Why “Everyone” Sucks as an Audience

I’ve run communication workshops with all kinds of people and organisations for nearly 20 years. Way back in the 90s, social media didn’t even exist but the conversation was the same.

I’d ask, "So who do you need to communicate this product or service to?"

And people would say, "Well, everyone." 

I hate to break it to you, but unless you’re Bunnings or you have the marketing budget of casinos, you cannot communicate with everyone and you’re wasting your time trying.

And truth be told, even those massive corporations don’t try to talk to everyone at the same time. They’ve worked out exactly who their audience is (or who they want their audience to be) and then they talk to those people.

How can you communicate effectively if you don’t know who you’re talking to?

Who already buys your product or service? What is it about you they like? What sort of person are they? What other things are they into? Where do they hang out? How do they use or interact with your product?

Who doesn’t already buy your product or service but should? What is it about you that would make them connect? What sorts of things are they into? What are their hobbies and where do they hang out? What are their friends into? How old are they?

Once you start to break down your audience, communicating with them becomes sooooo much easier, more efficient, cheaper and has greater impact.

Let’s break this down using an emerging musician as an example.

Bob gigs regularly – five times a week – through a mix of daytime and pub / venue bookings. He plays ticketed gigs about once every three months. Most of his CDs are sold at markets where he plays acoustically. He’s analysed his FB, Twitter and Instagram audiences. About once every two months he gets booked for a corporate gig which basically provides enough cash flow for him to take on low-paying commitments that are fun and help build his fan base. 

Bob has defined his audiences as follows:

Audience type 1: Market-goers

Predominantly women aged 25-40, often with children under 10. They regularly Instagram and tag him in their posts. Focussed on healthy-living and lifestyle. Love good imagery and photography. Love exposing their children to music.

Audience type 2: Ticket-buyers

Predominantly 30-40yo males and their friends. Prefer surf rock music than acoustic folk. Mostly surfers. Into festivals such as Splendour. Hang out at venues such as Miami Tavern Shark Bar and surf clubs. More likely to have a few beers with mates than go to a fancy cocktail bar. Definitely not into X Factor.

Audience type 3: Corporate events managers

Early career women in charge of booking bands for corporate events such as conferences and conventions. Usually google and use youtube to research acts, a lot of word of mouth for recommendations. Work at corporate event management firms across the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Tweed. Hooked into large venue networks like Twin Towns, Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre and Tourism Gold Coast.  

Now that Bob has described his three priority audiences he can work out how to connect with them. He’ll ask himself questions like:

  • What social media channels or online portals do they use and when are they online?
  • What sort of content are they most likely to respond to?
  • What sort of language should I use to build a connection with them?
  • What call to action do I add so that the relationship grows?