I wanted to start the RIDE THE WAVE series talking about CONNECTING WITH AN AUDIENCE.
You can take this through everything else we will cover in the RIDE THE WAVE series.
Connecting with the CORRECT audience is an invaluable part of branding and marketing.
Firstly what is the difference between branding and marketing?
Put simply branding is the way you portray your business, and how your business makes people feel.
The logo, the message you give, photos and videos all represent your brand.
As a small business, the most important part of your brand is most likely to be YOU.
Everything you do, where you spend your time, everything you say, everything you post online.
It all reflects on your business somehow.
Have you ever noticed that the enquiries you get are often part of your current network?
People that know, people that you know?
This is because the connection is already made. There is a certain amount of trust and familiarity.
Now, don’t rush off to delete that Facebook photo of you being crazy at a festival.
REAL photos can actually help build relationships.
Being personable helps your audience to understand you are real and not a logo.
People buy on such an emotional level so that ‘crazy photo’ is likely to help.
Your brand is your personality, and your personality will relate to a certain type of customer.
Marketing is the promotion of your brand, your product or service.
With marketing, we are trying to gain exposure for the brand using tools such as the website, a blog, social media, directory listings (like TripAdvisor), videos and podcasts.
Offline marketing refers to adverts in magazines, posters and leaflets.
Marketing builds brand awareness.
In today’s economy ‘hard sell’ is very ineffective.
The hard sell is also marketing – such as cold calling. An advertisement on social media saying how great your product is can be thought of as hard selling – the advert doesn’t connect.
Put effort into building relationships with the right people to increase brand awareness and widen your network.
Now let’s talk about having the RIGHT network.
Businesses often try hard to appeal to anyone and everyone, casting a huge net and being very general.
But, your business and your attitude will actually only appeal to a small group of people.
Especially if you are true to yourself.
Being true can help you to enjoy marketing and draw the customers in who value you.
Are you family-friendly?
BE family friendly. Have concern for family needs throughout your marketing.
Think about who you should be talking to – is it the child who will be thrilled by your product?
Or is it the parent you should appeal to because you educate the child, or you make life easier?
Are you a high-end business?
Does your restaurant have a world-class professional chef?
Don’t try to win followers who can’t afford what you are offering.
Maybe you are affordable? Or mid-range.
Know your customer, and you will begin to find a voice.
A very good way to think about who you appeal to is to look at yourself.
This is a little exercise from a great book I’ve got called LINGO by Jeffrey Shaw. I’ll put a link to it on Amazon in the comments section.
I asked a group of my best friends to give me three words that would describe me, positive only obviously.
I let them know it was for business so I didn’t get feedback like – HUGGABLE.
The answers were incredible, one I cannot repeat.
It really made me understand how other people saw me, and it helps me to stick to my character.
Once you understand yourself, you can be confident in targeting the audience who will love you.
And not everyone is going to love you.
Knowing and connecting with an audience is a difficult step and there is a lot more to it than I go into here.
I don’t profess to be a professional.
The realisation that you do not have to appeal to everyone is really quite liberating.
If you haven’t quite got the gist of how you should approach an audience, just continue to be yourself for now.
Once you’ve figured it out, you can come back to your writing and make edits.
Or create more videos that will target the audience you really want.
For the moment check through your website, social media platforms and listings on directories such as TripAdvisor.
Be sure at a minimum they are correct and informative.
Try to write with that ideal customer in mind.
Think about that customer and how you would talk to them on a day-to-day basis.
What would appeal to them?
In the next video, I’ll help you to check through your website.