Know thy Audience
One of the first things that we ask all of our customers is, “Who is your audience?” This is an important question in marketing because it defines everything that you do and not knowing your exact audience can lead to a lot of lost time and money. The following are some of the ways that we help customers define their audience.
1. Who Could Possibly Use My Services or Products?
This is the broadest definition of your audience. It is every single person who your product or service could potential fit. For us at Red Sage, this could be every kind of business, because all businesses could benefit from marketing and web services. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses stop at this point. You must dig a little deeper though, or your efforts will not be effective enough to positively affect your bottom line.
2. Who Needs My Services or Products?
At this point, you need to start defining who in your potential audience actually needs your services or products. Although every type and size of business needs marketing, a lot of companies manage their marketing in-house. We still have services that we can offer to these companies, but ultimately, we have to decide whether the amount and types of services these companies would purchase are worth the time and money we would spending marketing to them. By knowing who actually needs our services, we can tailor our marketing efforts to reach those potential customers that lead to quicker and easier sales.
3. Who Can Afford My Services or Products?
From that large pool of potential customers, there is going to be a percentage that simply cannot afford your services or products. While it may be tempting to still pursue these customers – especially, if they express interest – it often ends in a lost sale and a frustrated sales person. Once you define your price point for your products or services, you need to be okay with the fact that not everyone will be able to afford it. Once you can do this, you can begin to use price as a way to pre-qualify leads early in the selling stage. It will also help you determine what marketing and advertising mediums you should be using.
4. Who Actually Buys It?
We have seen this one trip up a lot of companies where the end user and purchaser are different people. The urge is to direct your marketing at the end user, the person who gets everything about your product/service and company. These are typically the easiest ones to sell to, but often do not have the power to complete the buying process. Your audience, in this case, is the person holding the money. This means that your marketing messages and efforts have to reach them and not just the end user. While you certainly want the end user excited about your product/service, you want your marketing to win over the buyer.
5. Who Else is in My Audience?
In addition to your potential customers, there are other people you should consider for your audience. This includes existing customers, referrers, potential and existing partners, and even employees. These are the people that can help you keep your business growing and are just as important as your new potential customers.
I encourage you to take a few moments to think about the definition of your audience in these ways. For us and our customers, it has helped us figure out what was worth our time, who were our most profitable leads, and where our marketing money should be spent.