Article summary: Finding and marketing to the right customer is an ongoing challenge for many small businesses and non-profit organizations. Read on for a short Ultra Graphics guide in seeking out the right audience for your products and services, and ways to target them to increase the return on your marketing investment.
In 2020, it’s more apparent than ever that consumers won’t be bothered by irrelevant, unnecessary, or intrusive marketing.
Consumers want what consumers want, and the easiest way to irritate them is to tell them what they want. The days of blasting a repetitive message over and over again are coming to a close, and the focus on being a problem solver and an always-available source of support is increasingly becoming important.
This doesn’t mean that proactive and direct marketing is a bad thing – it just requires more care and thought put into the message your business is sending and who it’s being sent to. Going forward, for many organizations the goal is to be available and accessible, and to avoid being pushy. When you do decide to directly market to your customer, how do you go about finding that audience?
1. Start from an existing customer base
If you’ve been in business for a while, chances are you have a great resource from your existing customers. Start out by taking some time to analyze those consumers, and look for patterns and similarities in age, sex, demographics, income, location, and whatever other data points you have access to. Once you’ve analyzed and compiled that data, you might just have a great starting point for building a map to potential new customers. You might even get some good information by asking your customers directly about what they are interested in, and why, to build a profile and look for trends.
2. Pick the low hanging fruit
This probably goes without saying, but one of the easiest ways to build a potential audience is to just look at the products and services you offer. What kind of people would be interested in your offerings? For example, if you run a bike shop, chances are you are looking for athletic, outdoor enthusiasts. If you sell craft supplies, you’re looking for craft and diy folk, which you can then do further research to see what kind of demographics define those groups. Once you have a broad direction, that’s a great starting point for you to narrow down the audience into smaller targeted segments such as mountain bikers, cruise bikers, children, etc… When the time comes to market to those people, the relevancy of your message will make it that much more successful.
3. Use Google to help you narrow down extra search information about your products.
There’s an amazing site called Google Trends that lets you look up topics and find out information related to that topic, like what keywords are searched and from where geographically. Visit https://trends.google.com/ and simply type in your product or service. It’s not always perfect, but it can give you some great insight into what’s being talked about, and can give some basic ideas of what people are searching for. You can even look at image searches, news, and shopping. You can also search youtube.com, or social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to look for what kinds of people are sharing topics related to your business.
Now that you have a decent target audience, how do you market to them?
If you have a good idea of the kinds of people that would benefit from your marketing message, now you just have to implement some campaigns that get the message out without being intrusive, as well as make sure your brand awareness game is up to snuff.
The goal here is to make your business the place that’s top-of-mind when the customer is ready to shop, and then give them a good reason to purchase from you. Gathering and organizing the data here is key, and mapping out the message/imagery/offer for your targeted groups will give it a much higher chance of being relevant to your audience. Typically you would go about it in two simultaneous ways:
1. Brand Awareness
This is the reach of your brand to the general audience. It’s being out there, available, recognizable, and memorable. The big pieces in this puzzle are your online presence, your overall brand message, and your community presence.
A business will want to have a fast-loading, mobile-friendly website stuffed with useful, relevant, and helpful content about who you are, what you represent, and how you can help your visitors – with easy ways to get in touch. Keep in mind, usually potential customers are visiting a website to solve a problem or answer a question. If applicable, a business will have a social media presence where it can communicate with potential customers, share success stories, and solve problems. Your brand message is a consistent snapshot of who you are and how you’re different from competitors and includes your actual brand (logo, etc…), colors, taglines, summaries, contact information, signage, vehicle graphics, etc…
Businesses need to also invest in the community that supports them, by getting involved in local events, sponsoring other local organizations and teams, and generally putting time, effort, and money into the community. This will go a long way in building awareness, not to mention leaving a positive impression on everyone.
Brand awareness is a long-term game, but the results can be well worth it when the time comes for your audience to decide who to purchase from. It should be said that brand awareness can also be augmented by targeted direct marketing methods such as paid display ads on websites, paid social media ads, etc…
2. Direct Marketing
Direct marketing is the act of selling directly to the consumer. This can come in multiple forms through multiple channels such as Direct Mail, Email, Social Media, Search Engine Advertising, Radio, and TV. Most businesses employ multiple channels in their overall marketing strategy.
Using your audience data, you can start to segment and target individual groups with direct marketing messages. Going back to the example of the bicycle shop, the business could create direct mail campaigns specifically for the mountain-bikers, and the cruisers, with relevant copy and images that fit that particular group. Using variable data processing, you can get even more granular by personalizing or adjusting the message/images to match the relevant segment.
Advertising providers typically have ways to target the campaign to specific audiences, and with some you can get pretty specific. For example, on Facebook you have the ability to not only target geographic locations, but age, and even interests. The same goes for Google Ads, where you can market to an audience using Google’s massive data collections by their browsing habits, interests, demographics, and more.
Another great tool for direct marketing is email campaigns, using services like Mailchimp.com. Using defined audiences, marketing groups, and contact tags you can easily tailor an email message to each recipient, and even personalize it to them using variable data like first and last names.
Essentially with a defined audience, segmented as necessary for precise control, paired with a marketing strategy that allows you to target those segments with relevant and useful content and images – you have the recipe for zero wasted effort and maximum return. Your audience will be less likely to disregard if it speaks to them specifically, and with brand awareness making your business already top-of-mind and recognizeable, the chances of conversion go up astronomically.
As mentioned above, brand awareness can also get a boost from doing paid social media and/or search engine advertising, essentially just putting your brand out there. For search engine marketing, a great fit for brand awareness is display advertising, which are ads that appear on websites frequented by your target market, or sites that are related to the topics you define.
And that’s our guide! If you need any help with defining your audience, or marketing to that audience Ultra Graphics is available to help! Please feel free to contact us or get an absolutely free quote to get started.