I had an experience recently that got me thinking about how businesses communicate with their target audience. I was standing in line at a well-known coffee chain listening to the people ahead of me order their drinks. They were drinks with fancy names, with extra shots and twists of things I can’t pronounce, in sizes that didn’t make any sense to me.
Then it was my turn. The young man behind the counter looked at me with a blank expression. By the way, I had heard the employees were coffee experts. Seeing as I almost never go to this particular chain, I had high expectations. When I began asking questions about menu items, the server became noticeably irritated and briefly glanced at the line forming behind me. I ended up ordering “the closest thing to a medium regular coffee.”
I took my coffee and sat down at a table to wait for the person I was meeting. As I waited, I noticed the store was dirty and my table was wobbly. All in all, it was a negative experience.
Don’t Stop Marketing—Even If You Have A Loyal Following
Here’s an interesting fact: This chain has been closing hundreds of stores around the world and losing much of its audience to smaller, more nimble coffee shops. It’s closing an additional 150 stores across the United States in 2019. However, 10 years ago this chain had developed a cult-like following. Branches were springing up everywhere and it was always a big deal when a new one opened. It was almost a status symbol to get your coffee there.
Aside from staff and dirty stores, I think a big problem is this chain has forgotten to keep marketing and growing its loyal audience. It assumed everyone knows who it is and loves the brand. The chain became so big it believed it didn’t need to proactively win over new followers. Perhaps it thought simple word of mouth would ensure continued success?
Communicate in A Way That Is Meaningful to Your Target Audience
There is a valuable lesson here for every business as it relates to marketing. When it comes to your marketing, always assume nobody knows anything about you.
I attended a great marketing seminar about a year ago and one of the presenters made a statement about marketing that has stuck with me ever since. She said, “Almost everyone will miss almost everything you do.”
The presenter meant almost every video, social media post, email, mailer, phone call, commercial, or print ad won’t be seen or heard by the majority of your target audience. Therefore, when you’re attempting to reach your target audience and get them to take action, you must clearly, consistently communicate in a way that is meaningful to them.
Even if you’ve had a successful marketing campaign, you can’t act as if that one campaign will carry you forever. You must always be working on growing and educating your audience. Through your content and your actions, you must continuously show your desired audience how you can make their lives better.
The Mystical Art of Marketing
It’s easy to become lazy with marketing. It’s especially easy to become lazy in the world of small business owners. For many small business owners we’ve worked with, marketing is a mystical art form that is scary and confusing. So unfortunately, it’s an area that’s often neglected by business owners. And I’m sure that’s the major reason why most small businesses fail.
Please don’t make the mistake of believing if you “hang your shingle,” make random social media posts, attend a few networking events, and send your newsletter people will actually care about your business.
You’ll have the most success when you’re providing relevant content, timely information, calls to action, transparent information, frequent interaction, and responsiveness to your specific target audience—all the time. In addition, experience shows that the best form of marketing is being extremely good at what you do.
We’re bombarded with content daily. What’s “trending” today is gone tomorrow. Everyone is trying to get our attention. And technology has made it simple for small businesses to send their message to the world. It’s important to stay relevant to our audience and interact with them on a regular basis. Don’t be like this big chain that’s going backward. Instead, assume people don’t know anything about you.
About the Author
Michael Keiser promises he is Co-Founder of coaching, marketing, and advisory company The E Circle.
Interested in learning more about Mike and his entrepreneurial endeavors?
Read our interview: Entrepreneur Co-Founds Business Advisory Startup.
Get more entrepreneurial tips from Mike in his Innovation Destination Hartford blogs:
- Choose Your Pain—Or Your Pain Will Choose You
- When It Comes to Marketing, Assume People Don’t Know Anything About You
- Improve Your Marketing by Identifying Your Ideal Client
- Keeping Your Word Is Critical to Business Success
- CT Entrepreneur Reflects on His Best Lessons From 2017
- Quit Trying to Convert the Non-Believers
- Business Realities for Successful Entrepreneurs