When was the last time you checked to see if you were actually reaching your target audience? Many SMBs have only a vague idea of who their customers are and even less understanding of how to connect with them. At the very least, a failure to reach your intended audience means missed sales. Luckily, today there are free digital tools to help you define, reach and convert your audience.
Google Analytics: Define Your Audience
Your target audience is the group of consumers you want to reach with your marketing message. Successful businesses focus their efforts and don't reach people by a broad category — shoes, for example. Instead, they aim their message at those who are receptive to the appropriate products or services, such as joggers in search of running shoes. This is because, no matter how large group your market is, not everyone is a high value target. Google Analytics (GA) can help you understand and identify your current customers, who make up your best target audience.
GA is the most widely-used analytics platform out there. It allows you to monitor and track your website's traffic, but for the purpose of identifying target customers, you can focus on the Audience section. Enabling the Demographics & Interest reports allows you to review the age, gender, geographic location, language and frequency behavior. It'll show you the type of browser and device used by your current customers, as well as their affinity interests. So in the shoe example above, if your audience has a particular interest in basketball, you might create an ad featuring the top shoe picks of professional athletes.
HootSuite: Connect With Your Audience
The next order of business is analyzing the type of content that resonates with your target, and Hootsuite is a tool that helps do just that. At its most basic, this media management platform is a tracking tool for reviewing the growth of your followers as related to posts on social media. With its built-in analytics features, you can also explore industry trends. For instance, looking at what other shoe stores are posting about on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Keep in mind, you can only monitor three accounts with the free version. With Hootsuite, you can schedule social media posts, which can be crucial for small businesses.
Think With Google: Understand Your Audience
This tool offers five basic insights to customize and explore your industry's trends. It can also be helpful to individual businesses in specific ways. A generic search for "shopping" can show how your efforts are squaring up with your audience. Using GA data, you can determine if the majority of your users are coming to the site via email. Think With Google's Customer Journey to Online Purchase tool shows where email stands in the overall path to purchase. If shoppers convert more often at the email stage, put more effort into gathering customer emails.
All of these platforms offer pro — or paid — versions, and there are many other tools available to businesses on the market. However, before spending big on these efforts, check out these free tools to see if they provide the benefits you need to capture sales.