Are You Talking To Your Audience Effectively?

how to talk to your audienceTalking to your audience in a manner that directly speaks to them and gets them to do what you are seeking of them plays an important role in your overall marketing plan. In advertising for each campaign, there is a clear message to the target market to connect with them emotionally through need or want. This emotional connection is what drives many to buy and continue to buy when the product or service meets or exceeds the expectations. Blogging is a bit different as brands are not developing a new commercial or print ad every day. When we think of blogging in this way, we have to look at the overall blog, the purpose of the blog and who is our audience and how we will effectively talk to our audience to get them to come back each day, read, comment, share and buy from us. This is an interesting dynamic that we do not hear much about.

Lifestyle of Your Audience

Talking to your audience effectively is having a clear understanding as to who they are, how they wish to be contacted and spoken to and how you fit into their lives. Mapping out a buyer persona is just the beginning as knowing who they are as far as the numbers (ie single mom, 1 child, owns home, household income under 100K). Their lifestyle and how they spend their time is most important to them. Are you there when they need you to be? Are you interrupting them when they are trying to get the kids off to school or making dinner when the kids are whining, “mom I am hungry, is dinner ready yet?” every 2 minutes? While there are numerous variables that we are unable to determine and foresee, there are some that we can look at and see where we are best suited to fit into their lifestyle.

Talking To and With Your Audience

Your audience needs to be spoken to in a way that is not only convenient but comfortable for them. They hold the purse strings and attracting their attention is not only golden but it is necessary. New bloggers feel this regularly as they try and infiltrate a very crowded space. Why should people read you when there are a million others to read? What makes you so great that they need to come back and support your blog and/or your company? The way in which you talk with them and not to them is what sets bloggers apart. Helpful and useful tips, how to problem solving, reassurance, issues of every day life, etc straddle the fine line of talking to and with. Talking to is generally associated with a one-way communication and traditional advertising where the brand sends out a message and we are expected to have that emotional connection and act. In blogging we are both talking to and with our audience. Talking to is the new visitors that find the article as they are seeking information, use the information to solve their problem and move on. This could lead to a purchase as we have all sat down and known exactly what we were looking for, found it, bought and wait for it to deliver (whether that be results or in the mail). Do we even remember the site’s name?

Now on the other hand, talking with is having that emotional connection and the article resonating with the readers for them to take some sort of action; even if that action is a different point of view. They remember and return. They have a connection with you that makes them be so compelled to subscribe, comment so as to associate themselves with you and return to see what you are saying next.

How to Talk Directly to Your Audience

Becoming your audience is one of the best ways to talk to and with. As a small business social media marketing agency I need to understand the challenges of small businesses and how many hats they wear each day and where their focus is. If I had a staff of 85 would we really understand the challenges of small businesses? Maybe but not very likely. Look at brands and their advertising and you can see how they speak to us by understanding and being us. They tend to be successful as they know our price point, they know their competition and the likelihood that we will buy the competitor if the price is more in our range, they know that for a mom with small children that when they point out that the lower priced laundry detergent has more water than cleaning agents that they will spend more to have the cleaning agents to ensure that their clothes are clean. Do college kids care more about cleaning agents or the price? Some buy what their moms or dads did but when on a budget and seeing that their friends are using something else and have more beer money, I am thinking that cleaning agent is not a big factor as really will their parents know that they used a different detergent? See how we can talk directly to our targeted audience?

Can Advertising Talk With Your Audience?

Advertising in the traditional sense has never been associated with talking with our audience. Social media marketing is changing that through the platforms where we can not only watch commercials online but we can also see or hear the spot and then connect online. Are the days of one way communication over? Could be. That pretty much quashes the notion that TV, Radio and print will be a thing of the past, right? Social media will not kill traditional advertising in the same way that television did not kill radio, that cable did not kill major networks. We can look at commercials and see how they have focused in on their target and are speaking to but with them as they understand the lifestyle better and who they are talking to. It is interesting as we are seeing more commercials that are taking on more what I call advertising to kids. Holiday ads for parents are a nightmare as the ads speak to the kids by showing them how the product works and how cool it is.

Have you also noticed where we are seeing ads that cater to adults showing how products work and making us want them as they are not only cool, they can be useful and connect with us on how we spend our free time? The Call of Duty, Black Ops has done just that. They have what is to be regular people, a woman in a suit, a woman in a more casual outfit, men in suits and jeans, celebrities – in other words attracting and speaking to people in their life as they know you all are playing their game so now upgrade to the Black Ops. Take a look:

They are not only showing who is playing their game, they are showing that you are not alone, that the person behind the code name may be a celebrity and that going to the next level is what everyone else is doing. They are driving sales without saying BUY THIS NEW GAME.
How are you talking to and with your audience? Do you have to do both?
photo credit: Tom Purves
  • Your Black Ops example reminded me of the dramatic shift we’re experiencing in videogames audience.
    While years ago videogaming was for the nerdy, secluded person favoriting being closed in-door for hours playing to going out with friends, nowadays videogames brands are pushing the image of a healthy family+friends playing together with the latest party-game console, be it xbox360+kinect or Ps3+Move or the Wii.
    The brands, in these case, understood the potential shift that was taking place and adapted their message from the hardcore kickass gamer to the party-game audience. That’s something that always makes me chuckle a bit.

    • Gabriele

      You are so right in that analysis. We see more and more where the commercials are family oriented or directly to the person as in Black Ops. The nerdy gamer that had the taped glassed and pocket protector is no longer associated with video games. I remember when Atari came out and how it was a bit of a novelty where we all had to have it and played it until we got bored and moved on. I have never really been a video game person though.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the shift from the nerdy gamer!

  • Your Black Ops example reminded me of the dramatic shift we’re experiencing in videogames audience.
    While years ago videogaming was for the nerdy, secluded person favoriting being closed in-door for hours playing to going out with friends, nowadays videogames brands are pushing the image of a healthy family+friends playing together with the latest party-game console, be it xbox360+kinect or Ps3+Move or the Wii.
    The brands, in these case, understood the potential shift that was taking place and adapted their message from the hardcore kickass gamer to the party-game audience. That’s something that always makes me chuckle a bit.

  • I really think you do a great job talking to your audience online. Think mot people want to just broadcast to their audience instead of talking. You really made me see the Call of Duty black ops effort from a different perspective.

    You brought a good point who better than a small business to teach other small businesses on how to communicate. But I think that reading this post can actually give small businesses an advantage of even teaching larger companies and/or large entities on how to talk to their audience.

    As a small business owner we really need to not lose communication with our community. Individuals like you Suzanne might be able to teach the big guys a lesson or two.

    • Raul

      Thank you for your kind words; always brings a smile to my face. I do agree that so many are taking the trad adv style and trying to bring that online. Talking with people who are new to or unsure about social media and explaining that you talk with people, build relationships that lead to customers is overwhelming and not something they really want to do as who has the time to talk with people who are not buyers. Interesting for us in social media but for the outsiders, we look a bit wacky.

      Small businesses have always talked to their customers. It has always been what has brought them back as the staff knows the names of the customers, they know what they generally order, in retail store types, the customer knows when a new brand is being carried, when the items in the store have been moved. It is that comfortable zone that people go into when they feel a part of something. It is hard to feel a part of larger chain retailer as the staff is new every other week, the merchandising is based upon what is the big push of the week and also the self checkouts (I do love them I admit) cut off interaction we may have had with an employee.

      Think of how many times we go into a store and never interact with an employee? Now the same can be said for online shopping as when we buy online, there is no interaction. We expect and accept that. Sometimes we want to run into a store, get what we need, go to the fastest check out and be gone and the thought of an employee approaching us is a bother. However, when we need that employee many times they cannot be found.

      Talking to your audience in person and online is different for a small biz – the big brands, well there is not that much of a difference … yet. They will have to spend some time learning and implementing this as once we do grow and become interactive viewers with tv, the big brands will get it more.

  • Pingback: Solid Tips For A Successful Long Term Business Campaign | Blogging Paradise()