First off, congratulations! You are most likely reading this post because you have accomplished something worth celebrating. Whether you wrote a book or a blog post, created a meaningful and useful product, or cracked the code to your service experience, you should take a moment to congratulate yourself on a huge accomplishment.
Now, how do you plan to tell people about it?
Your first instinct might be to shout your news from the rooftops (metaphorically speaking—hopefully). But the world we live in tends to ignore those blasts that seem to have no apparent rhyme or reason. Or, like most creators, you have a limited budget that you don’t want to waste on one big megaphone with little impact.
There is power in knowing your audience!
So while your publication is full of very important information, your product will fix a huge problem, or your service experience is above and beyond, they are all useless if you never reach the people that need them.
Here are three steps to knowing your audience better for your marketing efforts.
Step One: Segment Your Audience
Picture a freshly baked apple pie (you might still be craving one in this post-holiday season). While some might be able to take on the challenge of eating the entire pie in one setting, most people realize the best course of action is to cut the pie into eight slices, so multiple people can choose and enjoy a slice.
Recognizing your audience is very similar. If you write a book about leadership, there are a gazillion different categories and sub-sections that discuss various aspects, styles, and types of leadership. Here is just one example of twelve different segments of leadership.
Step Two: Target Your Audience
Going back to our apple pie example, this is where you would choose the piece (or two) that you think would be perfect for you.
If you wrote a book about servant leadership, and you decided to segment leadership into the twelve types in the aforementioned article, you would probably choose democratic leadership, transformational leadership, and visionary leadership. While you could make the argument to choose a couple more segments, it is always better to focus on the segments that will give you their full attention first.
At this step, it is common to go back and forth between segmenting and targeting to really hone in on your audience. Don’t feel discouraged if you always feel like there are more people you want to reach. You will eventually get to those ears as well—but you must be able to focus on the people that will truly appreciate your product or service, so that they will in turn tell others, creating an eventual snowball effect.
Step Three: Position Yourself to Your Audience
What is the best way to grab your piece of pie from the pie pan? Is it to use a spoon? A fork? Or a pie server? If you have ever served yourself a slice of pie, you know to get the entire piece in one move is to use a pie server.
When you decide to focus on people who practice democratic leadership, transformational leadership, and visionary leadership to share your message about being a servant leader, you have to figure out the best way to get their attention:
- What social media platform do these people use?
- What kind of networking events do they attend?
- What clubs are they a part of?
- How do they communicate with one another?
This stage is where you will most likely find yourself conducting the most research, and it is also when you will have the opportunity to start finding and talking to your audience.
The Power of STP
Segmenting, targeting, and positioning can be extremely complex. There are entire university classes built on just those three words. This is because marketers and business-people understand the importance of knowing who you are talking to in order to, receive the largest return on investment.
It will take time and a lot of focus to really know your audience, but once you do, you have unlimited possibilities to interact and share your message.
Ellen Snyder is a recent alumna of Bowling Green State University, where she received her BSBA with a specialization in marketing and a minor in entrepreneurship. Ellen is the editor of the Lead Change website for Weaving Influence, and also manages social media accounts, among various other marketing tasks.