How do you increase your target market?

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Answered by: Paula, An Expert in the Public Relations Category
The key to effective and revenue-generating public relations is to identify your organization's target audience, design a tailored message that impacts them, and develop a sales mechanism to capture the rewards of your public relations efforts. Most business owners have a good sense of who their prospective customer is, but they may not know how to market to that particular audience or segment. As the executive marketing director for the Northwest LA Weight Loss franchise, I steered our company away from the mentality of simply targeting overweight women. I directed our advertising to include not just overweight women, but their spouses, children, and coworkers. Our advertising message featured success stories of moms and daughters, husbands and wives, and coworker partners adapting a new lifestyle, eating healthy and losing weight together. Our press releases focused on obesity as a family issue, a social issue. Not only were women more likely to be successful with our program if their spouses, children and friends were also implementing this life change of eating healthy, this marketing approach essentially doubled and tripled our per transaction sales volume.

Our radio advertising featured local air personality duos that started the program together and competed with and supported each other. This encouraged women and men who were interested in the program to enlist a coworker, increasing their chances of weight loss success in the workplace, one of the most difficult places to manage your meals and snack habits. And as a premium-priced program, it ensured that we were marketing to people who were well employed and could afford the program. Our television advertising and talk show appearances featured former athletes who ate like the athletes they used to be (without the physical regimen to keep weight off) and military men who were denied action after 9/11 because of obesity. Obese men saw strong male role models in our advertising and marketing which helped eliminate the fear of walking into a 'weight loss center', something previously viewed as 'female.' Our informercials featured families who were getting healthy with our program, cooking and eating meals together.

Weight Management and food is often an emotionally-driven life issue, and we trained the general population that weight loss and the emotional issues and personal image problems associated with obesity were not only common, but something to be talked about openly and supported at our weight loss centers. Our infomercials had more of an emotional appeal than the industry had seen before, and our clients were encouraged to talk about the way obesity affected their relationships, sex lives, self image, and self loathing.

They were also encouraged to talk about the ways that these things were impacted once they began to lose the weight, and become the person they saw themselves as being. Getting real, and having clients talking about the emotionally charged issues surrounding weight loss, removed the shame men and women and children feel, and moved them into a proactive position of making changes. Getting the executives of my company to think outside the box wasn't difficult once they began to see a profound increase in sales. Our first years sales grossed $18 million dollars, topping the list of LA Weight Loss franchises across the nation.

This first step in Public Relations, identifying your target audience, is the most crucial. In my case, identifying women and men and sons and daughters and coworker teams as our target audience, meant we signed up two people on our program instead of one, which increased our clients' chance of success and doubled our sales volume. We made a point of featuring the members of our target audience in our advertising and public relations campaigns, and this was the key to our success. Quite frankly, our approach changed the weight loss industry forever.

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