How to target your digital marketing and get better results

Are your digital marketing campaigns making the impact you need them to? Or are you struggling to get the results you want? Learn why the right targeting is important.

Today, if you want your business to be found by potential customers, you can’t rely on simply listing your ad in the right category in a local printed directory. 

Instead, you usually need to promote your products or services online on a seemingly endless list of websites, directories, search engines, blogs and social media sites.  

So how do you stand out against such a vast competition – and get potential customers to not just notice you, but choose you? As inbound marketing expert Don Seckler reveals, the answer lies in targeting.

You can’t afford to get left behind

In today’s fast-paced digital age, you can’t afford to stay still. Over the past 20 years, the changes in technology have drastically affected the way we advertise and market our businesses.

And these changes aren’t just dramatic, but they’re continual – from Facebook’s algorithm changes to Google’s regular updates. 

The only way to stay ahead of these changes and ensure your marketing is always able to reach the right people in the right places (and is relevant to them) is to understand who you want to talk to, and why. And this requires clever targeting.

Targeting makes all marketing better

Targeting makes all marketing better and more successful. For example, if my hobby is fishing and I have never even set foot on a tennis court, mailing me a tennis gear catalogue is a wasted effort. Even if I was offered 90% off the latest tennis racquet, it’s unlikely that I would ever buy one. Send me a fishing deal of that magnitude, however, and I’ll be ordering up a storm.

And the good news is that not only is targeting in your digital marketing campaigns just as (if not more) crucial than your offline marketing efforts, but it’s also a whole lot easier.

Create targeted content for your market

In digital marketing you don’t need to buy a list of targeted prospects to contact. Instead, you create content specifically for your targets and they will find you.

This process is known as inbound marketing. The targeting is easier online because people tell you their needs and how to target them by the content they respond to. They’re out there searching with their questions – you just need to be there with the answers.

How do you start targeting?

So how do you get started with targeting? The first step is identifying your targets and defining who they are. With inbound marketing these definitions of the target are known as ‘personas’.

I even like to give them names and assign a picture to each of my personas. It makes you really think about the person you’re trying to reach, and you can really visualise them and get to know them. This results in much better marketing efforts.

So let’s say you have a product that you’re marketing and that product is for busy mums. Right off the top of my head, I would break busy mums into two groups – mums with teenagers and mums with toddlers to 12-year-olds.

The reason we make that delineation is that these two groups of mums will have different problems and needs. For example, mums of teens aren’t dealing with issues like getting kids into car seats and the huge amount of stuff you need to carry for a toddler. And mums with younger kids aren’t dealing with dating dramas and overactive hormones.

Paint a picture of your target personas

We want to paint a detailed picture of these different mum personas. How old are they? What are the biggest stresses on their time? What are the biggest stresses they get from their kids and their partners? What are the specific problems that they have that our product will solve?

We ask these questions and try to produce reasonable answers to help direct our marketing. We’re looking for problems that our targeted personas have that our product will solve for them – and that will be the focus of the content we create. So when they type their problem into a search engine, they will find our content and find us.

Solve your personas’ problems and you’ll get sales

When you can solve your targeted personas’ problems with your product, you will get the sale. So identifying those problems is crucial. Once you have done that you can create content and marketing messages that show how you and your product can help.

As consumers, every purchase we make solves a problem that we have. I need something to make for dinner so I go to the shops and buy some chicken. Problem solved.

That’s an over simplification but helps illustrate the concept. Depending on the complexity of your product, you might need a variety of content interactions with your prospect before they buy, but this strategy will work with any product.

Marketing boils down to a simple equation

Marketing really does boil down to a simple equation. I have a problem, your product or service solves that problem at what I think is a reasonable price.

The tricky part is identifying the target’s problems. If you are successful at that, the rest is fairly straightforward.

Take time and tweak your personas as you need to

Your personas are not written in stone. They are living and breathing tools. When you start out, you make some educated guesses. Then through testing of messages and approaches, you determine which of your guesses were right, which were wrong, and which just needed a little tweak to be more successful.

So take some time to work on your targets and their personas. Do a few brainstorming sessions by yourself or with your team. You’ll see a marked improvement in your marketing efforts in no time.

Preparation is the first step to success

Like many things in life, the success of your business is often down to the quality of the preparation you put into it. And identifying a clear target market –  and the problems that you can help solve for them – is one of the vital first steps in your sales and marketing strategy.

So if you haven’t do so already, plan some time this week to analyse who you want to sell to, what their life looks like, and what needs or problems they have that your product or service can solve. And ensure that all your marketing – digital or otherwise – is targeted at them.

Don Seckler is President of Peak Inbound Marketing. Peak Inbound Marketing helps you get more business from your website by attracting people who are looking for your services and turning them into your customers.