No business can hope to succeed without customers. Sure, you might think that the only thing you need to do is open up shop and wait for customers. Truthfully, it's much more complicated than that. Today's market is saturated with various businesses and they all struggle to attract the right customers. Also, you can't just start promoting your business to random people either, because it would only be a waste of time and resources.
If you want to reach success, you need to identify your target audience. Your target audience is essential for your business because they are the consumers that will show interest in your products or services. Moreover, they are the people you'll most likely convert into customers, and use relationships you've built with them to expand your reach and grow your business. Here are a few ways to broaden your audience.
Identify your audience
When your business is fresh on the market, its influence isn't developed enough to effectively reach everyone. More importantly, no one has the funds to appeal to everyone. It's better to identify a specific niche and focus your efforts there. For instance, you may target consumers that fit the criteria of "everyone who's interested in buying my products or services", but that is a bit too general. Instead, define the market further to identify consumers who are most likely to buy from you.
However, that doesn't mean you're excluding everyone that fits the previous criteria; instead, you're currently focusing your investment where it will generate the biggest ROI. Don't worry, as your ability to generate more income improves, so will your ability to reach a broader audience. Still, you'll need to conduct thorough market research in order to you identify your target audience first and make sure your efforts aren't in vain.
Determine who isn't a part of your audience
In order to identify who isn’t a part of your audience, you must take a closer look at your existing audience. For example, who are your current customers and why did they decide to buy from you? What characteristics and interests do these consumers have in common? That will help you identify people who could also benefit from your products or services but are not a part of your audience for some reason.
Then it's up to you to identify the problem - what is it that drives them away, and what can you do to mend the situation? Here's a good example, Universum, a Stockholm-based company, had difficulties reaching out and engaging with their non-academic audience. With the use of the right social media analytics, the company has managed to identify a problem and adapt their content to pique the audience's interest. Therefore, the problem could simply be in your approach.
Market to audiences, not people
Personalization allows you to target specific individuals with customized offers and lead them to make a purchasing decision. However, too much personalization can show consumers that you've gathered a bit too much information on them. Also, too little personalization, and your offer will feel the same as any other. But in truth, individual personalization isn't always as effective as entrepreneurs tend to believe.
First of all, it would cost too much to tailor personalized messages to each individual customer in your audience. Second, you need too much data and time to identify each individual's preferences and dislikes. That's why marketing to audiences is much more effective. The main reason is that once you identify common interests and preferences in your audience, you can leverage that to tailor messages and promotions to everyone in your focus group.
Broadening your audience doesn't mean you have to do it alone, especially if you don't have the right idea or you lack the funds to properly implement one. A good way to extend your reach would be to establish a partnership or simply team up with someone from similar niches and leverage each other's audiences to expand both of them. For instance, let's say you're in the business of selling nail polish, while your partner from a similar niche sells makeup. Both niches have women as their target audience in general, but aren't competitors in any way.
You can collaborate and organize a beauty event which would bring both audiences into a shared event space. That way, you'll be helping each other out by recommending a similar business to your audiences, who share the common interest in beauty products. If you recommend to customers that like your nail polish a business that sells makeup, and vice versa, you're basically expanding each other's consumer base.
Content, content, content
Content is king in the marketing world because it offers something of value to the customers, such as education, entertainment or simply information. A familiar cliché when establishing relationships with customers is: "You get what you give". Simply put, you must provide value to customers to get engagement and loyalty in return, and content is the best way to achieve that. However, the content you provide must be relevant to your audience to produce the best results.
Let's go back to the Universum example. In order to reach their non-academic audience, the company launched a "Millennial project" that consisted of six-part eBook series accompanied by other content. The research addressed the issue of millennial concerns about career, retirement, work-life balance and so on. By addressing an important issue, Universum managed to get the uncooperative part of their audience aboard. The point being that, by adapting your content to different needs, you’ll be able to reach a broader audience and expand your consumer base.
Broadening your audience doesn’t happen overnight. However, if you nurture and cherish your relationship with your customers, both your business and your audience will grow over time.
About Jolene Rutherford
Jolene Rutheford is a marketing specialist-turned blogger. Interested in media and social media, digital marketing, and psychology. Loves coffee, jazz, dystopian and fantasy movies.