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Now, let’s look at NeilPatel.com. Can you guess how many visitors I’m getting each month?
I’m generating roughly 8.717 million visitors a month from 3.616 million people.
When you look at it from a unique visitor perspective, HubSpot is getting 3.24 times more unique visitors than me.
So, in theory, I should be worth roughly 3 times less than them, right? Well, technically I’m not even worth 1/10th of them. Not even close.
Why is that? It’s because I didn’t go after the right target audience, while HubSpot did.
And today, I want you to avoid making this massive mistake that I made. Because marketing is tough, so why would you start off by going after the wrong people?
It will just cause you to waste years and tons of money like it did with me.
Defining your target audience is the first and most essential step towards success for any company or business, especially if you are just getting started.
So before we dive into things, let me first break down what you are about to learn in this article:
What is a Target Audience?
The Difference Between Target Audience and Persona
The Importance of Selecting Your Target Audience Correctly
How to Define your Target Audience: 6 Questions to Help You
Creating Customized Content for Your Audience
Let’s get started!
What is a target audience?
A target audience is a share of consumers that companies or businesses direct their marketing actions to drive awareness of their products or services.
I know that is a tongue twister, so let me simplify it a bit more…
The intention here is to target a market with whom you will communicate with. A group of people with the same level of education, goals, interests, problems, etc. that will need the product or service you are selling.
Basically, you want to target people who will buy your stuff.
If you target people who don’t want to buy your stuff, you might get more traffic to your site… but it won’t do much for you. And you’ll be pulling out your hair trying to figure out why none of your visitors are buying from you.
Now before we dive into the details on finding your target audience, let’s first go over “personas” because many people confuse them with a target audience and if you do, you’ll just end up wasting time.
The difference between a target audience and a persona
You already know the definition, so I won’t bore you with that again.
The most commonly used data to define the target audience of a company are:
Examples of a target audience: Women, 20-30 years old, living in Los Angeles, with a bachelor’s degree, monthly income of $4,000 – $6,000, and passionate about fashion and decor.
If you start a company without knowing your exact target audience, you could end up like me instead of HubSpot… we wouldn’t want that now. 😉
And here is another example. Let’s say you have a business that sells educational toys. So your target audience might be children, mothers, education specialists, or teachers.
Or you have a motorcycle business. Your audience will definitely not be people younger than 18, right?
There is no point in trying to reach everyone in order to increase your chances of sales and profit. It will actually cost you more and decrease your profit margins in the long run.
Now let’s go over “personas”…
In marketing, personas are profiles of buyers that would be your ideal customers.
Personas are fictional characters with characteristics of your real customers. They’re developed based on target audience research and may help you direct your marketing actions better.
A persona is a person that may be interested in what you have to offer since they’re very connected to your brand and you must make an effort to make them a client and retain them.
A persona involves much deeper and more detailed research than the target audience since it includes:
Engagement in social networks
Persona example: Mariana, 22, blogger. Lives in Miami, Florida. Has a journalism degree. Has a blog and posts makeup tutorials and tips about fashion and decor. She always follows fashion events in the area and participates in meetings with other people in the fashion niche. As a digital influencer, she cares a lot about what people see on her social network profiles. Likes to practice indoor activities and go to the gym in her free time.
If I had to define the main difference between persona and target audience, I’d say that the target audience considers the whole, in a more general way, while the persona has a more specific form.
And if you want help creating personas for business, check out this article about creating the perfect persona. But for now, let’s focus on finding your right target audience.
The importance of choosing your target audience correctly
The big mistake I made was that I didn’t figure out my target audience when I first started. I just created content and started marketing to anyone who wanted traffic.
But that is a bit too vague because not everyone wants more traffic is a good fit for my ad agency.
They could just want to be famous on Instagram or YouTube, which is a lot of people, but that doesn’t help me generate more income.
Funny enough, there are more people who are interested in getting Instagram followers than people who want to learn about SEO.
But once you know your target audience, it’s easier to find and perform keyword research. For example, I know that I shouldn’t waste too much time writing articles about Instagram or Twitch even though the search volume is high.
It will just cause me to get irrelevant traffic and waste my time/money.
And that’s the key… especially when it comes to things like SEO or paid ads. The moment you know your target audience, you can perform keyword research correctly and find opportunities that don’t just drive traffic, but more importantly, drive revenue.
Now let’s figure out your target audience.
How to define your target audience: 6 questions to help you
Figuring out your target audience isn’t rocket science. It just comes down to a few simple questions.
6 actually, to be exact.
Go through each of the questions below and you’ll know the exact audience you are targeting.
1. Who are they?
When thinking about who might be your target audience, you must consider who are the people who identify with your brand.
One way to find out is to monitor who follows, likes, shares, and comments on your posts on social sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram.
If someone is willing to engage with you, then chances are they are your target.
But in many cases, your ideal audience may not always be on the social web. They might be inactive on social media but buy from your company frequently or sign up for your services.
Even those who bought from you only once must be considered a part of your target audience, as someone who bought once might buy again.
There is no point in making a great effort to sell if you don’t make a similar effort to keep the customers you have already gained.
Customers like to feel special, and that is why the post-sales process is so important. Your relationship with the customer must remain even after the purchase is completed.
2. What are their greatest difficulties, problems, or desires?
What is cool, interesting, and good for you might not be for the customer.
You can’t think only of yourself when it’s time to define the difficulties, problems, and desires of your target audience. You must put yourself in their shoes.
Don’t make offers based on what you think. Make them according to research grounded in data, previous experiences, and analysis of your potential customers’ behavior.
Understand the greatest difficulties your audience faces to try to help solve them.
3. Where do they find the information they need daily?
Everyone needs information.
Every day you are surrounded by tons of information on the channels that you follow, but when you need it the most, where do you go to find that information?
Identify the communication channels most appropriate to your target audience and try to talk to them using a specific language from their universe.
For example, I know my target audience will either read marketing blogs or spend a lot of time on social sites like YouTube and LinkedIn consuming information.
4. What is the benefit of your product?
Everyone wants solutions for their problems and to make their lives easier. This is a collective desire and it’s no different for your target audience.
Think a little about your product and the problem of your target audience. What benefits does your product or service offer? What can it do to solve those problems? What is the main value offer?
With so much competition, you must try to find your competitive advantage in your niche and always try to improve your product, offering something extra that others do not.
5. What draws their attention negatively?
Being optimistic helps a lot, but thinking about the negatives can also help, especially when we talk about target audiences.
Better than considering what your audience wants, you can consider what it definitely doesn’t want, what it considers negative, and what it avoids.
With this powerful information in hand, you may have more chances to captivate your potential customers.
Avoiding what they consider negative is the first step to gain their approval. After that, you only need to apply other strategies to do efficient marketing.
6. Who do they trust?
Trust is everything to your target audience. No one purchases a product or service from a company they don’t know or trust.
This is why reviews on Amazon are read and so important for sellers. They know it builds trust… it’s also helped Amazon become a trillion-dollar company.
Even though this is the last question to define target audiences, it is one of the most important ones.
This is why the reputation of your company is so important. Taking care of the relationship with your customers is essential as they will spread information about your brand on the internet and to their friends and family.
If you get good reviews, have positive comments, and garner a great reputation, this will be the base for potential customers to feel motivated to buy from you.
Creating customized content for your audience
Now that you know your audience, let’s get to the fun stuff. Let’s create content for them.
Everyone creates content, right? Just look at Google if you don’t believe me.
You just have to put a keyword on Google and you will see thousands if not millions of results for each keyword.
When you research “best earbuds” on Google, this is what you see:
First, there are options of products from Google Shopping, with ads and prices for different earphones for various audiences, needs, and tastes.
Next, there is a list of sites and blogs with information about different types of earphones and comparisons:
There is no shortage of content about this subject or any other that you can search for. Anyone can create and publish text with no barriers.
The question is how you can make this content more personalized and attractive for your consumer.
The secret though is to create content that targets your ideal customer and no one else. Generic content may produce more traffic, but it will also produce fewer sales.
To find what your target audience is searching for, you can use Ubersuggest. Just type in a keyword related to your audience.
From there, on the left-hand navigation, click on “keyword ideas.” You’ll then be taken to a report that looks like the one below.
You now have topics to choose from. Not all of them will be a good fit but some will.
I recommend that you go after the long-tail terms, such as “best earbuds for running” (assuming your target audience is active). The more generic terms like “best earbuds” will drive traffic and a few sales, but it won’t convert as well as more specific terms.
The same goes if you are doing keyword research for the service industry or even the B2B space.
Types of content to create
Once you have a list of keywords you want to target, you might be confused as to what type of content you should be creating.
You’ll want to create content based on your funnel. In essence, you want to cover each step of the funnel.
The top of the funnel involves content created for visitors and leads, that is, people that might access your site, blog, or social networks by chance.
When thinking about the top of the funnel, the idea is to create materials with more general subjects, with clear and easily accessible language.
It could be educational content, including clarifications or curiosities about your product or service or something somehow related to your industry.
The middle of the funnel is when the conversions happen. In other words, in this stage, the person who has a problem and the intention to solve it considers the purchase of your product or service.
It’s the middle of the road, but it is not the sale itself, because it’s still only about ideas. It’s in the middle of the funnel that you get closer to your target audience and generate more identification.
Next: bottom of the funnel content. This content focuses more on your product or service.
Here you can introduce details about functions, benefits, and other direct information about your product or service.
It is far more likely to convert here as this particular audience has practically decided to buy already and you are only going to give them a final push.
I’m hoping this article saves you from making the big mistake I made.
But knowing your target audience isn’t enough, though. It doesn’t guarantee success. You still need to create and market your content. That’s why I covered keyword research in this article as well.
Once you create content, you may also want to check out these guides as they will help you attract the right people to your site:
If you are wondering what’s new… well, let’s just say the changes have made keyword research much better and a lot easier. And on top of that, later in this post, I’ll even give you a sneak peek at the new changes that we are making to the extension that will be released within 30 days.
So, what’s new?
Who says keyword research should be limited to Google?
What most people don’t know is that YouTube is the second most popular search engine and has been exploding.
On top of that, Amazon is the largest e-commerce site in the world and SEOs are doing Amazon SEO and Amazon ads… so why not have access to keyword research there, too?
Now, when you go to YouTube and perform a search you’ll see data on suggested keywords as you perform a search.
And if you want more details on any given keyword you searched for, just click “view all” next to the search bar and you’ll see something like this:
It breaks down search volume over the last 12 months as well as shows you if a keyword has any seasonal trends.
You can also see how competitive a keyword is to rank for, its cost per click data, how many people even click on any of the listings, and even the age range of the people who search for that term.
Also, what’s interesting is that you can see data on whether a keyword is searched more on mobile or desktop devices and the breakdown. This is important because mobile searches tend to not convert as well… so ideally you want to go after keywords that have more desktop searches when possible.
Now on the right side of any YouTube search listings page, you will also see more keyword suggestions.
It’s pretty similar to what the extension already shows on Google… this is more so our version for YouTube.
But with Amazon, we didn’t want to impact your user experience too much, so we decided to provide keyword data in the most unobtrusive way possible…
Anytime you perform a search on Amazon, you’ll see keyword data on the suggestions.
There is also one other important change made to the extension that you may have already noticed if you use Google on a regular basis.
When you search on Google, there is now traffic estimations under each URL.
This traffic estimation is for organic search traffic and it is done on a domain level. Eventually, we will tweak it to be page-based and even show you the other keywords each page ranks for… but for now, we are providing you with organic traffic estimates for each domain.
And if you are more of a visual person, in the right-hand sidebar you can also see the traffic estimation for any result in the top 10.
So if you want to know traffic data in addition to keyword suggestions when you perform a Google search, make sure you install the Ubersuggest Chrome Extension.
But the best is still to come…
My goal is to make major releases to Ubersuggest every month if possible… every other month if all doesn’t go as planned.
The next big one is introducing competitor analysis features within the extension.
Right now if you click on the “Ubersuggest” logo within your Chrome browser you see something like this:
Now, that’s not really useful.
So, within the next 30 days when you click on the “Ubersuggest” logo within Chrome, I am thinking of showing something like this:
For any domain you’ll be able to see the following metrics:
Domain metrics – you’ll see a quick overview of each domain. From the number of organic keywords a site ranks for to their estimated organic traffic, domain score, and even number of backlinks.
Historical traffic – you’ll see an organic traffic chart of the last 6 months to any given site.
Top pages by country – want to know the most popular pages on your competitor’s site? This table will show you just that.
Top keywords by country – you’ll also be able to see the most popular keywords that drive traffic to that site.
If you already have the Ubersuggest Chrome extension installed, you may need to reinstall it because we now show you data on YouTube and Amazon. That means you’ll have to grant Ubersuggest permission to show you data on those two sites.
If you want to outrank your competition, what do you do?
First off, you need to keep track of everything they are doing. From their rankings to the content they are writing to even the links they are building and the keywords they are targeting, understanding what they are up to is key.
And after you figure out their strategy, you need to write more content, build more links, and optimize your site. Or you can hire an SEO agency, but most of us can’t afford that.
There must be a better way, right?
Well, over the next 60 days, I am going to make life easier for you with a major upgrade to Ubersuggest.
Here’s what I am thinking of doing, which would make it easier for you to outrank your competition.
First off, I’ve learned that many people don’t know who their competition really is when it comes to SEO.
Because of that, I’m going to create a competitor analysis report that shows you your competition.
Here’s a rough sketch of what that will look like:
You’ll be able to see who your competitors are based on common keywords you both rank for.
You’ll also be able to see how your rankings compare to theirs over time as well as their SEO traffic, backlinks, domain scores, and, best of all, keyword opportunities (or keyword gap).
What the keyword opportunities will break down is all of the keywords your competition ranks for that you don’t.
This way, you’ll be able to dive in and see everyone one of the keywords they are targeting, but the ones you aren’t.
Again, the key to the report above (although the design needs to be tweaked) is that it will show you all of the keywords your competition ranks for that you aren’t targeting or ranking for… yet. The ones at the top will be the most lucrative keywords and the ones at the bottom will be the least lucrative.
Competitor rank tracking
On top of showing you new keyword opportunities without you having to do any work or searching, we are also going to start tracking your competition’s rankings for you. 😉
So, in your rank tracking dashboard, you’ll see your rankings as well as your competitor’s rankings.
Currently, we show you if your rankings are going up or down each day (if you aren’t tracking this, go and set up a project).
We’ll be modifying that report to also show your competitors’ rankings… still working on the design.
That way if things are going bad for you, you can see if you were the only one who got affected or if your competition did as well.
But there is more
I know 60 days is a long time to wait, but I am also releasing something in the next week to also make your life easier when it comes to competitor analysis.
But what if you don’t have the time to go through a 21-part training series? Or what if my SEO tool doesn’t give you the step-by-step instructions you need?
What other options do you have?
Well, today I thought I would make your life easier by sharing 21 of my own SEO and content marketing worksheets and templates to help you get higher rankings in less time and, best of all, with less effort.
Let’s start off with the basics.
In marketing, we all use terms that might be a bit confusing.
What’s cool about this template is that it breaks down the percentage of impact each element will have when it comes to your SEO.
The easiest way to find keywords is to use tools like Ubersuggest.
Just type in a keyword…
You’ll see a report that looks like this…
Then click on “Keyword Ideas” in the left-hand navigation.
But as you go through the list of thousands of thousands of keywords, how do you know which ones are valuable?
Sure, in general, if a keyword has a high “volume” it means it is searched a lot, which is good. And if it has a high “CPC” it means that advertisers are willing to spend a lot to advertise on that keyword, which again is good because it typically means that the keyword drives qualified traffic that causes purchases.
And if a keyword has a low SD (SEO difficulty) that’s great as well because it means the keyword is easier to rank for.
When looking for keywords, ideally you want ones that meet all 3 of those requirements.
But just because a keyword doesn’t meet all of those 3 requirements doesn’t mean that it isn’t good for you and your strategy.
There’s actually a lot of hidden gems out there that don’t meet all of those requirements because marketers don’t know they are lucrative.
Now, I want you to go back to Ubersuggest to perform a keyword search and look for keywords that contain some of the phrases within my profitable keyword cheat sheet. Those are keywords you’ll want to target.
Seriously, just spend 5 to 10 minutes hunting for keywords. Perform at least 10 searches and you’ll find some gold.
As you are doing the keyword research, you’ll find that it may be difficult to remember and keep track of all the amazing keywords you are finding, which leads me to the Ubersuggest keyword planner spreadsheet.
You can use it to keep track of the keywords you want to focus on first, second, third…
Trust me, it will make your life simpler.
There are over 200 factors in Google’s algorithm.
But let’s face it, you aren’t going to optimize for each of them because it takes too much time.
And even if you have the time, where do you start, and which ones do you fix first?
And if you click on any of the error boxes, it will break down what to fix in order.
You can then click through and get details for each SEO error.
And although I highly recommend that you fix your errors in the above report (it’s a great way to boost your rankings), you don’t want to just keep playing defense.
You want to start playing offense with your marketing and make sure that you are doing things right as you release new pages or make changes to your website.
So I’ve created an SEO factors cheat sheet that breaks down important factors that you need to think about when creating new pages on your site.
It’s great to pass along to your team members and your content writers as well (and even your developers!) so you can make sure that everyone is on the same page.
And don’t worry, it doesn’t break down all 200 factors as that would be too overwhelming… it focuses on the important ones that you need to get right from day 1.
But if your team does want something more detailed, I’ve also created a thorough SEO checklist that is 20 pages long.
Anytime my team is doing major changes like a redesign or change our site structure, I make sure that they go through that checklist as it helps ensure we at least maintain our rankings if not increase them.
Supercharging your content
Content marketing is a key ingredient to more search traffic.
But these days, there is so much content on the web. How do you make sure that your content stands out and ranks?
But of course, you probably don’t have the time, resources, or team to do the custom research we did.
So how do you create content that contains data, amazing insights, and research that people love? Well, I’ve created a data sources document that you can use to easily find all of the information I just mentioned.
It will break down sites that contain unique data, charts, and research that you can cite within your content so you can naturally build more backlinks like me.
And on top of that, if you really want to supercharge your content and make sure that it not only drives traffic but more importantly sales, here are a few more templates and worksheets I’ve created for you:
WHIPS – the WHIPS template breaks down the cycles people go through before they purchase. Such as someone could be a window shopper, in which they are interested in purchasing something, but maybe not from you. Or they may know that they have a problem and are just looking for the right solution. No matter what situation your potential customers are in, the WHIPS template breaks down each of them so you can create the appropriate content that fits their needs.
20/20 Rulebook – whether it is you who writes your own content or if you have writers, have them follow the 20/20 Rulebook. It breaks down the 20 rules that your content needs to follow if you want it to do well. Now in many cases, you won’t follow all of them, but your goal is to get as close to 20 as possible.
Content creation template – if you want my framework to write blockbuster blog posts, follow the content creation template. It’s a 20-page process, but once you use it a few times you’ll quickly get the hang of it and find that it’s easy to remember. And I’ve found that when people use it to write 6 blog posts, by the 7th they don’t even need to look at it because they know the steps by heart.
I know my content has grammatical and spelling errors every once in a while, but my content does well.
One of the reasons is I follow the templates and worksheets that I’ve mentioned above.
But it is because I put a lot of emphasis on editing.
See, once you write content, let it sit for a day. It will give you time to think about how it can be made better.
And the next day, you’ll want to go in and edit it.
Don’t worry, editing doesn’t have to take a lot of time… I’ve broken down our editing hacks into 3 worksheets:
10 Commandments – this worksheet breaks down the 10 things to look for when editing. If you are short on time, start with this worksheet because you can typically get your editing done in less than 30 minutes by following the steps.
Editing checklist – and if you have someone dedicated to editing on your team, have them complete this checklist each time they edit any content.
Step-by-step editing guide – for those of you who really want to master editing, here is a 27-page guide that breaks down each step of the editing process. I’ll be honest with you, it is a bit overkill, but it is great if you have someone dedicated to just editing.
You may find the editing process a bit overwhelming, and if that is the case, stick with the checklist or the 10 commandments.
Whoever says editing is the last step of content marketing is lying.
Going the extra mile by fine-tuning little things and making those small tweaks is what can help your content go viral.
Look, no matter how good of a marketer one might be, you will make mistakes. Even if you make very few, there is always room for improvement.
If you have already published hundreds (if not thousands of blog posts), don’t worry. You can tweak them still.
So, lets fine-tune your content to get that extra traffic.
Every little bit adds up, right?
It’s how I grew my SEO traffic to over 4 million visits a month:
Headline formula – as David Ogilvy once said, you spend 80 cents on the dollar in the headline. And it’s true, 8 out of 10 people will only read your headline, but only 2 people will click through and read the rest of your copy. So follow this headline formula swipe file to create amazing headlines.
Constructive criticism – having the attitude that you can always get better will help you beat your competition. The moment you think you know it all is the moment you lose. This worksheet will teach you how to critique your own content without being biased. I love using it to critique my competitions’ articles as it helps me better understand how to beat them.
WordPress SEO cheat sheet – you’re probably using WordPress like me. And if you are, fine-tune your blog with this cheat sheet. It’s an Excel file, but you can use Google Sheets to open it up.
Don’t forget to build links
Link building sucks. But if you don’t build links, you won’t rank well.
I wish there was another way… but there isn’t. 🙁
As you are building links you may be wondering, am I building the right links or the wrong links?
Are my existing links good? Do I need to disavow any of them?
It will help you keep track of your links, which ones are good or bad, and what you need to fix so that you can reduce your risk of a Google penalty.
Once you download the link building scorecard, you’ll also want to download these two worksheets:
Link building search operators – this worksheet teaches you how to use advanced search parameters within Google to find new link building opportunities. It is simple yet very effective.
Outreach templates – once you find link opportunities, you’ll have to send outreach emails to convince sites to link to you. Here’s my outreach template. It contains 24 pages of outreach emails that you can use to build more links.
I know I’ve given you a lot of templates, worksheets, and cheat sheets, but you don’t have to use them all.
Use the ones you need and just save the rest for later. It will make your life easier, helping you get results faster and in less time.