Driving audience engagement is about encouraging interaction with your brand. Done well, it can foster brand loyalty and growth. But for audience engagement to work, it takes an unwavering focus on your target consumer.
This is where audience profiling comes into play. As the first step in any audience engagement strategy, audience profiling allows you to:
- Understand your audiences, the types of content they engage with, and the best channels and platforms to reach them
- Position your brand to cater to the needs and wants of these consumers, solving problems along the way
- Produce content with a consistent message you know will resonate with them across key marketing touchpoints
Let’s dive deeper into how you can take a holistic approach, applying key insights from audience profiling to boost audience engagement across all your marketing channels. Here are 10 easy ways to nail it:
1. Get a true view of consumers
Today’s consumers are in complete control of their brand relationship and path to purchase. Gone are the days of linear, trustworthy consumer journeys – fragmentation has become the norm. This naturally makes consumers harder to reach, sparking the need for a new approach.
Luckily, brands can now go far beyond traditional demographic data to shape strategies based on real behaviors and attitudes.
Audience segmentation has become more advanced and granular, stretching far beyond basic demographics. Now, there are endless ways to segment your audience to get to the heart of who they are and what’s important to them, such as:
- By generation
- By location (global and local)
- By purchase behavior
- By interests
Audience profiling is crucial for every marketer. For starters, it proves or disproves your assumptions about who your audience is. And if the results are unexpected, you have the opportunity to rethink your strategy to target your ideal audience, following where the data leads.
Fine-tuning your targeting through audience profiling ensures consumers are always at the center of everything you do. Only then can you engage the right people, in the way you need to.
2. Refine your messaging
Audience profiling helps you gain a clear idea of who you’re targeting and what they care about. From here, you can tweak campaigns, content, and even brand elements to make sure you get the right message across, in the most accessible way.
Who’s your target audience now? And who do you want them to be? Consumer insight reveals bucketloads about what consumers expect from your brand. The more you know, the better you can engage them.
If you’re not attracting and engaging the right crowd, it’s time to rethink your messaging. Find unique trends in the data, then use them to tell more original and engaging stories that are highly relevant to your audience.
3. Track the customer journey
On average, it takes around 6-8 marketing touchpoints to convince consumers to buy from a brand. And with so many competitors in the market trying to win their attention, you need to find ways to cut through the noise.
Looking at your audience profiling data, ask yourself: which devices, platforms, and channels do they use, and when? How and where do they discover new brands, products, and services?
Tailor-made insights into purchase journeys show you how to communicate with your target audience to ensure you’re meeting them where and how they expect, and engaging in a way that will resonate and improve ROI.
4. Find your niche
It’s not enough to simply have access to audience data, you need to know how to leverage it effectively to reap the benefits.
One way to do this is to identify your niche – in other words, what makes your brand different from competitors? Perhaps you’re an indie business with family roots and unique brand values, or a climate-conscious global powerhouse making the switch to sustainable, biodegradable packaging.
Whatever you decide, the answers you need are all in audience research.
Dig into what your consumers want and expect from brands they buy from, then use those beliefs and behaviors to power your strategy. The more you can resonate with them, the more likely they are to engage. It’s all about finding ways to stand out from the crowd and deliver on your promises.
5. Engage with insight
A great example of an effective data-led engagement strategy with audience profiling at the center, comes from the social impact marketing agency, Bright/Shift.
Looking to launch a brand from scratch, the agency used audience profiling to:
- Identify their client’s ideal target audience
- Position the new brand to meet their needs
- Source content creators they knew would resonate with this audience
- Brief the creators on exactly what type of content they needed to boost the campaign
And the results speak for themselves: Bright/Shift generated a whopping £41k in revenue in just the first month, with sales pouring in just 2 weeks into the launch campaign.
The key takeaway here? If you want to foster audience engagement, make sure audience profiling informs every aspect of your marketing – from brand positioning and messaging, to creative and promotion.
6. Spot the difference
It comes as no surprise that good engagement looks different across audiences. To make it effective, it’s crucial to know where your target consumers are in their purchase journey.
Our latest research shows how this journey evolves by generation, outlining how your engagement strategy should change depending on who you’re targeting. For example:
|Gen Z||Millennials||Gen X|
|Brand discovery||Ads seen on social media (29%)||Search engines (30%)||Search engines (35%)|
|Brand research||Social networks (48%)||Search engines (47%)||Search engines (53%)|
|Brand advocacy drivers||Quality (44%)||Quality (45%)||Quality (48%)|
Looking at this data, any brand wishing to engage Gen X or millennial consumers should optimize SEO and prioritize search engine advertising.
By comparison, those targeting Gen Z should take a different approach, leveraging social media to promote their brand, and incorporating paid social ads into their audience engagement strategy.
Interestingly, quality is a big selling point across the board. Shining a light on this when promoting your brand, products, or services is likely to drive brand advocacy and ROI, attracting and engaging multiple audiences.
7. Make it personal
Personalization is at the very heart of engagement. With this in mind, brands need to:
- Appeal to audience interests – uncovering insights into attitudes, interests and perceptions helps you engage and resonate with consumers in an authentic way
- Invest in the right channels – data on behaviors, including device and social media usage, can lead to insights into where your consumers spend their time, and are open to being approached
Knowing how and where to engage is a vital part of a strong marketing strategy. And as consumer expectations and behaviors change, brands need to be confident they have a single source of truth for audience data.
Using tools like GWI, this is now possible. With data originating from the consumers themselves, you know you’re tapping into true perceptions and behaviors. Insight built on these truths ensure you’re engaging the right audience, in the right place, at the right time.
8. Collaborate with partners and influencers
Unique or cross-market trends you spot in audience data lend themselves to new avenues for partnerships and influencer collaborations, so why not dig into them?
Here are some examples of audience profiling points worth investigating:
- Media consumption
- Social engagement
- Brand sentiment
- Purchase behavior
- General interests
All of these will help guide you towards opportunities that align with your brand and audience. This alignment is super important – if there’s no viable link back to your brand, partnerships will feel inauthentic and fail to connect with your specific audience.
That’s why you need robust audience data to guide the way. Executed well, you’ll boost audience engagement by tapping into target consumer sweet spots, also amplifying brand awareness and messaging.
Landing relevant partnerships can also deliver phenomenal growth and ROI – just ask Advanced Sponsorship Insights.
9. Test, test, and test again
The world of digital marketing is constantly changing – take social media, for example. LinkedIn recently tested a new Discover feed to see how users interact with job listings and professional updates.
It’s important to keep experimenting and measuring the results, as what connected with consumers today may miss the mark tomorrow.
Whether you’re testing ad campaign performance, or measuring audience engagement on a new channel, don’t forget to check in with your target audience regularly.
Keep an eye on the latest topics affecting consumers (our free GWI Zeitgeist data comes in especially handy here). Then, weave these fresh, relevant insights into everything you do. Simple, but effective.
10. Be authentic
Don’t jump on every single trend you see just for the sake of it. Not only is this tricky to maintain in terms of time and resource, but it could end up derailing your audience engagement strategy altogether.
Take British fashion brand Ted Baker, for example. Under new ownership, the brand was recently criticized for losing its identity. In other words, the quirky creativity and originality that made the brand so popular with consumers in the first place.
Authenticity is one of the most important factors in play – if anything feels fake or forced, consumers just won’t buy it. Stay glued to your target audience and observe how changing trends are affecting them specifically.
Knowing when to speak up on wider societal issues (and when not to) is also a tricky balancing act for brands. Our data on brand stances towards Roe v. Wade, for example, shows America taking a largely conservative view. But if we dig deeper, we see 57% of US Gen Zs and millennials believe it’s appropriate for brands to speak their minds about Roe v. Wade, compared to 40% of Gen Xs and 38% of baby boomers.
As this example shows, generational differences are often hidden within the bigger picture, and only come to light through audience profiling.
Focus on reinforcing a consistent brand voice and message, then tap into what your consumers care about most to engage audiences in an authentic way.