Choosing Your Audience Without Apologies

choosing audience without apologies Choosing your audience without apologies is traditional advertising of tv, radio and print as these spots tend to reach the watchers of a certain show, magazine/newspaper or station and not necessarily those that would ever purchase. This holds true on the web as well with sites that have ads that reach the target market and then some who are viewers of the site but do not fit the exact target of the ad. Sure, we look at the numbers provided by the media outlets and strategically place ads based upon the demographics provided by them and see where our target is there and bam, we place and run. There is always an audience that is not the target and some may become and for others, the spot is falling on deaf ears. That is the nature of traditional advertising as regardless of how technology betters, we can never solely attract our target audience. Do we need to apologize for this? No. We have become accustomed to receiving advertising messages that are not for us. Sometimes we listen or sometimes we do not. Advertisers hope we do as they just want a return on their investment.

No Apologies

Discount retailers who are targeting a certain segment never apologize for having discount merchandise or attracting for new customers. They never apologize for not having the size scale or ample amount of merchandise that a non discounter has. They lure us in by giving us merchandise that is sold at a lesser price, which gives us more to enhance our lives in family time and enjoying the opportunity to have new things. They embrace living on a budget and exploit it. They are not trying to make the wealthy like them or dislike them, they are honing in on their target market through targeting them in the moment and creating the story for them and never apologizing for creating the “good life on a budget” story.

Bloggers do not apologize for the reach they get when their article is retweeted. Actually, we thank people for sharing. We apologize if someone does not like our writings but never apologize for the new set of eyes. If we apologize for the new audience then we are making a crucial error as our business model will be flawed. Yes, we need to map out our target market but there has to be a path to growth and expansion. Build your blog community and company by understanding and directly talking/selling to your core audience to create brand loyalty but also be mindful of the larger audience that may not know of your existence. There is no apologies needed to build a stronger business and attracting new customers to help enhance their lives. There are no apologies needed when we are gaining attention for what we believe in and want others to believe in (unless of course it is destructive in nature and sets out to cause  harm). Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ are not apologizing for attracting new people in drones. They are not apologizing to those that choose not to pay any attention to them. Why should other advertisers? Why should we have to apologize if our message is received by someone who would never buy? They make us by lashing out and we are compelled to, to protect the reputation and integrity of the blog/the company.

Creating the Apology

Creating the apology is done when when a tweet or an ad goes bad and people swarm all over it. This is more than people listening, it is where people are listening and reacting. The more popular the negativity becomes, the more attention that is given and people start listening to what you are saying in your apology. Many times this is people who may have never heard of us. This starts to snowball and while it can spiral out of control, it can also attract some new eyes and broaden your audience. No apologies here for bringing awareness so long as it has a positive outcome. When the awareness brings in negativity from the new audience and it continues to linger in the media, it can be damaging. We saw this with Ragu with saying men are incapable of cooking a family meal as that is a woman’s job. They were empowering women as the queen of the kitchen and not apologetic for dissing men who are the king of the kitchen. While we can all appreciate empowering people through advertising for them to relate to the product and the story it is telling to persuade them to buy but when it lends itself to the stereotypes, it starts to turn off certain audiences. Was this damaging enough to Ragu to hurt sales or was it just one select target market that had their attention and it was ignored by their loyal customers who championed them for supporting women with all that they do each day with work and caring for the family?  Competitors had a new target market opened up to them with those that were outraged and certainly were not apologetic to attract this new target.

Do We Ever Need To Apologize When Choosing Our Audience?

Do we need to apologize when we miss the mark? Missing the mark happens where the targeting starts to get broader and we generalize. We select certain criteria about  our target market and hit up those that meet the criteria. There is no way of ever knowing exactly if every single person we are targeting meets all the criteria so we run that risk of pissing someone off. If Hanes started inundating me with mens’ boxers emails, tweets, etc (and while I love Jordan), and I never clicked on, responded or bought, I would get annoyed. I would recognize that they are reaching out to women who would buy for their significant other and while the lil man loves his boxers,  I am not in the market for mens’. Would they need to apologize for targeting me? If I said publicly said something in a tweet I would think they would and remove me from their target list (while adding me to the boys targeting efforts) but do they really need to apologize? They generalized that women, especially of a certain age, with child(ren) would be buying for their man and they may attract new customers with this generalization. Do they need to apologize to me because while I fit MOST of their criteria, I do not fit all (in this scenario, the biggest part)? I do not think so.

When I purchased ONE Giants shirt years ago as a gift and was still getting direct mail and emails to buy more when I bought a ridiculous amount of JETS merchandise from the same company, I was concerned. How can a company continue to send out direct mail and emails that never get opened? I suppose that this is a topic for another post but for right now, do they need to apologize for clogging up my email or my mailbox? I purchased an item so I was added to their targeted list. They had no idea that I would not buy more Giants merchandise. But year after year when the emails went  unopened and offers in direct mail never were acted upon, they should have gotten the hint. Did they need to apologize? No. They just needed to review the information better. This is being lazy and growing the numbers and not paying attention to the buying habits. Maybe they need to apologize for that. Hmh. That would be something. If a company came out and issued a formal apology for not paying attention to the buying habits of people and continued to email them as if they were a regular buying customer (and not creating marketing messages geared to decrease attrition). In other words, we were lazy and did not pay attention and we will improve that. Interesting concept and again probably best flushed out in another post.

When we are targeting with intent to expand upon our audience and improve customer conversion we do not need to apologize unless we offend an entire group. Mistakes happen. Outside of a bad mistake, we are targeting and reaching them to let them know we exist. We are trying to create awareness and the potential customers’ story by identifying the opportunity to buy and fulfill a need or want. It is right here in front of them with the underlying message to trust and act now and buy. Again no apologies for that. It is business and they key word in the headline is choosing. We do have a choice to target them or not.

Thoughts? Do we ever need to apologize for choosing our audience?

photo credit: Arenamontanus

7 Powerful Ways To Hit Your Niche Audience

 

 

A few year ago, my local sports channel, the one I watch my poor Cleveland Indians on, started doing something kind of neat, maybe to distract themselves from the games they had to present. When different batters would come up, the announcers would bring up a graphic showing where the hitter tended to direct the ball. They would show percentages. Maybe the hitter hits 75% of his hits to left field, just 3% straight on to center, and 20% to right field. It’s interesting to see how different hitters approach the intricacies of baseball. Some hitters are clearly okay spraying the ball all over the field, while other hitters, well, it’s clear they have a sweet spot.

In marketing, the same holds true. Some companies seem okay spreading their marketing messages over as wide an audience as possible. Other companies, though, have a sweet spot, a target that they want to hit more than any other. Whether your business thrives on reaching people in your locale or whether your business depends upon people in certain industries, it can be a challenge to try to reach out *just* to those people who mean most to you.

With that in mind, here are 7 powerful ways that to reach your niche audience.

1. The Press Release: I know that a lot of people in the Social Media world have consigned the press release to death. However, if done well, a press release can accomplish a lot for marketers trying to reach a precise target. A press release can be sent to publications that reach just that audience. A press release can speak directly to the people who mean most to you. If you make sure that your press release utilizes a lot of important keywords that are relevant to your niche, you can also show up well in organic search results. Press releases are advantageous too because they often do not represent huge marketing investments. Pack a lot of punch for not a ton of money – pretty good deal, right?

2. Become a news anchor: One thing people are constantly attracted to online are sources of reliable information. It can take awhile to build your credibility and your reputation, but if you can situate yourself so that you are a strong source of industry or local updates, your targeted audience will learn to depend upon you and view you as an invaluable resource. Don’t limit this tactic to Twitter. Think about groups you can form on LinkedIn, updates you can make to your Facebook page, and more.

3. Make it seem like you’re everywhere: When you are trying to reach a small group of people, your resources do not need to go towards efforts that would give you a lot of attention and bandwidth, as tempting as those channels are. When you are trying to reach that target audience, you need to be everywhere they go. If a lot of people in your niche blog, work on becoming a really strong blogger. If your prospects and customers tend to gravitate towards newspapers and publications, find out what the favorites are and be strong there. Wherever someone in your niche goes, they should find you.

4. Be a person: One advantage of marketing to a smaller group is that you can actually spend time and resources putting faces to the names, and they, likewise, can get to know you. Think outside the box. How can you make people feel like they know you, or that you are talking directly to them? Talking to people on Twitter is a great way to accomplish this. Adding vlogging as an element to your blog lets people in your audience see your face and hear your voice. Mentioning key members of your audience in a blog post or in an e-newsletter builds a lot of loyalty. Think outside the box. Make it person-to-person.

5. Do the trade shows: Some people may argue that Social Media is negating the need for live events. However, when you are trying to reach a smaller group of people, what can be more memorable than a face-to-face, real-time, live conversation, including hand shakes and maybe a pat on the shoulder? What you can do at live events is take your Social Media etiquette with you. Use your presence at the show to meet with people who are important to you. Address their concerns. Ask them questions about how things are going for them. Don’t be an in-your-face salesperson. If you are present at a lot of events over a few years, people will even begin to search you out so that they can talk to you in person. This is how relationships can be solidified.

6. Listen for your cue: Perhaps one of the most unappreciated advantages of the new online world is that we can actually listen to people who represent our target audience. Using tools like Google Alerts, search.twitter.com, and Facebook search, we can seek out people who are asking the questions we want to answer or who are talking about problems that we can solve. If you handle these situations with appropriate grace and etiquette, you will find that not only are you winning customers in exactly the niche that you are shooting for, but you’ll also find that they will be extremely loyal to you and your brand. Why? They had a problem, and you helped them solve it, whether it was via your own products and services or via another reliable source. Remember, just like you want to be a human in your marketing, you must remember that all of your customers are individual humans, too.

7. Stay on message whatever you do: The most important thing, when you have a very specific group of people that you are trying to reach with your marketing message, is to have a message and stick to it. Everyone in your audience should understand what you can offer, what they can expect, and why you are there. Take the time to make sure that your direct mail piece is a reflection of your website. Make sure that your social media campaign reflects your monthly e-newsletter. If you are everywhere but have a different message for each place you go, you are not doing your audience or yourself any favors.

Now it’s your turn

What other ways are there to reach out to a specific group of people? This only skims the very tip of the iceburg, so I’d sure love to hear your input!

This guest post is brought to you by Margie Clayman of Clayman Advertising. She brings a new, fresh and very insightful perspective on advertising and social media regularly over at MargieClayman.com and always great conversation on Twitter at @MargieClayman.

Image credit: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/kwschenk

What Does Your Audience Want to Hear?

what does your audience want to hearYour audience/target market looks to you and comes back to you for answers. They support your blog because you consistently feed them with information that they find valuable that and can use themselves or share. Is that a true measure of telling them or giving them what they want to hear? Sometimes we can equate that but others are we so sure? Popular bloggers get retweeted regularly, up and comers are more of a hit and miss. Great post, massive retweets and traffic, but do they return? Is the true measure of gauging what your audience wants to hear through how they react through retweets, shares to show an impact as influence or is it through sales? Do they co-exist?

Your Audience Wants Answers

We all want answers. We seek them out, we wait patiently (or impatiently and share that impatience) but we need the answers to satisfy our need. Our needs vary from day to day or even hour to hour and many times minute to minute. We need to eat when we are hungry, we need to warm up when we are cold, we need to fix something right now so we can move on to the next problem that needs fixing. Your audience wants answers and will seek the answer from whomever is willing to give what satisfies them. Is satisfying one problem begging answers to another one? Are we able to see that and tackle it before they go elsewhere?

How Do We Know What Our Audience Wants to Hear?

Do we always know what our audience wants to hear? In blogging and also in traditional advertising we are trying to grab their attention and hold it long enough for them to establish that emotional connection to really hear our message and take action. Traditional advertising the action was simple … buy, tell your friends, buy more, become a brand loyalist and also a brand ambassador. The underlying message was to for people to buy. In blogging or expand that to social media marketing, the action is not so cut and dry. Yes we want them to buy but we also want them to share through telling friends, share to an open and various platforms, comment openly, return to support the efforts and at some point trust enough to buy. Not to dissimilar to traditional advertising but yet oh so different. The message in traditional advertising was not as frequent. Each day there is not a new ad promoting something new but in blogging we are writing something new each day or every few days.

In blogging or social media as a whole, are we giving too much or not enough for what they need to hear to pull the trigger to buy? Do they not trust us or do they trust the ad in the local paper more? Are they more compelled to buy from the ad as the message is very clear – x offering at x price. Is that what they are seeking and we as bloggers are missing that and spinning our wheels to create relationships that are beating around the bush and avoiding what they want to hear?

How Do We Answer?

We answer based upon what is successful for us. I write a post about Facebook, whoa, the traffic is through the roof. Fantastic, but is there a lead, a return visit the next day (sure if I write about Facebook). As a marketer am I answering the questions of the small business owner who is looking for guidance as to how to incorporate social  media into their marketing plan? Not likely. The traffic is a boost no doubt but am I answering the questions of my target market to have them delve into other articles, see where the agency can help and nudge them over to the contact page so they can take the first steps in hiring?

When we answer based upon our success is that really answering? To that immediate audience and those that become clients/buyers I would have to say yes. But what about to those on the fence? Are we persuading them through our communications to really answer what they want us to answer? We know that as we climb the ladder of newbie, to a bit established to growing to success we feel we are answering what our audience wants to hear as our popularity rises, generally our sales increase and we are set.

When We Fail

I truly believe that if we do not fail, we cannot be very successful. Failure is to me scalable as if we are vying for that bigger client and we are not awarded, we learn. Sure, we failed but yet we were able to gain access to something bigger and how we accept and adapt is what makes us even more successful. Coming on the heels of the worst loss for my beloved NY JETS since 1986,we want answers as to how this game that was pumped to be such a great game was pretty much over in the 1st quarter. We want the coach to say we sucked, we were completely ineffective in all areas of the game and how we have no excuses for 3 Int’s and how we will improve on Sunday. Some want him to say the competition was better. While on this night they may have been but in business we would rather eat nails than say our competition was/is better. The competition may have had a great campaign that was better than what you had but is their brand stronger or is yours? Way different mindset that we can establish to a business than to a team. (Of course a team is a business but the performance levels are different).

What do you think, do you have to tell your audience what they want to hear? Do you even know what they want to hear? After many years in the biz, do I know?

The comments are yours so have at it.

photo credit: emdot

What Are You Saying to Your Audience?

what are you telling your audienceYour audience/target market will pay attention to you when you speak directly to them and evoke some sort of an emotional connection. The emotional connection starts when you persuade them to listen long enough for them to develop a brand image which you hope is in the positive. Some may have been pre-exposed to your brand though products themselves via listening stations of online chatter or from friends. While this could be shed in a positive light, it is being provided to them from the brand image that has been developed by the people they are listening to. We know if it is our kids, it is the best thing ever and the must have. If all marketing were only that easy.

Purpose of Your Message

The purpose of your message is to create that emotional connection through a positive brand image to compel them to act. The act is to buy, donate, refer or vote. In communicating your message, you answer what you want them to know and also what you want them to do. This is not always rainbows and unicorns as we saw in the mid-term elections, especially in Nevada, where the negativity that surrounded a high profile campaign turned people off and instead of acting, they retracted. The key is knowing your audience/target market, how they listen to what you want them to know with the understanding that they can accept or not accept and can act or react by not acting at all.

What Do You Want Your Audience to Know?

Identifying what you want them to know is probably most easily answered with that you are their only option/choice as you provide the best offering, best customer service, best customer relations (customers are treated like family) and have the best value. We see with a lot of small businesses where they are trying to tell their audience everything about them by cramming as much copy as possible so that the audience knows every thing that they are offering. This is a whole lot of information to convey when you are trying to connect emotionally. Their brand image will be one of confusion as they were asked to process and accept multiple messages.

You want them to know your one thing. What makes you so much better than the competition? What is the one thing that makes you/your offering so great? What do you do best? I talked about this as it relates to blogging in defining the purpose of your blog as there are thousands upon thousands of blogs and why should yours be chosen? Now there are not thousands upon thousands of same/similar typed products so communicating the one thing, the single message to your audience has to be clearly defined, believable, trustworthy and fit the way your audience speaks and also fit into their lifestyle. If not, the message will bypass them.

What do you want your audience to do?

You want your audience to react positively to your message and take action. Here we see why what you want them to know is so important. How is your message being received, perceived, accepted and acted upon? Are you telling them exactly what you want them to do in your call to action or are they left wondering? We saw how retailers were telling us what they wanted us to do on Black Friday. They told us what time they were opening, they told us what times the door busters would be available – they were telling us to come and shop their store for the items they wanted us to buy. As we see here we do not always have to say BUY from me in a direct way.

What are you saying to your audience? Are you conveying a single message of what you do best?

Like this post? Stay tuned in by subscribing to the blog as tomorrow I will be talking about persuasion through communication.

photo credit: pedrosimoes7