As I type this, I'm sitting in a ballroom in downtown Fort Wayne, Ind., at WaterFurnace Intl. Inc.'s annual meeting. At the moment, their director of marketing communications, Tim Litton, is discussing the marketing tools available to their dealers.

But a moment ago, he spent some time talking about marketing to your audience, which means knowing who your audience is. "Talk to them like you talk to your mom," he said, "not like they're engineers."

This made me wonder, are you marketing to your target audience? Are you directing your print ads, online ads, and TV/radio commercials toward the people who need your service the most?

For example, at WaterFurnace, the people who are most likely to install their geothermal heat pumps are adults between the ages of 45 and 54 who earn an average of $100,000 per year or more. They are also typically married couples with children. So, if you sell a lot of geothermal, or want to sell a lot of geothermal, keeping your target audience in mind will help make your advertising even more effective.

Yesterday, I was chatting with one of our advisory panel members, Travis Smith from Sky Heating & Cooling in Portland, Ore. He's a younger guy who just took over the business from his father, and he has started making videos to put on their YouTube channel.

His videos aren't super technical or complicated (he said he just edits them in Quicktime), but the response has been phenomenal. He even told me about a contractor from another state who contacted him for advice, calling Smith an "expert" after having seen his video online. Come to find out, the other contractor actually did more than twice as many geothermal installations a year than Smith's company, but Smith's video gave him visibility and credibility to his online audience. Whether he meant to or not, Smith targeted a younger, tech-savvy audience that many other contractors often forget.

In addition to word-of-mouth referrals, simply knowing your audiences and giving them relevant information they can understand and use via the medium they prefer (video, radio, print, etc.), can help bring in more leads and boost your company's credibility and bottom line.