When marketing our products and services we all have a ‘target market’.  This is what we base all our marketing round – seeking out this target market and encouraging them to buy from us.

But, just because they are our target market does not necessarily mean that they want to buy our product or service, or that they have a need for that product or service at the time of contact.  That’s why continual marketing and follow up is so important.

So, what if you could go direct to your target market when you knew they did have that need and were ready to buy?  Imagine if you could find them at that special point when their hand is already poised in their wallet?

Well, Twitter searches let you do exactly that!

The Twitter search facility allows you to search for keywords and phrases within tweets so you can go direct to the need!  For example, if I was an accountant in Manchester, I would most certainly be searching for “accountant and Manchester”.  This would bring up tweets such as “can anyone recommend a great accountant in Manchester?” and “I’m looking for an accountant in Manchester”.

Similarly, if I sold gifts online I would run searches for people asking what they should buy friends and family for their birthday.  So a typical search I would run would be “what shall I get” and “birthday”.  This will include tweets such as “what shall I get my mum for her birthday” and “what shall I get my boyfriend for his birthday”.  You’re going direct to someone who’s looking to buy a gift and can then suggest a suitable purchase for them!

In these circumstances, you can go direct to the need and respond with a ‘sell’.  But, in other circumstances it is a much more effective strategy to respond by engaging.  For example, if you had a holiday cottage in Cornwall you would run searches on people holidaying or visiting Cornwall.  You should then offer advice of things to do around Cornwall, ask them if they’ve any questions you can help with and wish them a happy holiday!  They’re much more likely to use your holiday cottage, if not on this holiday  then at a later date, as you have engaged with them, helped them out and built a relationship rather than going direct with a sell.

Similarly, in the accountant example, many people are likely to respond with recommendations for accountants.  You need to stand out.  Ask if there is a specific accounting problem you can help them with.  Give them some advice on how to find the best accountant.  You are likely to stand out much more than an “I have room for more clients” response.

So, search and you shall find!!!  Just make sure your response wins you the business!

You can run searches through applications like Hootsuite by adding a stream and clicking search in the top options.  You can also run them direct through Twitter and save searches at http://twitter.com/search-advanced.