There are so many elements that go into brand building; where do you even start? You want to properly target the right audience in order to bring in leads and turn them into customers, but how the heck do you do it?
No need to stress. Take a deep breath and read on to discover 10 effective steps to properly build your brand to reach your target audience.
1. Define Your Audience
The first, arguably most important, step to building a brand is to define your audience. Thoroughly evaluate your product and/or services and identify who would benefit from investing in your business.
If your business sells trendy, women’s swimwear, you probably wouldn’t want to target retired men between the ages of 60-80, #amiright? Define the right demographic for your product specifically by age, gender, geographic location, interests and more.
2. Buyer Personas
Once you’ve identified your ideal audience, you’ll want to get even more specific and create detailed profiles called “buyer personas.”
HubSpot defines buyer personas as semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer, based on market research and real data about your existing customers.
When creating a buyer persona, you’ll want to specifically define one particular customer type at a time. Identify the persona’s personal background information, including age, gender, professional occupation, marital status and more.
It’s important to also identify the persona’s goals, challenges and watering holes so you can cater to these needs when marketing your brand to these personas.
You’ll then want to give your persona a name that describes who they are. This is typically done by putting a relevant adjective in front of the name. For example, if you’re targeting a group of people who are dentists, you would create one persona to represent this group of ideal customers and name it something like “Dentist Debbie.”
Lastly, put a face to the name and assign your persona a picture that best represents this type of customer. Doing so will help you better envision what your persona looks like and will allow you to better cater to these audiences.
3. Competitive Research
When building your brand to reach your target audience, it’s also important to identify your competitors.
Do your research and create a list of businesses who offer similar products/services and take note of the type of content they are publishing, how they engage with their audience and who their actual audience is.
Think about ways you can creatively outdo your competition. You obviously don’t want to mimic your competition— that’s embarrassing. It’s important to stay up-to-date with the marketing trends and keep an eye on what your competition is doing so you can find ways to get ahead and set your business up for success by placing your message in front of the right audience.
Competitive research will also help you identify your audience and buyer personas and even improve your rankings!
4. Create Quality Content
Now that you’ve identified your audience and competitors, you want to make sure you properly communicate with your audience by creating content that’s relevant and engaging. How do you do that?
Well, now that you’ve recognized who your ideal customers are, it’s time to start thinking like one.
Avoid using robotic industry jargon your audience probably won’t understand. Be conversational and don’t make it all about you! Constantly publishing content about yourself makes your business appear spammy and inauthentic. Your content should be human, interesting and shareable.
Read more about how you can create valuable, engaging content by reading What a Great Social Media Content Plan Needs.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial when it comes to putting your message in front of the right audience.
What the hell is SEO, you ask? It’s what makes your business discoverable online. #TBT to that time we said think like a customer in step 4. You’ll wanna do the same thing here (well, pretty much all the time, but especially when you’re optimizing your brand).
When conducting SEO research, you must keep the customer in mind and use keywords your audience is actually searching for. There are several optimization tools you can use to research specific keywords such as HubSpot and SEMrush that allow you to compare keywords by search volume, cost per click, competitive ranking and more.
When you’ve come up with a list of relevant keywords, you’ll want to implement these keywords in your content throughout your website, appropriately— using these keywords on your site pages through content, URLs, alt tags, etc. will allow you to work your way up to the first page on Google. This is so important because this is how potential customers will find you when doing their research.
6. Target Ads
Another fairly simple way to get your brand in front of the right audience is by paid ad targeting.
There’s several ways you can do this— whether it’s through Facebook, Google display ads, Google text ads and more. Ad targeting allows you to display your message on specific online spaces that you choose from.
Another great thing about ad targeting is you can be as specific as possible when choosing the audience. Age, gender, job title, interests, marital status and personal interests are just a few of so many options you have when creating a target ad.
This step is extremely important when building a brand. Launching a PPC ad is a complete waste of money if you aren’t properly targeting your audience, so take another hard look at your defined audience and buyer personas and make sure this matches up with your ad demographics so the people who actually want to see you message can see it!
7. Be Responsive
How are you gonna attract customers if you aren’t responding to them?
Ignoring your audience is a good way to lose customers. Take the time to respond to user comments on social media, emails, guest reviews, etc. This is one of the best ways to build brand trust and attract more potential customers.
In fact, a survey conducted by Podium found that 93% of consumers say online reviews impact their buying decision. If that many people are reading reviews, there’s no question your response is extremely impactful and can influence a consumer’s decision in the buyer’s journey.
Neglecting to be responsive reflects negatively upon your brand’s customer service and overall values. If you want to successfully build a brand and target the right audience, remaining silent is NOT the way to do this.
8. Connect with Relevant Influencers
Influencer marketing is an extremely effective way to expose your brand and put your message in front of a whole new audience.
Influencer marketing involves collaborating with an individual who has developed a large online presence and working with them to promote your product/services. These influencers act as ambassadors for your brand.
According to an influencer marketing report from TapInfluence, “The return on investment for influencer marketing is 11x higher than traditional advertising.” There’s no question influencer marketing is an amazing tool to reach your target audience and build your brand if you collaborate with the right person.
9. Use the Right Social Platform
Each social media platform has its own unique function and should be treated that way.
When following steps 1 and 2 (defining your audience and buyer personas), you’ll want to consider what social media platforms your customers are actually using. Don’t waste all your time and energy posting content on a social platform your ideal customers aren’t going to see and engage with. Instead, do your research and put your time and effort into the platforms that matter.
It’s also important to thoroughly understand the social platform you’re using and cater your content to appropriately fit that channel. For example, you wouldn’t post a super raunchy meme on LinkedIn, would you? I hope not! Understand the social channel and your audience and rock it!
10. Consistently Measure Results
Measuring your results will help you better understand who is consuming and engaging with your content, what type of content performs best and so much more.
If you’re looking to grow your brand (which, who isn’t?), consistently measuring your performance will allow you to make any necessary adjustments to your content and targeting so the right people are receiving your message and taking action.
There are so many tools you can use to measure your data, including HubSpot, Databox, Google Analytics and more. Whatever tool you do decide to use, it’s important that you’re checking up on your numbers as least once a month so you can continuously see what works and what doesn’t.
That’s a Wrap!
Building and growing your brand takes time and patience. Follow these 10 steps above and you’ll be on the right track for success.
Don’t have the time or right tools to achieve these steps? Our talented team of marketing experts at Impulse Creative are happy to help you every step of the way!
This post was originally published June 14, 2018 and updated/republished March 20, 2020.