Do you know how hard it is to get the attention of your target audience? Imagine with me, for a moment, that you are standing in Times Square, in New York City. You have a lot on your mind, the workday you just left, office politics, what’s for dinner or when was the last time you fed the dog?
Look up, see all the screens. Hear the music, the ads and the news played on those big screens, the conversations of the people walking by. The noise coming out of the entrances to the various stores/restaurants you are passing, each with its own conflicting soundtrack. Some kid blows past you on his skateboard blasting music out of a speaker clipped to his hip. You pass a homeless man with a guitar playing for spare change. Traffic noise rises over all the noise, as two taxis honk, and then the drivers get out and go at it, New York style.
Are you with me? Can you feel the cacophony of mental noise going on right now?
Our world is over-saturated.
Let’s face it, our world has become way over-saturated. As individuals in today’s society and culture, we have a LOT of things vying for our attention. And so do your clients/customers. That Times Square image? THAT is what your target audience experiences every single day. You? You are like a person’s cell phone chiming a quiet text noise as they walk by you. There is no way your target audience heard you. How are you getting through to your target audience, if you are just one of a million voices screaming at that same person every day?
The average consumer glosses over so many barely concealed grabs for their attention, that likely they don’t even realize how many ads they’ve seen in a day. Between radio commercials on the commute, email campaigns, social media ads, and tv commercials, not to mention the billboards or signs one might pass on the way to and from work. What are you doing to catch the attention of your increasingly immune target audience?
If you don’t have a strategy, you are not getting noticed.
It’s that simple. You won’t get noticed on accident. Not amid all that mental noise.
Here are a few starter strategy ideas to get you in front of the people you want to reach.
Narrow it down!
First, and this is a big one, don’t waste your time (and money) advertising to someone who isn’t your target audience. Take the time to narrow your idea of the person you are trying to get in front of. The quantity of exposure is not necessarily better than quality.
A billboard might be seen by hundreds or thousands of commuters a day, but if your target audience is stay-at-home moms, the return for that advertising will be precious little. A small sign on community boards at local schools, on the other hand, has huge potential, even though the number of people exposed to that outlet is less. The same is true on the internet. Figure out what your narrowly defined target audience is doing online, and what opportunities there are to get in front of them on that same platform.
Keywords are Key
Second, keyword research. Once you find out where your target audience is online, figure out what they are researching. There are so many tools you can use to research keywords, (which are search terms your target audience would be likely to put into a search engine, like Google). Without getting too far down the rabbit hole on this particular post, if you can utilize these same keywords in your online presences, you are more likely to get in front of the person you are trying to reach. You know, the one who is inclined to use your service, or buy your product.
Know Your Target
Lastly, do some basic research into the tendencies of your target audience. Are they attracted by brightly colored and exciting ads online? Or do they gravitate towards more minimalistic tendencies? Are they concerned about the environment? Are they outdoorsy? What kinds of movies do they gravitate towards? What types of jobs do they have? In what industries? What other services/products are they using? What do those services/products advertisements look like?
Finding out basic things about your target demographics can help you design your lures differently. Your lures are your shot-in-the-dark campaigns that are designed to attract new customers. These are things like Facebook ads, youtube videos, email campaigns, etc.
Different age groups respond to different styles of visual organization.
For example, and this is very general: the older generations like simple, one-thing-at-a-time kind of commercials and ads, with smiling people in them. The next generation down tends to respond better to more complex, visually busy, brightly colored lures. Then there is the more recent movement towards minimalism again, in a modern layout with thin, straight lines. Which of these three styles will attract your target? You get the idea.
These are just for starters. Once you do these, there are so many more things you can do, like getting serious about SEO for one. Tailoring your efforts to reach the sector of the population who needs what you are offering is the best way to ensure you are not a small text chime from the pocket of a person in Times Square. If you do it right, you’ll end up on the big screen, and shut down all the other screens too!
Written by Emily Dominguez