A key part to any digital marketing plan should be listening to what your market has to say. There are dozens of ways you can do this: surveys, market research, a customer service department, focus groups, and much more. Arguably, one of the best ways to gauge the success of a digital marketing campaign is to use social media and the Internet to listen to your target market.

It Pays to LIsten

Listening to your target market can help you decide what strategies are working and what aren’t. It can also provide inspiration for new tactics and even new products or services. If you continually push out blog posts, social media updates, contests and videos without finding out how they resonate with your audience, you’ll never have the chance to adjust your campaign to ensure its success.

Taking the time to listen can also save you money. Rather than spending money on dozens of tactics that are less effective, you can save your money and resources for tactics that have a better chance of succeeding, based on what your market is saying.

Be in on the Buzz

If you aren’t listening to your market, you can only speculate about what they are saying about your brand, current events, societal changes or culture in general. Making sweeping speculations can be a dangerous way to plan a digital marketing campaign. Listen to your market and find out what your public is saying, and then apply that to your strategies. If you find your public is relatively quit, start some buzz by sharing company news or asking for user reviews on your newest product. You’ll also need to make sure you have a channel, like your own website or a social media account, set up to allow for feedback and listening.

Where to Listen

The channels you use to listen to your market will be determined by what kind of strategies you are using. However, here are a few excellent places to start listening to your target market.

Social Media

Social media should facilitate two-way conversations. To do this, you need to ask questions and allow your followers to respond. When they do respond, showing them that you are listening can encourage even more responses and help you build a reputation as a brand that cares about its customers.

Your Company’s and Industry Blogs

Read the comments on your blog posts. This is likely where some of your most loyal customers or potential customers will leave feedback. Make sure your posts are thought provoking and encourage commenting, and you’ll be surprised at how much people have to say about different topics. You can also leverage popular industry or community blogs that tend to attract your market by leaving comments and reading what others have to say.

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Forums

Forums are interesting places to gather information. These websites are generally focused on very niche topics, but users are often devout and very open. Forums can give you an inside look at a public, what it is thinking, how it feels and what kinds of needs you can fulfill for it. If you decide to get involved on forums, it’s wise to be transparent about who you are and what company you work for. Undercover commenting and forum involvement can lead to big public relations headaches and disasters.

Product Reviews

Of course, you should be paying close attention to your own product reviews, but it can also be advantageous to take a look at your competitors’ reviews. What does your target market like or dislike about your competitors? This can be very valuable information that can shape not only your marketing plan but also your entire business.

This is just a small sampling of the online places you can go to listen to your target market. Remember that listening to your market can give you insight on how to form a better digital marketing plan and how to improve your business as a whole. Use social media and your blog as a way to listen, not just tell, and visit other online hubs to gather information about your public.

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