You’re standing on a stage, there’s 10,000 people staring at you and quietly waiting for you to speak. Before you do, you take a look around and notice that everyone in the crowd seems to be different ages, ethnicity, gender, some have kids with them and some are sitting next to a significant other. What can you say to this random assortment of people that will make a true connection between you? You’re pretty funny, maybe try telling some jokes? No… No, that won’t work, everyone finds humor in different things and some things can be offensive to certain groups — Hmm, maybe try singing that Taylor Swift song you were singing on the car ride to the theater? No, that probably won’t work either, even if you sing it perfectly, there’s a lot of people just not into that kind of music.
The reality of this made up situation is that it can’t be done.
No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be able to connect with 100% of a large general audience.
What if we narrow the audience to a 35 year old married woman that has 3 kids, lives in suburban Chicago and works as a pharmaceutical representative? Well, you’d have a much better idea how to talk to this person when you were up on that stage. You’d be much more likely to connect with this woman on a deeper level by speaking to her life, interests and goals.
Speaking on a stage of 10,000 people may sound scary but this is a similar scenario anytime you launch any marketing efforts for your business. As they patiently listen, what will you say?
Time and time again when starting a project I ask, “who is your target audience?”, I get something along the lines of “My product is for everyone ages 0-99 that live on planet earth”…
The problem with that response is that while you could try to develop a general message for 100% of an audience, it will never create a true connection with ANYONE in the audience. Sure, you may have a product that can help everyone ages 0-99 but targeting a large group like that leads to boring, generic brand messages that try to appeal to everyone.
Think of marketing like one person talking to another person. A person that lacks personality and speaks generally isn’t nearly as interesting or persuading as a person with strong will and a dynamic personality. We don’t necessarily agree or like this person all the time but we understand maybe they’re just not for us.
Narrow your audience to one person.
To narrow your audience to a single person is a tedious task but starts with asking 2 questions.
1 – Who is your current audience?
2 – Who has the most to gain from your product?
Both of these answers will take a bit of investigating but there is great value in finding answers to these simple questions.
Describe your person on paper.
Once you have done the investigating and have answers to these questions, it’s time to describe who your target person is on paper. This is an incredibly important step as you’ll refer to this paper every single time you create any ad campaign or message.
It should include age, gender, ethnicity, location, education level, marital status, children, occupation, income level, interests/hobbies, etc…
When you write this, think of the details of their story and what makes them unique. The more descriptive you are, the more effective it will be. Include details that may not seem to matter like their name. Only after this step will you be able to fully understand who you’re trying to communicate with.
Once you know your target person.
Once you know your target person, you can then connect with them on a much deeper level than if you were to speak to a general audience.
Every message you develop on social media, every script for video or animation, every time you actually speak to a room of people, you should have this person in mind. You’re trying to connect with them specifically, nobody else.
Wait, did he just say “connect with the target person and nobody else”?
When you create marketing for a target person, the remaining “general audience” will be split into two groups. The first group is people that will not be able to relate to your brand or product. This is the sacrifice that must be made in order to have a high connection target audience. Don’t be afraid to lose them all together as before your new target audience was established, this person was only, at best, somewhat interested in your product anyway.
The second group that the general audience is broken into is the Aspirers. This group is filled with people that don’t really match your target person description, but they do aspire to be more like that person, therefore your messages will attract them as a result of having a single target person in mind.
So next time you’re about to create an advertising campaign, about to hit “tweet” or about to stand in front of a room of 10,000 people. Remember not to talk to all of them. Talk to one person. You’ll use less energy/resources but gain much more trust, loyalty and intrigue with your customers.
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