Section 2 – Get to Know Your Audience First

In this module, you’ll go beyond the traditional ways of identifying target markets. You’ll get to know your audience on a deeper level. By figuring out the correct language, you can ensure your message hits home and stands out in a crowded marketplace. 

  • Lesson 1: Who Are You Speaking To?
  • Lesson 2: Master Your Audience’s Language

Lesson 1: Who Are You Speaking To?

Discover Your Audience’s Favorite Hangouts 

The first element of Know, Like, Trust involves gaining insights into your ideal customers, also known as parallel parents.

You’ll be able to discover information from “listening” to their social media conversations. But you can’t do that until you know which platforms they spend their time on.

Even if you’ve noted this data before, verifying if your audience still uses the same platforms is crucial. Trends shift, and their platform preferences may have changed since your last check.

Remember that some of your audience will be present on multiple platforms. For example, they may use Facebook for family connections and LinkedIn for work. 

However, potential customers will generally have a preferred platform that relates to their friends and family and a secondary one that you may also wish to target. Since you can’t be everywhere at once, limit your presence to one or two platforms where you can consistently engage.

Use Social Listening

When you know where your ideal customers hang out, you can employ social listening tools to tune-in to their conversations.

This is a way of using existing data to discover your prospects’ challenges. These challenges will be apparent through the questions they ask, the concerns they express, and the emotions they convey.

You can also tap into “mentions” to discover what people say about your program. That will help shape your school identity, which we’ll look at in detail in a later lesson.

Social Listening Tools

There are tools that can help do the listening for you.

These include free and paid versions for all budgets, such as Hootsuite, XPro (formerly TweetDeck), and Social Mention. Check out which suits you best and set it up to research the information you want.

Once you know your customers better through this market research, you’ll be able to engage them in conversations about their desired solutions. When you give out helpful tips and advice, you’re building a relationship with your audience. Plus, it’s a great way for them to get to know your brand.

Recognize Your Target Audience’s Emotions

Part of your data will come from identifying the emotions expressed by your ideal customers. Listen to both your existing best fit parents and those who seem to match your center’s values.  This helps you go deeper than the traditional collection of demographics (age, location etc.) and psychographics (hobbies, interests etc.).

It’s usually easy to tell when someone’s happy or angry on social media, but not so easy to pinpoint the nuances of their emotions.

Learn how to read below the surface of social media comments. Here’s some guidance on how:

  • Take the time to read the comment thoroughly. Avoid rushing to a conclusion from a quick scan.
  • Take account of the context by reviewing what’s being discussed about the topic and what other participants are saying to get a comprehensive picture.
  • Note the overall tone and whether it’s positive, negative, neutral, or mixed. Excessive punctuation and capitalization indicate emotional intensity.
  • Look for specific words or phrases that reveal the person’s emotions. 
  • Emojis and symbols can provide visual clues, such as a smiling face emoji to indicate happiness or approval or an angry face to signify frustration or dissatisfaction, but no nuance.  
  • Seek clarification or ask questions if you’re unsure about a social media comment’s emotional tone or meaning. 
  • Encourage the person to expand so you can understand better.

Master the skill of accurately interpreting emotions from social media comments by practicing. Investing time in this will help you understand and know your audience better. This helps ensure you provide the products and services your prospects seek.

Remember: 

  • Find where your ideal customers hang out and tune into their conversations.
  • Practice accurately reading people’s emotions to help you understand and know your audience better.

Action Steps:

  1. Write down where your target audience hangs out online and their primary social platform. Note other secondary platforms they may use.
  2. Identify social listening tools you want to use and set them up to discover your prospects’ challenges.
  3. Complete the Emotion Recognition Worksheet.

Lesson 2: Master Your Audience’s Language

Learn Their Lingo 

Building Know, Like, Trust doesn’t happen passively. It’s a proactive process that takes some time and intentional focus.

When you unravel the language your niche speaks, you can mirror it back to them. This creates rapport as it shows you understand them.  Remember, you aren’t looking for every parent with children in your area.  You are looking for those that value what your school can provide, whether that is natural playgrounds and classroom pets or school readiness and 

Identify Jargon  

Focus on how your prospects talk or write as they describe themselves and their challenges. Look for keywords and phrases they use repeatedly.

Consider these examples:

Small business owners may refer to themselves as one of the following:

  • Entrepreneurs
  • Solopreneurs
  • Micro-entrepreneurs
  • Side hustlers
  • Mompreneurs/Dadpreneurs/Homepreneurs
  • Home-based business owners

In the hairdressing industry, hairdressers may call themselves:

  • Hair Stylists
  • Hair technicians
  • Hair designers
  • Salon stylists
  • Hair colorists
  • Hair and beauty entrepreneurs

Tech systems specialists can call themselves:

This shows the range of possibilities for job titles within a few industries. Sometimes different job titles reflect what the person does, but the terms are used interchangeably in some fields.

If you’re unaware of the language your type of parent uses to describe themselves, they may not connect with you. As a result, you might struggle to build rapport, and they may not follow your brand as enthusiastically as they would someone who uses “their” language.

Of course, individuals have their own language patterns, but when you start language spotting, think about your target market as a whole. The more you delve into your niche, the easier it will be to identify the words and phrases that resonate with that group.

Investigate Word Choices

Identifying the keywords and phrases your target audience uses may be new to you.  

When you read, speak or listen to prospects, pay careful attention to their language.

You can use several sources to help your research, including:

  • Use social listening tools as discussed earlier, e.g., online forums, groups, communities.
  • Call a selection of current and past customers for a conversation about their challenges. 
  • Create online surveys for potential customers in your target market. Ask them about their language preferences, the platforms they use, and their communication habits.  
  • Participate in online forums, groups, or communities where your target market hangs out. 
  • Use text analysis tools like Google Trends, BuzzSumo, or social media analytics to identify popular keywords and phrases your target audience uses. 
  • Consult online articles, offline magazines, and listen to podcasts.
  • Study your competitors to see the language they use in their advertisements, social media posts, and website content.

The Power of Proper Phrasing

When you use the words already in your prospects’ heads, they believe you truly understand them. Match their language throughout your marketing to make a powerful connection. 

You can use keywords and phrases everywhere, including:

Keyword research will help you identify colloquial language and trending phrases. However, avoid jargon and slang in your copy unless it’s used universally in your community. If you have a culturally diverse client base, you may find a slang phrase that works in the US may not work with parents for whom English isn’t their first language. It may be incomprehensible or even offensive.

Remember: 

  • Unravel the language your niche speaks and mirror it back in communications with them to create rapport.
  • Spot keywords and phrases they use repeatedly to describe themselves and their challenges.

Action Steps:

  1. Pick three research sources to use to identify keywords and phrases. 
  2. Investigate the language your prospects use by answering the questions in the Action Guide.
  3. Review a piece of marketing you’ve used and rewrite it using the language your prospects use.
Texas Director