Event planner, lawyer, daycare owner, tow truck driver. Regardless of our chosen professions, it's fair to say that we all want to build our businesses' customer bases. It's how we thrive. So it's only natural for us to want to market our products or services to everyone, in hopes of capturing a larger audience and thus making more money.
But every business has a few "unreachables." Now, some of these people are placed in that category for a reason. If you sell retirement plans, for instance, your unreachables might be children because they're simply too young to purchase your product. But that doesn't mean they have to remain that way forever. Even the most unexpected groups of people could be your biggest advocates later on. You just need to know how to speak to them.
Here are some tips for successfully reaching your unreachables.
How to Reach Customers
1. Make a list of your unreachables.
This is an important step you won't want to skip. Before you start trying to reach all different types of groups, you'll want to find out who your individual unreachables actually are. They may or may not be whom you think they are. That's why researching and surveying are important parts of this process.
You might look at your current demographics for visitors to your website or social media platforms and determine which audiences aren't connecting with you. You might also try comparing your demographics to your competitors' to see if they're reaching an audience you might not be. Or, you could conduct interviews and send out questionnaires to gather additional information. Whatever methods of obtaining this data, be sure that in the end, you have answers to questions like:
- Why are these groups uninterested/uninformed about my business?
- Are they also uninterested/uninformed about the products/services I sell, too?
- Do they know they might want/need what I'm offering?
2. Develop a persona for your unreachables.
At this point, you've narrowed down exactly who your unreachables are, but the research stage isn't over just yet. You still want to find out what their likes and dislikes are, where they live, where they work, etc.
Researching the specifics of their day-to-day lives can be helpful when brainstorming the message and channels to reach them. It can help you create a story that appeals to multiple audiences.
You can create campaigns that are effective because they appeal to multiple audiences by finding common ground through storytelling.
3. Customize your approach to appeal to them, not your current customers.
This is a continuation of the previous action. When brainstorming ways to speak to your unreachables, it's important to remember that the same message that works really well for your current audience probably won't 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 lot of the younger generations with humorous and quick-witted branding. The success of the brand stemmed from the viral nature of the ads that spoke to a much broader group of people than ever before.
4. Offer them something truly unique.
As wisely stated by Entrepreneur contributor Murray Newlands in his article, "The 8 Fundamentals for 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 your unreachables as if they are already your most loyal customers, rewarding them with valuable resources they can really use. Because if you can provide them with something they can't find elsewhere, it will build trust and credibility—two things that give you an instant leg up on your competition.
Some valuable, yet still free/affordable resources you can offer include:
- Educational information, like e-books, guides, infographics, blog articles, webinars, tips, downloadable templates, etc.
- Coupons/exclusive discounts for first-time customers
- Product/service samples
- Branded merchandise
As many in the industry may know already, this method of marketing (inbound marketing) has proven to be one of the most successful ways to promote your brand or business.
5. Generate awareness of the want/need for what you have to offer.
Your unreachables are most likely in the awareness stage of the buyer's journey—unsure whether or not they even want or need the product/service you're offering, let alone if they want it from your specific company. That's why you have to create reasons why someone might need you.
Let's say you're a hotel that's running a special vacation package. An example of the awareness-stage buyers would be a mother and father who just found out they're able to take a vacation with their family soon but aren't yet sure if they want to stay local, travel abroad, or go on a cruise. By marketing your vacation package as the most all-inclusive, affordable, and family-friendly offer available, you're successfully generating awareness and a 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. multi-platform digital solutions). Or, maybe it offers something a little more niche (i.e. all-organic coffee). But no matter what you offer, there's always a way to position yourself as their all-purpose solution.
Your unreachables might not even know your business can handle multiple problems they're experiencing. They might not know that just how well you've mastered your very specific product/service. Or, they might not know they need you. Either way, you'll want to demonstrate how you're the only solution.
7. Position your business in the most positive light possible.
Though it may hard to conceive, most people want to find out how you can help them, even if they're not actively seeking you out. If you've piqued their interest in some way, they'll want to find the good in your business, so they can have a product or service that provides a solution or added convenience to their lives.
A few suggestions for keeping your efforts upbeat and positive:
- Use up-to-date content, design, and resources in your marketing efforts
- Use language that is confident and inviting, not cocky or abrasive
- Avoid negative messaging that puts down specific competitors (it's tacky)
- Highlight what specifically makes you better than the rest, 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's better than having happy customers who love your products/services? Having happy customers who willingly promote your products/services to others. If they're happy enough, they'll do it for free, too. It's like free advertising.
This is your opportunity to reward your #1 fans with things like:
- Refer-a-friend offers/discounts/coupons
- Exclusive content
- Donations to fan-favorite charities
- Answered questions/concerns, personalized shout-outs, and Q&A sessions on social media platforms
- Fan-appreciation events
- Featured fan videos/photos/etc.
- Project involvement
Whether your business is able to spend a lot or a little toward rewarding your advocates, remember that there's a huge benefit in having people promote your business for you.
9. Show many forms of credibility.
In addition to having testimonials on top-rated review sites (or on your own website), there are a lot of ways to demonstrate that you are credible and trustworthy.
Find unique (yet still truthful) ways to display this in your marketing efforts, such as:
- Noteworthy 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 (display information about it on a dedicated landing page on your site, post about it on social media, etc.)
- Mention any environmentally sustainable efforts you make at your business (recycling, volunteering for eco-friendly organizations, etc.
- Case studies and testimonials
10. Do all of this in stages—not all at once.
Last, but certainly not least, make sure you do these things in different phases. Because it's not realistic to believe anyone's effort will magically attract everyone to your business, you should set goals, follow a strategic plan, and measure your results. Rinse and repeat as necessary for each audience.
There are plenty of ways to speak to those who seem unreachable. You just have to find ways to make it about them and why they (specifically) would want or need you. If you're not sure how to get started, try these tips for expanding your reach.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in April 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.