At the time of writing this, Donald Trump has been elected the 45th President of the U.S.A.

Say what you want about Trump and his policies, he’s achieved something monumental on a World stage that no-one predicted.

Listening to 5 Live this morning, I heard a blue collar worker from the mid-west of America explain some of his thoughts on the election win. One thing stood out for me. Apart from Trump’s promises of bringing jobs back to the States, introducing tariffs on imports and all the other policies he apparently has for improving the lives of this “forgotten America”, this hard working truck driver said that Trump’s win has reminded America that “anyone really can become President”.

Ok, you still need a lot of money but you don’t have to get a law degree and work your way up through the system for years – you can literally jump the queue and go straight into the Whitehouse.

What can business owners learn from Trump?

So the question for me is, how did he do it and what lessons can business owners learn?

Comparisons to the Brexit vote in the U.K. have been made over recent months and rightly so. The secret to the success of that campaign and that of Trump is simple – the messages that were put out over television, radio, social media and the press spoke directly to their target audience. In both cases, various disenfranchised people who wanted change.

Both campaigns understood their audience and created messages that spoke directly to that audience in a language they could relate to. It may have been unpalatable to hear for many of us but many people felt that finally someone was listening to them and understood their problems.

I talk to our clients often about how important it is to understand your customers. Understand their problems, their frustrations and what they actually need from your products and services. But it’s also important to speak to the right people.

Identify your target niche(s)

Trump didn’t try to speak to everyone. He didn’t try to woo Millennials or women (although he clearly did appeal to a lot of women). He didn’t try to appeal to minority groups, although I understand he was popular with Latino voters.

From the outside, he seems to have targeted three main groups – blue collar workers, Christians, and Veterans. He said things that they say (and some), he spoke the way they speak, he reflected their beliefs and made promises they wanted to hear. He didn’t bother trying to appeal to everyone – he didn’t need to. He didn’t try to appeal to young voters (there wasn’t any need). He picked his niches and went all out to get as many of them to vote for him as possible.

Put simply, he targeted a group of people he knew a lot about and sold them a future they wanted – just like any good sales person would.

[bctt tweet=”he targeted a group of people he knew a lot about and sold them a future they wanted” username=””]

The question for you as a business owner is this – can you do the same thing with your marketing and sales?

To find out, ask yourself one question. What is your niche? For example, if you sell services or products to restaurants – do you target a particular type of restaurant with your marketing? If you sell cars, do you try to sell any car to any driver or do you focus on a specific group (say drivers who love sports cars)?

Think about the demographics of your audience. Are you selling cars to any sports car lover or middle-aged, male sports car lovers?

Once you start to narrow your target audience, just like Trump, the messages you put out can appeal directly to that audience and they’ll start to feel that you understand their needs better than a competitor does – and they’ll vote with their feet (see what I did there?).

The argument against this that I often hear is that taking this approach will limit the potential sales for the business but take a look at Trump. He didn’t just appeal to one niche – he targeted three (or more), very specifically, and you can too.

Just because you run one campaign that targets middle-aged male sports car drivers doesn’t mean that you can’t then run another that targets middle-aged female drivers, or young drivers. The point is, an advert or marketing message that’s aimed at a wide audience is less likely to appeal to anyone. It’s far better to target a specific niche and get the most from that sector and run multiple campaigns than try to run a single campaign that waters down the message so much that it appeals to nobody.

Where do your customers hang out?

Also, once you know who you’re speaking to with your marketing, you’ll know where to speak to them. Using our example of middle-aged male sports car lovers – if you want to reach those drivers there are specific places where they hang out (both online and off-line). There will be specific magazines that they buy, Facebook groups that they’ll be members of, events they’ll attend and T.V. shows they’ll watch (Top Gear for example or perhaps in the future that will be The Grand Tour). There’s no point running an advert on a local Pop radio station if your audience is listening to Classic FM.

So how much do you know about your audience and how do you find out more about them? The answer is, you ask them and you listen.  Run a competition and collect data on who enters. Provide a variety of content that you think will appeal to your audience and see who responds. Or, you can take a short-cut and buy the market research that is already out there.

Are you setting a deadline for your offer?

The last part to the success of Trump’s (and Brexit) campaign is this – a limited time offer. Vote now or lose the chance to get what you want forever. The beauty of running an election campaign is you build and build to a single event – a flash sale, one time offer of a better future.

How would that work in our example? Perhaps a test-drive day or special offer weekend deal. Something that can focus your efforts on a specific point in time so you can motivate your audience to take action.

And, unlike an election campaign or referendum, once you know what works you just repeat it over and over again.

What have we learnt from Trump?

They key takeaway from all of this is :-

  1. pick a niche
  2. get to know that audience
  3. create content that this niche will relate to
  4. put that content in places where that audience will see it
  5. a limited time offer or event
  6. and repeat…

I can’t promise you’ll be the 46th President of the U.S.A but hopefully some of the above will help you achieve your dreams – and (to steal Trump’s rhetoric) you’ll have a beautiful, beautiful business – the best business ever!