Am I Getting Through to You? — Five Simple Steps to Reach Your Ideal Target Audience

What good is a great product, an appealing marketing message, and outstanding customer service if you aren't talking to the right people?  The answer is … not much.  

Remember: great marketing is reaching the right people with the right message at the right time.  

A fire needs three things to survive: fuel, oxygen, and heat.  For your marketing to catch fire, you need the right message, the right audience, and the right timing.  

Let's talk about the most important yet elusive of those three elements today: reaching the right audience.  In a lot of ways, the audience element is foundational to developing solid strategies for the other two elements.  Once you know who you're talking to, it makes it easy to know what to say to them.  And once you know what channels are effective to reach your audience, it makes the timing element, well, a matter of time.  

So how do you know if you're reaching the right people?  Where do you find them?  Once you have their attention, how do you get them to purchase?  These are the sorts of questions you should be asking — we'll aim to answer them here today.  Of course, if you have additional questions or want to talk specifics, feel free to reach out to us.

Let's get started.  

1 – Do Your Research

We are constantly surprised at how often this critical first step is overlooked.  So many marketers make the rookie mistake of marketing to themselves.  “I'm in the age bracket that enjoys this product,” they say, foolishly, to themselves.  “I'm the kind of person who would buy this product — heck, that's why I started this company in the first place.  I know what people like me like and where they go online to find it.  Marketing is going to be a snap.”  And then they waste a bunch of money marketing to themselves and see zero returns on their investment.  

Don't fall into this trap.  And don't fall into the trap of marketing to everyone “because everyone needs our product!”  Make this your marketing mantra: market to few, sell to many.  If you hone your targeting to a core group of people, you'll definitely get your targeting right and then others who may not necessarily fall into those demo- or psychographics will self-select and purchase.  It's a tried-and true strategy that will save you time, money, and a whole lot of headaches.  

Start with your own customer data if you have any, including Google Analytics and purchasing data.  If you don't have those or not very much data from those sources, enlist the help of a service like Wonder to get specifics about the people who buy products and services like yours.  Ask them to break down your audience by geographics, demographics, and psychographics.  You'll be amazed at the nuggets of insight you mine from this exercise.  

The research you do is like the foundation of a house: if you breeze through it to get to the “fun” part of marketing, your strategies will be dilapidated and eventually fall apart.  But if you take your time and make sure it's done correctly, the rest of the process becomes much easier and you won't have to go back and redo your work later.

2 – Find the Watering Holes

Now that you've done your research and you know — confidently, empirically — who you're talking to, it's time to figure out where these people spend their time.  There is no end to the amount of data available on this so, again, if you did your job in the research phase, this should be a breeze.

We'll talk more about this in a bit, but make sure you're thinking holistically about how to reach these people.  (Hint: an all-digital or an all-traditional marketing approach probably isn't the answer — mix it up!)

Use as many sources as you can to get a complete picture of where you should focus your marketing efforts.  Sources like Pew Research, Statista, and publications like Business Insider are a great place to start.  

Once you've narrowed down a list of three to five top channels, you can start putting your marketing strategy together. 

3 – Take a Multi-Channel Approach

Marketers will often hear of a hot, new advertising platform or strategy and want to go all-in on that tactic.  But, like a game of roulette, you can lose big as often as you win big when you put all your chips on one tactic.  That's why we always recommend a multi-channel approach, especially when clients are making their first big marketing push.  

There are a few reasons this approach works better than an all-in.  For one, it gives you an opportunity to test several channels without the stakes being too high.  If, after two or three months, you see that one platform is under-performing, you can move funds from that platform to another that is performing well.

For another, you can reach your audience in a variety of ways and places, so they're seeing your messaging wherever they go.  If they feel bombarded on Facebook and Instagram and don't see you anywhere else, it becomes much easier to mute or ignore your ads there and then you've lost them completely.

The other thing is you can (and should) modify your messaging based on the platform.  Your billboard ads should take a different angle than your social ads and your video ads, while still complementing your overall campaign strategy.  

Note, however, that this is not a “shotgun”, scatter-fire approach.  It is highly-targeted, highly-specific marketing  that engages your audience on multiple fronts.  This isn't a “throw it all at the wall and see what sticks” approach; you've done your research so you know what should work.  

4 – Create Appealing Content

You know who you're talking to.  You know where to reach them.  Now you need to create content that appeals to your audience and entices them to engage with you.  Too often marketers will flood their “organic” channels — social media feeds and blog posts especially — with asks.  “Take advantage of this deal!” or “Five new products you need to try!” or “Sign up for our webinar today!”  It's fine to have that sort of messaging every once in a while, but the core strategy needs to be centered on providing meaningful, engaging content for your audience on a consistent basis.  

When it comes to your content, your audience is asking the same question you ask of your employees and vendors: “What have you done for me lately?”  If you're providing useful, interesting content on a regular basis, they will trust you and be more inclined to bite when you do put a sales message out there.  If you're constantly asking them to sign up for things or buy things or even share things on their social media, you will turn them off and they will walk away.  

The solution: build a content strategy and then execute that strategy consistently.  Make a list of topics surrounding your product or service that you can write on authoritatively.  Find angles to make those topics applicable to the core audience or audiences you're trying to reach.  Create content for the platforms which your audience frequents.  And yes, this can include graphics, memes, short videos, white papers, blogs, testimonials… if it's right for your audience and the platform, make it happen — and get creative!  

5 – Be Consistent

We mentioned this above, but one of the most important — and most difficult — tasks in reaching your audience is consistency.  If you post two or three things one week and then nothing for a month or two, you're doing it wrong.  You need to become a consistent, authoritative voice that your audience comes to rely on for useful information.  

Save yourself the headache of scrambling at 3:00pm on a Friday to get something ( — anything!) out to your audience.  Use automated content marketing platforms like Hootsuite (social) and Autopilot HQ (email) to schedule your content delivery ahead of time.  Scheduled, coordinated launches will make your data analysis process much smoother as well, since you'll know when each piece of content dropped.  This will make identifying spikes in lead activity and, ultimately, sales that much easier.  

Conclusion

Feel a little (or a lot) better-equipped to engage with your audience in a meaningful way?  There are a lot of steps, but when you zoom out and look at the big picture, it really is quite simple.  Start with thorough research, identify the right channels, select several of the best channels, build content to reach your audience through each, and then execute your plan with consistency.  

Getting the engine running can be a little daunting, but once it's up and spinning, it's a perpetual motion machine.  If you need help getting started or diagnosing where your audience-targeting strategy may have gone wrong in the past, send us a note and we'd be happy to chat.  [CTA LINK {email@inclinemarketing.com} ]

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