A lot of business owners fail to realize that within all the plans made in starting a business, it is who the target audience is. These are the key people that are going to be interested in what you have to say and maybe, even what you are wanting to sell to them. This does seem like a no brainer, but actually exercising that marketing muscle to actually reach that targeted audience can be a challenge.
If you market to the wrong people, you do not get the results you want. So who are you targeting and how can you go about reaching them?
Are you targeting people with certain interests? Of a certain age? Who have a certain career?
Some of the ways you can help target are free and not too hard to do. Some of you are already doing some of it, but maybe not exactly how you should be. Here are some suggestions on where to target and how you can target your audience.
Targeting Your Audience With Social Networking
Social networking is definitely a huge way to reach out to others. Facebook alone, has over 800 million users. Most people will admit to being signed up to quite a few social networks, so it means that they are interested in what is being broadcast out in cyberspace. However, it is what exactly is being broadcasted which is the important difference.
The great thing is, social networks can be searched through, by term or keyword. If your niche is SEO, you could be connecting with people who are bloggers, or maybe are business owners not so knowledgeable about the topic.
The thing is, you have to be specific about who you are targeting. Pick only keywords relevant to your business, service, or if you are a blogger, what you write about. Just following everyone is not going to cut it as you will end up with empty followers, spammers, and perhaps some complaints. The number of followers are not important, it is the actual people you really are reaching and engaging with that counts.
Targeting Your Audience Through Your Site Or Blog
Your site or even your blog is your headquarters. If it is not, it should be. You can have Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, but really, where does the content come from, especially if you are trying to establish your authority? It comes from your site. This is where you flex that brain muscle. Your site is where you want to convert people to ultimately go.
If you promote your product on Twitter, people only click on it to be lead back to your website.
Like social networking, pick the keywords that are relevant to your site. Using any and all under the sun will just make the search engines unhappy and confuse guests on why they visited your site, but did not find what they were searching for.
Be sure to write articles in your niche that cover the full spectrum. If it takes doing research to see what others are writing about, do it. If you can present a better article, you have established your authority.
Targeting Your Audience Through Social Bookmarking
While a lot of people may be a member of places like Digg, and StumbleUpon, not all realize how much traffic can be gained from social bookmarking. Much like blogging and social networking, you can specify what categories your posts should be filed under when you submit an article.
A big misconception is that your account can be terminated from social bookmark sites for bookmarking your own articles. That is a yes, and a no. Yes – in the case you are submitting a lot of links and not bookmarking other sites as well. No- because most social bookmark sites know you need to drive traffic to your site. Reddit is a little finicky in their submission policy regarding submitting your own links, but with others, you should be fine.
Targeting Your Audience Through Multimedia
Video blogging and podcasting are great ways to reach out to more people. Some people really have no time to read a blog, but maybe they commute and like to listen to podcasts. This is great because most podcasts can be downloaded to smart phones. Also, most of the podcast directories allow for categorization and tagging so people can find exactly what they need.
As for video blogging, this allows your visitors to see you and because a lot of people are visual, they may connect better. Sometimes reading words is not enough. The tone and inflection of a voice, plus the actual facial expression of a person help eliminate confusion.
Just like most of the options mentioned in this post, if you host your videos on Youtube, on your site, or any other video hosting site, you can submit tags and details about your video… all searchable on most search engines.
Targeting Your Audience Through Newsletter Campaigns
If you have a newsletter campaign (in house, Aweber, Mailchimp, or another), no matter who you have it through, you know that not everyone will click the links you leave on your emails. It does not matter whether you have your site’s RSS feed integrated into your newsletter, or you are promoting a product.
Your emails to your subscribers should be clear and be geared to reach specific people. For example, sometimes you might want to talk about SEO, and maybe another time on general blogging tips.
Targeting Your Audience With Online Advertisements
Many of the advertising companies, like Google Adwords, Linkworth, Adbrite, Text Link Ads, and more, allow you to advertise and specifically target people based on keywords. Remember, keywords is the big key.
However, if you at first do an ad campaign that is not pulling in results, you have to realize that it is you who holds the reins and can change your campaign at any time.
Targeting Your Audience While Offline
While there are millions upon millions of people online, you have to realize that not everyone goes online all at the same time, not everyone is Internet savvy, and not everyone has the time to search and surf online to their hearts content. Sometimes you have to start local and reach people with your services with local area bullentin boards, local newspapers, area newspapers (especially if you live in a small city or town within an hour of a larger city), and by word of mouth.
For example, say that you might be a social media consultant or a web designer. You know there are plenty of small business owners that might not be online yet, but maybe they have considered it. If you shop, as you check out, ask if the business has a website. If it does not, ask the business owner if they have considered it and if they might be interested in hearing how they can have their site online with few frustrations.
Using the same example, you could even try holding local events. If you know of a hotel that has a conference room, plan a date, invest the money, and you can put out ads to the community to put together a workshop to educate business owners on how they can have their own site and get more exposure for their business.
Another way to target while not online is if you speak at conferences. Make sure to put together topics that can be understandable and somewhat useful for most people. Normally those types of lectures are ones that will have a bigger turnout. Those attending your particular lecture are already showing that they are interested, making them practically at your door. Put your contact information in your presentation and do not forget to bring your business cards. Be prepared to engage because those face to face interactions will definitely bring in new clientele.
Marketing does take time and money. You might fail, and you might succeed. However, you do hold the control in your hands at what pace and where you will find the right audience. Make sure you know yourself, your brand, your product, what people want when it comes to your product, blog, or service, and your overall niche when putting together the right keywords towards your own marketing campaign.
How have you marketed?
Are there any cool methods that have not been mentioned to better reach your audience? Or have there been methods mentioned in this article that have especially worked well for you?