How to Understand Your Audience’s Needs with Michelle Wilding-Baker @ohmishy #vcbuzz

How to Understand Your Audience's Needs with Michelle Wilding-Baker @ohmishy #vcbuzz

Knowing your audience has obvious benefits: You get an idea of who your target customer is and how to best serve their needs.

This results in a better product, better on-site US, and better content.

So why do so many brands never invest time or effort in researching their target audience?

Some may think they already have a clear idea of who they are targeting. Others just don’t think there’s anything to research.

Both cannot be more wrong.

Audience research is a never-ending process. And knowing your audience can boost your marketing results.

Let’s discuss!

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About Michelle Wilding-Baker @ohmishy

Michelle Wilding-Baker @ohmishy is a globally award-winning digital marketing leader who specialises in data-first customer acquisition (owned/paid/earned), SEO and content strategy.

Michelle is head of digital and content marketing at @Freesat_tv

Connect to Michelle on Linkedin

Questions we discussed

Q1 How did you become a digital marketer? Please share your career story!

Graduated with first-class honours in Communication Studies (Journalism). As I learned to adapt offline journalism to online principles (i.e no walls of text and on-page optimisation)… I dabbled with content marketing.

I very quickly was exposed to and picked up SEO (Content then Tech), Inbound Marketing, Paid. And 11 years on I’m loving being channel agnostic; however specialising in acquisition, Tech SEO and Content.

Q2 Why is knowing your audience so important?

In essence, marketing is all about effective communication and strategic/tactical activities to promote the buying or selling of a product or service. So the audience is at the very heart of it. How can you “market” if you don’t know who your audience is and where?

Q3 How to get to know your audience better? Is it possible for new websites?

Absolutely, but it may just take some time if you’re starting from scratch online and that’s okay. Try to utilise traditional marketing to understand foundations like market research (YouGov etc) if you exist offline. Then also look at competitors.

The irony of online sometimes is businesses believe their audience and competitors are based off their offline data/trends and it’s not always the case. Online can be very different to these assumption. So you have to start collating your own research/data.

Add surveys onsite and in your email touch points to better understand interests. And the holy grail is keyword research #SEO. The search landscape is rich with needs and intent, so tap into that to start building a picture of audience pain points and intentions.

Also let’s talk analytics whether it’s Google Analytics or Adobe etc. to track your website’s user activity and find out demographics, page interests, engagement, goals etc. A DMP (data management platform) can help you to start segmenting audience groups.

I also find often that audiences differ not only between digital channels but the actual platforms. E.g on social… Twitter vs Facebook vs Instagram!

Q4 How to go from knowing your audience to applying that knowledge in practice?

Metrics and measurement are marketing biggies. Campaign engagement and site testing will help you assess performance against benchmarks and if messaging is having an impact. Use content and SEO strategies to start speaking to different personas, and how they respond.

I also think that once you’ve found your core audience, it’s so important to find “more” of them or similarities via Look-A-Like audiences to help improve paid marketing efforts. Continue to scale and optimise for efficiency of course.

Also if your content is working well on SEO, social or email, try to tap into WHY it’s working and do more of it. And do certain audiences respond better at certain times to due to lifestyles? These nuances all play a part to your strategy.

Q5 What are your audience research tools?

SO many. I love a diverse set! Analytics suite (GA/AA); SEO Tools for KW research (@semrush, @ahrefs, Google + Bing Search Consoles) and @hellemans mentioned AnswerthePublic earlier to understand what audiences are looking for online and at what query stage.

Social media monitoring and measurement tools, as I mentioned earlier, you’ll tend to find audiences share similarities yet equally differ across each platform.

I’m also really into visual analytics like HotJar, Crazy Egg and split-testing tools (Optimizely). You can also set up a lot of engagement rules for onsite via Google Tag Manager. For quick learnings I split test messaging on PPC.

Our previous analytics chats:


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