What Does Your Audience Actually Want?

When every marketing decision comes back to your bottom line, it’s easy to focus on the things that create the biggest immediate results. That’s why so many email lists, blogs, and social media pages wind up being just a series of sales pitches.

It might also be why your audience is ignoring you.

Even brands with massive followings and established marketing channels struggle to reach their audience. If you’ve noticed your emails, ads, blog posts, and social efforts just aren’t working as well as they used to, it might be time to reassess what your audience actually wants–and what you’re delivering.

Are people getting value out of being on your email list?

Are your ads speaking to your personas, or just creating noise?

Are you making offers people are actually interested in?

Your target audience will respond best when you make offers and create content that actually adds value—rather than constantly making sales pitches. It’s one of the basics of content marketing, but it applies to your ads, landing pages, and virtually every place you communicate with your customers and leads.

Here’s how to make sure your audience sees your content as valuable.

1. Teach them how to solve problems

In most cases, people don’t really care about your product or service. They care about the problem it solves. Your ads shouldn’t just hammer your brand name into people’s brains—they should associate you with a solution to a problem.

Maybe it’s a problem that feels too big for them to have an impact on, like hunger, or poverty. Or maybe it’s a problem they still don’t really understand, like growing their church.

Your ads, content, and landing pages should revolve around the handful of challenges your audience faces, so that they’ll come to think of you as a way to fix those problems—and they’ll turn to you when they’re ready to resolve them.

Your emails, blog posts, and social media posts can add value by giving people other tools and tactics to address these problems—and smaller, related challenges, too.

Not everything you write has to point directly back to your product or service. In fact, it shouldn’t. But it should reinforce your position as a solution to your audience’s difficulties.

2. Show them how to reach their goals

On the flipside of problems, your audience has aspirations. These are the positive dreams and desires they have which may encompass solving problems, but go well beyond that.

Maybe they want to become a more effective ministry leader, develop a stronger relationship with Jesus, or help their children’s faith come alive.

Your Bible-study tools or faith-related films might directly relate to these aspirations, but if you really want to reach your audience, your content needs to frame your product or service within the context of these aspirations and goals, and you need to see that these dreams are bigger than your product.

If your content teaches your audience that you can help them reach their goals, they’ll be more receptive to hearing about how your product or service is part of their dream. But if you only use people’s aspirations to manipulate them into a sales pitch, your audience will have no problem tuning you out.

3. Give them gifts

People like free things. Especially when those free things help them overcome an obstacle or reach a goal. Hopefully, you’re developing a library of relevant lead magnets (ebooks, tools, infographics, and webinars) that showcase your expertise in unique, valuable ways.

But ads shouldn’t be the only place where you give people free things. If you periodically give your leads, followers, and customers things like lead magnets, coupons, add-ons, or trainings, it teaches them to look forward to hearing from you in the future.

Start giving people what they want

Even if your content is effective right now, it’s always good to step back and assess how well you’re meeting your audience’s needs.

Try looking at your last 10 ads, emails, and social posts. Are they all sales pitches? How many of them address a problem or a desire? Are any of them gifts? How many problems and goals did you speak into?

It’s never too late to start giving your audience what they want. But to do that, you have to understand who they are, and what you’re best suited to help them accomplish.