Just one audience at a time keeps your messaging simple

11th May 2020 | Posted in Marketing communications, Small business, Website

You’ve got great ideas. They’re popping out of your head at the speed of knots. Offer these services to those people, these products to another set of people, add value and upsell with another great bunch of ideas ….

Enthusiasm for your business – especially if you’ve got a new great idea you want to share – is brilliant. But to get the marketing right you need to focus for a while.

Clarity if your message is what will resonate best with your potential customers. That means keeping it simple.

Focus on one offering

Here’s an example.

A while back I was asked to advise a new business on how to organise their website. They wanted to offer UK holiday planning ideas to people resident in Croatia. They wanted to offer Croatia holiday planning ideas to people resident in the UK. And they wanted to manage holiday rentals. All on one website.

These were all worthy ideas, and the clients had the added advantage of real knowledge that only comes from being UK-resident Croatians. But trying to serve three distinct markets on one website? Not so great.

  • How can you focus the marketing?
  • How many key messages can you get on a home page?
  • How can you not confuse visitors so much that they land and fly off again in seconds?

Three distinct websites, each with its specific marketing messages tailored to its own target audience, was a much better way to go.

Avoid contradictory messaging

Here’s another example, and you’ll start to see a theme about focusing on just one audience.

I’ve been working with a company that wants to sell clever devices to help look after people in the care environment. But it wanted its marketing to be all things to all people. On the one hand it wanted a hard sell to care providers about how these devices would save them money through reducing headcount among its care workers. On the other hand, it wanted families of those needing care to visit the website and maybe buy a device privately. They would almost certainly browse the website for more information so they would be bound to come across the messaging for the care providers. Would the families really be impressed by the idea that the devices were being promoted as a money-saving device?

The messaging really needed to be thought about, and if the company couldn’t find the right balance, it needed to focus on where its best market would be. Trying to cram too many messages for too many audiences leads to confusion for everyone, and dilution of key messages.

Everyone deserves their own view of you

All through my copywriting career, I have asked the same question about audiences. Who is your prime target market, and what do you want them to do as the result of this website or that piece of marketing collateral?

So often the answer has been that we want to appeal to everyone – from board level executives to the highly technical to the customer relationship team – all in the one piece of marketing. But that means you can’t hone in on the specific concerns and your solutions of each group. It all becomes vague and confused, and generally unsatisfactory.

My advice is almost always:

  • Decide on the specific audience you want to address in each communication
  • Only combine audiences if the messaging is complementary, and won’t deter any audience
  • Demonstrate how you understand their needs and aspirations
  • Create simple messages that explain how you can help each audience
  • Lead them through the process of learning more and being ready to buy


Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

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