Deciding to go into business for yourself is an exciting, albeit slightly frightening endeavour. How do you know if you will be successful? What if you sink all your time, money and heart into a project that ultimately ends up failing? These are real concerns but don’t despair. All entrepreneurs have had the same fears, even people like Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates. One of the best ways to ensure that your small business is a success is how you market it. To reach the appropriate audience, you need to first understand who that is, and then come up with an advertising plan that speaks to that group.
Who Is Your Target Audience?
It’s easy enough to say that you want anyone and everyone to frequent your company, but that’s not a very good way to drum up new clientele. Of course, you want all people to come flocking through your doors, but who specifically are you trying to reach? For example, if you run an insurance company you probably aren’t going to have very many elementary school-aged children as customers, whereas if you design posters of the latest boy bands you likely won’t draw in a crowd much older than middle school. Once you know who exactly you want walking through those doors, you can use marketing to your advantage to get them there.
When you’re trying to decide who your target audience is, think of all the normal questions that you might ask when you’re trying to get to know somebody:
- What gender and age are they?
- Do they currently attend school/college, or have they graduated? When, where and what was their major?
- Are they single, married or in a relationship? Do they have any children? What does their family dynamic look like?
- What is most important to them? What do they value? How do they show that they put value into these things?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you’re off to a great start. Now you can come up with a way to speak to them in a language that they identify with courtesy of marketing tips.
The Internet is Your Friend
Remember the last time you were looking for information on a certain company and you looked in the newspaper to see if they posted any ads, or you looked in the phone book to see if there was a listing there? No? That’s because hardly anybody finds information that way anymore. Although there is a time and a place for printed advertising, the real way to attract potential customers is online. If you’re an entrepreneur then you already know that 90% of consumers are already looking for companies online, so that’s where you should be doing the bulk of your advertising.
Looking for Leads
Lead nurturing is quite a lucrative way to find new clients and is becoming more popular in the business world. Quite simply put, lead nurturing is the process of developing new clients through various sources and giving them the whole customer experience from the moment they enter your premises until the transaction is through. You can purchase customer information, make use of SEO or any other method.
Yup, it’s true: Social media is one of the most useful tools that you can use as a small business owner. Not only cat memes and witty phrases, but all social media platforms are also helpful for doing things like:
- Teasing new products. If you follow a band, for example, you’ve seen the way that they tend to generate buzz before releasing a new album: Show only a vague picture of album art or simply list a date. Take cues from others when you’re thinking of ways to get the public as excited as you are.
- Interviews and behind-the-scenes snapshots. People love seeing what’s going on behind closed doors, so take advantage of that. Show off the warehouse in which you store your products and interview your employees. This not only quenches your followers’ curiosity but also helps them to feel like they know you a little bit better.
- Listicles, infographics and other cool ways to display data. Seriously, who doesn’t love seeing an interesting infographic of statistics? You could do things like the number of products sold last month compared to this month, the typical item being purchased and the percentage of a certain demographic that visits your storefront the most often.
Your Website = Your Bread and Butter
You already know the value of a well-built company website, so why would you not make yours one to be proud of? Understand what customers are looking for when they look online for you:
- Product descriptions and photographs that do the item justice. It’s easy to take a quick, sloppy picture on your cell phone and call it good, but you don’t want “good,” you want extraordinary. Write thoughtful, well-researched descriptions for your products that make it easy to see what they are and what purpose they serve, and take the time to stage the items to show them in their best possible light. It really makes a bigger difference than you might think.
- An about section. Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be. Think about when you visit a company website while doing your own research. You want to know by whom and where the company was founded, how long it’s been in business and why the owner was inspired to create it. Don’t think that other people aren’t looking for the same information on your website.
- Easy, clear navigation. Have you ever been to a website that gives you a headache thanks to its lack of organization or pages that are meant to be fancy, but are just jumbled and confusing? Don’t be that company. Make your pages pretty and personalized, but not so “kree8ive” that you lose people. Keep your navigation bar top and centre markets and be sure your logo is in the top left corner of your pages.
If you’re on the cusp of opening your own business then you’re at such an exciting time in your life. One of the keys to being successful is to understand your audience and to speak to them in a way that they identify with.
Also published on Medium.