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How to Reach Your Target Market

September 5, 2013

Image symbolizing reaching your target market
American businessman John Wanamaker (1838 – 1922) once famously said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

This is a problem common to all businesses, large and small. You spend money and time promoting your business. Some of that effort results in customers, some doesn’t. So how can you make your promotional and marketing efforts more effective?

So-called “mass-marketing” (broad advertising on TV, radio, newspapers and magazines) is dead. It’s actually been dead for more than 20 years. Unfortunately, many smaller businesses are just finding this out. The old model was to make an ad and put it on TV or in a newspaper or magazine and hope for the best. The new model is to narrowly focus in on a specific target market. And with the internet, it becomes easier to do that than ever before.
In my last article, I talked about how to find your target market. In this article, we’ll explore how to reach that target market.

OK, let’s say you’ve isolated your target market. You know who your customers are – where they live, age, education level, interests, likes and dislikes. You’ve narrowed down who you are trying to appeal to. How do you go about finding them and “narrowcasting” your message straight to them? Here are some ideas to think about:

Geographic targeting: If you have a good idea of where your customers are located, maybe you can target them geographically. When we did a customer analysis for one client, we found that 80% of their business was coming from within a one mile radius of their shop. Our recommendation? Hand-deliver a flyer around their neighborhood offering a special discount for local businesses. If you own a restaurant or coffee shop, survey your customers as to where they come from, then target those areas with handouts, posters, or ads in local shoppers.

Chat groups: There’s a chat group for almost everything these days, and, used properly, they can make your business known to a specific target audience. If you are selling, say, beer brewing equipment, you can find a number of chat groups where beer aficionados gather and discuss the finer points of brewing. Do a Google search and find the right forums for your product or service. But once you’ve joined the group, don’t just spam out messages promoting your business. That will just annoy people and may even get you thrown out of the group. Instead, build trust. Establish yourself as an expert. Offer advice and tips. Comment frequently. Once you’ve established yourself as a thought leader, start mentioning your business, services and products. You can also join discussion groups via LinkedIn.

Your blog: It’s easy to start a blog. Make sure you have a clear idea of who you are trying to reach and the message you want to communicate. Don’t just plug your company or products – offer tips, advice, how-to instructions, anything that would be of value to your target customers. Remember, no one has to read your blog – they will read it if they find it valuable. Selecting the right topics will ensure your blog comes up high on organic searches. Learn the exact questions your customers are asking, and use those as the titles of your blog articles, whether it’s “How to Bake Bread” or “How to Organize Your Garage.” Building a blog audience takes time. Make sure you have a prominent RSS button, and “share” buttons so that your readers can easily share your blog articles on social media. Whenever you post a new article, alert your readers via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

SEO longtail keywords: Search Engine Optimization is a large subject, and one that is vital to your website or blog. It’s how you make sure you are found by people searching on the internet. While there is much to the subject, one key part of it is keywords. What are the words and phrases that people use to search for products and services like yours? Let’s say you are in the pest control business. A good keyword might be “termites.” But searching that term would get everything from a Wikipedia article about termites to “A Field Guide to Common Insects.” By using longtail keywords, you can get more specific. If you were to use “termite control,” that would be better. Or, even more specific, “termite control in Austin Texas.” These are examples of longtail keywords. While they don’t get as many searches, those who do use those search terms are looking for exactly what you are providing. And, as more and more people are phrasing their searches as questions, how about “how to get rid of termites in Austin Texas.”

Targeted online ads: If you have an advertising budget, targeted online advertising can deliver your ad to the exact consumers who are looking for your products. Services like Google AdWords deliver your message to people who are searching for what you are selling. And online advertising is actionable – more so than any other form of advertising. Potential customers can just click through to your website. You can also deal directly with niche website or blog owners and arrange for affordable ad spots that will reach exactly the people you are trying to reach.

Partner with like-minded businesses: Find companies that are trying to reach a similar target public, and partner with them to expand your reach. If you are a wedding photographer, for instance, partner with a wedding officiant or a wedding caterer. Guest post on each other’s blogs. Link to each other’s websites. Share social media posts. You’ll extend your reach and bring more value to your target customers.

These are just a few of the things you can do to reach your target audience without spending a lot of money. You can probably think of others. The important thing is to know exactly who you are trying to reach, and find ways to narrowly target them.

Have you found other effective ways to reach your target audience?

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