For many businesses, creating two way conversations with the relevant target audiences can be a challenge. With so many options available, making a decision on which social networks and media outlets to adopt, events to attend and internal communications strategies to implement within your own organisation can prove to be overwhelming.
So how do you connect with your target audience?
ACTION: The first step in the process is to identify who they are. To do this, think about why your business exists – what problems or issues it solves and what your product or service means to the individuals or businesses receiving it.
Also think about the supply chain or any businesses you come into contact with before your product or service hits the market. Can they help your business grow? Can they facilitate introductions to potential customers? If so, then they should be on your list of targets.
Research your audience
In order to start communicating with your audiences, it is important that you get to know them. The ‘one size fits all’ approach will not work with each segment of your audience that you have identified as they all have different needs, so you need to know them well enough to target each of them.
ACTION: Research your chosen market. Look at the online presence of your target audiences. Try and pull together an in-depth picture of what they read, events they attend, review any press coverage on the overall sector as well as individual businesses and research how they themselves communicate with their target audiences.
Pinpoint their issues
Your research and knowledge of your audience should help you pinpoint any issues that your audiences may be facing. Where do the opportunities or problems lie for them? These could relate to anything, for example, issues with Government legislation that you may be able to advise on or help in growing their business with external funding. Once you are aware of the issue you may be able to help, even if it is just through a recommendation from your own network. This is all good marketing for your business and positions you well in the eyes of your target audience.
Create a plan
The key to success in effective communications is planning. My recommendation is to develop a plan of action for your PR activity that compliments your wider business / marketing strategy. The aim of this is to use the knowledge obtained via your research to drip feed information through to your audience in a timely, efficient manner. Doing so will build your credibility and trust between you and your audience and encourage two way conversations that will ultimately benefit you and your business.
ACTION: Create a 12 month calendar to map out all communications for your target audiences. This will help you be frequent enough to ensure that your brand remains at the forefront of their mind.
It is important to remember when making your plan is that you need to position your business so you are seen by your identified audience. If they attend local networking groups then so can you, if they prefer Twitter to LinkedIn, use Twitter as your online platform. Your research and planning will help you be seen and heard in the right places at the right time by the right people. Good luck!
By Kathryn Dishman, Managing Director, KD Communications
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