Your audience is different from your marketing database. In the marketing industry, we try to steer clear of sending the same message to every prospective customer. If you choose to vary your message for people who buy your products, why not do the same for future customers?
An audience gathers enthusiastically and willingly, and this marks the difference between an audience and a marketing database. What if you were to stop producing content right now? What if you were to stop tweeting, sending newsletters and delivering market research on the industry? The people who message you, leave comments on videos and ask where you went are your real audience.
When a subscriber gives up their information, they aren’t just thinking about what they will get immediately, they’re thinking about all the content they will receive in the future. Not many will subscribe just for the initial content; they’re placing confidence in you that the content in one year will be just as good as it is now.
As content creators, we need to instill confidence in this future value, which marks the difference between a subscribed AUDIENCE and a marketing database. When people subscribe, you might be tempted to bombard them with content. In our experience, this is one of the worst things you can do. As we’ve just seen, new subscribers are basing their trust in the promise of future value and content. When you immediately hit them with a sales message, you prove that their trust was misplaced.
Now that we understand the meaning of the word ‘audience’ and how its meaning differs from a marketing database, we’re going to dig deeper into why custom audiences fail on Facebook.
When building a custom audience, exclusions and interests often get forgotten. Too often, marketers expect to create the world’s best campaign based on demographic data alone. With this simple feature, you can reduce your prospective audience from millions to hundreds of thousands. This increases the chances of finding the right people for your products and services.
Facebook allows users to target people based on job positions, income, spending habits and other variables. Rather than throwing in random interests and exclusions, we recommend grabbing a piece of paper and brainstorming. What is it about your ideal customer that makes them perfect for your business? Are there similarities between most of your customers? Do they work in a certain role or have a specific hobby?
Once you’ve done this, head into Facebook and narrow down your audience. Be careful to avoid under- and over-narrowing your audience. With too many interests and exclusions, you’ll automatically lose a good percentage of your audience; with too few, you’ll have a custom audience in the millions. Therefore, it’s about finding balance. Fortunately, it’s easy to keep track of potential reach and estimated daily results; play around with the settings until you like what you see.
When you create a standard remarketing campaign, the recency window will automatically set itself to 30 days, which isn’t long enough. Those with little experience might accept this suggestion from Facebook without realizing that better results are possible with different settings.
The recency window suggests the length of time people remain in your audience after performing the desired action. For example, everybody in your audience may have visited your website within the last 30 days. We’re saying that this isn’t long enough because a typical sales funnel contains several stages. If customers are at the very top of the funnel, it’s unlikely they will make a decision within 30 days.
You might notice that people pass through the sales funnel within the 30 days. If this is the case, the setting in question isn’t going to cause problems. For most businesses, however, this just isn’t enough time.
We’re thinking of those who have only just discovered their pain point and aren’t brand aware; it’s unlikely you can convert somebody like this within a month. Instead of sticking to 30 days, play around with longer recency windows. With two custom audiences each with a different recency window, you can analyze the performance of each and decide which window is most effective for your business.
If you have a failing audience, another simple measure we recommend is adding a frequency parameter. Somebody who has visited your website four times is more likely to convert than somebody who has just visited for the first time. According to some statistics, only 2% of first-time visitors will buy from you. By bringing frequency into the equation, you can focus on the leads that are most likely to convert first.
Lastly, another common problem is being too broad with website visits. When interests and exclusions don’t help, open Business Manager, launch a custom audience based on website traffic, and narrow down to people who visit specific web pages. While doing this, look through the Behavior Flow on Google Analytics because this will tell you the pages that people reach on a typical visit. From here, you’ll see pages relevant to the sales experience. Perhaps most people visit the pricing page after reading your blog?
In this final section, we want to talk about how you can engage an audience effectively. Now that Facebook custom audiences are fixed, you can think about engaging a subscriber audience (knowing that audiences and your marketing database are different!).
Now you need to think about what your subscribers need and why they subscribed to you. Apart from wanting your product, what else do they need? How can you teach, help, guide or inspire them?
In the world of marketing, it’s normal to think of our audience as people who may want to buy our product or service. Today, we’re encouraging you to think about these people from a different perspective. Who are they as people? What challenges do they have? You can create content that addresses and helps these challenges (rather than simply suggesting your products).
We’ve used Facebook today, but this isn’t the only place to build an audience. With a marketing database, the sole focus is on converting leads into sales. With this in mind, your audience forms the early-to-middle section of the sales funnel. At this stage, you want to inform people and help them to learn more about your industry.
You may have noticed a new problem—what happens when people move through the funnel? Do they leave the audience and join our marketing database? We tend to find that it changes depending on your strategy and customer.
Either way, we recommend having an owned media experience for each of the stages of the customer journey. Over time, the content will build, and you’ll cover the whole customer journey.
Finally, we cannot underestimate the value of storytelling and engaging an audience in a specific context. Reddit iw a platform that allows fans of TV series, video games and other hobbies to gather and have conversations. These people might not have anything in common, but they share a common interest. As a business, you need to be the point of focus around which others gather.
With this, you should now understand the difference between an audience and a marketing database. You should also know how to fix a Facebook custom audience and engage an audience in a way that isn’t all about selling. Good luck, we’re rooting for you!