By Jim Rulison
For this week, ISM will feature a Guest Blog Post from Jim Rulison concerning six secrets to wooing your target audience.
Many marketers consider the target audience to be the most important component of a marketing campaign. Whether it is traditional or digital advertising, no marketing method, including direct mail marketing will be effective if it doesn’t have a well-defined target audience in mind. Companies and marketers who operate with a general audience alone often waste time and money on communicating with people they have no hope of persuading. This is the harsh reality of marketing: some people just can’t be converted.
This is what makes a well-defined target audience so important. By knowing who you are trying to convert, you can tailor your persuasive messaging more effectively. You can engage with this target audience on a more personal level. In the end, you will maximize your chance of success by speaking directly to this audience. In other words, you will woo them.
To do this, you have to take several steps to define and communicate with the target audience. Here are some secrets to help you think about and engage with this all-important group of individuals.
Define Your Target Audience
It may seem too obvious to be considered a true secret, but many businesses and advertisers fail because they don’t adequately define who their target audience actually is. Quite often, they will take some basic steps by narrowing the field down using simple demographic information like gender, age, or occupation. This is a good start, but it fails to capture the true depth of understanding the needs of your target audience.
A target audience is more than just some demographic information. It is made up of real human beings, all individual and unique from the others. The more you can capture and communicate to this uniqueness, the better. One of the best ways to do this is through a personalized profile.
Create an imaginary person who represents some of the qualities of your target audience. Give him or her a name, an occupation, history, and other details you can think of. Develop your understanding of this person to the point that you feel like you know him or her personally.
Know Your Target Audience
One area many businesses struggle when thinking about a target audience is the transition between the ideal and actual audience. In other words, it is easy to define your ideal target audience and then move on to the actual marketing. Unfortunately, this approach fails to capture the actual details of the real audience you have.
The best way to woo a target audience is to speak to them directly and personally. This requires knowing personal details about them. If you stop with the ideal target audience, you won’t do the research to gather the necessary information to create this personalized content. So, you have to know your real target audience.
For digital advertising, you can use various social metrics that represent demographic information like name, age, etc. You can also engage with this audience through social media by asking them questions to get further details. Think of it like getting to know someone on an individual basis online. You will be able to learn all the details about every single person in the audience. The more information you gather, the better.
Personalize The Message
People are less likely to ignore advertising messages that engage with them on a personal level. This is more, however, than just using their first name in an ad. The overall tone and specific information you include in the content will help create a more personalized approach to your marketing.
To do this effectively, you have to pay attention to the information you know about your target audience. Even things that seem unrelated to your business and what you are selling can be important. The typical hobbies, experiences, needs, and wants of your target audience will provide potential sources of content to draw from.
For large-scale marketing campaigns, this level of personalization can be a challenge. Since you can’t realistically create a personal message for every single individual if your target audience numbers in the thousands, you have to balance quality and quantity. The best way to do this is to create several messages that you can use to specifically target segments of the audience. For example, you may send one message to people with a certain hobby or need and another message to people with completely different experiences or desires.
Seek Out Your Audience
Businesses and marketers often assume that their persuasive advertising will attract new potential customers. They may take a little bit of time to create traditional or digital ads or post content to their social media feeds, but all of this often fails to truly reach the target audience. This is because most people won’t go to a business’ communication platform, like a website or social media page, at first.
This means you have to go where your target audience actually is or push persuasive content to potential customers via their mailbox and address. This strategy doesn’t rely on people stumbling upon the business’ website. Whatever the business has to say to the potential customer actually goes to that potential customer.
Online, this type of advertising typically takes the form of “push content.” As if you were physically pushing the content to your target audience, this method involves using social media channels and digital advertising to directly connect with potential customers. You might post on their individual twitter feeds or send direct emails, for example, to connect with them directly.
Once your content reaches the target audience, you can then use the message to try and bring them back to a central source like a webpage.
Diversify Choices and Incentives
Quite often, traditional advertising messages lack any unique call to action or incentive to convert potential customers. The content may include some deal or promotion, but unless it is personalized so it’s attractive to the recipient, it will most likely fail. Instead, provide a range of choices and incentives.
Feature several of your products or services to create a “buffet” of choices to entice your potential customer. Keep a few different promotional campaigns running at the same time so new customers can decide what will motivate them the best.
If possible, try not to limit potential customers to just one option. You don’t have to offer them every single incentive or product that you have, but give them rewards for active engagement. For example, offer sequential awards. Start with one deal they can get automatically and then offer a second one if they take a specific action. This way, you can continue to motivate potential customers while promoting increased engagement with your business.
Keep At It
The only true way to woo your target audience is with persistent communication. Increased persistence is necessary since most advertising campaigns aren’t automatically successful overnight. There’s a real chance that most of your recipients and potential customers will ignore ads or persuasive messages the very first time.
If you continue to monitor and change the advertising campaign as you go along, however, you can reduce the chance of failure in the long run. Sometimes, this is as simple as resending certain messages to potential customers. More often, however, you will have to change something about the content or advertising method to fix the common issues that plague most advertising campaigns.
All of this starts with a well-defined and researched target audience. Don’t ignore the power that the target audience has when it comes to the success of your campaign. If you strategically think and research the audience, personalize your advertising content, and create the right incentives, you will have a better chance of converting recipients into loyal customers.
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Jim Rulison serves as the CEO for Media Loop LLC. Jim oversees the day to day operations for all lead generation accounts, with concentration in the health care industry. Before joining Media Loop, Jim was the CEO of PME Home Health and was the founder of one of the nation’s first virtual call centers.