Do you consider the learning styles of your target audience? No. Me neither. Until this week. As if there aren’t enough things to consider, learning styles are not typical.
Last week I started teaching a course at a local community college and decided to do a learning style assessment to help me get to know the students better. The results were fascinating – and telling.
Eight learning styles
- Verbal means words are your strong point. You prefer to use words both in speech and in writing.
- Visual is the use of pictures, diagrams, images, and spatial understanding to help you learn.
- Musical or Auditory is a preference for sounds or music or even rhythms to help you learn.
- Physical or Kinesthetic learners rely on the use of your hands, body, and sense of touch to help you learn, maybe even acting things out.
- Logical or mathematical means learning is easier if you use logic, reasoning, systems, and sequences.
- Social learners like to learn new things as part of a group. Explaining your understanding to a group helps you to learn.
- If you like to work alone, you are likely a solitary learner. You use self-study and prefer your own company when learning.
- And the last is a combination of any two or more of these styles.
Did you know that seeing a picture and listening to the message is 65% more efficient than just reading the text?Shared by Sandra Tournemille on LinkedIn
This quote is was spurred this line of thinking for me. What IF we did use learning styles as a filter for how we product content or develop programs for our brand?
How could we do that? Understanding HOW these learners actually learn may be a good place to start.
The verbal learner enjoys language, reading and writing. Using mnemonic devices, acronyms, diagrams can help them retain your message. Verbal learners also like to ask questions. If you are able to anticipate their questions and provide the answers, you may help them develop an interest in learning more about your brand, following you or using your service. This reminds me of the concept of “They ask, You answer” Marcus Sheridan wrote. If one person has a question that needs to be answered about your product or service, chances are there are more people seeking those answers too.
The visual learner prefers the use of images, maps, and graphic organizers to understand new information. This explains the popularity of the infographic – those are designed to support the visual learner. One of the study clues recommended for visual learners is to replace important words with symbols. Emojis are in our posts all the time.
Auditory learners understand content through listening and speaking, such as audiobooks and podcasts. You might even put webinars in there. No surprise that this is one of my preferred learning styles. Rather than just making a power point available to those who missed a presentation – provide it with narration. Videos will also help the auditory learner in your target audience. A jingle is another way to appeal to the auditory learners in your audience. Can you use a mnemonic in your messaging? Remember those are sentences or phrases that the first letters of the words connect back to the idea. Every good boy does fine – is a mnemonic for the notes on the lines of a treble clef.
Kinesthetic learners might be more challenging to reach through repurposed content but the use of real life examples, analogies, and case studies that allow them to understand how your product or service physically works may be helpful. Learners in this category enjoy the transformation process of taking information and building it into a project. Can you give them an experiment to do and give them a glimpse into what you mean or are sharing. These are the people who tap, swing their legs, bounce and, in general, cannot sit still. They learn through their bodies and their sense of touch. Appealing to those in your audience who are kinesthetic learners may need to be reached through your giveaways, or in the product you sell – especially if it is something hands-on, such as a pottery studio.
Logical learners rely on logic, reasoning and strategy to make sense of the information they receive. Cause and effect and simulation-type games appeal to their learning styles. The flow of the work necessary for your service to solve their problem would also be beneficial to the logical learner. Patterns, associations, and relationships help to maximize understanding. Cut the fluff, get to the point, and share it in a way that is sequential or follows a pattern – in other words, lose the BS.
Social learners, or interpersonal learner enjoy working in groups. Can you offer a program, a training or a mastermind as part of your brand? The social learner is going to be attracted to this. They thrive on sharing ideas and hearing the suggestions of others. Clubhouse is likely a great avenue to attract your social learners (though I can’t say that for sure since I’m an android user rather than Apple…. Someday, maybe).
And the opposite of a social learner is a solitary learner. Also known as an intrapersonal learner, they need quiet time in order to best process information and grasp concepts. You are not likely to find the solitary learner in a group coaching program or an active Zoom session – they might be lurking, observing, and listening but not actively participating. Making sure you have an abundance of content on your website or social platforms will help the solitary learner get the information they need about you before taking action to work with you or your business.
My guess is the social and the solitary learner is dominant in one or more of the other learning styles.
Your marketing is for your audience… not you
As you review your content strategy, think about how you can create content to appeal to these different learning styles. It is very likely you have a mix of all of these in your ideal target audience. It isn’t enough to believe that communicating in the way that works best for you – because it is the learning style you prefer – is going to also work for others.
Afterall, your marketing is not FOR you… it is for your audience. And meeting them where they were is going to be more effective than forcing them to meet you where YOU are.
Resources used in this episode:
- Study resources
- Individual Learning Styles and Learning to Code
- They Ask, You Answer, Marcus Sheridan
- Recognizing your ideal target audience (The Pursuit of Purpose podcast)
- Who’s your target audience? (The Pursuit of Purpose podcast)
- My own target audience challenge (The Pursuit of Purpose podcast)
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