I recently attended a half day of training focused on the roles and nuances within the business networking group I belong to. While extremely enlightening and really useful as I work to get a grip on my new role as president in my chapter, I’m struck afresh by the spectrum of differences that we each have as humans. In the case of the discussions I had, they focused on personality types and learning styles as they pertain to the other members of the group. Extend those classifications to digital marketing, especially as an entrepreneur, and you can begin to feel overwhelmed. It’s one thing to write, say, a message for an email campaign in four different ways to accommodate four personality types, but take the personalization further to learning styles, cultural and generational differences, best channel for communication, etc. and you just might feel that going back to a broadcast “one-size-fits-all” style is just easier, and it used to work OK, so just go for it. Or maybe walking around wearing a sandwich board!
Not a great idea, although the sandwich board might be pretty good exercise…
Stepping back, this is where doing your homework to really hone in on your audience, both broad and niche, can be part of the work that pays off. In my business, I tend to work with clients that have definitions that are either too broad or so focused as to not be able to actually sustain a business. The broadest definition is “Anybody who needs what I sell.”
This might work if you are truly the only business in existence that sells what you sell, but that’s unlikely. The chances of you breaking out and building awareness in that crowd is very low to zero. If you follow my blog, you know that I have been working through some commentary of Mark Schaefer’s book The Content Code
. He writes about creating informative, relevant, sharable, and entertaining content, and then the work and processes around, as he puts it, igniting that content and ensuring the right audience(s) see it and go crazy about it….sharing it, talking about it, linking to it, etc. He discusses the work that goes into audience research and making sure that pays off, as well as how that can grow and change over time (or quickly…). This is no “one-shot-deal”. For a more niche audience, the competition for their attention isn’t so fierce.
However, there is such a thing as taking that niche too far. I have clients who I lead through an exercise to extend the definition of their audience so they can actually reach enough customers to make a viable living. An example might be –
“I’m interested in reaching women between the ages of 30 and 50 with a fair amount of discretionary income who would be willing to order my jalapeño-infused banana tea cakes in packages of 30 to 40 on a weekly basis….oh and they live within 30 miles of my home bakery. Also, I don’t wish to sell to other businesses….I want direct to consumer!”
I would give this person credit for thinking through EXACTLY who their perfect customer might be (at least in visualizing a perfect persona…) but it is, shall we say, a bit constrained. This definition needs to be broadened a bit with further research into audience opportunities, and some more work on a business plan that could sustain itself.
So, take your audience definitions and market opportunities and personalize them. How far or in which ways you wish to personalize your marketing depends on the audience you’ve discovered, the specific opportunities they represent, and how good your copy-writing skills are. You may wish to bring on a copy-writing consultant to help you figure that out….you DO have a business to run after all!
You’ve gone through all the work to really get a handle on your audiences. You owe it to your business to personalize and target your message, making your business irresistible to them so they reach out to you when either they’re ready to buy, or they know someone who is. Do the work and reap the reward!
Here are some helpful articles that will help you gain some more understanding about why this is important to your business, and give you some successful examples: