The 5 W’s of Your Brand’s Audience

The 5 W’s: who, what, when, where, and why (and don’t forget how!). The root of problem-solving. This technique has been used for years and across the world to look at a problem from multiple angles and lead you to a solution. Like any challenge, staring at a blank wall is the toughest place to be. Luckily, you don’t have to stare at a blank page to identify and understand your brand’s audience. Let’s break it down using the 5W’s.

Who is your audience?

The very first challenge in marketing is knowing WHO you’re speaking to – without this, your content and efforts will be for nothing. The most important thing to remember about prospects or customers that you’re trying to reach is that they are people – just like you, just like me. At Syrup, when we identify an audience for our clients at Syrup, we personify who we’re trying to reach. We give them a name, define what title they hold, who they work for, etc.

For example, one of our key audiences at Syrup is the owner of a small company. We’ve given the business owner a name (Owen) and a face, along with goals, fears, and relationships. 

To start this for yourself and define your target audience, look at the profile of your existing customers. What are the characteristics of the best ones and the ones that hold the highest lifetime value?

What do they care about?

To get a deeper understanding of your audience, it’s important to understand what they are interested in and what scares them. What drives their decision making? In order to determine this, think about the prospect as more than a number or a dollar sign. As cheesy as it sounds, remember: prospects are people, too.

Think about the problem your business solves and some of the frequently asked questions. The questions a person asks initially in the sales process normally gives insight into their concerns and fears.

Where do they go?

Where does your audience go to get advice and consume information? One way to unpack this digitally is to understand what social platforms your audience is active on.

Since you know the characteristics of your audience, this information is mostly publically available. Here are the latest stats about social audiences and characteristics of the users on the different platforms.

When and why do they need your service?

When is your audience most likely to be receptive to your message? This is a big component of creating a valuable message. Does your audience need your help during business hours or at certain times of the year?

By understanding when your audience needs you, you can tailor your message. Make it most effective when they need you and ensure you’re not bombarding them when they aren’t interested. To do this, look at the seasonality of your business as well as the seasonality of your customers’ businesses or lifestyles.

How will they reach you?

If you offer any type of in-home or in-person service, it’s likely your customers find you through Google and calling or contacting you directly from the search engine. Or, do your customers stay in touch via email or phone calls? Who in your company builds relationships with your customers? Looking at how customers reach you will ensure you’re there when they need you most.

Put yourself in your audience members’ shoes. Using these tools, you know who they are. When creating content – whether it’s an email, blog post, social post – ask yourself, “does audience x (give them a name!) care about this?” Also, is the content valuable to your audience? Ask yourself, “does this help audience x in their daily life?” By knowing WHO you’re trying to reach, you can ensure the way you speak to them is unique and valuable.

Jordan-Ann Schorch