Targeting your communication is one of the most important steps toward success for your small business. Targeted communication means finding an appropriate audience and ensuring that your messaging reaches them to increase sales, reduce wasteful efforts, and work toward strong brand equity. Targeting communication has to begin with tailoring your basic message both to your business goals and your target audience. Then communication can be created and delivered via appropriate strategies and channels.

Identifying your Business Objectives

Identifying your business objectives for communication and outreach is a sensible first step to strategically targeting your communication. You must determine what you want out of your messaging and what you want to encourage your target audience to do. Identifying the way you want your audience to react can help you define who your audience is and how to reach them. For example, if your objective is to sell air conditioning units, you are hoping to encourage home and property owners to purchase your product. This gives you a window into your audience's likely age and income level, and clues into the best ways to reach them. Narrowing your objectives can help you move along and target the audience for your communication.

Targeting an Audience for your Communication

Small businesses, especially those attempting to rise above the competition in a fluxing economy, must put a high priority on doing the necessary research to focus on their target audience. Businesses can start by selecting a reasonable geographic location that fits within their business model. Reaching outside of your target range is costly. It can overwhelm your communication efforts and your ability to keep tabs on your customers. Small businesses often find success by targeting niche markets. Once a geographic area is selected, identify your most likely buyers. Consider gender, age, income level, education, ethnicity, and any other relevant identifying information you can gather. If you're targeting businesses rather than individuals, you can look at such data as the number of years they have been in business, their sales records, and even their advertising campaigns.

Delivering Targeted Communication

When your target audience is selected, deciding on the methods for delivering your targeted communication is much easier. Your ratio of online versus print communication will depend on your audience's age and methods of communicating. Public relations efforts are helpful for delivering all types of targeted communication for small businesses, as many public relations outlets involve less up-front investment than advertising. As for other services, your budgetary restraints will help you decide how much money you can spend on advertising and contractors to help you with your marketing objectives.

Developing your Business Message

Once you get to know your audience, you'll better know what they are interested in, what will likely motivate them, and what they deem important enough to invest their time and money in. Knowing these facts will take a lot of the guesswork out of shaping a message. A fundamental goal of all targeted communication should be to highlight a business's specialization, and increase the audience's perception that the business is the very best at what it does. No matter how engaging or convincing your messaging may be, if the audience is not appropriately targeted, your communications efforts will be lost or diminished.