My oldest son just turned 3 and like many proud parents, I posted a picture and message to my social media. Amongst the congratulations and happy birthday wishes was a tweet from Chuck E. Cheese, "Happy Birthday, Jai! Sounds like it's time to celebrate!"
I was at dinner with the birthday boy when I saw the message and promptly shared it with him. Guess who wants to go to Chuck E. Cheese now?
As a marketer, serving up the right message at the right time to the right audience is critical for success. Most focus on crafting the message, but place less attention to delivering it at the right time or drilling it down to the right audience. Partially because the message is more subjective, but nonetheless, the same scrutiny doesn't go into the other aspects. This is true for large corporations as well as entrepreneurs and real estate professionals.
It's easy to see that the Chuck E. Cheese message is a part of a sound social strategy to deliver the right message at the right time to the right audience.
The right message: Happy birthday...how about a party?
The right time: Within hours of a happy birthday post (especially early in the week)
The right audience: Parents of young children
This is all fine and dandy for marketers, but how does this apply to you? Well, for starters you probably ARE a marketer. If you have something you want to drive awareness around, you are a marketer. This applies to generating awareness and interest around a product, a service, a fundraiser, a job opening, a property, a vacant unit, or a loan.
However, the most important element marketers, entrepreneurs and real estate investors can take away from this is to identify that one moment that is most crucial to your business. Focus your efforts on engaging and winning at that moment.
For real estate investors looking to buy an off-market apartment building, you would start with the audience. Many assume this is the owner, but it could very well be lenders, brokers, CPAs, local government, estate attorneys and/or property managers. You can go directly to owners, but it may be tough to identify the right time and the sensitive circumstances driving the "right time" may cause owners to put up a wall. Going through a 3rd party to at least identify target owners may facilitate a more amicable interaction.
Once you identify the right audience, move on to identifying the right time. For acquiring apartments, the right time might be at the beginning of a new year or around tax time. This is when owners have had a chance to dive deep into the financial operations for the previous year and lay their plans for the year ahead. The end of the year is another good time as some may want to sell a property for tax planning purposes.
Next, identify the right message. This will need to be concise and tailored to the audience and occasion. Don't get too bogged down trying to be witty and creative. The message should provide context for your outreach and invite them to connect with you for more information. Be careful around how much info you share, especially if it's a sensitive matter. There is no cordial way of a stranger saying, "Sorry your dad died...are you looking to sell that apartment building he owned in Logan Square?" Remember, we're looking to deliver the right message at the right time to the right audience.
So let's suppose an investor identifies CPAs as his audience and wants to reach them immediately following tax season to see if they have owners who may want to sell.
The right message: Tax day has passed ... can we help any of your clients?
The right time: April/May just after the tax deadline
The right audience: Real Estate CPAs
The last element, which I haven't touched on yet, is using the right channel to deliver the message. For the CPA example, sending that as a tweet may not get you far. Calling your own CPA and other CPAs through your extended network may however net great returns.
What works in one channel, may not work at all in another. If Chuck E. Cheese called me for my son's birthday, it would have been a bit eerie. A mailer or postcard would have been acceptable, but certainly wouldn't elicit an emotional reaction like the tweet. The channel is a key component of the message - don't lose sight of that.
A focus on delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time (and through the right channel) is a sound marketing strategy that can help you achieve your business goals. Keep this in mind the next time you're doing any marketing outreach to help you break through the clutter and drive results.