Without question, hyper segmentation is the best way to achieve a more focused content marketing strategy. Breaking your customer base up into narrow demographic criteria can help your business understand how to generate the most applicable and meaningful content your audience is looking for.
These days, nearly every business regularly analyzes customer data to shape better approaches that attract more customers. In fact, the Economist Intelligence Unit reported that 83% of companies, credit the practice for helping them build better products and a more profitable business model.
Failing to properly align your messaging with the audience is one of the biggest mistakes marketers can make. Success all starts with researching the demographics. From age and sex, to income and lifestyle choices, all these factors play a significant role throughout ideation and execution.
Here are four ways you can leverage demographic information to help narrow your content strategy and increase your appeal.
1. Age determines what channels will work best
Many companies know their target market’s age range, and use this as a guide for the type of advertising they release.
For example, Clean and Clear primarily markets to teenagers and young adults – who are likely to need acne face wash.
Olay, on the other hand, focuses on middle-aged and older markets for wrinkle prevention.
In general, social media usage varies widely based on age. So, you must plan your strategy accordingly. Demographic information is one of the most important factors in selecting the platform to distribute targeted content.
For example, Facebook, the most popular social media site worldwide, is a fairly universal channel to reach every customer base.
According to Pew Research’s study, users aged 50 or older are 3 times more likely to use Facebook than any other social media platform, making it the most effective marketing channel for older audiences. Instagram and Twitter are popular with 18 to 29 year olds, while LinkedIn caters to audiences made up of ages ranging from 18 to 49.
Of course, there are some users who break the status quo on age and social media use. However, it is always best to place your efforts on the channels that will reach the largest volumes of targeted consumers.
Keep these statistics in mind when it comes to your content marketing strategy. By actively engaging on the channels where your target audience tends to congregate, your advertisements have the best chance of reaching a fitting customer.
It is always a good idea to market through more than one social media outlet, since most social networking users have accounts on multiple sites. Depending on your target market’s age group, you may need to post content on several platforms in order to expand your reach.
2. Location can be a great opportunity for engagement
Using location-based marketing is especially helpful for local businesses, since it can hyper-target the best customers. Segmenting your audience by location is a great way to grow a community of followers, and mentioning things like local landmarks or events within your content can instantly pique their interest.
Geographic location is a subculture of consumer behavioral influences, since things like community culture, trends, or even weather patterns can affect customer preferences and buying behaviors.
Retail store Urban Outfitters uses location demographics for a more targeted mobile marketing campaign. They created audience filters based on geo-data insight for location-specific content relevant to their customers. Any customer who had downloaded the store’s app was able to be tracked by location.
In order to promote the latest products, Urban Outfitters would send push notifications and text alerts related to the activity that the customer was likely participating in. For example, the app sent an alert to users in vicinity of bars and night-life clubs about deals on party dresses. They also created personalized direct mail campaigns based on zip codes. All in all, their hyper-targeted campaign was a success – the company reported a revenue increase of 146%.
Geographic marketing is not just limited to creating content based around local topics. Targeting local keywords will improve your SEO rankings and help you better reach your audience. Be sure you are consistently researching trending keywords in your target area that correlate with your messaging.
The Google Keyword Planner is a great tool to find the most relevant terms and phrases to incorporate into your content so it is more likely to pop up on local searches.
3. Be wary when it comes to race or religion
Of course, there are some more sensitive demographics to consider when it comes to your target audience.
Things like race, politics, and religion are certainly important to think about when you release content, as these factors can strongly influence customers’ views and opinions. They are also important criteria to consider when it comes to topics or configuration, as insensitive material can cause major backlash.
Releasing insensitive messaging can be detrimental to a business’s branding. For instance, the beauty brand Dove recently published a Facebook post that featured various women of color, intending to show inclusivity of all races for their brand.
However, their ad backfired when it showed a black woman changing into a white woman. Many people found the content to be racially offensive. Dove quickly released a statement apologizing, but the damage to their brand name had already been done. The ad was a trending topic across the web, and some users even rallied for a boycott of the beauty brand because of the racist ad.
Before you create an advertisement, or release any sort of content, be sure to take a look at it from multiple points of view. Take your audience’s beliefs and values into consideration and try to remove anything that could possibly cause division or controversy.
It would be a fair statement to say that the general online audience can be a touchy bunch. Releasing insensitive content that ignores your current (and potential) audience mindsets can cause major repercussions. So, always be sure to take extra precautions.
4. Income and Stage of Life affects the Buyer Journey
Many marketers mistakenly overlook income and stage of life when it comes to customer demographics, simply because they don’t understand the relevance of this information.
However, depending on your business model, this type of data can greatly affect a customer’s need or desire for your service. Customers who make minimum wage cannot likely afford a luxury vehicle, and customers who are about to retire are probably more interested in things like pension plans and senior living communities.
Some products are simply not made for every stage of life or income level. Shutterfly fell prey to this embarrassing mistake with a mass email that went to a very untargeted audience. The company had been tracking purchases of birth announcements and sent out an email congratulating the buyers on the newest addition to the family and suggesting they purchase some thank you cards.
The only problem was that many of the users did not have a new baby. Shutterfly’s big data analysis process was to blame, and they ended up marketing to an audience that had no need for the product.
Designing your marketing content plan around your customer’s stage of life is very important since it influences their position in the buyer’s journey. If a customer cannot afford a product or do not have a need for it, then it is a waste of time and resources to market to them.
As more and more companies tap into the power of analytical data, marketers are able to get incredibly granular when it comes to reaching their customer base. However, it is easy to get confused as to what the deeper meaning is within the data and the correct plan of action for the given insight.
It is important that marketers understand the demographical information in relation to their brand values so they can use it to their advantage. Planning your messaging based on this type of influential data can ensure that your content marketing strategy is more targeted and effective than ever before.
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Pratik Dholakiya is the Founder of Preceptist, a content marketing agency for SaaS businesses.