August 28, 2019

How to Understand and Build Your Audience

If there is one important truth to acknowledge in the digital era, it’s this – brands need to establish a presence online if they want to grow. While this might seem like an obvious notion, few are effectively utilising social media, email marketing and other communication channels to achieve this.

In this piece, we will be exploring how you can build and grow your brand’s community.

Uncovering customer preferences

Building an online presence is as much an exercise in understanding who your audience is and how they communicate as it is about creating valuable content. How can you produce appropriate content that resonates with your audience if you don’t know who your audience is?

This means studying customer demographics, which devices they prefer using, the languages they communicate in and the complexity and tone of these languages. This is a lengthy process but by the end of it, you know exactly who you are targeting and how to best communicate with them.

Choosing the appropriate strategy

So now you’ve done your research, identified your target audience and established their favoured methods of communication.

Now it’s time to develop a growth communication strategy and communications plan that meets your audience’s needs. This strategy should include, at the very least:

  • A content calendar
  • Creative content deliverables
  • Benchmark performance metrics that all future content will be measured against

 

Once these things are put in place and the ball starts rolling, you should set up a monthly report that can then be presented and reviewed by your team and used to optimise future creative content to increase engagement.

The important thing to note here is that your results probably won’t be perfect the first time around and that’s fine - no one’s is. The key is to continuously study the data harvested from your research and tailor your strategy accordingly. The fact is that the results of your research will change from time to time as your customer base’s preferences change.

A practical example

A while back we were tasked with developing an online presence for national furniture retailer, Full House Furniture. In response, we created an online communication strategy that encouraged and delivered high levels of customer communication.

Following the steps above led us to create and manage three channels to drive engagement. As part of Full House’s communication strategy, Shapeshift delivered a Facebook page, a dedicated WhatsApp communication channel and an email newsletter.

Strategic social content

On Facebook, Shapeshift published various Full House posts in the unique communication style of their audience. Social content includes staff anniversaries, promotions, competitions, inspirational content and videos, all of which are aligned with Full House’s business objective of driving engagement.

Mobile matters

Over 75% of Full House customers are mobile phone users. Shapeshift saw this as an opportunity to find a way for customers to quickly and affordably engage the brand. A dedicated WhatsApp contact number was established and is accessible via Full House’s mobile-first website. Customers can now enquire about products, credit applications and more via WhatsApp.

A new channel

Lastly, a weekly email newsletter was created to promote updates from Full House on specials, new products and competitions. Email is a more affordable, eco-friendly alternative to print media and easier to track, making it a highly attractive marketing tool.

The outcome

Full House has a highly engaged Facebook page, a WhatsApp communication channel that receives queries daily and a weekly email newsletter that’s rapidly growing in popularity with customers.

Conclusion

Building a community for your brand takes time and effort, a considerable amount of trial and error and is a perpetual process that needs to be constantly maintained and tailored to achieve your engagement goals.

This is a process that we’ve carefully and strategically honed at Shapeshift. Give us a shout so that we can guide you through this process utilizing our multi-disciplinary team of professionals.