Technology is changing, and when technology changes, businesses have to adapt as well. Only large companies with marketing funds to waste can afford to do massive ad campaigns. It’s far more cost-effective and efficient to think a little bit smaller and smarter. Advertising in the 21st century isn’t about reaching as many people as possible but about reaching the people that matter. Not everyone is likely to be a good potential consumer of your products, so getting advertising to them doesn’t help you. Today it’s about targeting your advertising and zeroing in on the actual relevant audience for your company and products.
Targeted advertising is essential, especially for small businesses today. To do it well, however, it requires work and investment. You have to put in the time to figure out who your audience is and how to reach them. This is only really possible because of new technologies like social media and big data. Now, more than ever before, the information is out there. With the right tools you can find the target consumers for your business and put your brand in front of the people that matter.
Identifying Your Audience
“A smart business owner knows better than to try to market to everyone at once,” says Jason Hennessey, marketing consultant for the Sobel Tinari Economics Group. “If you find out the exact segment of people you’re targeting, you’ll not only have a better chance of making conversions, but you can make your advertising content more specific as well.” That’s why the first step in developing your new marketing strategy is to identify the potential customers for your business. Even if you try to offer general and broad services, consider specializing your services, or at least choosing some more niche audience to offer a specialized version of your service to.
Targeting a niche audience is the only way for you to compete with any larger firms in the market. It doesn’t require excluding the other people that don’t quite fit your specific niche, either. It just means focusing your branding and advertising on a particular segment of potential clients. The best way to do this is to start by looking at the clients you already have. What are the commonalities? Are they close in age or live in a certain, specific area? These are all possible features of a niche audience. You should also consider the competition. You want to find a niche audience that isn’t being effectively targeted by any other firms. What sets you apart from them, and what specific audience does that best prepare you for?
Identifying your target audience also means learning about them. You need to study your audience and figure out not just the basic service needs that define them, but the other intangible factors that define them as well. Once you’ve figured out their needs, think about their wants. What are the fears and anxieties that shape them as a group? If they’re home-owning families with small children in a certain geographic area, worries about safety and concerns for their children are important. If your audience is made up of young, recent college graduates, debt and staying in touch with friends are likely to be priorities. Of course, the best way to find out more about your audience is to sit down and listen to them. Send out surveys or start a focus group. Use online data to search for more commonalities and traits in the group you’ve already identified. The easiest method of all, of course, is to give individuals to chance to directly share some of their values and priorities.
Part of your work while studying your target audience is to find out where they are. That can be both physical and digital location. If you’re targeting a specific group within a certain physical area, you can effectively advertise to them with good, old-fashioned print advertising, given that you can identify exactly where they’re located.
Find out the types of spaces that your audience congregates in. Use the new advances in AI and metadata to find out the websites and publications that unite your audience. There might be particular forums in social media specific to the group, or maybe there are certain social media influencers that have a significant amount of exposure with your target demographic.
Everything you can do to narrow in your range of potential venues and sites for advertising increases the efficiency and lowers the cost of any potential advertising plan you choose to pursue. The tighter the focus, the less money wasted and the more you will be able to address your niche audience directly with your quality marketing content. Then you can continue to adjust your marketing campaign in the future as you observe results and evaluate your audience’s response.