In your everyday life, you will likely adjust your tone, demeanor, and the verbiage you use based on who you’re talking to. Right?
Odds are good that you'll use acronyms and internal terms, and maybe even vent a little frustration, when talking with a co-worker, but you wouldn't do the same with a client or someone outside of your department because they simply wouldn't understand or appreciate it.
The same could be said if you were giving a presentation to a large group of people. If you're presenting a subject that’s familiar to everyone in the room, you're likely to use more industry jargon and detailed information.
If the audience covers a wider range of experience, education, and interest on the subject, you'll have to be a little less specific in the information you're showing because not everyone may understand.
On the flip side, though, if you are too bland and vague on the subject then you'll lose interest from everyone in the room. You may even notice people start nodding off to sleep.
You want to engage the audience in front of you without overloading them. That's why many conferences have smaller, more specific breakout sessions. You can attend the conference on an overall topic that is relevant to you and then find presentations that are more granular and applicable to your specific interests.
This same approach can be applied to your marketing.
We build websites for that very reason: To present all the things that we do and sell – products, services, specs, features, technologies, etc. – in a way that's easy for people to find once they hit the site. But when they find what they originally came for, what next?
That's not the end of the story.
In most cases, there's a next step they need to take. That's where knowing your target audience comes into play.
So, how do you get the most out of your marketing? Here are a few key points to keep in mind:
- Know who you're talking to.
- The first question when you start any new marketing initiative should be, "Who is this for?" If that answer is more than one group of people, then you're running the risk of watering down your message.
- Whether you're talking to consumers, retailers, manufacturers, accountants, CEOs, buyers, or your spouse, they all want and need to hear something specific that helps their situation or solves a problem.
- Craft a message that speaks directly to their needs.
- Once you decide who you're targeting, find their pain points and show how your products and services can help solve them. This is the essence of content marketing, and if you can provide good, quality information about each problem you solve, you can really grab their attention.
- If you need to target multiple audiences, create multiple messages.
- As is often the case, your product may not be for one specific audience. Multiple job functions or industries may have a need for what you're offering. That's great!
- It's still important to craft a message that shows how you can meet their specific needs. Manufacturers have different interests than retailers do, for example. It may seem like more work to create two separate campaigns, but in the long run you're better serving each by sending them information that's relevant to them.
- Small tweaks to messaging will go a long way, even if the main content is the same. A great email subject line will perform well with the right market and fall flat with the wrong. If you can break it into two separate email groups, you can customize a subject line that’s relevant to each individual group. The recipient is more likely to open an email that sounds specific to them.
- “Come see us at XYZ show next week” vs. “See our new accounting automation software next week in Atlanta.” If you’re an accountant, which are you going to open?
- Follow them through the sales cycle.
- Once you've identified your target market for a specific marketing campaign, you can offer them content throughout the sales cycle to keep them engaged. Early on, an introduction to your company or products may get them interested, but once they know who you are they'll start looking for more specific information.
- White papers, case studies, webinars, and more will give them a greater understanding of your business and how you can best meet their needs. Providing relevant information along the way will keep you top of mind.
To paraphrase one of my favorite marketing-related quotes: "If you try to speak to everyone, you're going to speak to no one." I often receive emails or see ads that are obviously trying to place me in a specific market, and the creative and presentation are great, but the message isn't even remotely relevant to my job. So I ignore it and move on.
We’ll write more on the benefits of unique email lists and content marketing in the future, but for now make sure to target your message to your audience or you might put half of them to sleep.