Tell A Friend: Tips to get started

TELL A FRIEND: Promote South Canterbury and be in to win.
TELL A FRIEND: Promote South Canterbury and be in to win.

You have until December 16 to tell your friends (and the world) what you love about South Canterbury in the Aoraki Business Development and Tourism (ADBT) Tell a Friend competition.

To get you started, The Timaru Herald asked an independent marketing expert* for some general tips on things to consider when developing your ideas and targeting your audience.

Dr Ekant Veer, senior lecturer of Marketing at University of Canterbury, offered these suggestions:

1. Know your target audience

"Too often we come up with amazing ideas, but they are from our perspective and our perspective alone. As a result, we end up with quite a distorted view of what might actually be needed by people or what people want. Talking to your potential customers or target audience and learning more about their lives will help you to hone your own views of what is needed and create something that will be received well."

2. Know your competition

"What other things do your audience pay attention to? What sorts of messages do they like? This is not just about media types, but actual styles of messages - do they like the factual and uneditorialised material or do they want to hear an opinion. Knowing what your audience responds well to is key to reaching them."

3. Offer something of value

"It seems obvious, but 'spam' is often treated negatively because it is irrelevant or uninteresting. I like to receive some types of mail in my inbox, while others I consider spam. It's the same with your message - offer value to your target audience, and you won't know what is valuable without looking at point 1 ..."

4. Be honest

"At all times, tell the truth. Marketing has a bad rap, and rightly so, judging by our predecessors. Lying or 'expanding the truth' is just not a way to build a long-term relationship with your audience. It's easy to engage an audience once; it's far harder to get them to come back again and again. If you treat them badly, they won't return."

5. Communicate in a manner that is interesting

"I wrote a blog entry on 'Writing to be Read', which focused on how academic work should be factually correct, but also enjoyable to read. If we communicate in a manner that is not enjoyable or not interesting, you'll find your target audience will get bored and find something else to engage with. Don't just say something valuable, but say it in an effective and entertaining manner."

6. Re-read #1.

"Your audience is everything. If you want to engage with them, you have to know them. Each time you try to engage, go and get feedback. Find out what worked and what didn't. Incorporate those findings back into your next engagement."

* Dr Veer is not involved with the running of the Tell a Friend competition.

The Timaru Herald