How To Reach Your Target Audience By Not Marketing To Them

Influencer Marketing

Imagine this; you’ve got a piece of content or even a product and you want to promote it but you’re struggling to get more eye balls on it, get more shares, more traffic or more sales.

You know where your audience hangs out but marketing to them directly just isn’t working for you.

Sound familiar?

In the following post I’m going to show you how to reach your target audience by not targeting them in a straight forward step by step process.

It’s easier than you may think.

If you’re directly targeting your audience and it’s working for you then that’s great, but I encourage you to give this a shot because you may just find that what I talk about will extend your reach significantly.

How will this help you?

Before I go any further, it’s important to highlight exactly how this is going to benefit you so you know how important this is.

By following what I am going to talk about in this post you will get more of the following:

  • More social shares
  • More followers
  • More comments
  • More editorial given links to your site
  • More traffic and better rankings in search

And the big one… a return on your investment, whether you’ve invested time or money, this will help you get a return.

Identify your target audience

Before you do anything you need to know who you want to be reading your content or buying your product and as the title rightly says, this is all about reaching your target audience without marketing to them directly.

You will most likely know who your target audience is, but if not, then now is the time to find out.

You need to start off by thinking; who would benefit from my content? Will it help solve problems for someone?

The best way to really get to the core is to develop a customer persona, this will really help you understand who they are, what they do, what media they consume, what they like to do, what there problems are etc.

You will need to conduct research and possibly do surveys and interviews to make sure that this set of data is 100% but if you truly understand your market you can make educated guesses if you don’t have the resources to go out and start interviewing people.

Although I would recommend that you survey your existing audience and conduct whatever research you can. Give Poll Daddy or Survey Monkey a shot – it’s as easy as just putting some questions together and putting it out where your target audience is.

If you have a mailing list then send the survey directly over to them and if you don’t have a mailing list then now is the time to set one up, I explain a few reasons why you should setup a mailing list here.

Here are a few things you’ll need to include in your customer persona:

  • Who are they? What’s their background?
  • What about demographics? Gender/Age/Geographical location
  • Do they have any particular challenges?
  • What are their goals?

You can leave it at that or you can get even more in depth, but that’s up to you, there’s a lot of information floating around the web on how to create these personas – like the one at Hubspot.

They also have some great examples that you can find here.

Identify who influences them

Now that you have identified your target audience it’s time to identify who has the power to influence their actions and decision making process.

When I talk about influencers, for the purpose of this post I am talking specifically about bloggers, not because there aren’t other individuals or organisations that influence people’s decisions but because 86% of influencers are in fact bloggers according to a report published by Technorati.

Influencers will have a network of followers that trust their advice and their opinions and make decisions based on that but it’s important to remember that some influencers could also be part of your target audience.

There will also be cross over between experts, friends and the media.

Map of Influence

Here’s an example of how this works:

Let’s say that you’re launching a WordPress theme or plugin that would help solve a problem that everyone with WordPress has, maybe improving security for example.

So now, you’d need to ask yourself – who is influencing the decision making process of WordPress users?

Here are a few names that come to mind; Joost de Valk, Oliver Dale, Devesh Sharma, Ileane Smith and Ana Hoffman.

This part takes some research but once you think of the niches or industries that influential bloggers fit into, the rest falls in to place.

People often makes this part complicated but it doesn’t have to be – just look at the blogs or bloggers that people are talking about.

Finding top lists of blogs can be an easy way to start but a mention on a single list isn’t always enough so dig through a few more lists and you’ll have an idea of who has the most influence.

More ways to find influencers

There is a tool called InkyBee that can be incredibly useful here, I talked about it in a recent post here. In the post I explain exactly how you can use it to find influencers.

You can also use Triberr to find influencers across a range of topics, (as a side note, there are some great features in Triberr that I wrote more about here).

There is also another great tool called Authority Spy that I have been using to quickly find market influencers – what I love is that it makes the links to social profiles easily accessible..

It’s a huge time saver.

Pro tip: you may feel the urge to exclude a blog/blogger simply because they don’t have as many comments as everyone else or as many social followers.

BUT – big numbers may look good, but they can often have no bearing on a bloggers ability to influence others.

Here’s an example, some people have 150,000 Twitter followers and others have 15,000 followers yet have the ability to influence more people in a greater way, so just bear this in mind.

“Influence – it’s not just about the size of your network or how many people hear what you say – it’s about your capacity to impact the actions and opinions of others.” – Darren Rowse,

Market your content directly to them

By now you will have found a number of influencers to promote your content to (or whatever the hell it is that you want to promote).

So, how do you do it?

It’s easier than you may think:

Link out to them in blog posts

It’s crazy to think what effect just linking out to someone can make but what about if you were to make someone the focal point of your blog post and tell them about it?

I was watching a video that Adrienne Smith recorded (you can find it here) about how to find links back to your site using Google Analytics.

To my surprise, my site and Dino Dogan’s site were both used as an example in the video.

I then went and shared the post across all of my social networks.

If you can get influencers involved directly with your post then that can work even better, you can see a great example right here by checking out my group interview on reader engagement.

Retweet their updates or mention them on Twitter, G+ and Facebook

This is all about getting on the radar of influencers and the more time you do it the better.

Don’t just share someone’s post without mentioning their Twitter username.

Even if you don’t try and engage in any other way, you can eventually get most people to come over and check out your Twitter profile if you mention them enough times.

Mentions on Google+ and Facebook can work very well too, but these aren’t used as often as Twitter so you could potentially get better results.

And remember –

“Social media is about more than reaching your followers, it’s about reaching their followers”

Feel free to quote me ;)

There are a few social media tools that can help you here too.

Leave engaging comments on their blog

Another great way to get in front of an influencer is by commenting on their blog, that’s providing that they actually respond to comments.

There are some that don’t respond to comments, it’s not great for user engagement but I understand that there are only so many hours in a day and there are other ways to engage with your audience.

A word of warning though, I said ‘engaging comments’ for a reason, but to be 100% clear, don’t think about commenting and just saying ‘nice post’.

If you do, then, well – you need a slap!

The purpose of this isn’t to just get a link, it’s to make you more visible and get on the influencers radar.

Setting up a Gravatar account and uploading a personal photo of you will make a big difference here.

If you’ve not come across this before then I’ll explain, Gravatar is a service setup by the creators of WordPress – it allows you to setup an avatar that is automatically pulled in by a number of other services (namely, WordPress sites, but it doesn’t stop there).

Offer to guest post on their blog

Guest posting is typically associated with link building, and while the reason why I’m suggesting you guest post isn’t because of link building it’s important that you remember that the number and quality of backlinks your site and its individual pages/posts have do have a strong correlation towards positive rankings.

The reason I am suggesting this is because it’s still a powerful way to immediately get directly in front of your target audience.

You need to think about this as a way to make you and blog or brand more visible in the market place.

From an SEO perspective, it’s true that the first few links you get from a domain will be the most powerful and any you get after that will not pass as much value but remember that the more times you have a post published, the more visible you will be to your target audience.

It’s important to remember that the majority of an influencer’s audience won’t read every one of their posts, especially since more and more people are following a selection of different influencer’s blogs, rather than just 1 or 2.

There’s not enough hours in the day for us to read every post that comes through our RSS feed reader, hits out inbox or is shared with us on Twitter or Google+.

By contributing to these influential blogs more than once you’re exposing yourself to a larger audience.

If you can time your guest posts to go live within a similar period of time then that will have a profound affect and immediately increase your circle of influence.

Nurture, nurture, nurture 

There may be a point where you become so time poor that you can’t keep up with nurturing so many connections with influencers, which is understandable but remember that the more you connect with influencers, the more influence you will end up having yourself.


You have just had a crash course in how to use influencer marketing at the tactical level.

You can use this to promote absolutely anything, not just your blog content.

My aim with this post was to make the process of promoting whatever you want as easy as possible because for some people, this influence marketing thing conjures up thoughts of some elaborate strategy or series of tactics that are incredibly complex.

The truth is that it can be complex, but it doesn’t have to be.

It’s also true that there are a lot of different ways that you can do something; for example, there are more ways to market to influencers than I’ve listed here.

The tactics I have listed have been chosen because they are something that everyone can do.

What tactics can you add to the list?

  • Ileane

    Hey Adam, what an awesome post! Thanks so much for mentioning me here and including me among some of the blogging greats!

    I’m going to check out your post on InkyBee because I think I’m doing some of my work the hard way! I’m using bits and pieces of information that I gather from tools like Rapportive, NutShellMail,,, Triberr, Klout and Google+ and I try to stitch them together in my mind. Of course my head is about to explore from storing all of that data, so hopefully InkyBee can solve at least some of my information overload problems.

    Thanks again Adam, and have a wonderful Sunday!

    • Adam Connell

      Hey Ileane,

      Thanks so much for the kind words, I’m really glad you like the post.

      You’re welcome, it’s well deserved and you really have influenced some of the decisions I’ve made :)

      Before I started using InkyBee I was doing a similar thing to you, maybe with a few different tools and it was such a time drain, well it was worthwhile doing but InkyBee has eliminated all of the hard work.

      Thanks, have a great Sunday too!

  • Stacie Walker

    Hello Adam,

    This is a brilliant post . It’s so important to know who our target audience whether we have an existing list or if we are in the process of building our own list of subscribers. Surveys are an excellent tool to find out what our prospects what because we can learn so much from what people want. Thanks for providing this priceless secret to success. I look forward to your future posts.

    Many Blessings,
    Stacie Walker
    Woman in Leadership Founder

    • Adam Connell

      Hi Stacie, thanks for the comment.

      You’re right, surveys are great – the larger the list of people that you’re surveying the better.

      My pleasure, look forward to seeing more of your comments!

  • Lisa

    Adam, another awesome post here! I love your quote “Social media is about more than reaching your followers, it’s about reaching their followers”. It’s also true that having more followers does not mean you can influence more people. Sometimes a tight knit smaller following is more influential. In the smaller group you can get to know them better. I rmember that post by Adrienne and finding out more info in Google analytics via their new social stats. Very helpful indeed!

    • Adam Connell

      Thanks Lisa!

      You’re so right, smaller communities can have some serious influence and a lot of it ends up being product recommendation related – sometimes the more niche the better.

      Back when I was at university studying Music Production and Marketing I was part of a number of forums and communities – the amount that people on these forums spent was insane and it was solely because other people recommended something and they’d just run out and buy it.

      Thanks again!

  • Matthew

    Hi wonderful post and I liked it. As you said its not important if we have more social followers, its important that how we attract more eye balls. So conversion is ultimately important than quantities.


    • Adam Connell

      Spot on Matthew.

      Thanks for commenting!

  • Churchill Madyavanhu

    Thanks for sharing all this great information. This is exactly what I was looking for as I will be launching my very first product next month. Have you heard of LittleBird at It looks like great good tool for finding influencers.

    • Adam Connell

      My pleasure, Churchill!

      Glad this has helped and I hope the launch goes well – what’s the product about?

      I’ve heard of LittleBird but haven’t tried it yet, I’m on the waiting list for an invite.

  • Adrienne

    Hey Adam,

    I finally made it by, thanks for this mention as well. I love how you shared the correct way this should be done. I’m bad at times at not notifying the people that I mentioned them on my post although I do link to their site. I know that when my post goes live I hit the ground running with so much to do and then the comments start pouring in so they run me ragged at times. But the linking is important in my book.

    I always am harping on people to build those relationships because once you do then that’s when the sharing and linking starts to come into play. Of course using some of these other methods are important as well for getting attention.

    Like Ileane said, I’m going to have to check out your post on InkyBee because I have a feeling it could help me as well.

    Thanks again for an excellent post and of course I’ll be sharing it as well.


    • Adam Connell

      Hey Adrienne,

      Great to see you here and it’s my pleasure.

      There’s the way that’s best to do it and there’s the way that what we can do at the time – sometimes other things get in the way. No wonder, you get an incredible amount of comments and it’s super important to make sure all of them are responded to. The detail in which you respond to the comments is amazing too.

      How much time do you think you spend on writing the average blog post in comparison – how much time would you spend on following up with comments?

      This relationship building thing really works Adrienne and I think we’re a testament to that!

      Let me know what you think of InkyBee when you give it a go and if I can help at all.

      My pleasure, thanks for taking the time to share and leave a great comment too!

  • Tanya McGill Freeman

    WOW! What an informative, wonderful article. Thank you, Adam! There are some real gems here (actually it’s loaded with them) and I’m looking forward to implementing some of your tips immediately. I really appreciate such highly quality posts as these. Well done, sir!

    • Adam Connell

      Thanks so much for the kind words Tanya, I’m really happy to know that you’ve been able to pluck out some actionable points here that will help you out.

      Looking forward to seeing more comments from you :)

  • Ana Hoffman

    It’s like going through gate keepers to get to our final destination – our target audience. Great points on how to find them, Adam, and your mention of TGC is MUCH appreciated.

    Right back at you:

    • Adam Connell

      That’s exactly it!

      Thanks for checking this out Ana, always happy to mention you and TGC .. thanks for the mention too, I’ll go over, read and share :)

  • Sherman Smith

    Hey Adam,

    Every blogger wanting to reach their target marketing need to read this. This is one of those slight of hand moves that will do wonders for your blog or whatever you’re promoting. Commenting, Influencers, Guesting Posting, Mentioning others and sharing their content will definitely make your internal magnet stronger. Figuring who your target marketing is the start and piquing their interest is the key to unlock the door. If you’re doing this indirectly through the avenues mentioned, then you’re definitely doing it the right way and will reap the rewards. Great one Adam!

    • Adam Connell

      Hey Sherman,

      Thanks for the comment.

      You’re exactly right, it’s something that most people don’t notice and most people don’t do. Although it can make such a huge difference, it takes time to build this up but once the wheels start turning, it’s incredible.


  • Sonia

    It took me forever to see who was really reading my posts. Why readers respond to certain posts and why they don’t on others. It could be anything really, timing, life etc, but I know it will be in their reader sooner or later. What I figured out was blogging about the problems that I kept running into and it clicked to write posts that I should share it. I can’t be concerned with super hot topics, although I can still write about it nonetheless in my own way.

    For me writing about topics dear to me helps because I can really get deep about my struggles and the problems I ran into. There is always someone out there struggling with the same issue and I love it when they chime in saying, “ME TOO”. That’s how I know I am doing the right thing for my blog. At the end of the day, everyone has their own agenda and you have to do what works for you. These tips are great for newbies, but as time goes by, they end up figuring it out what works for them and what doesn’t. Great post!

    • Adam Connell


      Thanks for the comment, really glad you liked the post.

      I think you’ve got a great approach; talking about problems that you’ve come across has a great way of bringing people together and creating a bond. Posts can be so much more detailed like that which makes them interesting to read – very engaging stuff.

      Thanks again and hope to see you back here soon :)

  • Reginald

    Hi Adam,

    Nice write up. When I fir started my own website (this self named one), I wanted to do something different; reaching out to others of the same niche and focusing on target market.

    The outcome? It was fantastic! It was great meeting up with many people (and building connections) like you, Ana and two dozens more.

    Guess it is all about focusing, planning and of course, understanding the ‘thing’ behind marketing or selling (whatever you may call it) :)

    Thanks for sharing Adam. Lovely!

    • Adam Connell

      Hey Reginald,

      Thanks for checking this out.

      You are a great example of someone who has tried this and seen just how powerful this can be.

      You’re right .. focus and planning are key – it helps to be able to persevere too because one thing that we have both learned is that there isn’t a big red button that just makes it all work.

      It takes time and effort – passion is key too, if we weren’t passionate about what we were doing then it wouldn’t last.

  • Johan Bengtsson

    Wow, those are some really great tips. Thanks for sharing them.
    Sharing and linking to other bloggers is a great way to grow your own blog. Many of them will get back to you and also later link back to you.

    • Adam Connell

      Happy to Johan and thanks for the comment.

      That’s exactly right – it’s givers gain.

  • IndexFirst

    Interesting facts on marketing where you don’t market to your audience. Look forward to Blogger Outreach Mastery.

  • Adam Connell

    Thanks :)