I like the fact that Facebook allows us to select a target market when we pay to “boost” a post.  (Never mind the rather irritating fact that the limit to the amount of text in an illustration sometimes means that it can’t be boosted.) When you boost a Facebook post, you can select people who like your page, the same group plus their friends — a rather random selection — or people you choose through targeting.

Once you select that option, you can create a set of potential shoppers that hopefully will find your posting of interest. We just did a book signing for a cookbook featuring baby and toddler foods, so we created a new group with the US  as the location, and then our city, mothers, 20-40 year olds, and buy local as our target group. For our Small Business Saturday promotions we aimed at sale shoppers, and for wedding registry we add key words that reflect the young couples we’re trying to attract.

In addition to these factors, Facebook asks how long you want the promotion to run (we sometimes like to spread it out over a few days), and how much money you want to put towards this particular boost.  It doesn’t cost much to get your posting in front of hundreds or even thousands of people, although that does not necessarily translate into customers coming through the door.

Targeting is not something that is limited to Facebook, of course.  Any advertising you do should be aimed at a specific customer demographic in order to be cost effective. As we’ve seen in the Facebook example, not every product or event appeals to the same person. By developing a profile of the person you are hoping will respond to your advertising, you can select the media that best reaches that market instead of paying to place it in front of a very wide audience.

Conversely, when you have selected an advertising medium you need to think carefully about what product will appeal most to those readers or listeners. We do some full color ads in local lifestyle magazines, for example, and we try to pick colorful items that we know will tempt women shoppers.

When you first set up your email list, you are able to segment it so that you can target your messaging. It’s too late to do this when you already have a large list, but I wish we’d started out by asking customers whether they would like to receive both general mailings and those that are, for example, aimed at those who love to cook.  The closer you can target your potential customer, the closer you are to making a sale.

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder