In Avertising, Go Where Your Customers Are

If you’re trying to catch fish, it’s a good idea to steer your boat to where the fish are. You don’t go fishing in a chlorinated swimming pool.

In the same way, whenever you’re selling something, you want to start by selling it to where your customers and most likely prospects are already. In the real world, that means picking a location that has significant relevant foot traffic. Online, it means looking for the organized discussion groups and websites that are already enthusiastic either about your product or your product category.

Because much of advertising today is still targeted to broad audiences, there’s a tendency for people to kick off campaigns that are too broadly targeted to succeed.

Depending on what you’re selling, where your customers are will be different. If you’re selling a video game, you’re going to want to go to an appropriate subreddit or create one for your own company. If you’re selling real estate, you’ll want to look at local publications, discussion forums, and events to understand your area better. If you’re selling a fitness product for women, you want to find blogs and forums where women talk about working out.

Not only will this give you a direct window into what your target market is talking and thinking about, but it’ll also give you ideas for where to target display ads and other paid media. It will always be more effective to go after the people who are most ready to buy first before pursuing broader markets.

This also goes for social networks like Facebook. Instead of the broadest possible demographic targeting, you should start your test campaigns with more specific slices of people whose interests overlap with your services. This can save you a lot of money.

Once you have profitable campaigns running against your target market, you can start expanding with riskier tests into broader groups.

Guide Released: ‘Practical Content Strategy’

We’re excited to announce that our September 2014 guide, Practical Content Strategy, is out in our marketing resources section. Go read it now!

The idea behind creating this is that someone who has never encountered the phrase ‘content marketing’ should be able to read the guide and then immediately start doing excellent work.

Another issue that it’s intended to address is that a lot of the articles, books, and guides written about content marketing tend to be targeted towards large marketing departments. While big companies need all the help that they can get, the type of publishing strategy that they’re going to use will tend to be a whole lot more sophisticated than what the typical company will be capable of.

This guide is targeted to people who might only have between 1-5 people available to work on actually implementing it, and minimal technical staff.

I’ve seen too many small to mid-sized companies go rudderless on how they publish material, despite the fact that anyone can be effective at this if they can learn to start from a good foundation.

We believe that people prefer reading guides that are all collected in one place rather than littered in multiple blog posts. This type of publishing is also better matched to how search engines and social networks work nowadays.

If people get utility out of it, we’ll keep it updated and will possibly add some graphics and other material to make it more useful.

What You Need to Know Before Advertising

Advertising is an essential part of business. We went through a wooly, muddled period during the emergence of social media during which it was popular to declare advertising dead. It’s still not dead, and is in fact, more alive than ever.

An advertisement, properly created and placed, is an honest sales pitch. It gives a prospect information that they need to make a decision that is in their interests. A well-crafted ad saves the customer time and money, making it easier for them to act to improve their lives. Yet, most people start off advertising ineptly, and never reform, even when spending millions of dollars a year.

You can do better by starting off on a foundation of effective principles for advertising online.

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