Target Audience

Knowing Your Audience as a Predictor of Success

Aristotle’s greatest advice was “know thyself”. Sun Tzu in The Art of War said, “know your enemy”. But the cardinal piece of advice for any entrepreneur or startup should be “know your target customer”.

As a startup, you may have a great product to offer, but unless you do your research to see who exactly the niche audience for your pitch should be, you might find yourself selling your product to people who cannot see the value in it, and as such, will not allow you to grow and succeed.
Research and testing are the keys to knowing what your customer needs, and how to keep giving it to them!

Case in point, Netflix. The company that started out as an online DVD-by-mail rental company has since blossomed into a streaming colossus and production studio. One of the many factors in their success is how they keep viewers’ attention once subscribed. Netflix’s predictive algorithms have their customers’ preferences down to a T, even among multiple users within the same account.
Their subsequent suggestions based on this knowledge allow the customer to feel less overwhelmed by the myriad choices confronting them each time they sign into Netflix, not to mention making them feel more appreciated by the company. After all, most people simply want to be understood – and Netflix does an excellent job of predicting the best content for your next “Netflix and chill” session.

What do you have to offer? Who is your ideal customer? And once you have them, what are they telling you that they want? The age-old aphorism “the customer is always right” applies here – they are telling you what they want from you with every click, every purchase, every online review, and every customer service encounter.

Your ability to take this data and transform it into increased value for your customer will make the difference between doing fine as a business, and doing great.

Why Try Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a free data gathering, analysis, and reporting tool for websites and mobile applications. It is one of the most popular analytics tools and is widely used. It gathers data on the activities that your website visitors take, such as how long they are on your website for and what links they have clicked.

So, why should you care? Google Analytics is extremely effective and its interface for administrators is simple to use for everyone. It allows you create events on a website, web application or mobile application, that you want to keep track of. When a visitor clicks on a particular button, you can keep track of that specific event using event tracking. If a visitor hovers over a menu item in your navigation menu for a certain amount of seconds, you can keep track of that event as well.

Another nice feature is the conversion funnel. This is useful for ecommerce sites where a visitor is buying a product or service. The conversion funnel will keep track of where the visitor came from, the pages they visited before choosing the product/service, and whether they bought the product/service or not. This is immensely useful because, for example, you can see that customers always come to your product page through a search engine which means you should optimize the SEO of your other product pages. Or you can see, for example, that certain products are not popular,  which could indicate a problem with your order or shopping cart page, or your marketing and placement of the product on the website.

Google Analytics lets you drill down the data about your visitors by the web browser they use, their location, whether they used a mobile device such as an iPhone or Android tablet, how longer they were on your website for, which link they clicked to exit your website, where they were referred from (search engine or link). What's cool is that you can see all of this data being gathered in real-time! That means as soon as someone visits your website, Google Analytics will show information about that visitor. This helps you learn about your target audience so you can fine-tune your branding and website usability accordingly to help you increase your conversion rate.

A new exciting feature is Google Content Experiments. Although it takes a bit of time to set up, it is invaluable as it allows you to A/B test your website. When a visitor visits your site, there is a 50% chance they will see the A content and 50% chance that they will see the B content. For example; you can see if more visitors are buying your product when the buy button says “Buy!” or when the buy button says “Buy This Now”. You can use Google Content Experiments in Google Analytics to test headlines for articles or descriptions of products and even product images. I have seen this used on an e-commerce site to make sure that the best product name is used and to test if, for instance, if implementing a Halloween theme increased sales.

Ease of set up and use, integration with other Google products like Content Experiments and Google AdWords, and accessibility across various platforms such as mobile and desktop web browsers make this application a must-have tool for start-ups.