How to Do Target Audience Research in 3 Simple Steps

Target audience research is an often overlooked yet crucial phase of any website copy project.

Figuring out how to do audience research won’t only help you better understand your target customers; it may even give you the exact copy you could use on your landing page or website.

What should you look for during target audience research?

Understanding your audience will help you make more sales. But what does understanding your audience imply?

It goes beyond the basic information like address, gender and job title. These aspects help you narrow down your market, but they aren’t going to help you enough to connect deeply with your target audience.

To make your landing page copy more convincing, you’ll need to dig deeper. Look for struggles. Look for paint points. Look for needs.

When you figure out someone’s problems, you can position your solution. 

But we’re not quite there yet.

People will have problems believing in your solution. Social proof may help, but it’s better to address doubts and objections directly in your copy. Audience research can help you find these doubts and objections.

Finally, your copy needs to tell a story. When people buy something, they’re often not just buying a product or service. No, they’re buying a better/faster/easier life. Audience research will help you figure out what they aspire to so you can promise exactly what they want. 

How to do target audience research?

Now you know why you should do target audience research, and what to look for, we’ll look at a few ways to research your audience.

Audience personas are perhaps a bit outdated, but we’ll have a look at them anyway. And finally, we’ll look at some ways to optimise your research.

How to research your audience?

Before you write a landing page, you’ll have to be clear about what you’re offering and to whom.

As a copywriter, you’ve got three important sources of information:

  • Online communities
  • Competitor research
  • Your client

Audience research in online communities

One of the best ways to get to know your potential target audience is by hanging out where they hang out.

Social media and other online communities are perfect places to spy and listen. Lurk around in the right places, and you’ll undoubtedly see what people struggle with or complain about in your niche. This can help you formulate your USP and write copy that overcomes objections. 

Immerse yourself in the world of your specific audience. Read what they read, watch what they watch. And you might start thinking as they think.

Reddit community post about podcasts: perfect for audience research
A Reddit user sharing issues with their podcast player.

Competitor research

Your research might get much easier if you’re in the same niche as a couple of other companies. Instead of looking for niche communities, research what these companies say and what’s being said about them.

A review of their landing pages will help you find which objections they’re addressing and which better future they’re promising. Additionally, it will help you figure out how to position your company differently.

Of course, we can’t be sure these companies did a good job. But we can trust their customers to share honest feedback, especially if it’s not that positive.

By looking at online reviews of competing companies, you’ll often find the perfect copy to overcome objections to your product or service. 

App rating and review: audience research tool.
An App review detailing problems with a podcast app

Reviews like this one might not only give you copy ideas but also product ideas for your client.

Ask your client

As a copywriter, you have a big advantage over companies. Your client may already have done some audience research. 

It may not be perfect, but it’s a good starting point, and it‘ll also help you figure out how your client thinks. 

Some target audience research questions to ask your client:

  • Describe your ideal customer in a few sentences
  • What problem do you solve, and how do potential clients solve it now?
  • What are the most common objections from prospects?
  • What is the most common feedback you get?

As a company, you’ve got all the access you need to figure out the answer to these questions yourself. Go do it. 

Create target audience personas

When you’ve spent some time around your target audience, you should have enough information to create a persona. 

To create your personas, go beyond the usual demographics. Instead, explore the psychographics of your target audience.

  • Personality
  • Attitudes
  • Values
  • Interests/hobbies
  • Lifestyles
  • Behaviour

Understanding these is far more likely to help you make sales than knowing if someone’s married or not.

A common objection to personas, however, is that they sound fake. They don’t help you write to one person but a sketch of an ideal customer. To overcome this, create three or more personas with more specific and coherent features. Give them a name and a photo—maybe even a real one?

A while back, I created customer personas based on the people in my circle most aligned with my target audience.

Meet Brilena and Natgeet. The information and characteristics are taken from real people. The stock photos try to match these characteristics.

Understand levels of awareness

A crucial and again overlooked aspect of audience research for landing pages is the customer’s level of awareness. It’s actually that important that it gets its own section here.

Five levels of awareness define how well someone is informed about your niche, solution or company.

  • Most aware
  • Product aware
  • Solution aware
  • Problem aware
  • Least aware

Making the awareness level part of your persona or your landing page might be a complete waste of time, money and effort. 

Here’s how you adapt your copy to each level:

  • Most aware: They know your product and need little convincing. They might not buy everything you have to offer, but a good deal could convince them otherwise.
  • Product aware: They know about your product but aren’t sure if you are the best deal. Focus on your benefits and how you’ll improve their lives. Promise and overdeliver.
  • Solution aware: They know there’s a solution for their problem, but they don’t know you have it. Show you understand the problem and picture a world without it.
  • Problem aware: They know they have a problem but don’t know where to find the solution. Focus on the issue and your understanding of it. Emphasise. This might be better for top-of-the-funnel content rather than specific landing pages.
  • Least aware: they have no idea about their problem. You might try to convince them they have a problem, but it’s probably a waste of time.

Analyse your audience and reiterate your research

You can start writing your landing page based on the initial audience research. Then you can do some A/B testing to try different designs or lines of copy. 

After a while, you’ll (hopefully) have some customers. 

Now, you can start optimising your landing page with more detailed and specific knowledge.

  • Conduct client interviews and surveys
  • Use analytics

Using interviews and surveys for target audience research

Once you start selling, collect emails or get people to follow you on social media. This allows you to contact them and obtain more information.

Fans might happily spend some time talking with you to improve the product and product experience. If not, an Amazon gift card may do the trick.

When you talk to these customers directly, you’ll find out more about the benefits of your product, and you can collect testimonials, case studies and copy in the exact words of your users. 

Some of the most important questions to ask your customer are:

  • What problem did our product/service solve for you?
  • How much time did you save by using this?
  • Why did you decide to use our product and not company X’s?

You don’t even have to do all of these interviews or surveys directly. A quick check-in with the sales or customer support team may be enough to answer these questions.

Using analytics to optimise audience research

Many analytics tools can help you determine how your audience interacts with your content.

Social media tools like Facebook Insights or Sparktoro can help you figure out what content your audience prefers so you can create more detailed personas.

Other analytics tools like Google Analytics or Hotjar will inform how your audience interacts with your website. 

These tools can show how people land on your website, where they spend the most time and where they leave.

With this specific information, you can figure out which sections don’t deliver what your audience was expecting. And, of course, optimise them.

Ready to do target audience research?

You now have everything you need to start researching your audience.

Don’t forget it works in three phases:

  1. Collect information from online communities
  2. Create customer personas
  3. Analyse users to improve your persona and copy

And don’t forget that you’re almost always doing audience research. Whenever you read comments on social media, visit a competitor’s website or receive an email, write down your insights. You’ll save yourself a lot of time later on.

PS: Discover our landing page services if you need expert advice.