Editor's note: "The First 90 Days" is a series about how to make 2016 a year of breakout growth for your business. Let us know how you're making the first 90 days count by joining the conversation on social media with the hashtag #Inc90Days.
Technology is a massively important tool for growing your company. Re-marketing, Facebook ads, and your website are just a few marketing tools that have the potential to drive amazing business growth and profits.
But all the technology in the world won't help you if you don't understand your customers.
It blows my mind how many companies fail to understand their target market(s).
(Spoiler alert: selling to "everyone" isn't a target market!)
Your business needs to nail the precise demographics, behaviors, and interests of your customers so that:
- You can find more customers like them and sell more stuff.
- You can align your company (sales, marketing, customer service, product management) to all be marketing, selling, servicing, building the right stuff, which has huge leverage on the effectiveness of your organization.
If you don't understand your target market(s), you probably won't be able to scale.
Buyer personas, or fictional representations of your ideal customers, are notoriously difficult to build and thus are underutilized. But here are three technologies that make building customer personas ridiculously easy.
1. Google Analytics
More than 10 million websites use Google Analytics. If you have Google Analytics set up for your website (and you should!) you can start gaining insights about your target market.
You'll want to focus on the Demographics and Interests sections of Google Analytics. Basically what you're trying to figure out is, of the people who actually buy stuff from you, what are the smoking guns in terms of common denominators?
2. Facebook Audience Manager
Because Facebook has more than a billion users logging in every day they have tons of information about what people buy, what they like, their demographics, and so much more.
If you have a Facebook business page (and you should!), you have access to an Audience Insights tool. You can use to analyze either:
- Everyone on Facebook: You can think of this as a way to do a user survey to understand what a market looks like in general.
- People who like your page: Here you'll take a more targeted look at people who are interested in your business and service.
- Any custom list of emails and/or phone numbers that you upload: This will give you insights into the people who have bought from you, or converted in some other way (signing up for a newsletter, whitepaper, webinar, etc.).
Once you've chosen an audience to analyze, Facebook will tell you everything about them. You'll discover job titles, education level, lifestyle, location, household information, purchasing behavior, and much more.
3. Twitter Audience Insights
If you have a Twitter account (and you should!), you can use Twitter's audience insights tool to figure out the different interests, demographics, occupation, lifestyle, consumer behavior, political affiliation - there are literally hundreds of dimensions, too many to list out.
You can do this analysis on your Twitter followers, or on any Twitter ad campaign that you run. This is important because ads let you reach people who aren't already your customers - so it's less biased.
Also, just like Facebook, you can upload emails and Twitter will do this demographic analysis on your list.
This year, spend time to really get to know your audience. Using these new website tools, it's easier than ever to do this research and create fantastic buyer personas.
Knowing exactly who your target market is - their demographics, behaviors, and interests - is a huge force multiplier that you can use to drive massive growth.