Your audience is key
OK, every business owner has heard this phrase time and time again but it’s something that you have to constantly remind yourself. What reminded me was last weekend in the Florida Keys where I drove past this billboard for Rapala Lures. I thought “that’s crazy how such a niche product would warrant an ad of this magnitude (meaning both size and cost)”. As an avid fisherman, the clean, simple message immediately grabbed me. The Florida Keys and maybe Brainerd, Minnesota are perhaps the two places I can think of off hand where a Rapala billboard may be appropriate given that both are major fishing destinations for both sport and retail and have big time drive traffic. In fact you absolutely have to drive past this billboard on Key Largo to reach your destination in the Keys. That’s a lot of traffic. Rapala’s Ad Agency obviously knows their audience.
Understand that both knowing who your target audience is and attempting to reach them are relatively basic tasks. The more difficult task is reaching just them and not everybody else whom you don’t really want to spend your resources reaching.
Take for example an ad I saw in the local Sarasota newspaper this morning for an exotic reptile show this weekend. Although the ad was modest at perhaps 1/8 page, this $900 investment plus production costs was in my estimation kind of a stretch as it perhaps would only appeal to less than 5% of the readership. I know a lot of people and not one of them has a reptile. The problem with this strategy is that the event promoter paid to reach 100% of the readership when only 5% might actually respond to such an offer.
That’s why in broad-based media like newspapers or TV stations you mostly see ads for grocery stores (everybody eats), Walmart (everybody wants a deal), Cars (most everybody reading a newspaper drives), Healthcare (you get the idea…) Even restaurants are a subset of a much broader audience and knowing what that is and where to find them is key to successfully marketing your business.
The answers to finding your target audience is both easier and more difficult at the same time than ever before. The exact secrets are unique to your specific business. Nobody can write you an exact plan without some experimentation. It will cost time or money or both depending on your expectations. That being said, here are some things to consider if you haven’t already…
1. Have the names and contact information of ALL of your best clients/patrons.
2. Find ways to better engage your top customers.
3. Look for cross branding opportunities with different types of businesses that may share a large portion of your target audience demographics.
4. If you are not using social media start. Start now. It works.
5. Grow your business from the inside out. Use your best customers to help you grow your business.
6. Give back to causes that are not only personal to you, but to those who are relevant to your business.
7. Be at least a little comfortable with all or most of the above as you will be more receptive to both the cost and time associated with the process weather you use an agency or an in-house resource.
8. Some things are a matter of pride and it’s good to be a leader even if you break the rules a little bit.
9. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and try new things because “you don’t know, what you don’t know…” That next great marketing idea might just be your very own.
10. Have fun executing all of the above. Find innovative ways to make it personal to you and your employees. Your energy will become infectious to both you and your customers.