Event planner, lawyer, daycare owner, tow truck driver. Regardless of our chosen trades, it’s fair to say that we all want to build the customer base for our businesses. This is how we thrive. It is therefore natural for us to want to market our products or services to everyone, in the hope of capturing a wider audience and thus making more money.
But every business has a few “unreachable”. Now, some of these people are placed in this category for a reason. If you sell pension plans, for example, your unreachable people could be children because they are just too young to buy your product. But that doesn’t mean they have to stay that way forever. Even the most unexpected groups of people might be your biggest advocates later on. You just have to know how to talk to them.
Here are some tips for successfully reaching your unreachable.
How to reach customers
1. Make a list of your unreachable.
This is an important step that you will not want to skip. Before you start trying to reach out to all of the different types of groups, you’ll want to know who your unreachable individuals really are. They may or may not be who you think they are. This is why research and surveying are important parts of this process.
You can look at your current demographics for visitors to your website or social media platforms and determine which audiences are not connecting with you. You can also try comparing your demographics to those of your competition to see if they are reaching an audience that you might not be. Or, you can conduct interviews and send questionnaires to gather additional information. Regardless of the methods of obtaining this data, make sure that in the end, you have answers to questions such as:
- Why are these groups not interested / uninformed about my business?
- Are they also indifferent / uninformed about the products / services I sell?
- Do they know that they might want / need what I offer?
2. Develop a character for your unreachable.
At this point, you have defined exactly who your unreachable people are, but the research phase is not yet complete. You always want to know what they like and don’t like, where they live, where they work, etc.
Researching the specifics of their daily lives can be helpful when thinking about the message and the channels to reach them. It can help you create a story that appeals to multiple audiences.
You can create effective campaigns because they reach multiple audiences by finding common ground through storytelling.
3. Customize your approach to please them, not your current customers.
This is a continuation of the previous action. When thinking about ways to talk to your unreachable people, it’s important to remember that the same message that works great for your current audience is unlikely to be received well by another, or at least not as effectively.
A successful example of this is Dollar Shave Club’s marketing efforts. Marketers realized that they could reach a large portion of the younger generations with a humorous and quick-witted branding image. The brand’s success stems from the viral nature of the ads that reach out to a much larger group of people than ever before.
4. Give them something really unique.
As wisely stated Contractor Murray Newlands contributor in his article, “The 8 fundamentals of a successful inbound-marketing strategy”, “Think of your website as a hub, not a megaphone.” This applies to all areas of your brand’s presence, both online and offline. Treat unreachable people like they’re already your most loyal customers, rewarding them with valuable resources they can truly use. Because if you can provide them with something they can’t find elsewhere, it will build trust and credibility, two things that will instantly give you a leg up on your competition.
Some valuable, but still free / affordable resources that you can offer include:
- Educational information, like eBooks, guides, infographics, blog posts, webinars, tips, downloadable templates, etc.
- Exclusive coupons / discounts for new customers
- Product / service samples
- Branded merchandise
As many in the industry may already know, this method of marketing (inbound marketing) has proven to be one of the most effective ways to promote your brand or business.
5. Create awareness of the desire / need for what you have to offer.
Your unreachable people are most likely at the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey – not even knowing if they want or need the product / service you are offering, let alone if they want it from your business. specific. That’s why you need to create reasons why someone might need you.
Let’s say you are a hotel that offers a special vacation package. An example of buyers in the awareness phase would be a mother and father who have just found out that they can take a vacation with their family soon but are not yet sure if they want to stay in the area, travel abroad or go on a cruise trip. By marketing your vacation package as the most comprehensive, affordable, and family-friendly offer, you are successfully generating awareness and desire for your offer.
6. Demonstrate how your product / service could be the only solution they need.
Maybe your business offers a variety of products or services (i.e., cross-platform digital solutions). Or, maybe it offers something a little more specialized (i.e. fully organic coffee). But no matter what you come up with, there is always a way to position yourself as their all-rounder solution.
Your unreachable people may not even know that your business can handle the multiple issues they face. They might not know how well you have mastered your very specific product / service. Or, they might not know they need you. Either way, you’ll want to show that you are the only solution.
7. Position your business in the most positive light possible.
While it can be hard to imagine, most people want to know how you can help them, even if they aren’t actively looking for you. If you have piqued their interest in some way, they will want to find the right one in your business, so that they can have a product or service that provides an added solution or convenience to their life.
Some suggestions to keep your efforts optimistic and positive:
- Use up-to-date content, design and resources in your marketing efforts
- Use confident and inviting language, not pushy or abrasive
- Avoid negative posts that demean specific competitors (it’s cheesy)
- Highlight what makes you better than others, but say it in a way that makes you look like the hero
8. Find ways to get your advocates to promote to them.
What could be better than having satisfied customers who love your products / services? Have satisfied customers who voluntarily promote your products / services to others. If they’re happy enough, they’ll do it for free as well. It’s like free advertising.
This is your chance to reward your # 1 fans with things like:
- Sponsorship offers / discounts / coupons
- Exclusive content
- Donations to Fan Favorite Charities
- Answers to questions / concerns, personalized messages and Q&A sessions on social media platforms
- Fan appreciation events
- Videos / photos / etc.
- Participation in the project
Whether your business is able to spend a lot or a little to reward your advocates, remember that there is a huge benefit in people promoting your business for you.
9. Show many forms of credibility.
Besides having testimonials on top rated review sites (or your own website), there are plenty of ways to show that you are credible and trustworthy.
Find unique (but still truthful) ways to display this in your marketing efforts, such as:
- Outstanding awards or certifications (place a badge on your website, post a link to your social media platforms with information about the award / certification, etc.)
- Support a local charity (post information about it on a dedicated landing page on your site, post it on social media, etc.)
- Mention any sustainable environmental efforts you make in your business (recycling, volunteering for eco-responsible organizations, etc.
- Case studies and testimonials
While it is certainly helpful for your current clients to confirm that they have made the right choice with you, those who may not yet know they need you might find your business more desirable than another, simply for your credibility. Look for industry specific materials that you can provide to your potential customers to let them know that you are not only a viable option, but the best option.
10. Do all of this in stages, not all at once.
Last, but not the least, make sure you do these things in different phases. Because it’s unrealistic to believe that anyone’s efforts will magically attract everyone to your business, you need to set goals, follow a strategic plan, and measure your results. Rinse and repeat if necessary for each audience.
There are many ways to talk to those who seem unreachable. You just have to find ways to get out of it and why they (specifically) would want or need you. If you’re not sure where to start, try these tips to expand your reach.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in April 2015 and has been updated for completeness.