Bullseye! The Value of Target Marketing

There are two ways to approach marketing. There is the shotgun approach, where you try to get your message out to anyone you can. In other words, you are throwing a handful of darts at the board and hoping some of them hit. Then, there is the targeted approach, where you hone in on a specific audience and make more strategic efforts to connect with only the people you want to reach. Bullseye!

A Big Picture Perspective

To the untrained marketer, it may make sound like a good idea to use a shotgun approach because you want as many people to be exposed to your brand, products and services as possible. For some massive companies, it kind of makes sense. Take Coca-Cola for example. They spend millions (if not billions) of dollars every year in marketing and their brand messaging is just about anywhere you look. Why? Because people from just about every demographic like to drink Coke. And don’t forget they have a massive marketing budget that allows them to advertise everywhere.

Looking Closer

However, when you look closer, you can actually see that Coca-Cola uses a lot of targeted marketing. Different commercials might run on different channels or programs depending on the average viewer demographics. They are using social media to target specific groups of people effectively. Remember when they started putting names on bottles in recent years? That is a great gimmick that has worked with millennials, and even the names they put on the bottles and distribute to different parts of the country are carefully picked to attract certain segments of the population.

So, on the surface it may seem that Coca-Cola uses a shotgun approach, but it’s because they’ve adopted target audience marketing more and more over the years that has made them—and will continue to make them—the world’s leading soft drink brand.

What Are Your Marketing Goals?

As a small business, you do not have a marketing budget in the millions. Targeted marketing allows you to get more bang for your buck. You can identify your ideal target audience and use strategic marketing approaches to reach them specifically.

First, you must identify your ideal audience that is most likely to relate to your brand, buy your products or use your services. You may have more than one target audience, which is fine. Just know that you will be splitting your focus (and your budget) to reach multiple groups. The audience breakdown may be based solely on geography (your town/region) or by demographics (age, ethnicity, etc.).

Once you have your audience(s) identified, you need to develop your marketing materials (print, online, social media, blog, SEO tags, etc.) to speak to that audience’s fears, needs and desires. Then, you need to distribute in ways that will reach that audience more directly. Social media has really streamlined the idea of target marketing. Most platforms make it easy to create very targeted ads and promote posts toward a pre-defined demographic audience based on age, location, interests, consumer habits, careers and more. Use this technology to your advantage and focus your marketing spending to attract the people you want to attract.

Take Advantage of Targeted Marketing

When it comes to marketing, especially for small businesses, a shotgun approach is rarely a good plan. Take a more targeted approach and you will see the difference in response from consumers who are more interested in what you have to offer.

For more information about target marketing and how to develop more targeted web content, email and social media campaigns, contact NextGear Marketing today for a free consultation.

What You Need to Know About Online Reputation Management

“Online reputation management” is a popular buzz term you hear a lot today. It’s all about maintaining a good reputation online and through any social media channels where people are talking about your business, products or services. There are some things you can control, such as the messages that you put out as a company. There are other things where you don’t have much control, including what customers (or competitors posing as customers) say about you.

Control Your Messaging

Putting out positive content shouldn’t be that much of a challenge, other than devoting the necessary time and resources to stay active with your blog, website content, social media posts, email campaigns and responses to online reviews and comments. You can proactively put a lot of messages out there that grow your brand, engage customers and generate leads.

Really, one of the keys to online reputation management is making sure there is more good content out there about you than bad. When there is bad content, how you respond can make a huge difference. We’ll circle back to that strategy in just a bit.

Focus on the Positive

First and foremost is the good content. This is the stuff you are posting and writing about, which should generally promote a positive image for your business. It should be engaging, interesting, informative and sometimes fun. You want to find the right balance of quantity and frequency in your posts, and track what content gets the best response.

Managing Customer Reviews

Beyond the material that you are posting as a company, there is what consumers are saying about your business. The truth is that most people who take the time to write reviews or provide feedback will either be positive or negative. You don’t see that many middle-of-the-road reviews because those people don’t have a strong enough opinion to share. Otherwise, it’s human nature. Some people just like to look for things to complain about. The Internet and social media are great outlets for them to speak out with a certain level of anonymity.

Fortunately, most reviewers lean toward the positive side. This means you want to encourage people to share their feedback on any platform they wish. Offer incentives (monthly drawings, discounts for future purchases, etc.). Get your fans and supporters working for you with authentic reviews, and they will help drown out the smaller percentage of negative comments. By the way, if you do this and the feedback is overwhelmingly negative, you need to rethink the way you treat your customers!

That said, you will encounter a negative review from time to time, whether it’s a customer with a legitimate gripe, it’s someone who may be exaggerating the situation or it’s a non-authentic reviewer (possibly a competitor) purposely trying to bring you down.

How you respond to these comments and reviews is crucial. Never get defensive or attack a negative reviewer, but do make sure and respond. Do it tactfully to show others that you are actively trying to resolve the issue. When done right, a negative review can be turned into a positive impression with a proper customer service response. If the reviewer in question is obviously fake, find a way to subtly call them out.

“We’re sorry to hear you had a negative experience. Unfortunately, we do not see your name in our customer database, so we want to make sure your concerns are resolved accordingly. What products/services did you come in for and when did you purchase?”

Odds are, a fake reviewer won’t respond to this and most savvy consumers will be able to recognize it’s a fraud. They’ll still value your resolution attempt, though, and that’s how you potentially turn a negative comment into a positive impression.

The Right Social Strategy

Online reputation management is an important strategy in today’s social marketplace. Be positive, be proactive and be responsive. These are the keys to success.

For more information about online reputation management or how to more effectively manage your blog and social media content, contact NextGear Marketing today.