Are you using any strategies to reach your target market? Maybe a better first question is do you really know who your audience is and what they care about? We’re not talking about buyer personas or demographic data (still important, but not always the real driving factor). We’re talking about the most influential people who matter to your brand. Who are these people? What do they want to see, hear, and learn? What do they contribute to the community?
A few years ago, we started interviewing business owners and community advocates, covering pivotal moments when an event or experience dramatically shifted the direction of their story and what it means to them to function as a business, especially in today’s digital world. We found these discussions fascinating, so we started talking to more local entrepreneurs and exploring their plot twists, the pain points that led them to start their businesses, and their thoughts on marketing and communications.
You see, face-to-face communication always nets the most valuable information. Interviews minimize distractions, eliminate groupthink, and foster deep thought.
For our team, we were experiencing first-hand how businesses were thinking and what they liked (and didn’t like) about partnerships or clients they worked with. It gave us direct insight into how they made business decisions.
Not only that, it reminded us as a company that we are not our target market. We needed to keep perspective and look outside ourselves with marketing strategies. Interviewing gave us a fun but practical perspective that allowed us to better tailor our services and offerings to our future clients.
Benefits of Conducting Interviews
When it comes to impact, your small business’s marketing and communications will only succeed if you tell the right stories to the right people. That means understanding who you are speaking to and what matters to them. That’s where interviewing comes into play. Here are some of the biggest benefits you can expect to see from engaging in this medium.
1. 360 View of Your Business
Interviewing other business leaders provides a 360-degree view of how your organization is perceived. It’s all too easy for organizations to develop their own ideas about how they are seen by others. Without the input of external audiences, these impressions are little more than self-perceptions. They may contain kernels of truth, but they aren’t complete. Target audience interviews allow outsiders to offer their perspectives on your brand and can also shed light on gaps.
2. Deeper Audience Understanding
Interviews help you gain a much deeper understanding of the people or groups who are impacted by or support your brand. They give you fresh insights into why certain people feel connected to your business and story. In addition, they clarify the values and motivations behind specific connections.
3. Engaging in Conversations
Interviewing your customers or community partners in person allows you the unique opportunity to engage one-on-one. You’re able to ask follow-up questions, probe for deeper answers, and gather incredibly substantial insights. In-person interviews also allow you to capture the interviewees’ raw emotions and behaviors better than any other method.
4. Discovery of New Directions
Conducting interviews allows you to gain unique insights into what your customers or potential clients are looking for in your line of work. It could be as simple as a trustworthy friend or as complex as a group of well-respected business leaders. This information should be invaluable to your brand, especially if patterns develop after multiple interviews.
5. Learn the Language
If you don’t work in a client-facing role on a regular basis, then you might not be as familiar with the language and vocabulary they’re using. If you use business jargon or highly technical language, they might not understand what you’re talking about. Interviews are a great chance to learn how your audience speaks so you can communicate with them more effectively.
6. Network Growth
Word-of-mouth marketing continues to be one of the most effective ways to grow a brand. Not only do interviews allow you to grow your network, but they establish a deeper level of trust between you and the person you are interviewing; thus making them more likely to expose you to their personal networks in the future. In conclusion, it also allows you to identify new audiences you never even thought about in the past.
By talking with the most influential people in your brand, you have the opportunity to really learn from them and what they want to see and hear. You’ll learn what they read and share online, and how they engage with your competitors. From these interviews, you’ll be able to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about what they go through on a daily basis, and then frame your content marketing in a way that resonates with your target market.