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

When You Smile Does Everyone Smile Back?



do people smile back We would like to hope that this is true, but we know it is not. Smiling back is in real life what we can see it but in the digital world it is a bit convoluted as we cannot really see them so we await the feedback. The feedback is in a retweet, a Like, a +1, a  Stumble, a LinkedIn share, a link on their blog to elaborate upon article that we have posted or a comment. We can think that is a smile back but yet is it really? Ok we have to look at the comments a bit and see if it is singing our praise or the pick up of the article to see if it is positive but yet is every, outside of those, a smile back?

Building Relationships Online

Building relationships online is just a click away. How many of our connections do we reach out to daily, weekly or even monthly? Some we see each week at a chat or multiple times during the week in other chats so we can say we are reaching out to them regularly. Outside of their Twitter handle, how many of them do we know something about? Do we know what they do for a living? Some we do but many we do not. How many of them have we spoken to outside of the chat?  Building an online community for some is really nothing more than adding some followers. Build it and they will come as people will always reach out to us and of course when we  tweet or post a status update, people will come in drones to respond.

This we know is not true as we have to be welcoming to them and talk to them in a way that makes them want to respond back. When we think about it, building an online community is really not more than adding some followers but sustaining them is a different story. How often have you checked to see if those that you are following are following you back? It can be a bit discouraging as when you find out that some that you really thought would be following you back are just not. But, then again, how often have you reached out to them and talked to them, commented on their blog, and supported their efforts?  In other words, given an opportunity for them to get to know you? This does not guarantee a relationship but it is a start.

Sustaining Online Relationships

When we think about sustaining online relationships, we have to step back a bit to ensure that there was actually a relationship to sustain. How do we define a relationship? In person it is different than online as we are able to see them but yet how often do we get together with our friends? Online we have an opportunity to reach out day after day and but yet we just do not. Sure, we retweet their articles and tell everyone how awesome they are but outside of that is this really defining a relationship? How can someone get to know us if all we are doing is pretty much acting automated? We sustain relationships by going outside the “supporting of their efforts” with clicking the share buttons and commenting on their blog. We sustain relationships by treating them as friends. Friends do not let friends tweet to the open air without responding. As funny as that sounds, it is true.

Ways to Get People to Smile Back

Not everyone is going to be your friend online. You really do not want that as then we all would be alike and that gets awfully boring. The trainwrecks or crazy bitches have definitely proven to provide entertainment and some sensational conversations. Those we need to watch from afar. However, there are those that we do believe that we would like to build a relationship with and get to know better. How? What can we do that is so different than others that makes then take notice of us and see if we fit into their social circle and lives?

1. Avoid AutoDMs. I cannot say this enough. I get so many autoDM’s that push me to their website or Facebook page that I cannot delete fast enough. I have not met anyone who likes an autoDM.

2. Introduce Connections to One Another. This is not something that we see all that often but it is definitely something that should be done more often. If you are friends with someone why not introduce them to others that you are friends with? Are you hoarding your friends and keeping them to yourself?

3. Reach Out Just Because. How many times has someone just reached out just to say Hi or ask a question just because? Ok some are creepy but the other ones are a bit of a shock that it makes us think about ourselves and how we reach out to people. Being responsive is easy, initiating is not as easy.

4. Invite to Online Events. Again, not something we see very often however, how often have you invited your followers/friends to chats or other online events such as a webinar, podcast or a UStream? We see the warnings to followers that participating in chats will be taking place, but how many times have you been invited by or invited someone to something that you are taking part in?

5. Take the Conversation Offline. This is one that is a big step. Generally we set up a phone call or a Skype when we need something or have something to talk about. I get that people are busy but taking a few minutes to talk one on one is so powerful. You learn so much and strengthen the relationship. Not everyone is as receptive as others as time is never on our side but then again, we make time for what is important to us and what matters. People matter.

These are just a few ways to get people to smile back. We have the tools of connectivity at our fingertips but yet we get so wrapped up in learning how to use the tools that we forget the most important thing – people. There is a live person behind every single Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or forum.

photo credit: kevindooley