Business Media Club blog: Reaching your target audience

All businesses want to win new customers – but too many go about it the wrong way.

Their first instinct is to cast the net far and wide by opting for dim and distant marketing.

We can all understand this urge. Reach as many people, hit them all with the same ‘catch all’ message and hope for the best.

Trouble is, this approach lacks focus. It isn’t targeted and there’s flawed thinking in treating everyone the same.

That’s not how life is.

Here’s a thought – most of us probably already know the people who can transform our businesses. We just haven’t asked them. Or at least not in the right way.

Let’s qualify that. If you needed an urgent favour you wouldn’t flick through the phone book or post your woes on Twitter – you’d call a friend. You’d ask those who know you best to help – and the chances are they will.  

We all like to help each other and that’s the approach you should use to roll out your marketing to win new business.

Try using a reach and ripple out approach and fine-tuning your message for differing audiences.

Growing a business isn’t solely about direct communication with customers but winning over all kinds of people – suppliers, partners, employees, networking colleagues and so forth. It isn’t all about selling – it is about winning buy-in.

So how does a ripple out approach work?

First, set your layers. Draw a circle or diagram that starts with a small diameter so that larger areas can be added as outer layers.

You can decide how many tiers or categories of contacts you want to rank into groups. You may even want to add space for different services or desired customers and routes to reach them. This diagram has to work for you. It is bespoke.

Start with those you know in your closest space. This is for people you know, like you, understand you and will want to help given the right prompt – friends, family maybe, certainly good contacts who ‘get’ what you’re about so need little explanation of what you want. They may also be influential and know the ‘right’ people. They are a huge priority.

You might have done them favours so owe you one, are copper bottom reliable and good referrers. It is reciprocal.

Your marketing to these folks is as direct as it gets. Pick up the phone, go and see them, send an email – whatever works best. 

Your next group are closest to the first. This might include existing, past or recent clients, good networking friends or associates. There’s a good relationship there but it isn’t quite working and maybe needs rekindling – but is a far better bet than a long-distance marketing punt.

The ‘sell’ to these guys is also fairly simple although you may wish to do some nudging or signposting to services on your website or sales/marketing documents.

You can set your own parameters, but your next group might be networking colleagues, people who have interacted via social media or where there’s some sort of open or past exchange or dialogue.

Basically, you keep going with differing segments and differing ways to communicate that seem most appropriate.

Dream or perfect clients should be part of the picture so you can calculate the most effective ways to reach them with the right message maybe via the right people and minimal degrees of separation.

Not that a reach and ripple out approach means you only fish around the closest pool. You need a blend of marketing methods but this way you don’t want to waste time wishing that those furthest away matter more than those closest and more likely to help. It is targeted and calculated and is therefore more likely to succeed.

Reaching out to your target audience is the meeting theme at February’s CGM Business Media Clubs.

Our Birmingham club meets on Friday 9 February (9.45am-12.30pm) at Longbridge Innovation Centre and our Worcester club meets on Friday February 16 (9.45-12.30) at the CGM Media Centre.

The clubs provide a blend of media, communications and marketing training, personal development and quality networking in a sharing setting. Visit the Business Media Club page for more details.