Chief Digital Officer at ProspectsPLUS!
Have you ever been to someone’s house or stepped into a backyard and thought you were standing in a gardening center — a horticulture showplace? There’s a vibrant collection of colors, a selection of trees and shrubs and flowers outside, with a textured symphony of green that flows from room to room inside. Most people will tell you that nothing they have planted is there by accident.
People who have intentionally developed their green thumb understand the sunlight requirements, the watering schedules, what needs to be fertilized and when, and the life cycle of each living thing. They research what to do next, put a plan into motion and study the positive and negative effects. What these people understand about their passion for plants is the exact same thing you need to understand about finding your prospects.
You can obviously use any combination of countless variables to identify the best audience for your direct marketing campaign, but I’ve found these four targeted marketing basics to yield fantastic results:
1. Age: Think about what engages you now versus when you were 10 or 20 years younger. The approach to messaging is different. The expectations around response times and methods have changed. And there is a changed perspective regarding hopping on the latest trend. Knowing where your prospects are on that “life curve” can help pinpoint the best potential sales and leads for your products.
2. Occupation/Industry: This is especially critical if you’re attempting to place a postcard marketing campaign in a specialized niche or any industry that is historically not receptive to “or current resident” marketing efforts.
3. Location: The expression “out over your skis” applies here. Yes, the objective of your campaign is to either 1) find sales, or 2) find leads. And as wonderful as it is to cast a wide net, you want to be readily aware of the boundaries of your service. If you’re selling online, that isn’t generally an issue — unless international shipping is a factor. But if you’re local, selling your HVAC, pool cleaning or computer repair services, you need to be mindful of the distance you’re willing to travel for potential business. (This also applies if you have a limited number of technicians or employees. Don’t sell more than you can handle.)
4. Income: This category (and education, mentioned below) can seem exclusionary or discriminatory in some ways, but the intent is grounded in reality. You have a service or product to offer, and you’re aware of what your margins are. It is counterintuitive to market an expensive product or service in an area where the income of the residents would make it difficult for them to afford what you’re hoping to sell.
Education is also a criterion to include in your efforts to identify the best potential audience in your targeted marketing. But, I’m honestly “in two minds,” as my grandfather would say, about using it. We all know that formal education isn’t a requirement to own or manage a successful business, unless you’re in a specialized field like medical supplies or nuclear energy.
Many business owners might not have a college degree, but they’re operating million-dollar businesses based on hard work and industry knowledge gained over a long period of time. Education as a criterion in target marketing isn’t meant to disparage or make assumptions about intelligence. It can be a double-edged sword to market to individuals with a degree; you’ll find sales and leads, but you might also be ignoring a swath of potential business. So, I won’t list it as one of the basics, but it’s a factor worth considering if it makes sense for your business.
Just like people take the time to understand what an addition to our yard or home means for the plant and its environment, so, too, must you understand to whom you’re reaching out in search of new or repeat business. Nothing that gets planted is the result of blind guessing or an unsubstantiated “feeling.” And the results can be out of this world!