Audience first or Market first?
Once you have your audience, you have your market.
If you think the above is correct, you are on the wrong track. You have to decide your market first, and you decide your audience to target.
Many business fail to recognise the importance of market before they decide which audience to target. From my experience, that is the one of major reason they failed.
Anyway, once you choose your market, the next thing to do is to think about being where your audience is hanging out.
What that means, is that you have to find your audience. And the best way to do this is to find a ‘route to market’.
What does “Route to market” means?
Route to market is a business term that basically means a direct access point to the kind of person who is right for your website/business. If you can find a route to market, then you can almost guarantee profit.
Because really, the simple truth of any content marketing strategy or even any business model is that you’re trying to identify an audience, create something you can sell to them and then put that thing in front of that audience. When you simplify it like this, it really is a very easy process – you just need a way to connect group X with product/website Y.
Note that television is not a route to market – that’s just a platform through which you market.
A route to market is something that much more specifically leads to that exact audience. In the example of television, you could say the infomercial could be your Route to market.
Another perfect example would be an industry magazine. If you have a website about gardening and you’re selling gardening tools, then a gardening magazine would be an ideal route to market. So too would be gardening forum. Needless to say, there is more area you can pitch.
Focus your existing customers first.
And the easiest way to start a business and to start making money is to select a small, uncatered-for audience that you already have access to. So think about your existing contacts and resources: do you know the editors of any magazines? Do you know any top bloggers or YouTube vloggers? Do you happen to be head of a fan club? Do you lecture at a University on a given subject?
Now you just need to create the product and blog for that audience and you have a fool proof recipe! Don’t make life difficult for yourself: take the path of least resistance, use existing contacts and target the most responsive groups.
And if the area that you have access too isn’t in the niche that you want to work with, see this as a starting point and use it to begin your growth. Once you’ve conquered one small niche/industry, you can move on to the next.
Know Your Audience
But what if you genuinely don’t already have any contacts you can turn into routes to market?
Or what if you have exhausted those options/don’t want to go that route?
The next step is to profile your audience. In marketing, we refer to something called a ‘persona’. A persona is an imaginary biography that describes the ideal kind of person you’re writing for and the ideal kind of person that you want to sell to/attract to your website.
So if we’re going back to the gardening magazine, then your persona might be an older man, nearing retirement age. Or then again, if you took my earlier advice and decided to aim for a smaller portion of a large market, your persona might be ‘young, active professionals, looking to create their own gardening business’. which is not ideal audience and something like this.
Knowing your persona will impact on the type of content you write and the kind of tone of voice you use – and this is something too much here to talk about.
Just a reminder that you need to be careful of persona. The ideal audience is not someone who is just interested in your business, products or service. My definition of ideal audience which I called true audience is that they have two characteristic.
1, They are so committed to spend the money to solve the issue they are facing.
2, They have already spent the money to buy the products, service similar to yours.
Most business fails simply because they don’t target those true audience.
At the same time, your persona is also going to define the kind of place that’s ideal for you advertising.
In internet marketing there’s a saying which is: be everywhere. Your ultimate objective is to have a very strong social media presence on every single big platform as well as to have your own website and really just finders in as many pies as humanly possible assuming your audience is hanging around in the social media.
This is all good and well but unfortunately, it’s also not terribly realistic for the small-time entrepreneurs. Eventually you might get there but in the short term, it makes a lot more sense to focus your efforts on one social network primarily and on one strategy primarily.
Again, this means thinking about the kind of person you’re aiming at. The older generation for instance isn’t all that likely to be on SnapChat or WhatsApp. They probably still read newspaper or something physical such as flyer. If you are in B to B transaction, you may be surprised that using Fax direct mail can be still useful to grab their attention. Stats tell us that this is a younger person’s game! If you want a hip young audience, then Instagram and SnapChat are the places to be. If you want earlier adopters/techies, then try out Periscope and live video streaming. This is the one of the way to generate warm leads.
This will even affect the small details. If you’re sending out emails as part of your email marketing campaign, then ask yourself what time of day your typical reader is likely to be most active!