Targeted AudienceThe first step to getting noticed online is to identify and understand your prospects and customers so that you can create your message based on their needs. Here are the most effective ways to target your audience and the importance of keyword research as it relates to getting more traffic to your site.

Define your Target Audience

You will not be able to effectively reach out and market to your prospects if you don’t have a full grasp on who they are. One of the first steps can be to study the ideal clients you already have. Detail every one of their characteristics so you can get a great idea of their needs, their interests and what motivates them.

Determine the Sites they Usually Visit

Where your audience spends their time online doesn’t always go along with where you want them to be. For instance, social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn are some of the more popular places where you can find a lot of people. However, there are still many business owners who are annoyed by the very thought of social media and shrug it off as a waste. But if your target audience spends their time on these sites, you can’t just ignore them. Your competitors are probably already there.

Aside from social networks, you can also find a good portion of your target audience in online forums. Interacting with them on these sites is a great testing ground to learn the questions they are asking and the topics they are discussing. You can also link back to your website in your forum profile when you register. Knowing where your audience hangs out will also give you great ideas on places where you could buy advertisements and links to your site.

Discover the Keywords they use in the Search Engines

Keywords are the words and phrases people use to find information at the search engines. Your targets’ words play a vital role in the content you write and how you present it to them. You cannot guess at your prospects’ keywords! There is simply no way you can know for certain the words that they are searching for without in-depth keyword research. Many marketers will guess at words in order to save time or just out of pure laziness but that can be a huge marketing blunder.

First, you may not get the right traffic to your website, if any at all. For example, some keywords have double meanings like a “Greyhound” might be a dog or a bus company, “Nova” could be a car or a star or ‘plum’ could be a fruit or a color.

Second, guessing may lead to writing content around keywords that either have few to no people searching for them, or are so general and outrageously competitive that you would have no hope in ranking even near the top 1 million results, like “real estate agent” or “car mechanic”.

Aside from that, you will probably be assuming that your target audience will be familiar with and be using the same industry lingo that you’re familiar with. This is many times not the case.

Keyword research, on the other hand will show you the exact words and phrases that your target prospects are using to find the products or information they need. It will also show you the amount of competition and the volume of traffic you could expect if you were to rank on the first page.

You can find different online tools that can help with this research such as Wordtracker.com, KeywordDiscovery.com and the Google Keyword Planner. Most beginners will use the Google tool because, in addition to being free, it’s also easy to learn and the results are very detailed.

Give them Exactly what they are Looking For

After discovering important details about your target audience, such as their search keywords, favorite websites and social networking habits, you can then give them the information they need.

Add the phrases you’ve identified using keyword research to your website’s content. This means writing posts and articles that directly answer their questions using the exact words they are using.

What if your target audience is searching for the wrong information such as misspelled or incorrect words? Won’t it appear stupid to write content based on these erroneous searches? No. This is what we refer to as puller content. We use this content to pull people in on their terms. Once they are on your site you can lead them to your core content, which will educate them using the correct information and terms they should know.

Follow these tips not just to gain more traffic to your site but most importantly, attract the ones that will most likely be your loyal customers in the future.

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