Lessons From the Graveyard

I recently attended a seminar on ethics. During the seminar, the presenter told a number of real-life scenarios and asked the class to comment on whether the person’s behavior was ethical or not. One story he told involved a counselor who specialized in grief and loss counseling. This gentleman needed more business, so he would visit cemeteries and leave his business card on the freshly dug gravesites.

Part of my brain was agreeing with the class that what this gentleman did was pushing ethical boundary by taking advantage of vulnerable people. However, the other part of my brain was screaming, “What brilliant marketing!”

While this grief and loss counselor’s methods were in poor taste, I believe we can learn three lessons from his marketing technique.

The first lesson we can learn is: know who your target audience is. This counselor knew that his target audience was people who had recently lost a loved one to death. These people would be in the throes of loss and grief. Some would be in need of counseling services to help them cope with the loss and their resulting grief.

The second thing we can learn is: know where your target audience hangs out. Our counselor knew that his target audience would be visiting the gravesites of their dearly beloved deceased. All he had to do was advertise where his audience hung out and bingo, he had business.

The third lesson we can learn is: use an advertising method that is effective. A business card is small, unobtrusive, and easily stored for later retrieval. A flyer would have been too large and looked too much like advertising. This gentleman’s business card placed strategically looked like an offer of help.

How about you? Do you know who your target audience is? If you are the author of a Christian book, the right answer is not Christians. What subset of Christians would read your book? If you have a book about blended families, then your target audience would be those Christian people who are currently in a blended family or divorcees and widows who are dating again.

What about where your target audience hangs out; especially online? If you simply say that your target audience is Christians, then you might think that they are hanging out on one of the top visited Christian sites such as www.christianpost.com. However, if you write Christian romance fiction books, I highly doubt that the women who read this genre of books spend much time on Christian news sites. You might be more likely to find them on a website for Christian moms or business women.

Like the grief and loss counselor, once you figure out who your target audience is and where they hang out, go there and use an advertising method that is effective.

Who is your target audience and how have you had success reaching them online?

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