Part of the America’s Entrepreneurs Special Report
One of the trickiest things for midlife entrepreneurs is to find and reach their target market. It’s also one of the most essential tasks for startup success.
“You’re not trying to target any given product or service to everyone,” Josh Bois, CEO of Global Capital Network (which connects entrepreneurs to capital markets and strategic investors) told me in the new episode of the Your Next Avenue podcast (you can listen to the target audience podcast episode here or below and you can find related resources in the episode’s Show Notes).
“Either go young or go old; go West Coast or East Coast; go national or global. You really want to make sure you’re targeting the right people,” said Bois, who is also founder of the business accelerator 2030 Ventures and CEO of the digital marketing firm, Emerging Media Partners. “Otherwise, you’ll kind of hit your head against the wall if you’re just spending money trying to get everyone towards your product.”
How Entrepreneurs Can Reach Their Target Audience
For more advice on how entrepreneurs over 50 can reach their target markets with their new ventures, Eisenberg also spoke with Lola Rain, vice president of marketing for Embodied Labs (a tech startup that’s an immersive training platform for caregivers). Rain formerly guided digital and social media for Eskaton, a nonprofit senior living provider.
“I have seen some good traffic generated” from pre-roll video ads on YouTube, Lola Rain says.
During their interview at the 2019 Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit in the Claremont Club & Spa in Berkeley, Calif., Bois and Rain talked about: using social media effectively, common mistakes to avoid and cultivating influencers to spread the word about your business.
Rain recommended using ads on Facebook to reach your target audience if your product or service is for consumers. “It’s a great platform that’s really good for targeting the growing sixty-five-plus market,” she said. But, Rain added, “unfortunately, Facebook doesn’t allow specifically targeting age sixty-five to seventy-five or age seventy-five-plus.” Rain likes to test alternative ads on Facebook for six months or so to see which pull best.
YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn
She also works with Google Ads to put 30- to 60-second video ads as pre-rolls on YouTube. “I have seen some good traffic generated” from doing that, she says. By contrast, Rain says, Instagram is “not for the sixty-five-plus market yet — but that’s coming.”
For a B2B business (business-to-business), Rain and Bois suggest using Twitter and LinkedIn to reach customers.
Bois advised being patient when trying an ad campaign to reach your target audience. One common pitfall he said he’s observed: “They stop too soon if they don’t see immediate conversions” [into customers]. He also recommends using online analytics. “These days, you can see who came to your site, where they came from and what pages they viewed. It’s really important to analyze those to make advertising decisions,” he says.
Mistakes to avoid when trying to reach your target audience?
“Broken links” and “having a link that doesn’t go to the page on your website that describes what you have in the post,” says Rain.
Another mistake: expecting too much from so-called online “influencers,” says Bois. “Influencers can post something and it can lead to zero conversions. You want to make sure you’re not spending your entire ad budget on influencers.”
Listen to ‘Your Next Avenue’ Podcast Episode:
Bullseye: Target Audience Tips for Entrepreneurs
(This article and podcast episode are part of America’s Entrepreneurs, a Next Avenue initiative made possible by the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation and EIX, the Entrepreneur and Innovation Exchange.)
Next Avenue Editors Also Recommend:
- Listen: ‘Your Next Avenue’ Podcast With Richard Eisenberg
- ‘Your Next Avenue’ Podcast Episode 3: Career Pivot After 50
- Starting a Business After 50: An Expert’s Tips
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