Every week, we answer a common question about marketing or business. This week, our question comes from a fan who entered to win a Fire 7 Tablet from Pangea. Today, we will answer the following question: β€œhow do I engage my target audience?”

How do I engage my target audience
First time marketing your small business?
We know marketing can be confusing. Download our free marketing checklist for advice.

Understand first, then engage your target audience

Your target audience is made up of people who are most likely to buy your products or services. Having a clear picture of your target audience is critical. You need to structure your business around your target audience. You must understand what they care about, what they want, and how they behave.

The easiest way to understand your target audience? Talk to them. Seriously! Having real conversations can be a huge eye-opener if you spend your days working in an office isolated from others.

But let’s say you already have a target audience. Let’s say you have a business and you can at least roughly describe who they are and what they like. How do you understand them on a deeper level?

First, research the people who are actively engaging with your website. Actively products and channels that are converting. Then find what’s not working and tweak it or stop doing it.

Looking for a technical solution to help you get started? Google Analytics is a free and fantastic tool that allows you to track data for your website. This is one of the most helpful tools for small businesses to use. Its whole reason for existing is to help you track and measure the most important data from your website. 

Where do I engage my target audience?

Engaging your audience can be done through a number of different ways and through a number of different channels. You can have face-to-face conversations and phone calls. But since we focus more on digital marketing, we’ll approach the question from that angle.

Some online channels where you can engage your audience include Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Knowing which channels serve which purposes helps you to understand which platform(s) are best for your business.

Facebook is the biggest social media platform in the world. More than one billion people are on the site. Facebook Pages and Groups are great ways for your small business to engage with your audience. On both, you can share content, and interact with your audience through comments, posts, live videos, or even contests.

Instagram is also a very popular social media platform. Sharing content through photos and videos is its primary function. Now you can live-stream and post stories that all your followers can more easily view. You can do this all with an Instagram Business Profile, which provides you with insightful analytics about who is engaging with you and other data on your page.

Twitter is another fantastic site to engage with your audience. Similar to Facebook, you can tweet out posts, pictures, videos, or whatever you are wanting to share. Lots of businesses have taken to engaging with their audience in a comedic manner. Companies such as Wendy’s and Taco Bell have been some of the biggest names to do so.

Interacting with your audience on these channels is different for everyone. After all, not all target audiences want or expect the same things. What’s really important is to research your audience and find out where they hang out online. Then become a part of the community!

How can data help me engage my target audience?

Engaging with your audience means putting people first. Even still, data and careful analysis can help you gain insight into how your audience really thinks. It’s not always what you expect!

For example, Google Analytics, which we mentioned earlier, provides information about your website and its visitors. You can figure out which pages people read and how they find you. You can also pay attention to how long users stay and which pages they exit on. Properly read, this data will tell you what people want to see and what they don’t want to see.

Different tools serve different purposes – some let you monitor your website traffic and others your email campaign performance or social media activity. A lot of data can be tracked and measured, there are some points that can’t be quantified. When you look at the percentage of emails being opened or the bounce rate of your website, don’t forget the human touch.

Ask yourself simple questions when you review your data. Do people seem like they genuinely care? Is your business growing or shrinking? Are new visitors or social media followers relevant to your business? Beginning analysis with simple questions makes finding meaningful answers much easier!

Once you know what you’re looking for, data can help you engage your audience by showing you which content works. You can remove pages from your website that don’t work and make more pages like the ones that do. On Twitter, you can make tweets that are more likely to be retweeted; on Instagram, you can make posts that are more likely to be liked.

Data analysis can also help you find obvious problems. If you run a pizzeria in New York City, you don’t need to be paying for traffic from Denver. In this sense, data analysis can be a huge life-saver. 

Other ways of engaging your target audience

Always consider the channels where your target market hangs out. Does your audience like 15-second videos on TikTok? Do they prefer informative email campaigns, blog posts, or social media? Or, alternatively, do the same people look for different content on different media? No matter what the answers to these questions, you must know that pushing your content on the wrong platform won’t work. If you don’t appeal to your target audience, you will not generate leads or sales.

In last week’s post, we talked about how Facebook and Instagram for Business were exceptional tools to use for digital marketing. Social media is one of the best and most efficient ways of engaging with your target audience. Eighty-three percent of people say that they discover new products or services on Instagram.

Social media doesn’t just mean Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok, though. Don’t be afraid to look for super-specific sites like LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Reddit. Try to find influential sites that are super-specific to your niche.

Additionally, blogging is another great way of engaging with your target audience. That’s part of why we do it! If you are passionate about your business, or the services that your business provides, consider starting a blog and writing about it.

Blogging allows you to delve deeper into topics you might not be able to spend lengths discussing over social media. You can answer questions or discuss your business without the restrictions imposed by other people’s websites. In fact, we consider long-form content like this to be one of the cornerstones of target audience engagement.

Final Thoughts

Successfully engaging your target audience is tough to master. Good engagement requires an ongoing process of listening to others, looking at the data, and finding the right places to talk to people. By trial and error, step by step, you can craft experiences that people really want.

First time marketing your small business?
We know marketing can be confusing. Download our free marketing checklist for advice.

50 Comments

Wanda B · January 9, 2020 at 9:35 am

I’ve always found face to face conversations, business-wise, a bit intimidating. It’s great that there are other ways to engage my target audience, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

    Brandon Rollins · January 17, 2020 at 8:56 am

    That’s the wonderful thing about our time, Wanda! There are a lot of ways you can communicate with others even when face-to-face conversation is intimidating πŸ™‚

Arten Daelus · January 9, 2020 at 7:22 pm

This helped me alot. πŸ™‚

    Brandon Rollins · January 17, 2020 at 8:56 am

    We’re really happy to hear that, Arten!

Rena Walter · January 10, 2020 at 10:21 am

This sounds very interesting, thanks for the info.

    Brandon Rollins · January 17, 2020 at 8:55 am

    Glad you liked the article, Rena!

Gun Coaty · January 10, 2020 at 10:45 am

Hey Pangea sent me here, I am reading your blogs with the intent to understand how I am to interact with my audience. I am trying to build momentum to reach a large audience for our local board gaming convention. I need to understand my audience, what they want and where they hang out. What if my audience doesn’t know they are actually my audience yet? What if I have to evangelize gaming to them to get them to become my audience?

    Brandon Rollins · January 17, 2020 at 8:55 am

    Hey, Gun, that’s a great question! So there are two ways we can interpret your last question about evangelizing gaming to your audience.

    1. You’re getting non-gamers to play games for the first time.
    2. You’re getting board gamers to play your game for the first time.

    #2 is a matter of getting your game in front of people. That could be conventions, live streams on board game channels, etc.

    However, if you’re trying to do #1, I generally recommend that you don’t. That said, can you provide a little more information about what kind of board game you’re creating?

Ryan Guerra · January 10, 2020 at 11:12 am

Thanks for the helpful blog post! Do you have any resources/posts on engaging through Snapchat?

    Brandon Rollins · January 17, 2020 at 8:53 am

    Thank you, Ryan! We don’t have any yet, but we plan on making posts about Snapchat, TikTok, and other new media outlets within the next few months πŸ™‚

Sevinj Ismayilova · January 10, 2020 at 1:44 pm

Very useful. Thank you πŸ˜‰

    Brandon Rollins · January 17, 2020 at 8:52 am

    Glad you liked the article, Sevinj!

Ryan McLean · January 10, 2020 at 4:17 pm

Thank you for another article! THis would be super tricky. Not only establishing where to focus your attention initially, but as time goes by, this would require regular maintenance to insure the people are being reached in the best way. Does the audience and their ideal medium fluctuate?

    Brandon Rollins · January 17, 2020 at 8:52 am

    Hi Ryan, thank you for reading!

    To answer your question, audiences definitely do shift platforms as better ones come along. This is true whether you’re picking a static demographic group (adults 18-24), or a generational group (Millenials), or even an interest-based group (board gamers). For example, young adults are moving to Snapchat, YouTube, and TikTok. Millenials have fallen out of love with Twitter and Facebook, opting instead for Instagram. Board gamers use Board Game Geek, but also note the widespread recent adoption of subreddits like /r/boardgames or board game Facebook groups.

    So to circle back: yeah, it would definitely be a good idea, every year or two, to think about whether you’re using the right media in the first place!

Kelcey W. · January 10, 2020 at 4:53 pm

What is the best way to engage any audience of different age groups? In one, more general way? Or in different ways? Maybe across platforms?

    Brandon Rollins · January 15, 2020 at 8:32 pm

    Hi Kelcey, that’s a great and nuanced question. I say target by interest. Common interests can help people bond despite differences in age, gender, family background, nationality – you name it!

Alejandro Pineda Fernandez · January 11, 2020 at 3:13 am

I really like this article, so interesting!

    Brandon Rollins · January 17, 2020 at 8:49 am

    Thank you, Alejandro!

Barrett S · January 11, 2020 at 8:55 am

make the product and the message relevant. but its also gotta solve something that we actually want resolved.

    Brandon Rollins · January 17, 2020 at 8:49 am

    Absolutely, Barrett! That’s often very difficult, but very important! People can tell when products are no good and when marketing messages are misguided!

Lily Kwan · January 12, 2020 at 9:28 pm

Very interesting article, thanks for sharing!

    Brandon Rollins · January 15, 2020 at 8:32 pm

    Hey, Lily, glad you like the article. Hope to see you around more in the future here!

      Darlene · January 16, 2020 at 4:44 pm

      Great article with great tips! Giveaways and samples are a great way to target an audience also!

Dustin Rathke · January 13, 2020 at 9:28 am

Listening is key!

    Brandon Rollins · January 17, 2020 at 8:19 am

    Agreed, Dustin! It’s simultaneously the easiest thing to do and so unbelievably hard to do on a regular basis.

Vadim Lingo · January 13, 2020 at 12:47 pm

Are there any easy-to-read cheatsheets for the topic?

Margaret Gallagher · January 13, 2020 at 6:25 pm

Social media is a great way to attract potential clients – thanks for your clear practical advice

    Brandon Rollins · January 15, 2020 at 8:33 pm

    Thank you, and I totally agree, Margaret – social media can be really, really good at generating leads for business if you use it well!

Nancy Femmer · January 13, 2020 at 8:48 pm

How to keep your business going takes patience and knowledge. Plus they need to get they’re hands dirty too.

    Brandon Rollins · January 17, 2020 at 8:18 am

    I’m all about the school of Trial and Error.

Mike McReynolds · January 13, 2020 at 9:12 pm

Marketing is valuable for business success.

    Brandon Rollins · January 15, 2020 at 8:38 pm

    Oh, absolutely! Everything you do in business is a form of marketing, more or less. Every little detail in a product or a service changes how likely someone is to buy it in the first place or buy it again.

Calvin · January 14, 2020 at 12:32 am

Gaining exposure with targetted audience in a niche is always a nice goal to have. It’s achievable in many ways now thanks to more platforms than ever.

    Brandon Rollins · January 15, 2020 at 8:39 pm

    It’s easier than ever to reach out to niches, but there are also some new challenges. (The constant social algorithm cat-and-mouse, figuring out how to be trustworthy in a noisy world, etc.) Still, finding the right niche is exactly where to start!

Jessica Staley · January 14, 2020 at 1:36 am

Ok I get it. For example, if I sell dresses on my Facebook page I could show 2 dresses and ask which 1 do they like more. Do I am encouraging my audience to engage with me and see what they prefer so I can reconsider offering a certain item again.

    Brandon Rollins · January 17, 2020 at 8:18 am

    That’s right, Jessica! And oftentimes the mere fact that you asked makes people like you more πŸ™‚

Liz Kilcher · January 14, 2020 at 10:48 am

social media is a great way to go!!

    Brandon Rollins · January 15, 2020 at 8:40 pm

    Anybody can register and anyone can be seen these days, Liz. Strange, interesting, fun times we live in!

NICOLE ROETTINGER · January 14, 2020 at 10:08 pm

Thanks so much for the information

    Brandon Rollins · January 15, 2020 at 8:41 pm

    Glad you liked the article, Nicole. Hope to see you around in the future!

Nancy · January 16, 2020 at 5:32 pm

I wish that first sentence was true but I think it’s not as easy as that..

    Brandon Rollins · January 17, 2020 at 8:47 am

    The difficult truth is that engagement is a day-to-day hour-to-hour process driven more by sheer practice than by theory. There are good ways to engage and bad ways to engage, sure. And there are places that will waste your time that you should avoid, sure. But the actual act of engagement itself, as you’ve rightly pointed out, is not easy. It takes comment after comment, like after like, video after video, post after post for months and years on end.

    But that kind of work? It does pay off. I’ve seen it happen to many people many times πŸ™‚

Robyer1 · January 18, 2020 at 10:16 am

Always interesting to look at what the big names are doing

Joe Metzler · January 18, 2020 at 1:59 pm

I’ve never been successful at identifying my target audience since my clients don’t seem to have much in common. Is there a secret to identifying what they might have in common when on the surface it isn’t obvious?

Devon Pickford · January 21, 2020 at 4:42 pm

I can’t believe how huge Instagram has become from being a photo sharing service!

Sandy Klocinski · January 22, 2020 at 5:16 am

I’ve never cared much for personal interaction…just not my nature. And of course, it is not possible to personally interact with everyone so social media seems to be a way to reach a larger audience. The key is in knowing where to focus your efforts

DBM · January 23, 2020 at 3:37 am

I’m learning so much from this site!

Gun Coaty · January 24, 2020 at 1:13 pm

it is important, as you say. Sometimes, using a niche zone for your business can be how you get loyal followers. In a sea of self interested followers who can see through marketing. Maybe spending time on the lesser knowns will be more valuable?

jason jennings · January 24, 2020 at 6:28 pm

love it

Lily Kwan · January 28, 2020 at 1:39 am

This information about engaging your target audience is very helpful. Thanks for sharing!

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