If You Talk to the Right People--You Don't Need to Shout (Part 2)
by Shel Horowitz
Last month, we discussed the importance of finding the exact right
audience for your message.
As promised, this month, we'll talk about *how* you find these perfect audiences
-- and then next month, we'll examine why talking to the right people isn't enough; listening has to be a big part of the process as
Here are three strategies (I talk about many more in my two most recent
* Internet Discussion Groups
What a blessing the Internet is to marketers! No matter what your niche, people are talking about it
online. There are e-mail discussion lists, web-based forums, and newsgroups covering every imaginable topic. Find two or three groups
where you can not only offer help, but also learn more.
For instance, I participate in several groups for independent publishers. Thanks to the
enormous knowledge I've accumulated on these lists, I have actually been able to offer publishing consulting for the past several years.
At the same time, when people ask about marketing, I often answer them--and as
a result, I do thousands of dollars a year writing press releases, web pages, sell sheets, and other promotional materials--for authors and
publishers. I serve other clients too, but they typically find me though other
Just to see what's out there, I chose to search for something I'm not at all involved with: wine. At topica.com, I found discussion lists for
winemakers, for lovers of cheap wine, and even a list devoted to "the best strawberry wines in the world. At
yahoogroups.com, there are over 1000 wine-related groups, including 62 for winemakers and 52 for
viticulture (grape growing). A search of newsgroups at groups.google.com for winemaking quickly brought me to rec.crafts.winemaking, which seemed
to account for most of the 96,000 hits (searching for wine alone
brought up all sorts of irrelevant references).
Both Yahoogroups and Topica tell you the number of subscribers and whether the list is moderated or open. When joining a list for marketing
purposes, I recommend finding groups that have at least a few hundred members. Read posts without participating for a week or so, so you'll
have the flavor of the group before possibly putting your foot in your mouth.
Then start by introducing yourself, and then try to post an
answer to someone's question at least every week or so. Each time, conclude with a brief (4-6 line) "sig" that mentions your
product/service and contact info. Some of these lists are very high volume; I subscribe
in "digest" mode, which means I get a bunch of posts at once in a single message, that I can then print out and read offscreen.
* Segmented Trade Magazines
Another place to find absolutely perfect targets is in trade magazines and newsletters. No matter what industry you're in, there will be
several publications that cover it. You can easily get news coverage
when you introduce products and services.
* Local Cable TV
Where magazines and newspapers reach people in your field, cable TV reaches consumers. Often, it's not difficult to host a show every week
or so (you probably have to take a training class first). While you
won't have all that many viewers, at least at first, those who do watch will be intensely loyal and predisposed to do business with
you--especially if you do a good job. And you get the added benefits of
on-air experience, videotapes that you can use as samples, and local celebrity.
Here's an important trick: if you rely only on the cable company's program listings, you can probably count
your viewers on your fingers. But if you make the effort to publicize your show through other
channels, and especially to your existing customers and prospects, you can rapidly grow the show into something quite useful for your
© 2004 by Shel Horowitz, author of The
Penny-Pinching Hedonist: How to Live Like Royalty With a Peasant's Pocketbook
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