3 Things You Should Know About Your Audience (If You Want to Drive More Results)

Jan 23, 2024 7 min read
3 Things You Should Know About Your Audience (If You Want to Drive More Results)

The devil is in the deets.

Every single reader of this newsletter works at a different company within a unique set of circumstances:

  • Unique target audiences
  • Unique product benefits
  • Unique pricing plans
  • Unique budgets

That’s why the world of marketing strategy is so complex and nuanced.

Yet, most marketing advice is decidedly NOT nuanced.

Some strategies need millions in budget to make work. 

Some only provide an ROI if your product costs £20K/month.

Yet, they’re all preached as the only way.

In my early career, I spent a good chunk of time trying strategies that would never work.

We realized WAY too late that those LinkedIn posts weren’t meant for us.

Regrets.

I mean, even monday.com in its first year wouldn’t try to copy monday.com’s marketing in its 10th year.

This is why experience matters.

But it’s also why those who want to drive revenue from SEO must invest a lot of time analyzing their unique set of circumstances.

There are so many questions you need answered to create an effective SEO strategy:

  • How do people buy in this industry? 
  • How do people buy when a product is this expensive? 
  • How do people shop on search engines? 
  • Do we have the skill set to do this strategy well? 
  • Do we have the runway to wait 4 years for results?

You might get results without these answers. But they’ll be haphazard. And slower than they could be. 

We don't want that. We want to design strategies with purpose.

And to do that, you need to know your audience. Intimately.

So, in this week’s newsletter, I’ll walk you through three areas of "audience" you should get to know better in 2024.

All of these have helped me build significantly better, results-driven strategies in the past 12 months.

Thing You Should Know About Your Audience #1: “What They Know Really Well"

My client onboarding questionnaire has this section and it always gives invaluable results:

These three sentences help me:

  1. Quickly get familiar with the main topics and subtopics in the industry.
  2. Quickly understand the audience's level of mastery over those topics.

Armed with that information, I can:

  • Target keywords this particular audience would actually search for. For example, if they’re advanced in a topic, and they do it every day, it’s unlikely they’d search top-of-funnel terms like "definitions".
  • Avoid over-simplifying the content. For example, if we write an article on “how to do performance reviews” and we know our particular audience is an expert in “OKRs” then we don’t need to overexplain that subtopic. To do so would likely bore and repel our ideal customer.

This is easy to get wrong.

In a previous role of mine, we had a top-of-funnel piece on “How to Calculate X Metric”. However, our ideal audience was senior executives and this was a basic calculation—they should know this, right?

I even remember the CEO of the company saying “our target customer would never search this, it’s too basic”.

And YET.

We added a downloadable calculator to the piece and guess what? Lots and lots and lots of senior executives downloaded it.

So we added a question in the download form: “why did you download this?” and they told us repeatedly that they ”forgot how to calculate this and needed an easy way to do it”.

This was a good reminder for me that even senior executives are not experts in every topic.

They're not “in the weeds” anymore and will often Google basic terms. (I know I search for the dumbest stuff every day).

The more you know about your audience and their needs, the better you can reach them with your SEO.

🤗
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Thing You Should Know About Your Audience #2: Buying “Stage”

Your target audience can be divided into three rough segments:

  • People who do not need or want your product right now
  • People who need your product but don’t want it
  • People who need your product and want it

(There's a final one: people just don't want it and never will. Quickly identify and ignore these people.)

People from each of these three segments will likely be reading your content and you can usually identify them based on the keyword they searched.

Segment 3: People who do not need or want your product right now

Priority = no. 3

These people fit your target audience and will likely one day need what you do, they just aren’t looking to buy right now.

Perhaps their budget is tied up or they’re prioritizing other things this quarter. Or perhaps they’re just not convinced yet.

From a keyword perspective, this group searches queries that don't show awareness of hyper-relevant pain points (pain unaware).

You can still target these people but do so with awareness that direct conversions will be sparse and you're playing the long game.

To get more results from this group:

  • Build affinity and trust with helpful content. Goal: be so memorable that when they do need what you do, they come directly to you and already like you.
  • Build product awareness. Goal: teach them about your product, how it works, and why it’s for them. Plant the seed; start the internal conversation.
  • Capture them in other ways. Goal: okay, they’re not gonna book a product demo right away, but they will download an eBook or join your newsletter. Those intermediate steps help you capture the audience so you can continue to build affinity over time (I often get people reaching out to me after 1-2 years of following this newsletter).

Segment 2: People who need your product but don’t want it

Priority = no. 2

If your product fulfills a genuine need in the market, and these people have that need right now but still aren't converting...then they likely aren't yet convinced.

You’ll likely find these people with middle-of-funnel keywords “how to do {X thing your product is the best solution for}”. 

That segment of your audience has a clear need AND the desire to solve it. But they aren’t sold on your product (or don't understand it properly).

To get more results from this group:

  • Be clearer. Better visuals and more concise, jargon-free language can help explain your product better.
  • Build a bridge between what they do want and your product. What are their desires? How does your product solve them? Make sure the content connects to that.
  • Improve your social proof and storytelling. Nothing connects the dots better than painting a picture for this audience segment. Explain how the product would look in their day-to-day life by showing it in another customer’s life.

Segment 1: People who need your product and want it

Priority = no. 1

Content that targets this audience will be the core driver of revenue results.

In SEO, this segment is represented by keywords like “X alternative”, “Best X Software” or “Adidas T-shirt for sale”.

I prefer to build content libraries around this segment because it has the best conversion potential and therefore gives the best return on investment (unless the terms are SO competitive it costs an arm and a leg to win).

To get more results from this group:

  • Go deep with your keyword research to find untapped/lower competition opportunities in this group. Your content will rank faster and won’t require backlinks to win.
  • Don’t sleep on listicles. Product listicles perform incredibly well on Google Search for commercial intent keywords.
  • Understand your audience’s pain points intimately. The better you connect to their current pain points, the more your product explainers will resonate and convert.
  • If you’re going after hyper-competitive terms, work with a backlink builder to improve competitiveness.

Knowing your audience buying "stage" and what the keywords look like, helps you prioritize your content plan based on your circumstances (e.g. short-term vs long-term outlook).

It also helps you design the content itself with their current psychology in mind.

Thing You Should Know About Your Audience #3: Buying "Dynamics"

Coming back to the introduction of this newsletter, not all SEO and content strategies are effective or sensible for everyone.

For that reason, it’s super important to understand the dynamics of your go-to-market strategy.

For example:

Everyone reads the high-growth case studies of Monday, ClickUp, Hotjar, etc. and thinks: “I need traffic volume and scale to be successful."

While that’s true for them. It’s probably not for you

Here are a few reasons why:

  1. They have freemium pricing so they need 10s of thousands of sign-ups per month to see revenue results. That’s because the majority of those 10K+ free sign-ups won’t ever become paying customers, only a % will. 
  2. Conversion per session is likely high for these companies (given the product is free to try out). But to get those 10s of thousands of sign-ups per month, you still likely need millions in traffic converting at an average 1% CVR.
  3. The lifetime value of each customer is also low (given pricing starts at $8 per month. Scale is key because sales volume must be high).

I want to take an opportunity reiterate something hidden in that list: companies like monday, hotjar etc have a freemium product. Of course, the rate at which a reader becomes a customer is higher. The barriers are LOW.

If your £10K/month product converted blog readers at 10% you'd be a millionaire in days.

Volume is the name of the game for those companies.

However, for you, it probably isn't.

I’ve seen companies with ~4,000 monthly visitors use SEO to earn £1M in annual recurring revenue over two years. For this company, each customer was worth up to £100,000 per year to them.

They didn’t need volume, they needed traffic quality (high-trust content in front of a very specific audience).

They needed 10 people to become a paying customer per year. That's it.

Knowing this information about how your audience buys products like yours helps you design a strategy, set expectations, and budget accordingly.

Tips:

  • Don’t expect instant conversions from an article if your product costs £100,000 per year. The decision is slow and involves a lot of people. So don’t forget to build trust and don’t be afraid to spend more money to win bottom-of-funnel keywords EVEN if the volume is low—it’s worth it.
  • Don’t freak out about scale. Traffic is vanity. Unless your product is free and high-volume sales are important.
🤗
Please help me grow by sending it to a friend or colleague who might enjoy it.

———

Knowing your audience intimately is one of the best things any marketer can invest time in.

The deeper you get, the better you can design your SEO and content strategy to effectively meet the goals of your business.

Hope you have a great week,

—Benny


More from me:

  1. Learn to build your scalable content machine here.
  2. Dive into my library of 40+ fast-growth SEO case studies from 2023.

Thank you all for still buying these two. The interest still surprises me daily. ❤️

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