When you resonate with an audience, this provides the opportunity to lean in even more.
When you reach out, participation is key and you get people to action. It all comes down to finding the right group of people to help propel you. In the words of senior lecturer in marketing and communications (from Bournemouth University), Chris Miles, “Marketing communication is going to come down to the same basic idea – build engaging stories that illustrate the value of your brand to consumers.”
Audience Building Mandem
This is exactly what we saw in last weeks General Election. Labour targeted a younger demographic with a message centred on the hope of a decent future. According to YouGov, 63% of 18 to 29 year olds voted Labour (compared to 22% voting Conservative). Just a quick point to mention, this article has no political bias, but to show how this relates to what we are looking to achieve with our businesses.
What this highlights is the ability to centre a relevant message to a targeted audience, intended to resonate. Labour shown that they cared about young people and their circumstances. The notable highlights were the end of tuition fees and a house-building programme with the intention for more people to find a way onto the property ladder. Lets also not forget the Grime4Corbyn campaign group for grime stars to encourage their audience to vote for Labour.
So, How Does This Link To You?
When you promote a sense of collectivism, not individualistic gratification, you can build trust and action from others.
The whole link to your business is that you have the opportunity to help others build better businesses based on the foundations of what you do and how you express yourself to help others create a concierge type service. For instance, this could be a gym instructor helping others have 75% more energy at the end of the week, rather than the focus on simply training packages with 25% off the first month.
When you have the ability to recognise the role you play within the day/week of your audience and have a clear idea who they are, things start to look simpler.
Alternatively, things can start to look messy. Marks & Spencer launched last month (May), their ‘Spend It Well’ campaign. Food and clothing now appear in the same landscape. Whilst we have one side that is stable and looking healthy (the food side is doing well), the other is becoming unstable (clothing). Marks & Spencer recently announced a 60% decrease in pre tax profits. It related to a decline in clothing sales and the cost of opening 68 new food stores.
This is a prime example of a company that thinks that it can have every slice of the pie and mean nothing, rather than leaning into a target audience ie. the over 55’s. What is wrong with a clothing brand that shows this age group a level of understanding that represents their spirit, soul and drive? In 2019, there will also be 290 people of pensionable age per 1,000 people of working age – this number will increase to 370 in 2039.
You can’t look to change everyone, but you can focus on those who are willing to adapt, based on your ability to be continually relevant.
Taking Things On Board Your Side
What is the approach that you can take onboard and minimise wastage by thinking that everyone is your audience?
Here are some audience building, mixtape tracks that all relate to finding your audience and then leaning into them.
Can you define your target audience?
The simple thing is this, rather than thinking we are still part of an age where we can broadcast with the widest brush to as many people who are willing to see us and then turn the other way. You have to recognise, who you want to change? This then allows you to focus your skills. For instance, if you want to be recognised as a better writer, you have to continually practice the art of writing. Whether it’s your own blog or somewhere such as Medium, you have to find a way to nurture your talents to the audience you are looking to target.
Can you carve and nurture a voice?
When people start to recognise your tone of voice, this is something that no one else can take away. It is how people attach themselves to you and why more people will subscribe when you have a defined tone. Alternatively, you can fit into the same box with everyone else and have no defining character or style. Change happens when you continue to develop. This is why I am 100% onboard the Marketing Homebrew podcast and recognise that to become better, you have to continually work at it, so over time, people become comfortable. When you have a defined voice that is aligned to what you do you can become the trusted source within your industry. This is something that we’ll look at in the June You Are The Media Lunch Club, you can read more here (why not come along too).
What role will you provide for others?
You need to understand your audience better to build a longer-term relationship. You can’t have a sense of warm achievement knowing that Google Analytics patted you on the back as the numbers were higher than last month. You can’t say thanks to email numbers, you can’t get to ask numbers by their first name. You have to earn the attention and space of other people, not demand it by throwing money at the problem by borrowing audience from someone else. Your role can’t just be centred on selling, but to provide reassurance, guidance and be seen as providing Yoda type wisdom for others to think about and to take on board.
What is going to make someone action ie. subscribe, interact and buy?
This is not about grabbing someone’s attention in a net and then locking it in a cupboard, people are going to action when you have earnt their trust. For a deeper look at this read the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer. To earn the trust of others, is not about winning an award or thanking everyone on LinkedIn for having 2,000 connections but being a lot simpler. It is about matching your claims against your audience’s expectations. Being responsible for others, helps you build a perception in the minds of others.
Once people are onboard, can you focus on them?
When you start building your audience, you begin to see a profile of the type of person. For instance, the majority of subscribers to the You Are The Media Thursday email are small business owners. The content created (hopefully) puts them firmly in the picture and highlight what is happening in the world today and the ability to create, curate and distribute to an owned audience. This helps with the flow as you have a picture of the type of person you are addressing and for you to have a greater ability to share what is relevant to everyone within your community.
How can you streamline?
During March, I highlighted the importance of creating content that aligns with what you do. Taking a wholly altruistic angle will not work. An approach with a big heart, but no strategy, will not create a positive outcome. It is tempting to spend time within a fresh new channel, but it becomes easy to get carried away if the intentions do not relate back to your business (I guess this is the ‘why’ element). I have wasted many hours/weeks doing things that just did not relate back to my business. Creating and communicating more, just means that you can, it doesn’t mean that it will lead to anything or develop your thinking. There has to be an emphasis on value and thought, not ‘the best times to post on Twitter.’
Can you always make it easy to get in touch and respond quickly?
If someone has come forward ie. subscribed, at least make the courtesy to engage. The ‘thanks for your email, we will get back to you’ auto response, is as cold as getting someone else to represent you at a networking event. When someone subscribes, I have made the habit of at least sending a ‘thanks’ email and to ask their path to the subscribe button, what they do and what they look for (you never know where inspiration for new articles can come from).
Can you promise to come from a place of simplicity, brevity and a clear message?
If you are looking to connect on a deeper level with your audience, when you have a clear voice, it becomes easier to express, analyse and communicate. This means you are not looking over your shoulder, but looking face to face (or screen to screen) with someone else. The way people connect, is with someone who has their back, has a shared ethos and a persona that they can relate to. The objective is to be consistent with a message, in order to build.
Lets Round Up
Everything starts and ends with your audience. You have the ability to build a network whereby the content you create is what people want to engage with. You don’t need to be swayed thinking that you should be putting all your eggs in the Facebook basket, they own the audience, not you.
What is becoming increasingly transparent are those who can target a message to a defined audience, can persuade and keep the relationship ongoing, as long as there is trust and you and your business are relatable. It just happens that the ability to bring others to your side of the fence is a lot more accessible than it was. What was once recognised as businesses building audience by broadcasting, now has more resonance when we interact, not just transact.