✔ You finally have your brand name, you know what you’re offering
✔ You’ve identified the problems you’d like to solve and know the solutions to offer
✔ and last but not least, you’ve also identified who you’d like to connect with and help/offer your services to
Whoa! I don’t know about you but that sounds like a great place to be. But now what’s probably worrying you is where you’ll continuously find these very people you’d like to help. It’s one thing saying you’d like to help people but it’s another to actually find them.
This tends to be a very frustrating area for a lot of business owners and don’t worry, it’s not just a small-business-people-thing, it’s an ALL-business-people-thing. Small or established, we are all in the same boat.
For small business owners, especially newbies, hearing the term “marketing” can give you literal chills. Hey! I don’t blame you because I’ve been there before (and sometimes I still find myself there.)
Marketing pushes you to put yourself out there and ask the world to join your tribe and share a passion in what you do. Now, that can be really terrifying especially if you’re not used to putting yourself out there however, trust me, the rewards are worth it.
To walk you through this, I decided to create a guide that will be able to ease you into exploring different ways you can find this very tribe. I know how overwhelming it can get trying to wrap you head around all the different ways you can reach your audience and most times, you’ll probably find yourself wanting to give up wondering why you chose to get on to this path in the first place. However, I’m here to let you know that it doesn’t have to be as difficult as it’s always portrayed. Yes, it will take you a lot of searching and exploration and you’ll have to ask yourself a lot of questions you probably never thought you’d have to think about nor have the answers to but at the end of it, you’ll be left with clarity and direction on how you can best find your people.
- Who is my ideal audience?
- Where do they spend their time?
- How much am I willing to spend?
Who is my ideal audience?
Knowing your ideal audience is the most important aspect when it comes to finding the marketing channel you’d like to focus on. When you know who you’re speaking to, it makes it a lot easier to craft content that speaks directly to them. Some questions that can help you figure this out are:
- How old are they?
- What problems are they facing that you would like to solve?
- What language do they use?
- What are their motivations?
- What do they do for work?
Knowing your ideal audience enables you to begin compiling a list of various channels you can use to target them. This is where handy tools like Google Analytics come in. Google Analytics is often considered to be this very technical and complicated tool however, what’s really great about it is that it caters for all levels. It will allow you to be able to track your customers and give you a bit more information and clarity on who they are e.g their gender, age and what they enjoy most from your website.
Here is an intro article that can guide you on using google analytics as a beginner.
As you go through this, in the event that you probably haven’t already identified your target audience, a really great way to go about this is to narrow down and think of the audience as just one person. This will be your ideal audience avatar.
Go through the questions above and begin writing down some of the thoughts that come in. The more you get into this thinking zone, the more you’ll be able to clarify and build out your avatar. It’s much easier to think of describing one person than a whole group as it allows you to really get into it and be very specific and thorough.
Where do they spend their time?
Now that you’ve identified who your target audience is, it’s time to find out where they spend their time. This is where you really begin deriving a better understanding of which marketing channels to begin using.
To make this a little easier to go through, I decided to break this up into age groups, that way based off your ideal audience findings, you can be able to figure out where they fit in.
18 – 24 years olds
Also often referred to as the Generation Z and Millennial generation. The two generations comprise of the youngest world population. They both grew up with the internet and are extremely tech savvy. They are the ones that spend the majority of their time on social media platforms and have made platforms like YouTube extremely popular.
What’s interesting about both generations is that though they may fall within the same age gap, they consider themselves very different. Here’s a great link that further elaborates on their differences: https://www.visioncritical.com/blog/gen-z-versus-millennials-infographics
Other interesting aspects to note about these two generations is how open they are to connecting and exploring new ideas. For them, marketing is not about selling your product, it’s about the experience. What counts is can they connect to your idea? Do they see meaning? Do they find your idea engaging and empowering?
This age group is best found on social media platforms namely Instagram and SnapChat ,You Tube, Podcasts and Blogs.
Though before you dismiss the Gen Z’s, it is estimated that by 2020, they’ll be the largest group of consumers worldwide. (https://www.engarde.net/introducing-generation-x/#.XTr-3egza00). That’s definitely something worth considering if this is your ideal audience.
Instagram is literally the Holy Grail when it comes to millennials and generation Z. Its versatility and growth from a platform where one could share their best moments to now being one of the largest social media platforms is what makes it a great marketing platform. This is the place brands are pushed to really connect with their audience, especially as the trend now is to no longer appear perfect but to instead be authentic and real. Instagram has allowed for the growth of quality content and never stops championing this. It has become a platform where people can really create content that reflects who they are and connect with those that feel the same. Hence when thinking about approaching it, here are a couple of things to note:
Best content to post:
- High-quality images and videos. Authentic content that reflect who you are as a brand and what you’d like to champion.
- Instagram Story: Authentic behind-the-scenes footage customized with Story stickers, and interactive content.
- IGTV: High-quality vertical video, or longer behind-the-scenes videos and tutorials.
- Live: Q&As or live event coverage.
- Over 1 billion active users.
- Instagram sees high engagement from women, who use it at a rate of 39%, compared to 30% of men.
- Trails Snapchat regarding its popularity with teens. Engagement with teens on Instagram reaches up to 63%.
- Millennials exhibit regular usage of Instagram at a rate of 34%.
- Most popular social media network among millennials.
- Ideal for businesses that have highly-visual and immersive content.
- Optimal channel for businesses that produce a lot of videos.
- Easy to reach new and target customer via hashtags, follower list, direct message, and tagging opportunities.
- Organic reach is declining due to Instagram’s new algorithm.
- Can be difficult and costly to produce visual content on a consistent basis.
Snapchat is mostly known for its popular users aka most people under 20. Nevertheless, it’s one of the best platforms for catchy content that younger users can relate to. Don’t let the filters confuse you into thinking that it’s not a great place to market yourself. Though not often considered an ideal tool by marketers, it is a great place to build an active community that will definitely engage with your content.
Best content to post:
- Behind-the-scenes and interactive footage that showcases your company’s authentic culture.
- Teasers and exclusive content.
- 186 million daily active users.
- 71% of Snapchat users are under the age of 34.
- Demographic of users may be less brand loyal and more likely to follow trends.
- Users open Snapchat approximately 20 times per day.
- Home to the most engaged users of any social media platform (via live streaming).
- Active audience.
- Available formats make content more appealing, organic and real.
- Difficult to measure ROI.
- User-base is young with little to no income.
YouTube has grown over the years from a place where you could watch DIY videos to a multi-billion dollar platform that has allowed for some of the top millennial influencers right now to thrive and build mega businesses. Its high traffic poses as an extremely attractive avenue for businesses to advertise and connect with their ideal audience.
Best content to post:
- High-quality, long-form video
- 1.8 billion monthly users.
- 70% of traffic on Youtube occurs via mobile.
- YouTube reaches more 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.
- The average session on YouTube lasts 40 minutes.
- 85% of teens (13-17) use YouTube.
- YouTube is the second-largest search engine after Google.
- Content can be up-cycled to be used on other channels.
- Videos are likely to be shared among friends and go viral.
- Google gives priority to YouTube videos in search.
- Demands quality, long-form video, which can be costly and time-consuming to create.
- Difficult to reach users directly.
25 – 29 years old
This age group is comprised solely of millennials. Adding on to what we stated earlier, the millennial generation is extremely tech savvy having grown up in the age of the internet. They care a lot about missions and experiences. It’s not enough to just have a product, it has to have meaning. Millennials want to know how you’re contributing to the world and making it a better place. They care a lot about their digital footprint, environmental footprint and really like businesses that have a cause worth supporting hence why Twitter is pretty popular. For them, the experience is what counts. How did it make them feel? How did it help them deal with something or overcome something? How did it help them better their life? These are the experiences that draw them in.
For this reason, they not only spend a lot of time on platforms like Youtube and Instagram but they have also made a living on these platforms, majorly YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Blogs and Podcasts.
This age group cares and focuses a lot on how to better themselves. They are very keen on taking in information that will help them grow their career, develop work life-harmony, work on their self care etc. Hence, they tend to consume a lot of content which is why the term “content is king” made a comeback.
The talk of the digital town has been to create quality content. Content that is value driven, authentic, purposeful, empowering, educational and inspiring.
Here’s a brief run-down of the platforms this particular age group spends a lot of their time on:
Best content to post:
- Vertical images that pertain to female audiences in the fields related to fashion, beauty, food, lifestyle or travel.
- 50% of millennials use Pinterest every single month.
- Over 250 million people use Pinterest each month.
- 80% of new signups come from outside of the United States.
- 40% of pinners have a household income of over 100,000 per year.
- Of the 50% of millennials who use Pinterest, 50% of them have a household income of $75,000 or more.
- 22% of Gen Z (12 to 17 yr-olds) see Pinterest as a channel for “old people.”
- 98% of pinners seek out to find the ideas they find discover on Pinterest.
- Easier to connect with strangers due to the network’s focus on sharing with like-minded people and businesses.
- A pin’s half-life is 3.5 months compared to a tweet’s 24-minute half-life, and a Facebook post’s 90-minute half-life.
- Pins are hyperlinked to their source, making it easy to drive traffic to your site.
- Users can follow all your boards or just specific ones.
- Typically higher conversion rates.
- Copyright issues make it hard to re-pin the content of other users.
- The network attracts a niche user.
- Requires a high number of daily pins to see results. This is why a Pinterest scheduling tool like Sked Social is vital if you want to succeed on the channel.
Blogs have made a comeback at a time where people are thought to have really short attention spans. Though the latter is true, there is a population of people that really enjoy those long form blogs and make a living through it. In addition, a lot of businesses have now taken an interest in blogging and use them to share anything and everything from company news to informational content on how to go about something. This has led to the rise in blogging platforms such as Medium and let’s also not forget that social media platforms have also started encouraging long form posts. Pinterest can easily be considered the most supportive platform when it comes to blogs. It allows for personal to company blogs to post and share their content which then drives traffic back to their websites or shops. It has basically become a home for bloggers to grow, network, thrive and discover other like-minded people.
What you have to remember though is that when it comes to blogging, what really counts is the content. No one wants to read cluttered content that has no direction. Keep an eye out for this and a good rule of thumb is, if it doesn’t please you then it definitely wouldn’t please your audience. Always remember that your audience is looking to learn and grow, and that’s exactly what you content should do for them.
Also, if you’re probably thinking that you can’t write, don’t let that stop you. You can always get yourself a content writer on freelancing platforms who are affordable and will work within your budget.
If you loved radio and still do, you’ll definitely enjoy podcasts. Though they are currently considered the new kid on the block, podcasts have been there for a while. Currently, a lot of businesses are taking the podcast route and creating audio content. This is a great avenue especially for those that enjoy talking and don’t necessarily want to be seen. Though there are video podcasts.
Podcasts have started picking up especially since we’ve become an on the go generation. Millennials can easily be considered the largest consumer of podcast content mostly because they are constantly on the go. If they are not travelling they are walking to get those miles in. Remember when we said that millennials really care about self improvement, well with podcasts they are able to switch out music and instead can listen to an informative, inspiring or educative podcast that will teach them something new, help them reflect or simply have a good laugh.
The beauty of podcasts is that it is still a relatively small market compared to populated platforms such as Instagram and YouTube. Hence, well written and created content that holds value has a really good chance to grow and take up high positions in Apple Podcasts or Spotify etc.
If you enjoy sharing your thoughts and have no problem speaking for long periods of time, this may just be the best avenue for you to not only cultivate an audience but also grow them.
The land of breaking news and savagery. Twitter is known for being the platform for comedy, rants, news and constantly staying up dated. You can never not be in the know when you’re on twitter. It’s also a great place for customer service hence if you’d like to know what people think of your competitor or a big brand that you admire/loathe, this may just be the place to check. In addition, it’s a great place to keep you in the know with regard to trends.
Best content to post:
- News link related to your brand or industry
- Company blog posts
- Gifs to add personality to your feed
Twitter Usage Statistics:
- Twitter has 100 million active daily users.
- 80% of Twitter usage occurs on mobile.
- 12% of Americans use Twitter as their primary news source.
- 25% of U.S. male adults use Twitter, compared to 24% of female adults.
- 32% of users have college graduate degrees
- Effective for social customer service.
- Ideal for website content promotion, quick thoughts, and quotes.
- Given the high volume of tweets and the average number of people and brands that users follow, it can be difficult to reach your target user.
- Growth on the network remains stagnant.
- Difficult to communicate due to limited character length.
30 – 49 year olds
Also referred to as Generation X, this particular age group is mostly comprised of professionals. Majority of them work and hence are fully integrated into the job market. The great thing about them is that they have a higher purchasing power than generations after them. This is because they have stable incomes and are also more stable themselves. They tend to be focused on growing their careers while also building their personal relationships e.g. marriage, purchasing a home or a car. Since a large majority of them are professionals, they tend to spend a lot of their time on platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook which allows for the best of both worlds. They are able to grow professionally and also grow their personal relationships by keeping in touch with friends and family. This is also the generation that is very likely to respond to email marketing. They spend a lot of time on their emails be it for work or reading an email from the various subscriptions they have. For them, emails are a sacred space hence they don’t just give out their emails unless they consider it worth their time.
The big brother of it all. With over a billion users, Facebook is not only the largest platform user wise but it is also a great place for businesses majorly because of their Advertising and Analytics section. With over a billion users, you can be sure, they know a thing or two about their people. Hence, be it starting a group or a page, you can be sure you’ll find like-minded people.
Best content to post:
- Videos and content that are chosen specifically for your Facebook audience.
- 1.49 billion daily active users.
- Over 68% of U.S. adults use Facebook. 51% of them visit multiple times per day.
- Facebook has the highest engagement rate among college graduates — 77%.
- Facebook is particularly popular with populations in India, Brazil, and Indonesia.
- Among Facebook’s younger user-base (34 and under), 19% of them are male, and 12% are female.
- The king of social media with the largest audience (1.59+ billion users).
- The most complete of all social media channels.
- Great reporting options.
- Organic reach has plummeted in recent years.
- It may be difficult to cut through all the noise to reach your target market.
Considered the most professional of the bunch, LinkedIn has slowly grown to be one of the most popular platforms for both businesses and professionals. It’s a great place to build up a presence as a thought leader. Hence, if you enjoy writing thought provoking articles or commenting on trend in your industry, this may just be the place for you.
Best content to post:
- Company news, professional resources, and articles, and job postings.
- 63% of LinkedIn members are between the ages of 25-54.
- The network is comprised of 50% female and 50% male users.
- Finance and medical are the two largest industries on LinkedIn.
- 43% of LinkedIn members currently hold a decision-making role.
- LinkedIn counts over 1.8 million groups.
- The optimal network to reach professionals.
- Not overly cluttered with noise.
- Opportunities to communicate directly with users on forums.
- Users are not the most active of users.
- Spam is prominent.
Email marketing is one of the largest forms of marketing. That’s why it’s never been more important to ensure that you respect the inbox. When it comes to email marketing, you don’t want to be that person that sends an email every two seconds. A good rule of thumb is to imitate your own likes when it comes to email marketing. However when used well, it is a fantastic way to interact and connect with your audience. Not only can you get feedback from them but with the use of email marketing tools such as mailchimp etc, you can also be able to monitor how your emails are doing and how your audience is responding to them. You’ll be able to know everything from which subject heads respond well to how many times your email is opened also known as the click through rate. With emails, you can do so much such as share good news about your company, share personal and thoughtful thoughts, talk about your products or direct them to a landing page with more information on said activity or product. You can group your audience that way you can send out particular and specific information to a certain group without ‘spamming’ everyone else with information they may not necessarily want. The best part about email is that it really allows you to be yourself.
50 – 64 years old
Yep, you got it right if you thought of baby boomers. This age group majorly comprises of baby boomers though there are Generation Y ( 55 years and lower). The baby boomer generation is considered a traditional media generation though quite a number of them have now started embracing digital media. They appreciate traditional forms of content such as radio and television however they also appreciate well detailed and presented content in the form of clean and easy to navigate websites and blogs. They are often found on and consume content through blogs, YouTube, Facebook and Emails. Consistency and value is key when it comes to the type of content they consume so don’t be afraid to put it all there. As much information as you can put in, they’ll definitely appreciate it.
Same goes for the 65+ age group. You will often find them checking their emails or reading a blog to get to know more about a certain topic or subject. For a lot of them though, too much screen time tends to be very hard hence ensuring that your content is mobile friendly is key as they will most like find you while browsing through their phone than a laptop.
How much am I willing to spend?
Last but not least, it’s important to think about your budget. More often than not, majority of these platforms will allow for some organic engagement however, in order to reach more people and get your brand out there, it will be important to consider a budget. Now, this doesn’t have to sound so scary. The beauty of marketing is that you can always start small and that doesn’t mean you’ll get small results. You’d be surprised that it’s not really about how much you spend but how and where you spend it that counts.
Overall, it’s very important to remember that really knowing your ideal audience is what will determine where and how you can find them and also how you can communicate with them. Knowing their interests, motivations, language style will be a big help as it will allow you to be able to relate with them. Though at first it might seem very confusing and overwhelming, it does get easier with time and before you know it, you’ll be building your very own online and possible even offline community.