Change is inevitable but effective marketing is the same as it was 100 years ago. Of course tools, trends and attitudes might have altered but what has not changed, is the need for a business to know its audience. Why? Because, if you don’t – how can you communicate with them?
We can discuss aspirations, online campaigns, social media, lead generation tools or even outsourcing all we want. But none of them matters unless your communication is focused on an audience that may buy from you. You need to know where they work, where they communicate, where they play, what they like/dislike – ultimately you need to know who they are.
A lot of businesses skip this ‘getting to know you’ stage and end up using a scatter-gun approach to communication. Because let’s face it – it is easier. But, just like life in general – easier does not necessarily mean better.
Also, if you’re just spraying a message and praying that it hits your audience, you’re not getting the best return on your activity. Instead, if you put effort into forums, research, listening to feedback, monitoring online conversations etc. you can then build a relevant message.
It’s not just you – your audience has changed also.
Ah yes – back in the good old days we could all sit back and let word-of-mouth do its thing. Customers would come through the door based on a window display, press ads and lack of competition. Now the competition is everywhere and the ads have gone online – so has the window display. When, not so long ago knowing your audience was a competitive advantage, now it is the norm for survival.
We’re talking here about reacting to audience changes with your branding, going digital, being social and being smarter about your budget spend. It used to be that business owners (and some marketing professionals) used to wonder over the value of a website.
Look at where we are now – your audience ‘googles’ when it wants to search for something, on their smartphone. If your business does not show up when they do – you’re not even in the decision game.
Ok, let’s assume you have a web presence which provides information on you and your business. At this stage, everybody knows that the concept of ‘build it and they will come’ is a myth. This is because of SEO and social media. This post will not address the details of effective SEO but suffice to say, it is pointless having a website unless it is optimised for search engines and promoted on social media channels
Search engines rule the world and social media feeds them.
Search engines nowadays base their results on one thing – relevance. Quite rightly, they want to provide the best result for the searcher – their customer. Accordingly, the only way it can determine whether your business deserves to be made visible or not is by ‘crawling’ your website and social media activity for audience relevancy.
As such, therefore, social media channels themselves are secondary websites for brands. They also provide a direct means of customer engagement. The ultimate goal should be for your social media audience to do your marketing for you. So, just as you will have an SEO strategy in place for your website, you need to optimise your social media activity also.
These two activities have become the window display of yore. That is not to say that billboards, direct mail, radio, TV, press and promotional brochures etc. are not applicable. They absolutely are, and should be considered as part of a campaign mix, but only as based on your target audience.
Websites and social media can provide the best return on investment of any form of modern marketing.Click to tweet
How do you get a relevant audience online?
Whether it’s social media followers or blog subscribers, people will only be attracted to you if they see a value for their time spent engaging with you. Only these people will relish a true relationship. As a result, you needn’t be wasting your valuable time with others and ignoring an audience that might convert into clients. When building an audience it is important to find a common ground between their wants and your convictions.
For example, this O’C&K blog is generally written for three audiences – business owners, marketing managers and club / charity administrators. We focus it on providing readers with marketing tips and timesavers that might help them grow their organisation. This is aligned with our own business objectives of helping organisations be smarter about their marketing through outsourcing.
7 tips on growing your audience online.
Based on the saying “It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear”, here are some suggestions based on our own experience of building an audience:
- Share ideas that are educational, engaging or entertaining
- Speak the language of your intended audience
- Be consistent and credible
- Personalise and humanise the message
- Paint a vivid picture with your story
- Put it in context and make it relevant
- Make it easy for them to find you
Growing your audience means doing the basics, well. Clearly understand who your service / product is for and know exactly where they hang out. Listen to what they say, think about your service, think about your competitors and even your industry, in general. Find out who influences them and when they become a client – treat them like kings and queens.
“We hope you have enjoyed our marketing tips and timesavers blog” – Aidan & Jim.
Would you like us to notify you, by email when we publish new content? If so, just let us know by clicking here. Of course, we can always meet face-to-face, just leave your details here and we might grab a coffee, cheers. Jim – O’C&K
Nice post. We agree forums, social listening etc. are a great way to get insight into your customers, and thereby hone your messaging.
Google’s keyword planner is pretty good too for looking at search volume around certain terms, and work out where customer pinch points are.
We’ll share this post on our Smarter Business Network (smarterbusinessnetwork.co.uk).
— The ICAEW BAS Team
Thank you guys – we appreciate the comments and the forthcoming share on your network.