3 Ways to Reach Your Audience Where They Are

People will go where they are going, and it is our job to meet them there and lead them on a journey that will make them our customers. This introduction and the resulting conversation is called marketing, and to introduce yourself well, you need to reach your audience where they are.

As delightful as it might be to go meet our future customers in bars and restaurants and introduce ourselves, doing so would be highly impractical and expensive. Yet that introduction, our first impression, is of vital importance. It must be warm, inviting, and yet professional.

Here are three practical ways to reach your audience where they are and get their attention without being irritating or annoying.

Generate Awareness of the Need or Want Your Product Satisfies

Often, customers are unaware of your existence or what you offer. This most challenging of marketing stages can be handled masterfully though. Think of what comes to mind when you hear the phrase “Hungry? Why Wait?” Do you immediately think of (or crave) a Snickers Bar? This is because the slogan itself makes you aware of a need or want you have.

“You’re hungry. You need a snack.”

This simple ad shows how easy an introduction can be: “Feet ache? Try our shoes instead.” The same principle can be applied to almost any business. Marketers refer to this as a hook.

Even the best hook will do no good though if a customer never sees it.

Placement: Do Your Homework

Meeting your customers where they are starts with your message, but you must then distribute that message. This distribution is about ad placement, and to do it well means you need to do your homework.

This means listening to both your current customers and the customers you want to have. Where do they live, work, and play? Where do they go out to eat? Where do they shop?

With this information, you can decide where to place your ads strategically and what form those ads will take. Ads can be placed in many ways:

  • Static Ads: Signs, posters, and banners are all static ads. They stay in the same place and the content on them cannot be easily changed. Changing the message on a poster means creating a new one and replacing the old one.
  • Print Ads: These ads are printed on everything from newspapers to the back of restaurant menus. Once printed, they cannot be changed either until a new menu (or magazine or newspaper) is printed.
  • Digital Signage: Digital signage changes all the time, and your ad will not be the only one shown. These frequent changes tend to draw customers’ attention. These ads can be changed fairly often and quickly. While where they are usually is static, companies like SignSpan often offer several locations where signs can be displayed.
  • Online Advertising: This is a category all its own, but web advertising can change often and is not tied to a physical location, but rather an online one. These ads can be targeted to a certain audience, but results can vary as many users are reluctant to click on ads or use ad blockers and ignore them.

Once you have a message and have placed it where your future customers are likely to see that message, you are a good part of the way to meeting them where they are. You have made them aware of your brand and the need or want it will satisfy. This is a good start, but you have not yet started a conversation.

Make Customers an Offer

Think again of the Snickers ad: “Hungry? Why Wait?” Then think of the same ad placed at a store checkout counter right where you can grab a candy bar. Under the sign is a 50 cent off coupon.

It’s almost certain that by offering a coupon, you will sell more candy bars. Everyone loves a discount, and now even if they are not super hungry, customers will buy because the item is on sale or they get a discount. Experiments show that customers offered items at 50 cents each or two for $1.00 will usually buy two in the second scenario.

Whether your introduction is on a sign, poster, banner, digital sign, or on the web, make the customer an initial offer for choosing your brand. This serves a few purposes:

  • The principle of reciprocity: You gave the customer something, they are more likely to buy from you.
  • Starts the Conversation: The customer comes to you with an offer you gave them, a conversation starter. Your follow up (and sales pitch) can uncover other needs they have and make them a customer for life.
  • Helps you Track ROI: Determining the results of a particular marketing campaign when you have several going can be tricky. Sales may go up, but where did they come from? Having a different offer in different places can help you determine where each customer saw your ad, helping you judge effectiveness.

This offer is your customer’s first step on the journey to being a loyal follower and advocate of your business.

To reach your audience where they are you need a message, you need a place to make the introduction, and you should make them an offer. Once you have introduced yourself, you can build a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship.

Troy Lambert
Troy Lambert
Troy is a content strategist, freelance writer, and consultant from Boise, Idaho. He lives there with his wife, son, and two very talented dogs. In his spare time, he is a cyclist, skier, motorcyclist, and all around outdoorsman.

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