Disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with Twitter or any other social media platform other than the fact that the short 140 character limit is a good rule of thumb in when building a word or mouth referral business.
Last week I had the opportunity to sit in on a BNI meeting and learn about a variety of business professionals throughout the area. As with most networking meetings, the members had an opportunity to share their weekly referral requests. One particular individual stood up and asked for an introduction to married women ages 25 through 65, having 2 or more children, who earned over $40,000 last year, had 2 or more vehicles and lived in Northwest Ohio. While I have to commend her for the accurate description of her ideal client’s demographics, I’m afraid that the message fell upon deaf ears. As she began listing every detail, the bulk of her referral partners in the room tuned her out almost immediately. As I expected, nobody in the room was able to connect her with her referral request for that week.
This story begs the question, are you sharing your Target Market or your Target Market’s Demographics? If your referral partners don’t seem to be motivated to help you, what you are asking for may be the problem. In my experience, the majority of people would love to help you achieve your goal. However, we live in a society where we are bombarded by information every waking moment. The majority of your referral partners are worried about the 100 emails that they have to respond to, the 10 phone calls that they have to return after the meeting, the past due electric bill and the kids sporting events that they have to attend that night. If you don’t make it incredibly easy for them to make a referral to you, then it isn’t likely to happen. It’s not because they don’t want to help, it’s because they are overwhelmed and you aren’t top of mind. You’ll still receive the occasional “Bump Into Referral”, but leaving your marketing up to pure chance isn’t a good way to build a business. So, how do you become top of mind? How do you motivate others to PROACTIVELY help you?
Target Markets you can TWEET is a concept that I developed to address this exact issue. While many people view Twitter’s 140 character limit as restrictive, the upside is that it forces you to focus your thoughts. Those focused thoughts tend to be much more memorable and they cut out all of the filler that we normally use in our everyday language (This blog is no exception!) A Target Market that you can TWEET is all about being short, sweet and to the point. This concept is seen in just about all areas of business marketing. Think about company tag lines that you remember. NIKE, Just do it! Apple, Think Different. M&Ms, Melts in your mouth, not in your hands. They are each short and catchy. There’s a reason why Apple doesn’t tell us that they are going after the rebels who are 18 to 29, use technology in almost every aspect of their life and value personal expression. That would make for an incredibly dry advertisement, and they don’t have to share their ideal demographics. Instead their marketing is clear, simple and paints a picture that expresses these items. Whether you are a multi-billion dollar corporation with a million dollar advertising budget or a start up business building through word of mouth marketing, these rules are the same. Simple = Memorable.
Let’s take the above BNI member’s presentation as a quick case study. What would have happened if she had taken her demographics and found a group that completely embodied all of those items. A group that she knew would likely have countless participants with the same demographics that she was looking to get in front of for her product offering. I bet her results would have been far better! So, instead of listing each demographic, she could have said that she is looking to be introduced to Teachers that live in Sylvania, Ohio. Or anther could have been Nurses working at Toledo Hospital. Both examples are simple and to the point, but most importantly, they are memorable! Memorable is something that even the busiest referral partner can act upon.
The key to this technique is finding a group or an organization where the majority of the people in the group have the same demographics that you are seeking. Sometimes it take a bit of thought, but it’s a great way to spur your referral partners into action. So give it a try! I’m looking forward to hearing your Target Market You Can TWEET. Leave it in the comments below!