As a professional service provider, are you actively engaging with your target audience online? If not, do you risk falling behind your competitors? And who is this online audience you’re expected to engage with? Which platforms do they hang out on? Why? And how can you get their attention?

Relying solely on industry expertise and reputation to attract clients is no longer enough. Here are three key steps you can implement today to define the audience you’ve spent all that time and money getting professionally qualified to help.

Step 1: Review the common characteristics of your current client base

Make a list of the clients that generate most of your revenue

What do these clients have in common? What are their typical age, education, income and other features? If you’re B2B, consider the demographics of the people you interact with in those businesses, and their KPIs, as well as the business itself, such as size and location.

If you’re a new business, or currently evolving away from your current client base because you and your business are growing or pivoting, do this same exercise using the demographics of your future ideal client.

Work out what they want

While demographics give some basic information about this audience, their psychographics will tell you how they tick. What do you know about their dreams, desires and aspirations?

Get clear about why these current clients come to you

What problem do you solve for your current clients? How did you help them? What mistakes are you helping them avoid or overcome? How are you saving them money, time and resources? How are you helping them become successful and thriving?

Step 2: Conduct voice of customer research

To be fair, I feel pretty uncomfortable asking my clients for feedback. It always feels a bit like…

“May we use up some of your valuable time to talk about me?”

(And for the high standard setters that we all are, there might always be that little niggle that we’ll receive negative feedback about our service. By the way, you already know it is far better to hear this and resolve it than to have them tell someone else about it. For this reason alone, get proactive about asking!)

The better mindset to get into is to make it worthwhile for your clients which mainly involves asking them for feedback the right way and asking them the right questions.

Periodic reviews

For ongoing clients, especially businesses, checking in with them periodically about their experience with you is an opportunity for a two-way conversation. Not only do you get to hear their feedback, you get to review pricing and service offerings going forward.

Testimonial requests

At the end of a project, you’ve solved the problem your client came to you with. So, allow them (and you) to bask in the success of what you’ve accomplished by working together.

Soloist expert Rochelle Moulton has five great questions to ask that result in great testimonials in her article “The Right Way to Ask for Testimonials”.

Independent market research

If you still don’t feel comfortable, or lack time, get someone else to conduct this research for you. An independent researcher may give your clients the freedom to speak more openly and provide richer feedback. For instance, if you plan to work with a copywriter, let them talk to some of your client base.

All the above forms of feedback help you understand your clients’ needs better. (They’re also a potential source of social proof that you can use in your content marketing.) Maybe most importantly of all, this feedback enables you to talk you clients in their own words, by reflecting their turns of phrase in the style of content you create.

Use analytics to gather insights about your current (and desired) audience

Google Analytics

If you haven’t activated Google Analytics on your website, stop reading this right now and go and do that straight away.

Even with the most rudimentary set up, Google Analytics has plenty of information about key events relating to your website’s performance. At best, you can set it up to track the specific metrics that are important to you.

For example, GA gives you oversight into which countries your website visitors are coming from, how they’re coming to you (e.g. via organic or paid search) and which pages they’re looking at the most.

Social Media Analytics

Most of the platforms have their own analytics available about who is engaging with you, how they are engaging with you and which of your posts do well. The data measured differs between platforms, but even so, it’ll help you work out who is on which platform, and what they want or expect from you.

It’ll help you decide which social media platforms are worth further time and resource investment.

Search Engine Optimisation

Keyword research helps you work out what your target audience is looking for online. If you know the questions they’re asking and phrases they’re using, you can create content that provides the insights and answers they’re after.

When conducting SEO research, take the opportunity to look up your competitors and see what their traffic is like and what keywords are helping them find visitors.

Neil Patel’s Website Traffic Checker is a (currently) free tool that enables you to check your own stats and ‘spy’ on your competitors. The information it provides about the keywords drawing visitors to you and to your competitors is especially useful.

Step 3: Create client avatars based on your research

Tips 1 to 3 have given you a lot of information about your current (and desired) audience. Rather than carry this round in your head or buried in the research you’ve collected, use it to document one or more avatars or personas that represent who you serve.


You remember who you’re talking to when you create your content

Your client avatars will help guide your marketing content, offers and business development. A living document of who they are provides a useful, easy refresher. By the way, it is perfectly fine to picture an actual real client in your head when you’re creating your content. Imagining them at the same table as you, having a conversation, is a perfect way to get the tone, pace and content just right.

Your team and other resources create aligned and consistent content

Beyond solo businesses, you’ll want to make sure your team and any contractors you use are focused on an agreed target audience. Documented client personas get everyone up to speed and keep them on track.

Bonus Step: Engage with your target audience

You’ve made it! Following tips 1 to 3, you now have rich detailed information about who your target audience is, where they hang out, what they’re asking about and how they’re finding you.

Now it’s time to do something with this information. You can build engagement with them in the following ways:

Develop a content marketing strategy

Develop a content plan, including topics, timing and platform, about where, when and how you’ll show up online. Consider what is manageable and affordable yet allows you to develop a high-quality consistent presence. Once established, consider the key performance indicators that best measure whether your content strategy is yielding the results you want. Remember to give it time, at least 3 months, say, to determine its effectiveness.

Have a process for social media engagement

It’s hard to build a social media presence without engagement. Define for you and your team how you want to engage, including outreach to build your following and responsiveness to inbound engagement. Have a plan for how to nurture potential clients, and what to do if you receive adverse or controversial comments. Put KPIs in place to assess the progress and value of your time and effort.


Online engagement can and should complement your offline marketing activities. Content marketing can reinforce your credibility, authority and social proof when you first meet potential clients in person.

Next steps to building your content strategy

Identifying and defining your target audience is the first step in building your online content strategy.

As a former auditor myself, I’ve combined my analytical skills with my copywriting skills to develop an SEO service that dives deep into exactly how you’re currently showing up online and the steps you can take to improve your online presence.

So, if you’re stuck in identifying your audience—it’s too vast or too niche—get in touch for a no-obligation chat that can get you growing again by optimising your online presence.

About Me

About Me


I’m Rananda, a Sydney-based writer and editor

With 25-plus years in corporate life, a financial background, a science education, and a lifetime of writing, I know there is more to starting and growing a loyal following than just the words on your website or saving that draft manuscript in a folder.

I bring comprehensive practical experience to supporting your writing needs.