By Anders Swaffield – Digital Communications Manager

It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the abundance of marketing channels at your fingertips these days.

That’s speaking from personal experience.

It seems everyone is telling you to post more on social media (but on the right platform, silly). To send more emails (but careful, not too many, and to the right list). To use sponsored ads (make sure you reach the right person, at the right time, dur).

A mistake many people make is that they spread themselves too thin, across too many platforms.

Yes, it’s fantastic to have engaging content published across a variety of channels. But it’s much more fruitful (and realistic) to have a structured approach to posting on the most effective channel for YOUR business.

As you, our audience (hi!), are most likely to know, we are a business networking organisation that has traditionally run business networking events. Now all online networking events of course.

To give you some clarity and ease of understanding throughout, I’ll use our business as an example in each topic point.

Ok, ready? Let’s delve into how to know your audience.

Who are your current customers?

Do you really know your current customers?

This is your first step. The people that currently buy from you are your current audience. They like what you have to offer and have invested in you.

So, use them! Create personas (up to 10) of example audiences. This’ll give you a chance to establish what, for example, persona A) Lucy and B) Scott like. You’ll be surprised at the similar traits between the two.

Write out their demographics: age, gender, location, product purchased and any other diminishing traits.

This gives you a chance to start understanding what it is your clients like about your offering and will give you authenticity (and confidence) when you speak to them.

It also stops you targeting an audience that’ll never buy from you.

If you’re a law firm in London, posting a cat video targeted at someone in Azerbaijan won’t be worth either of your time.

Network My Club example: our current demographic is men and women, aged 30-50, working for SME businesses working in the South East and London.

NB: This could be a lot more complex, but for the purposes of this exercise let’s keep it super simple.

Ask for feedback … and listen to it!

Find out what your current customers love about what you do. Why did they buy from you in the first place?

Reach out to them personally and ask. (Most) People like to help and will more than likely offer their opinion.

Take that feedback on board, thank them for it, and if you agree apply it to your business.

Network My Club example: our Events & Membership Manager, Claudia, regularly has calls with members to get feedback about how we can improve events and help them more via facilitated introductions, referrals and marketing support.

We also use post-meetup surveys to find out immediate responses from our online events. We’ve used this type of feedback to improve our events and business hundreds of times.

What engages them?

If Lucy and Scott (remember, persona A and B) like, for example, sport, sharing content about the latest tax updates isn’t going to appeal to them. And will disengage them.

Getting your audience engaged to begin with is hard enough. Let’s not waste time and energy creating content that does the opposite. 

Once you’ve found out what your audience likes, create content to suit them.

What pain points of theirs can you solve? What will they want to hear about? What will get them clicking?

They’re much more likely to engage (like, comment, share) with content they resonate with.

Still with me? Good. Let’s continue.

Network My Club example: we create blogs (like these, and our many networking tips), online networking toolkits, post about upcoming events and share member content.

This sounds great, but how do you find this all out I hear you ask?

Analytics. Bear with me. I’ll make this as simple as possible.

Google Analytics is the industry standard online analytic tool. It’s completely free and relatively easy to get the hang of. Google also supply free online training courses.

Among thousands of other metrics, within here you can see where your traffic (aka audience) is coming from. This’ll most likely be social media, email or organic search).

TIP: If your website is an e-commerce site, you can link the two and see which channel is best converting into revenue. Clever, right!

Once you’ve got that information you can put a plan together to work out which channel you should focus on.

It isn’t realistic that most SME will have the resources to make the most of every digital marketing channel.

Find out where your audience is and focus on that.

Network My Club example: Given we’re a business networking organisation, we quickly established that LinkedIn is our best social media platform. Looking at the revenue statistics from Google Analytics, we also saw that email marketing is an effective channel. So, we focus on them primarily.

Understanding your audience will help with your networking too. Knowing who your ideal client or referrers are before joining an event will allow you to target those best suited for you and your business.

That’s why we send attendees the delegate list at least 24 hours before the start of our meetups.

I hope this has been helpful. I’m always eager to learn and discuss these types of topics with others. Feel free to get in touch.

For more networking hints, tips and cheat sheets, download our free networking toolkit here