Out With the Old In With the New

Given the current state of many businesses in Pittsburgh today, attempting digital marketing/advertising is not a new concept by any means, but if done correctly a small business can now effectively compete with large companies simply by finding their target audience. Also known as identifying your North Star.

Business owners and marketers do research (consisting of reading a couple of blogs post from some unknown website) and then they venture into dabbling in online marketing and advertising, trying every channel available, even attempting to combine it with their traditional efforts.

There have been countless attempts at social media, specifically Facebook. You’ve even inserted the pixel needed to capture user data. Maybe you’ve attempted to upload email addresses or phone numbers of current clients to create your “lookalike audience” within Facebook’s dashboard all the while thinking, “How can I go wrong with a lookalike audience?”

Some, on the other hand, attempt to optimize their site in the hopes of gaining organic stability by meticulously updating meta-data and inserting keywords for Google bots to crawl and users to search. You even add an option for users to sign up for a newsletter. A newsletter sign-up option is a popular tactic these days, but it can be ineffective if not positioned correctly.

The next and most popular channel of choice is, AdWords. After testing the waters, you eventually throw in the towel, because the platform and data prove to be too much to get a handle on or you simply don’t have enough time in the day to maintain your ads. But, this is only after losing a few hundred or for some, a few thousand dollars.

You complete all these tasks, work tirelessly, and try any new tactic that comes your way, just to HOPEFULLY show up in search results and then… nothing happens. But why?  You used every channel available and even optimized your site for Google only to be left scratching your head wondering where you went wrong.

If you’re currently doing this, have done this or even requested that your marketing team try this, then it’s time to stop the madness and finally start practicing smart-marketing.

Let’s Get Started! 

My friends, it’s important to understand that digital marketing and advertising is not a sprint it’s a marathon (sorry for the mundane analogy) and like any race, there is a starting line. In this race, if you cheat, (knowingly or not) then you have already lost. The best part about this so-called race is that you can start over and still win!

So, let’s finally make our way to the starting line! Below, you will find a few tips and tools that will help gather data on your users and competitors. Remember, the goal of all preliminary research is to understand your users’ behaviors and properly catalog and organize them so when the time comes, you can release your custom strategy that will make every user feel important to your business because after all, they are.

With a clearly defined target audience, it’s much easier to determine where and how to market your company. The information gathered will be used to formulate a marketing and advertising machine leaving you with an effective and efficient strategy. From there, your job will be to nurture your machine so it remains up-to-date as your company and your industry matures and changes. In addition, you can use the current data you have collected in Google Analytics as a jumping off point.

Tips & Tools to Gather Data for Finding Your Target Audience

Review Your Current Customer Base. 

Who are your current and former customers? Why did/do they buy from you specifically? Look for common denominators, meaning characteristics and interests. Which of these denominators brings in the most business? It’s very likely that other people like them could also benefit from your business, too.

With all this talk about new customers, don’t forget about up-selling your current customers.

Check out your competition.

Research the type of clients your competitors target and make a list of their customers. This information is usually accessible on your competitor’s website or they have engaged with them on their social platforms. If you look at their site review the case studies they have available or recent projects they have posted. You might need to dig a little to find this information, but it’s worth it in the long run. The trick with this tactic is not to necessarily go after the same market unless that is, you have a value proposition that will dominate the market. If that’s the case, then, by all means, go after them.

Ultimately, you want to find and capitalize on a niche market that they are overlooking. The goal here is to take advantage of their low-lying fruit.

Analyze your product/service

Create a list of each feature of your product or service. Beside each feature, list the benefits it provides. For example, a software company offers a high-end product that logs the activity on projects that are being executed. The benefit is a professional way to keep companies organized and running effectively and efficiently saving them time and money on each project. A professional cost-saving solution will attract more customers because they see the company as trustworthy, knowledgeable and customer facing.
Once you have listed your benefits, make a list of people who have a need for your benefit. This same software company could choose to target on-going, service-based businesses interested in saving money and increasing efficiency. While this is still a bit general, you now have a base to start from.

Choose specific audience to target.

Figure out not only who has a need for your product or service, but also who is most likely to buy it. Think about the following factors:

  • Age
  • Education level
  • Marital or family status
  • Occupation
  • Ethnic background
  • Gender
  • Income level
  • Education level

Consider the psychographics of your target audience.

Psychographics are the more detailed personal characteristics of a person. It’s important to determine how your product/service will fit into your target’s lifestyle. Keep in mind how and when your target will use the product/service so you can integrate this into your content or photos that you will use throughout your digital marketing strategy.

Ask yourself a few questions to get started. What features are most appealing to your target audience? How can they be integrated into your strategy? What media does your target turn to for information? The answers to these questions can then be used to help you syndicate your content or branded photos/ads in the right places for your target audience to consume.

Here’s a quick list of psychographic characteristics to consider:

  • Personality
  • Attitudes
  • Values
  • Interests/hobbies
  • Lifestyles
  • Online Behavior

Now that you have gathered all this information you can start to layout your digital marketing strategy. Stay tuned, we will be breaking down what your strategy should look like and the next steps you should take to execute your strategy in the coming weeks.


Here at Flying Cork, our SEO and Analytics team switched to using Google Tag Manager to implement various tags, utilities, and platforms on the websites and analytics accounts we create and manage, rather than placing codes in their respective places directly into the HTML. Since we switched over to the tag manager method, simple implementations and coding tasks have become so much faster and easier. I’ve started questioning how I ever lived without GTM. I’m convinced that everyone with a marketing plan should implement Google Tag Manager on their site!

Here are my top five reasons why:

  1. It’s easy for non-developers to understand. If you don’t have a background in Javascript coding, implementing in-line event tracking or other tags can get confusing or overwhelming … and sometimes it may just not work. With Tag Manager, you can skip the Javascript for most tracking tasks. You don’t need to add lines to the Analytics code or manually add event tracking snippets. Instead, you set up these same tags through a user-friendly interface that feels more like software than frontend coding.
  2. It saves time and resources. Once your web team has placed the GTM code snippet on your site, you’re ready to roll – solo. You don’t have to harass your developers or clients for simple things like changing out pixels or adding event tracking (most of the time). You can run tests and install utilities without needing login credentials or CMS access. After you’ve set up your tags, triggers and variables, you can test right in the browser, clearly see what’s firing, and troubleshoot what’s broken until you get it right. With a plain old Analytics implementation, you may have to get a developer to place the code, then push it to a dev site, where you can test the results in real time. If the tags don’t work, you go back to the developer, make changes and repeat the process. With Google Tag Manager you can stop making simple tasks a multi-person effort. Sure, every now and then you’ll come across a utility that isn’t supported by or compatible with GTM; in that case, you’ll have to get the snippet coded on to the page. But for the most part, you’ll be able to handle a lot more on your own. You can get your pixels up and running with little to no downtime.
  3. It makes tracking a breeze. Want to see how many people are clicking a specific button? Need to trigger virtual pageviews for your goal funnels? What about setting up cross-domain tracking? Google Tag Manager makes this process practically foolproof: There’s no need to alter the Analytics tag or write event tracking codes. You can easily remove these functions, too. You can find events and triggers a lot easier in a Tag Manager container than in code, and get an at-a-glance idea of what tags you have running and where—provided you’re keeping things organized!
  4. There’s a ton of support documentation out there to help you get started, so you’ll never be lost. If you don’t know how to implement a tag or push certain kinds of information to Google Analytics, chances are you’ll be able to find a detailed step-by-step tutorial with a simple search. You can find tons of free, custom Javascript shared by tracking experts to do things like track page scrolling or video plays. The resource that really got me hooked on GTM was Google’s Tag Manager Fundamentals course, which offers a detailed overview of crucial Tag Manager concepts that you’ll use daily; this is stuff that can apply to almost any site.
  5. It can help introduce you to more complex concepts, ultimately making you more well-rounded and tech-savvy. One of the things I love about Analytics in general is that the skills you learn are incredibly buildable—once you understand one thing, it’s easy to segue that knowledge onto something deeper. Tag Manager has helped me dig into things like understanding the data layer, grasping how information moves from the webpage to Analytics, and getting a better understanding of Javascript. I know I’ve said over and over that you don’t need to have a coding background for GTM, but it has inevitably exposed me to a technical side of tracking that I used to depend on developers to carry out. But with GTM, it’s presented through a more right-brained approach, which definitely makes it easier for the less technical among us to comprehend.

Honestly, this just touches the surface of my deep, deep love for Tag Manager, but for anyone who’s just starting out or thinking about giving it a try, hopefully this gives you the push you need to get going. With its amazing flexibility for general analytics maintenance and overall marketing strategy implementation, there’s really no reason to wait any longer!