Ep 148 | How to Reach Your Target Market with Tim Fitzpatrick

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We all know we need to market to our target market, but so many conversations stop at figuring out who they are. How do you go about then marketing to them and testing what's working and what's not. That's what we discuss in this episode of the podcast. It's time to refine your outreach and take the time to do the research so you can move forward and have a long list of ways to reach your audience.

What You'll Learn:

→ how to craft your outreach list.
→ how much time to spend on each avenue before moving on. 
→ tips for the testing process.
→ what metrics can help you know what's working.

Want to skip ahead? Here are key takeaways:

[4:45] Make a list The most successful people start by making a list. Create a list to narrow down who you are marketing to and how to market to them. Keep this list narrow so that you hit the target market of donors that are most likely to respond.
[10:00] Trust the Process Take your time when gathering information about your target market. Think about your long-term goals so that this information will continue to help as your business grows. Be patient and trust that this information you have gathered is accurate.
[19:15] Knowing what to test Test one variable at a time so you know what works and what doesn’t work. Test the larger elements that will drive results like Headlines and Calls to Action.
[27:18] Metrics Don’t test too many metrics in the beginning. Start by testing two or three and then expanding as you grow. Look at which donors are responding and how those donors found you.


Grab the Growth Marketing Plan

Tim Fitzpatrick

Tim Fitzpatrick

Finder, Rialto Marketing

Tim is an entrepreneur/business owner with expertise in marketing and business growth. He has 20+ years of entrepreneurial experience with a passion for developing and growing businesses. That passion served him well in operating and managing a wholesale distribution company he co-owned for nine years. The company grew an average of 60% a year before being acquired in 2005.

Since then, he’s had failures and successes that have been valuable learning experiences. He started Rialto Marketing in 2013 and has been helping service businesses simplify marketing so they can grow with less stress. Most people overcomplicate marketing. It doesn't have to be that way. Learn more: https://www.rialtomarketing.com 

We love creating the podcast. If you like what you learned here please give us a tip and help us offset our production costs.

When you leave a review it helps this podcast get in front of other nonprofits that could use the support. If you liked what you heard here, please leave us a review.

Full Transcript

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Hey there. Do you ever get frustrated when you're like, I know who my target audience is, I know who my ideal donor is. But I don't really know how to go about getting my message out to them, testing it and making sure I'm doing the right thing or kind of finding that balance of doing that work upfront versus just kind of going after and trying to get the money. That is what we're talking about today. And I am so thrilled to have my guest, Tim Fitzpatrick, joining me to talk about this very topic. Tim is an entrepreneur, business owner with expertise in marketing and business growth. He has 20 plus years of entrepreneurial experience with a passion for developing and growing businesses. That passion served him well in operating and managing a wholesale distribution company he co owned for nine years, the company grew an average of 60% a year before being acquired in 2005. Since then, he's had failures and successes that have been valuable learning experiences. He started  Rialto Marketing in 2013, and has been helping service businesses simplify marketing, so they can grow with less stress. Most people overcomplicate marketing, it doesn't have to be that way. We have a great conversation about all the things with reaching your ideal client, ideal donor. And I really think this is going to be an episode to help you make tangible steps in order to refine your messaging and refine how you reach out to those potential donors. So I hope you'll take a listen. It's a great episode. But before we get into this episode, it is brought to you by our new quiz, should you DIY your website, having the right messaging on your website is really important and critical in working through and connecting with your ideal donor. And so it might be time to take a look at what you've got going on. It might not. So Take our quiz to find out what works best for you. You can do that at thefirstclick.net/quiz. And of course, we'll be sending you all sorts of free resources with where you're at to help you keep working through the process. So again, that's thefirstclick.net/quiz. Let's get into the episode. 

[INTRO] You're listening to the digital marketing therapy podcast. I'm your host, Sami Bedell-Mulhern. And each week, I bring you tips from myself and other experts, as well as hot seats with small business owners and entrepreneurs to demystify digital marketing, and get you on your way to generating more leads and growing your business. 

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Hey, everybody, welcome Tim Fitzpatrick to the podcast. Tim, thank you so much for joining me today.

[Tim Fitzpatrick] Sami, thanks for having me. I'm excited to dig into this with you.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, so we're talking target market. And we all kind of have our thing, you know, that we love to talk about with digital marketing, what marketing, why is target market your jam.

[Tim Fitzpatrick] Target market and all the other associated fundamentals of marketing are, are my jam, because so many people skip them. And they wonder why marketing is not working. And it all comes back to the fundamentals. It's just what what we find is there are so many, you know, organizations, businesses that are just battling information overload when it comes to marketing, there's so many different channels and all kinds of tactics within those channels. They're just not sure what that next step should be to get where they want to go. And the vast majority of time, it all comes back to the fundamentals. Because the way I think about the fundamentals are, they’re the gas, the tactics are the vehicle. And so if you got the tactics, but you have no fundamentals, you have a car with no gas, and it's not going to work very well. So but once you have the fundamentals in place, then all the tactics that you've been using, you've got the gas, you need to get those where you want to go. So and with target market, everything from a marketing standpoint starts with who? Who are you going to work with in the case of nonprofits? Who do you serve, but also who are going to be the best people to help fund what you are doing?

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I mean, I think that's such a good analogy to think about. Yeah, if you don't have gas in the car, you can't go anywhere. So let's just assume we kind of know who our target market is because that's definitely the critical first step. But then I feel like a lot of organizations are just kind of like okay, like, well, we know we're talking to you but they don't take the next step of then utilizing that in their communication and in their marketing or talking about that with their team in order to make sure everybody's on the same same basis. So yeah, once you kind of know who your target market is, how do we go about kind of figuring out where they are which, correct me if I'm wrong, might be the next best step.

[Tim Fitzpatrick] Uh, you're totally spot on. So once you have those buyer personas or you know ideal donor avatars, whatever the heck you want to call them, you have an outline of who those ideal donors are. Then and only then can you move to the next step, which is creating a list. Right? One of my mentors said success starts with a list. We need to create a list of where those people are like, where do they congregate? offline and online? Right. So we're doing this for a client right now. Who's they're not a nonprofit, but we're creating that list for them of, they are very clear that their ideal clients are veterinarians, where the heck are veterinarians? Right? Where do they exist? Sami, this is a 22 page, Google Doc, at this point, of where they are. Now, that doesn't mean that, you know, our client is going to go to every single one of those places, it just means that they now have a very targeted list of where they can be to get their message in front of the exact people that they intend to work with. So rather than casting a line out in the middle of the ocean, hoping that we're going to catch some fish, we have no idea what kind of fish we're going to catch. But let's hope, let's hope we catch something. Rather than doing that, when you've got this list, you know, I'm fishing for trout. And I'm going to go right down to the local trout farm that I know is there, that's what they found trout, like, I know, there's a ton of them in there. And if I put my line in there, odds are I'm gonna catch trout pretty freakin fast. That's what we're doing. It's, we're making sure that you get your message in front of the exact right people. Because why would you want to put your message out in front of a bunch of people that it's not going to mean anything to? You're wasting time, and you're wasting money. You might get lucky. But like, you know, running marketing by like, throwing spaghetti up against the wall hoping something's gonna stick is not a sustainable strategy. It's, it's just a waste of time and a waste of money. And inevitably, when things work. You're you have no idea why the hell they worked.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Right. You don’t know what to double down on.

[Tim Fitzpatrick] You're like, should we like, how do we? What do we double down on? I have no idea. Well, how did, where did these people come from? So we have to have a plan. And part of that plan is first understanding those ideal people. And then the second part of that, as you touched on, is creating that list. And then once you have that list, then you can start to say, Okay, we're gonna test these two things, or these three things, and get our message in front of our ideal donors in these spaces, because we know they're there. You know, it's what's the common quote, like birds of a feather flock together? Right? Once you understand who your ideal donors are. And then you can start to pinpoint, like, where do they go? You know, what organizations are they involved in? You know, what, where do they get information from online? What kinds of Facebook groups are they interested in? And active in? What are their specific, you know, podcasts that they tend to listen to? Are there offline organizations that they that they belong to, or associations, all of these things are potential places that you could go, once you identify your ideal donors tend to that doesn't mean that they're always going to be there, especially with donors that depend, the more narrow you can get from a donor perspective, the easier it's and the more targeted, it's going to be when you start to create that list. If it's very broad, well, you know, our our best donors are, you know, small business owners in the community. Okay. I mean, I don't know it's pretty broad. Um, you really do need to get very, very focused, because it's gonna make your job much easier to pinpoint where they are when you go narrower. And another thing is when you, nonprofits, small businesses, you cannot target broadly because broad targeting costs a ton of money. 

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] That's a great point. 

[Tim Fitzpatrick] Okay, broad targeting like Coke, and Amazon, you know, large organizations can target broadly because they have the money to just throw at it. But they spend hundreds, if not billions of dollars on marketing, overall. Nonprofit doesn't have that kind of money, right? So we got to hone in on it. And you create that list.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] When you, You've presented these lists to your clients before, I'm sure that there's things on there that surprised them, right? Like it might, you know, offline online, they might not see things that their board members are pushing them to, to be on. Or they might, I'm sure that some of the things are surprising to them. So how, how would you kind of encourage organizations to take a look at those lists when they put it together and kind of get real with themselves to say, Okay, this might not be what you expected, but, but trust the process and kind of work through the system.

[Tim Fitzpatrick] You took the words right out of my mouth, Sami, they have to trust the process, because you came up with this list based on the research that you've already done, on your ideal donors. So you, you, you talked to your ideal donors, you interviewed them, to get to really make sure you understand them, you know, what makes them tick, you know, what things they, what they like, what their hobbies are their interest, all of those things. And you came up with this list because of that information that you gathered. So you have to trust that the information that you gathered is accurate. And so in some cases, you know, you may, you may have to spend some time really getting to know your ideal donors. You are far better off taking the time to do that right than being impatient. This is a lot, we need to think long term here, right? Because if you think short term, you are bound to make decisions, you're bound to make rash decisions that are detrimental to your long term success. And, you know, what would you rather take, you know, two to three months if it takes this long to work through this process, so that you are hyper focused and hyper targeted? And the results that you're going to gain from your efforts are much more effective? Or would you rather just jump in and start taking action, and three months, six months from now, going, Gosh, we've done all these things, but it's still not working. And then guess what, you got to go back to the beginning of the process anyways. So you're really not losing time. You're just focusing on something different in the beginning, that for a lot of people requires some reminders that we need to have patience, and we need to trust in the process.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Well, I think that's where we see burnout with fundraisers, because they're working so hard on just like the churn and trying to get, we have to hit this monthly goal. And then we have to hit the next monthly goal. And then we have to hit the next monthly goal, as opposed to saying like, how do we look big picture and kind of see all these things? So you mentioned like, yes, developing the list, and then kind of starting to work through it. So do you prioritize your list as in like, you know, the number one through five, or like the most targeted, effective places to start, and then they kind of get more broad as you work down the list? And like, how much time would you spend on, kind of, each area before you kind of move to the next?

[Tim Fitzpatrick] Yeah. So what you choose to focus on in the list you create is gonna depend on a few things. First off, like what's your budget? And how much and how much time do you have, you know, either you gotta either pay somebody to do this, or you have to have people on staff that can do it. So we need to understand what you have to work with. Once we understand what you have to work with, then you can start to pick and choose what you're going to bite off on that list and what you're going to do. Because some of those things may take time and money, some of them may take just one or the other. And so that's going to help you kind of hone in and focus on what you want to do. But here's the other thing that's really important to keep in mind, Sami,  just because you know your donors are at these places, doesn't mean that every one of these elements that's on this list is going to work equally well. Marketing is about testing. Like I don't care what other marketers say, there is no foolproof Silver Bullet system, like do this and you're going to get these results. People that say that are full of it, and they're trying, they're trying to get you to take action. Every company has certain things that are unique to them. The slight differences, those slight differences can create dramatic changes in whether some a specific marketing tactic works or not, or works well for them or not. So it's about testing. So we need to have the patient say hey, Based on what we have to work with our budget and the resources, the staff time, the staff capability, right? If you want to get involved in a Facebook group where potential donors are, but you know, Joe wants to do it, but he has no idea what the hell Facebook is all about, that's probably not a good fit. So we need to make sure that they have the capability as well. But once you determine that, then you're going to pick and choose, hey, based on what we have to work with, we're going to focus on these three things or these five things on the list. And we're gonna test them for a period of time to determine whether we're starting to gain traction from these things. Now, the next thing that question that commonly comes up is okay, how long is that time? In my opinion, when we look at at least 90 days, so we do marketing planning in 90 day sprints. 90 days is long enough to start seeing traction. But it's short enough where you can start to make course corrections, and look at what's working and what's not. What I will say is you have to have patience, like 90 days, for the most part is not long enough to determine whether a specific marketing tactic is something that you should continue to do, you know, abandoned completely. Most marketing tactics take time. There are some things that are lower hanging fruit. But just make sure, I'm trying to remember there's a story that people commonly tell, and I can't remember what book it's from, but it's about, you know, this guy that buys land, and he's digging for gold, right, and he spends all this money, dig and dig and dig in, they don't get to it, he decides to sell the land, he sells it at a discount, you know, and the next people that bought it, they dig down like a foot and they hit gold. So, you know, a lot of people give up just before they hit success. So have patience. I would test in 90 day sprints. And just look for traction. Are you starting to gain traction? Now just because you're starting, if you're starting to gain traction, then cool. Let's keep doing it and see if it continues to build. If you're not gaining traction, what you need to then determine is, is it just this is just not a good fit? Or is it, our approach to this particular avenue on our list is not right, and we need to tweak that. So you know, you kind of got to look at it and just determine Hey, do we need to abandon? Do we need to make slight tweaks and then see if we start to get better traction? But the key here is, you know, based on the research you've already done, that everything on that list is where your ideal client, where your ideal donors are going to be.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Well, because I feel like that's the hamster wheel we get on is like, Okay, well, I did Facebook for a week and nothing happened. So that didn't work. And we switch, then we switch, and then we switch, and then, you're right, you're not gonna see any results from anything. Because you don't have enough data to understand why it didn't work. Was it the messaging? Was it the campaign? Was it, I mean, It could be a whole host of things. So do you like to recommend, So let's say we have on our list a combination of offline and online. So maybe it's like a direct mail piece that goes out to a specific audience versus a Google ad campaign versus like an email marketing campaign. Do you kind of recommend people A B test multiple types of things? Or that maybe they at one time, say okay, well, we're going to go in on email. So we're going to test these, you know, different kinds of messages and different kind of subject lines, we're going to focus on that or we're going to send out different direct mail pieces to some different associations that makes sense for our were ideal customer is like, what does that kind of look like when you're just getting started

[Tim Fitzpatrick] One, you always need to be testing, how much AB testing you do is going to come back to what you have to work with, right? The important thing with AB testing, to remember that's critical, is you can only test one variable at a time. If you test multiple variables, you have no idea what worked so let's just let's just take the direct mail piece for example. If you're gonna AB test two different direct mail pieces, you can't change the color and the design on them and change the content and go Well, this one worked, but know that you don't have you don't, maybe one works better than the other, but you have no idea which element there worked better or not. So what you really need to do there is say, Okay, here's the flyer, we're gonna change the headline. Right? And AB test important elements, headlines, calls to action, those types of things. Like don't get caught in the weeds on Oh, what if we change the color of this button from yellow to orange, like no, test things that the larger elements, test the, the 20% of elements that drive 80% of the results, but you only test one thing at a time. So in an email, subject line, right, test two different subject lines, but the email itself is the same. Cool, this one works better. If you want to test another subject line, cool, if not use the same subject line that you know already worked really well, and then change something else in the copy, but only one element in the copy. So that's really, really important, because you cannot effectively AB test if you're changing multiple things at the same time.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] No, I agree with that. And it could even be like, let's say you are doing direct mail pieces. Um, and you don't have a budget to do multiple flyers, then maybe you're saying the same flyer to two different audiences to see which one resonates better. So it could be, I think, we overthink the AB testing a lot of times. So just dumb it down.

[Tim Fitzpatrick] Yep. Yep, for lack of a better term, right? It's, yeah, you can, you just need to determine what you're going to test and then test that one variable. You know, like you just said, you're sending out the same piece of direct mail, but to two different markets. Well, it's your AB test in the market to determine which markets responding best to that particular message.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah. Are there different places where you would find your target market that might take more or less time? I know, you mentioned 90 days, but like, are there certain things like I would think a direct mail piece, maybe you could do a little bit faster, because it's like, hey, we send it out on this day, we have this call to action, we didn't get results with it, or we got great results, or we didn't get great results within two weeks like that might be a little bit faster, versus maybe like testing a social media campaign, which might require multiple weeks and multiple posts, like how you compare those types of activity?

[Tim Fitzpatrick] You have to look at the medium. But you also have to consider, and I've seen this number vary, but typically anywhere between five to 10% of your audience is going to be ready to take that next step, you know, buy, donate, whatever it is, at any given one time. So if you're not staying in front of your audience on a consistent basis, you're missing out on when they're actually going to be ready to take that step. You know what, here's what I'll say. Like I think, yes, you can test things quickly, right? You can test Hey, what kind of responses are we getting to, you know, this headline versus this headline? That you can test quickly. Can you determine whether direct mail to that market is effective in a quick period of time? No, you cannot. You can't just send out one piece of direct mail. But it has to be multiple. In the case of like, consider offline, like let's say you've determined that offline, you know, your ideal donors are in rotary clubs for, you know, or kiwanis, or whatever it is. You can't join a group like that and go once, right, you know, like, that's relationship building, you know, people have to get to know you before they're going to start to want to do it. So, you know, that's why I say most things take time. But there are certainly things that you can test.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Well, let's touch on this. I like that you brought up the relationship piece of it, because I think sometimes when we go to the Data mode, and we kind of start to structure it we kind of can sometimes have the personal part taken out and really what this is meant to do is make everything more personal, whether it's one on one or a bolt kind of situation. So, you know, how do we kind of or what tips do you have for people to keep things like to kind of change our mental head around, okay, I know who this person is. So now I'm going to talk to this one person in all of my communication even though it's going out to a bulk of people.

[Tim Fitzpatrick] Okay, say that again, I want to make sure I've got this.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Like how do we, I think we tend to think, well, if I, okay, I have my ideal donor, I know who I'm talking to. But if I hone in on that one person and write an email just to that person, or write a direct mail piece just to that person or write a social post, just that person, everyone else is going to feel locked out and feel the change of mindset and how we kind of approach it, or things.

[Tim Fitzpatrick] Yeah, it is. So that's a very common roadblock when we talk about really narrowing down who you're going to reach out to. The thing that is important to keep in mind, one, we're not saying those are the only people who are going to donate, we're just saying those are the only people that you're going to focus your donation efforts on. Because again, we can't target broadly. And when you narrow it down, the message you communicate to those people is much more relevant. And because it's more relevant to them, it speaks to them, it's in their language. It works better, it converts, and you can't you can't use the same one message to everybody, it falls flat. So your efforts will actually be much more effective than they are now if you're targeting broadly.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, I use the bullseye analogy, like if you're playing darts, or whatever, like the goal is to always hit the bullseye. And so that's who our marketing messaging is directed to. But you hit all around that. Also, it's like you're still pulling in those people on the periphery. But the goal is always to get that bullseye because that's the quickest win and and the donor that's going to stick with you the longest.

[Tim Fitzpatrick] When you can't, you can't hit a target, you can't see. If your target’s too broad, It just looks like whitespace, right? I mean, so, it's got to be, it's got to be narrow, narrow enough where you can hone in on you know exactly where they are.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I love this. Well, I think you've given us a lot of things to think about as far as like how we go after our market once we know who they are. Are there any kind of last tidbits or tips that you want to share before we wrap this up?

[Tim Fitzpatrick] Yeah, so I'll leave, I'll leave your audience with this. Because we did cover a lot of stuff. One of the things that comes up all the time with marketing is metrics. Like there's so many different metrics out there. If you're not measuring, if you haven't identified what metrics you need to track, you're not going to be able to determine whether your marketing is working or not. And one of the common things that happens with metrics is people focus on vanity metrics that just don't mean anything. Like, how many people are on your email list, who cares if you know, you got a donor list, and none of those people are donating, right? So we really need to focus in and hone in on those metrics that really matter to help determine whether our efforts are working or not. So don't don't get caught up in vanity metrics. Um, you know, make sure, don't use don't track too many metrics. Like start small, and make sure that they're the metrics that are actually going to inform your decisions in the right way. So keep it small, typically we tell people to start with like, three, maybe. And really, if you can expand from there, but start small, I think the most important ones, like if you're trying to track like, you know, donations, it could be number of donations, average size of donations. I also think it's important to know who they were, who they came from, and where those people found you. So which donors and how did those donors come to you? Because if you track, where the donors, how the donors found you, that's going to start to tell you what marketing channels tactics you're using are actually bringing donors into your world.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I love that. And we will link this up in the show notes, but episodes 142 and 111 dive deep into data and marketing. So if you're hearing what Tim is saying, which I hope you are, because it's spot on, check out those episodes if you want to dive deep into data tracking. Um, Tim, this was awesome. If people want to find out more about you and kind of take advantage of some of the resources you have. How do they do that?

[Tim Fitzpatrick] Yeah, the best place to go, Sami, is our website which is  rialtomarketing.com, that's R-I-A-L-T-O marketing.com. The other thing I will make available for your audience. We, obviously we’re big in those fundamentals, like I said, target market messaging planning, everything starts with a plan. If they want to get the 90 Day Marketing Plan kit that we use, they can go to growthmarketingplan.com, that's growthmarketingplan.com, the instructions there, all the downloads, the tools that they need to get started are right there growthmarketingplan.com.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] That's awesome. And we will also link all those up at the show up in the show notes. It'll be at thefirstclick.net/148. And, Tim, this was awesome. Thank you so much for giving everybody kind of tactical ways to start to reach out to their audiences, because I think that's where a lot of people get stuck. So thank you so much.

[Tim Fitzpatrick] My pleasure.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Thank you to Tim Fitzpatrick for joining me today. It was such a great episode, I know that it has me thinking about building my big list, I mean, 22 pages in a Google doc holy cow. But with just a little bit of research, you can really pull it all together and really make sure that your process is working. I hope that you try this, I know that you'll see better results with your donors, and finding the right donors that are going to give to you over and over and over again, right we want to work on that retention. We don't want to have people that are just giving to us one time. So I hope that you'll subscribe or ever you listen and make sure you check out the video version of this episode at thefirstclip.net/YouTube. We'll see in the next one.

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