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What are the communication requirements of different audiences?

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A study from global management consulting firm Bain & Company claims that a rise of as little as five per cent in customer retention can lead to an increase in profits of between 25 and 95 per cent.

The sales of goods and services is also likely to be far more profitable with existing customers, as e-commerce software company Invesp state that the probability of selling to an existing customer is between 60 to 70 per cent, whereas it’s typically as low as five to 20 per cent with a new customer.

Every brand hopes to see continued growth in their audience, but it’s equally as important to retain as much of your current audience as possible. With constantly developing technology, more ways of communicating with your audienceare emerging, but while this may be appropriate for some demographics, it’s not to say that it would be suitable for all of them. For instance, not everyone is well-versed with technology, meaning that a different approach is needed to engage with these members of your audience.

How to understand your audience

Different audiences are likely to resonate with and understand an approach that is tailored for them. Although there isn’t a strict rule of thumb for any demographic - and of course, you shouldn’t discriminate based on any single factor - you wouldn’t, for example, immediately consider using slang for an older audience, just as you wouldn’t typically associate classical music, woolen jumpers and crosswords with a younger audience.

However, the most effective way of establishing and connecting with the audience you want to target would be to home in on their likes and preferences and the likely platforms they’d use - whether that’s traditional methods of communication or modern social media platforms, for instance - rather than making general assumptions that may or may not be correct.

Another key factor to consider is the potential for varying areas of your audience. After finding the average outline of the type of person your brand would most likely resonate with, you will benefit from being able to build your brand’s approach and general themes around this rough guide. But you shouldn’t actively dismiss all other areas of your audience.

For instance, prior to the invention of Braille, the blind population weren’t able to engage in written content that only appealed to an audience with functioning sight, but by introducing a system where they could read messages by touch, a large number of previously unrecognised people were able to join in the conversation.

You should have the same approach in your strategy. For example, if your brand is focused at people aged 18-25, social media platforms Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram may be your primary focus, but if you could potentially interest an older audience through the use of email and post messages, it could be worth considering also communicating via these formats too.

Why is it important to know your audience when communicating?

By establishing your audience and considering key factors that may apply such as their wants, needs, interests, likes, dislikes and ultimate goals, you will be more capable of producing content that the people you’re targeting will care about.

Although this can be concerning in its early stages - and it may take a level of trial and error - it will eventually give your brand a sense of what your target audience responds positively to. Then, as this understanding begins to grow, you will be better prepared for gauging a tone of voice and style that can be consistently used in future communications.

In 2014, technology marketing entrepreneur Holger Schulze ran a survey on what marketers thought the most effective factor in successful content marketing was. The results suggested that, while engaging storytelling and content that triggered a reaction from the viewer were popular factors, the most important was the relevance to the audience, with 58 per cent of marketers in the survey stating this. Based on these findings, it’s understandable that brands might decide to put such an emphasis on communicating in a way that best suits their audience rather than simply producing what they perceive to be engaging content that does not necessarily interest target demographics.

How to communicate with your target audience

Once you’ve identified your target audience, you need to communicate with them, but it’s important that you do this in a way that they’ll connect with.

For instance, if your audience is young, focusing on social media and mobile platforms would be an effective way to engage with them. However, if your audience was older and possibly less technologically sound, you would need to consider other options such as newsletters sent via post, televised adverts or signs displayed in populated areas.

Common methods of communicating with your target audience include:

  • Create content and publish it in places that your target audience are likely to see it (e.g blogs, banners, articles, videos, podcasts, apps, white papers or games)
  • Identify your audience more specifically by producing high quality gated content
  • Spend time finding keywords and hashtags that your target audience typically use and include them in all forms of content
  • Open social media accounts that are relevant to your target audience, post content they will connect with and speak directly to your followers through replies to posts and direct messages
  • Open up opportunities for feedback to show transparency and the desire to improve

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