How to Advertise by Demographics; The Right Way
Business owners don’t have money to waste, even on advertising. Professional advertising isn’t guesswork. It is not merely something you buy. Instead, it is a skill that savvy folks learn and develop.
Is experience the best teacher for that? No, because mistakes are expensive, and they’re easy to make. Having access to demographics helps, but even that’s not enough.
Why doesn’t it work?
Data companies can sell you a list of the names and addresses of every household within 10 miles with an income between $60,000 to $200,000 and who own two or more vehicles. Those people sound like ideal customers, right?
But this doesn’t tell you anything about their spending habits. We don’t know if those people spend a reasonable amount of money to maintain their vehicles, or if they skimp on maintenance and will argue about every dime you ask them for.
A better idea is to start small. Take your advertising idea and send it to carrier routes (which you can find online), instead of individuals. This will get your ad to every house on a certain number of blocks in an area you want to target. Pick only one or two routes at a time, close to your shop.
This way, you can experiment with any discount, service special, package deal or other promotion you have in mind. Always test small before spending big in order to learn what works and what doesn’t.
Your best source of data is free
Let’s go deeper. When trying to attract new customers, you want to reach people who have certain spending behaviors. In marketing, the practice of using behavioral data to sell products is called psychographics.
Go through your customer list and separate your clients into categories by spending behavior — not by demographics. Divide your list into three categories: occasional buyers, average customers and steady clients.
Then ask your best customers to refer their friends to you. People often associate with people like themselves, so the potential to add more strong customers is there. Take it seriously and institute a referral program. That’s a good start into psychographic marketing.
Facebook can be your friend
Next, you really should have a Facebook page for your shop. Make sure it’s not a personal page that people “friend.” With a business page, your customers and their friends can like and follow it, but they can’t see who else does. Privacy is a big deal.
Then you can publish short, helpful, money-saving tidbits of information every week or so. Some of your followers will begin liking or sharing those helpful tidbits, and when they do, Facebook will send those tidbits to their friends with the message “So and so liked this.”
That gives you instant referrals and very targeted advertising. Again, remember that you’re trying to reach people with similar interests to your best customers, and not merely people with similar demographics.
Advertise to people you want as customers
How do you publish those tidbits of information? Well, it’s free to post items on your page, but you’ll only reach people who are already following you, and have to hope they share it. Enter Facebook advertising.
If you’re willing to pay a little bit to Facebook, it will share your posts with people who follow your competition or belong to organizations that seem like prime advertising targets for your shop.
For example, if you want more seniors as customers, you could select as recipients for your Facebook ads everybody within your trading area that follows AARP. It’s demographics, but made easier.
This is a relatively inexpensive way to reach more people who are likely to spend more money at your business. After all, that’s the goal of advertising.