If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Such runs a well-known philosophical question that addresses the need to be heard. Essentially, what good is a message if there is no one there to receive it?
This raises the issue of audience. Specifically, how do you identify, target, and address yours so that they’ll not only hear your call to action but heed it?
First, Know Thyself
There’s no way you’ll know your audience until you understand not only what you’re offering, but the person who is offering it – you. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you continue to suss this out:
- What is my core competency? How does this distinguish me from the competition?
- What personal characteristics set me aside from my competitors?
- What difficulties have I overcome in the name of strengthening myself personally and professionally?
- What are my short- and long-term goals for my business? Am I someone with whom a client can grow long-term?
What Do You Provide?
Yes, this is a question about the basics of your business, but at heart it’s something more. What lies at the core of what you provide? For example, if you’re a book editor, you’re offering insight on theme, structure, and other novelistic elements – but really what you’re providing is guidance and support for emerging writers of all types. Some guiding thoughts here:
- In five words or less, describe not what you do but what your business is.
- Using this concept as a base, write a paragraph about what you expect your client to gain from working with you – today, in six months, and in two years.
- How does your core concept address your potential clients’ needs?
- Name three major advantages of choosing your services over the competition. Bonus points: name one disadvantage and how you plan to address it in the coming months/years.
Who Is Your Audience?
Don’t fool yourself: if you’re trying to talk to everyone, you’re addressing no one. Playing the numbers may work for the gawky high-school senior asking everyone who passes by to be his prom date, but that’s less effective for a professional seeking to build a solid reputation and a strong clientele. One method for honing down your target audience:
- With your core concept in mind, write down five types of people who will benefit from your services. The more specific the better – for example, mothers living in apartments or Millennial pet owners.
- For each type of potential client, list two social-media sites they are likely to frequent.
- Using this list, identify a list of 2-4 major social media sites that you are most likely to use effectively.
- Repeat this process, this time using more traditional means of contact (phone, direct mail, email) to broaden your options for targeting clientele.
Next step: creating the right content, which is the subject of our next blog post. Stay tuned.