This is the first post in Growth Spark's SEO Basics for Business Owners series.
If your company is well-established, you probably already know who your target customers are and what their needs are. If you're not sure, ask your marketing department. For those of you that are in early-stage companies, you may not be so sure about your target audience.
The best way is to reach out to your current customers and ask them what their needs are. Come up with profiles of different types of people who use your service, make them real, give them names. It will help you really to envision the people who come to you. These profiles will be important not only for SEO, but for all aspects of marketing.
A key part that many people miss in doing SEO is to think about the fact that there are actually people on the other side of their computer typing in words into a search engine hoping to find your company. It is essential to really put yourself into your potential customers' shoes who don't know you but want what you have.
There are several free online tools to help you find out more about your target audience and their needs:
- eMarketer - Research articles on demographics. A mix of free and subscription options
- Forrester - Free resource section on their website
- InternationalBusinessStrategies.com - Free, but not many reports regarding US markets. Coverage of many countries
- The US Census Bureau - Go-to source for all demographic statistics in the States
Once you know what your customers are looking for, you can create your site and content based upon that. This is much more efficient and will be more effective than the common technique of creating content first, then trying to change it to fit the searching habits of customers. When you have the mindset and needs of your customers pinned, it's time to move on to keyword research.