Did you know that the biggest driver of your organization’s growth could be audience data? With audience data, you can analyze the people who engage with your organization and use that information to help plan strategies that expand your reach.
With this knowledge at your fingertips, you can learn who you’re talking to when you make a social media post or print ad. You can also boost your current marketing efforts by identifying the points of failures, tracking where your efforts are successful, and building new strategies to excite your audience.
This article will teach you everything you need to know about audience data and how you can use it to grow your organization, including:
- Get to know your audience
- Clean up the marketing funnel
- Further engage with current audience
- Track successful campaigns
So now the question is: what is audience data?
If an organization’s audience is everyone who interacts with them through any number of channels, then audience data is the information taken from that interaction.
What this looks like varies from organization to organization. For non-profits, this includes donors, board members and members of the public. For an e-commerce brand, the audience includes their customer base—current, previous, returning, and potential. If your organization puts on events, event attendees are part of your audience. For almost everyone, the audience includes newsletter subscribers, social media followers and website visitors.
The good news is your organization is already collecting information about your audience. Technically speaking, it is called first-party audience data, which sounds scarier than it is. If you manage a list of names that subscribe to your newsletter, attend events, like your posts on social media, or give you money—that’s first-party audience data!
Second-party and third-party customer data also exist. Second-party data is data shared between two organizations. Third-party customer data is on the out and out—in 2019, web browsers Safari and Firefox stopped tracking cookies, which allowed marketers to closely track their audience with third-party data. Google Chrome is following suit in 2023. Without this data, marketers have to rely on the data they collect themselves to better understand the people they reach.
Here are some strategies you can start implementing right now.
Get to Know Your Audience
First things first, find out who is already interacting with your organization: people who are replying to your newsletters, purchasing through your shop store, attending your events, donating to your organization. What do these people all have in common? Sorting them into similar demographics is insightful because it tells you who exactly is benefiting from your organization.
It also helps you attract like-minded people. Tailor your message so it’s appealing to your most common demographics. Find out where they hang out, either in-person or digitally, and bring your message to them. Here are a few strategies you can try:
- Target Facebook and Instagram ads to your biggest demographic
- Purchase a billboard or radio ad in a town most of your audience lives in
- Offer a discount or free trial to first-time subscribers
Clean Up the Marketing Funnel
Now that people are flocking to your website, the next step is analyzing how they’re engaging with it. Determine where you are seeing your audience drop off and make improvements to keep them engaged. Some common strategies include:
- Set up an automatic welcome to new newsletter subscribers
- Make calls to action obvious in social media posts
- Improve website navigation to draw visitors to a desired landing page
First-party audience data is incredibly helpful when engaging with your existing audience.
Engage the Existing Audience
These days, personalization goes beyond adding a name to the beginning of a newsletter. Check to see what benefits your audience keeps coming back to and apply those same benefits to another service to make it more appealing.
Take advantage of things that seem unexpected to you. For instance, if you sell items and notice two that are always purchased together, offer them as a bundle. Or if you notice a lot of traffic on a particular web page, add a call to action (CTA) button. Best practice is to include a donation button on every page.
A returning audience is just as valuable as a new audience. Show your appreciation with one of these suggestions:
- Early-access sign-ups for new workshops
- A bonus or free gift for a referral
- Enter their name in a sweepstakes for completing a survey
There is no one-size-fits-all answer for motiving your existing audience. A successful strategy for one organization may not work for their direct competitor. That’s why it’s important to track your efforts.
Track Your Successes
Marketing is always evolving, and that means tactics that worked five years ago may be less successful today. To stay ahead of the curve, keep tabs on what’s successful and always attempt to replicate it. A savvy marketer is always testing new ideas against old strategies and pivoting their efforts based on the results.
First-party audience data can tell you a lot about who your audience is. It’s also an invaluable tool when determining where to target your messaging and how to improve engagement with your current audience.