
5. Engage with your audience across social channels
Social media websites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) offer an excellent way to communicate and engage with your audience. These websites are particularly good for two reasons:
- For building a sustainable communication channel with your audience for informing them about important announcements.
- To test an idea or see how your audience and fans would respond to something new.
You can even run polls to test the waters and see if the idea you have is worth pursuing. Doing this every now and then will give you a much better understanding of how your audience behaves and what they want and what they don’t want.
6. Study your competitors
Competition is a good thing in the online business world. You may not have a lot of data to dive into, but your competitors that are well-established in the niche will have it.
Since you would be targeting pretty much the same group of audience, you should look into your competitors’ websites and identify what makes them so interesting for your potential buyers.
Examine and evaluate everything — from their tagline to their website navigation structure to the overall design and feel. Then dive into the more specific stuff, such as their list-building strategy and the type of content they push out the most. Also, try to analyze how they engage with their website visitors and the tone they use overall.
All this information will give you valuable insights into your customers’ mindset and what else you need to do to improve.
7. Don’t forget to use various tools to learn more about your audience
In today’s digital age, there are plenty of useful tools that you can use to learn more about your website visitors and audience in general. We have already discussed Google Analytics and how to use it in multiple ways, but there’s more than that.
For example, you can see what your audience is asking about on Reddit with a simple free tool called RedditSearch. This tool will help you find relevant keywords — and discussions — all over the Reddit.
You can also use BuzzSumo to see which article or post on the web is resonating the most with your potential readers. BuzzSumo helps you find the most shareable content on the internet. If a lot of people are sharing a piece of content on social channels, you know they are interested in that. It is then up to you to determine why.
We also recommend using Alexa to learn more about your target audience. If you want to learn about your competitor’s audience and their demographics, Alexa can be an excellent tool.
Understanding what your website readers and potential buyers want is the key to success. Without knowing everything there is to know about them, you cannot serve them efficiently and effectively.
Use these tips mentioned in this article to learn more about your audience and craft better content and offer personalized solutions to their problems.