Understanding your customers and what makes them ‘tick’ is fundamental to planning and delivering any marketing activity. This insight will dictate what you want to say to your customers, when you communicate with them, and most importantly how best to communicate with them. You can group them into different types of customers, such as families or couples, which means you might speak to them in different ways. We call these target audiences.
How to define your target audience
There are a few key things to think about when defining your target audience. Remember to keep it simple. You don’t need to delve deeply into demographics and behavioural research – a great starting point is your current customer database which will give you an idea about your current customer demographics.
Use knowledge about your current customers – you may even have a customer database – to identify similarities between them:
Where do your customers live?
What age bracket do they fall into?
Do they travel as a family, couple, groups or solo travellers?
You can use your customer database, but also make use of monitoring tools that are available on platforms such as Google Analytics and insights tools on social media channels to analyse your website traffic and social media audience.
How do your customers book? Are they booking directly with you, through an online travel agent or with another third party? Use Google Analytics to monitor referral traffic to your website. Monitor your social media activity and determine what content works and leads to strong engagement (lots of likes, positive comments and shares). You will be able to build a picture of the channels that your customers use and how they access information and what inspires them.
It is always useful to carry out regular competitor analysis to understand what others are doing in the marketplace. Follow competitor social media channels to get an idea of what they are posting and how their posts are performing. Keep an eye on other marketing such as print media, travel partners and other digital partners. Understanding what your competitors are doing gives you the chance to identify gaps in the market and develop your product and messaging accordingly.
Think about your product. What is unique about it? What do you want to tell people about it? What are your key selling points? How do your key selling points link back to what you have identified as inspiring your target audience?
How to find more of your target audience
Once you have completed your audience research it’s time to take all that information and build up a profile of who they are. For example, you could establish that for the most part your customers are:
Based in London and the north east of England
Aged 35 – 55
Mainly booking directly with you
Regular visitors to your Facebook page
Building up your customer profile allows you to tailor your marketing activities to resonate with this audience.
Build a story around your audience
Once you have started to develop a profile of your audience the next step is to build a story around them. This means talking to your audience about your product in a way that you know will interest and inspire them. Using the insights you have gathered from your customer demographics, website and social media analytics, and competitor analysis you can start to develop your messaging. Our Only in Scotland campaign toolkit includes handy information on messaging.
You might be interested in reading about related topics including gaining insights using Google Analytics, our beginner’s guide to search engine optimisation, and the importance of using good imagery online.
Our research and insights pages are full of information that will allow you a better understanding of our key markets, the different types of visitors that travel to Scotland, and what their interests are. This information can be useful to help shape your marketing strategy.