Audience engagement is crucial for connecting with your target market online. There are a seemingly infinite number of brands that are vying for customer attention — some with seven figure advertising budgets, and brilliant marketing teams.
Your brand’s competitive advantage is in your ability to stand out from the crowd in forming genuine, human relationships with your customers and prospects. It takes more than a beautiful website and persuasive copy to truly connect with your online audience. In the competitive world of online marketing, consumer and B2B customers have learned to spot inauthenticity and a lack of effort from miles away.
The first step in this process is to develop robust buyer persona outlines and discover where these buyer personas spend their time online. Make sure that your brand has a presence in these channels. This is your opportunity to make a meaningful connection.
Here are five powerful ways to reach your target market online.
1. Connect with their social circles
You’ve probably heard the (overplayed) expression that ‘birds of a feather flock together.’ When it comes to online marketing, nothing could hold more true. Social influence is powerful — and social media is social influence amplified. As a marketer, it’s in your best interest to align with the social channels that your customers and prospects are already using.
If they’re on LinkedIn, make sure that you set up an account on that platform — even if you’re not ready to actively participate, you should at least watch and see how your customer community is interacting. Did you find that your target audience has zero presence on Twitter? If so, don’t waste your time — your best strategy is to join discussion channels and conversations where your target market is already active.
2. Target behaviors through paid channel advertising
Think that Google AdWords is awesome? You may be surprised to know that there are many additional ad networks out there with powerful audience targeting features. These platforms build comprehensive profiles of users on the internet. Through data, ad networks can identify who you want to reach.
If you’re a Houston-based doctor who is recruiting new patients, for instance, you can work with advertising solutions providers to reach prospective patients who have searched for conditions that align with your area of focus. The ability to connect with prospects that are already searching for your product, or service can give you a leg up against the competition.
3. Blog about your customers’ interests
Content marketing is a powerful inbound marketing tool. By maintaining a blog, you’ll position your company as a thought leader and expert in your industry. If you want to attract visitors, what’s key is that you build editorial calendars, topic ideas, and keyword lists that are in complete alignment with your prospects’ areas of interest.
By selecting the right topics, you’ll give your brand the potential to achieve high rankings in organic search. For that reason, it’s in your best interest to learn the exact questions and search queries that your prospects are bringing to the table. Position your brand as a provider of compelling answers to your customers’ core needs.
4. Partner with like-minded brands
Multi-headed beasts are inevitably smarter than single-headed beasts. There are similar companies trying to reach audiences like yours. Find out who these companies are, and instead of trying to beat them — join them in a consolidated, team effort.
Once you find a few complimentary partners, guest post on eachother's blogs every few weeks, share eachother's social media posts, or co-host a webinar. Find ways that your online efforts can work together to not only extend your reach, but also to bring more value to your collective target market.
5. Provide relevant customer testimonials that speak to your target market
Your customer testimonials should connect with prospects on both a rational and emotional level. When visitors see your product for the first time, they are typically zeroing in on one key question — “what’s in it for me?”
You can simplify this mental process by providing a direct answer to this question. Show them examples of customers like themselves — social proof that underscores why your brand really is exceptional.
Ask individuals that you have worked with to provide a testimonial on your LinkedIn page, or to provide one that you can put on your website. If you really want to convey the value you provide, create customer testimonial videos.
Final Thoughts: Be Business Development Minded
Many online marketing strategies are simply a means to an end of achieving the same business development goals that you’re accustomed to offline. When in doubt, trust your judgment — it’s what made you so successful thus far in running your business. Focus on finding your customers, and align your strategies to that end.