I've been an entrepreneur and business owner for years. I remember in the beginning what a challenge it was to market my business online. I changed services at least 3 times during one year because I had no clue who my target audience was and thought I could do EVERYTHING. What I learned was my original site and message confused potential customers, which meant a lot of business and MONEY was lost. Here are a few things that have helped me become more successful.
Know Your Market
Before you can truly connect with your audience, you need to first know who your ideal customers are and where they spend the most time online. B2B (Business to Business) providers will likely find LinkedIn is the best platform for finding new clients, while retailers who market to the public will be most successful by reaching out through sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, depending on the target demographic. Some marketers feel that through creating personas, they can get a better grasp of their target customer and have an individual in mind when they’re creating a new campaign.
Have Your Infrastructure in Place
Many small businesses make the mistake of luring new customers in before they have the necessary support. It’s important to make sure you can handle an increase in business, whether that means hiring more employees or contracting some work out to a trusted provider.
If your staff already seems to have more work than they can complete in a given workweek, a new client won’t get your best work, resulting in reputation damage and staff burnout. Make sure you get the right help.
Pick the Right Channels
The marketing channels you invest in should largely depend on your target market. If you cater to an older population, you’re likely to skip social media and invest in snail mail campaigns. Consider your budget when choosing your marketing mediums. Online marketing strategies are cost-effective and have the ability to reach many people fairly quickly. Be sure to include a healthy mix of options to reach a larger audience.
Other channels to consider:
Review sites and directories
On and offline advertising
Social media marketing
Set Up an Online Presence
Before you can post your first social media update, you’ll need a fully comprehensive online presence. This includes an easy-to-find website that will give customers all of the information they need to take action. Even with a presence on all of the social media platforms your target customers use, you’ll need to be able to direct them to a website that contains information about your services, descriptions of your products, or a full-scale store where they can make purchases. Here are a few more tips on how I personally have been able to land new customers through social media.
Technology has become a marketer’s best friend. There are hundreds of tools out there aimed at making your life easier and streamlining your marketing activities. Marketing automation refers to using software to carry out marketing tasks like email blasts, social media posts, and other web-related activities.
Automation software has come a long way since its inception. They’re hugely customizable so your clients don’t feel as if they’re being spoken to by a robot and very user-friendly. However, this is not a set it and forget it solution. Consistent review of your automation strategy is a must to keep it fresh and engaging. Plus, you supply the content. Didn’t think you were getting off that easy, were you?
Social media is one of the simplest places to implement a marketing automation strategy. Software like Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Crowdfire are some of the more popular solutions.
Offerings and Freebies
Every new business owner brings a specific expertise that can easily be shared with others. If you sell cosmetics, you can share makeup application tips with consumers. A graphic designer can share FREE tips for creating more eye-catching content that attracts customers.
By creating insightful blog posts or videos with DIY tips, you’ll increase the odds your followers will share your information with others, which will help you quickly grow your audience.
Collect Email Addresses
It’s important to begin collecting information as early as possible during the formation of your new business. Online orders can include a checkbox that allows customers to sign up for special offers. When purchases are made in person, businesses can ask for email addresses at checkout or at the time a service is completed. Safeguard this information and use it only to send special discounts or information about new products to those who sign up. You can use mailing list segmentation to make sure customers get information specific to their own interests.
Yes! You may reuse content that’s proven successful in other channels! Why recreate the wheel? Your time is precious! For example, if you’ve got a killer blog post that’s been performing well, reuse some of the content to create social media posts directing followers to your blog page or turn it into a mailer to reach those who perhaps aren’t that internet savvy.
You can do spin-off versions of successful content by taking deeper dives into various elements of the original materials. Create an email series from a popular article. If your primary focus is to always add value for your customer, you’re more likely to recognize if you’re overdoing it and producing campaigns they won’t find very useful.
Ensure Repeat Business
Whether you specialize in products or services, your biggest assets are your existing customers. Make a concerted effort to give those customers a reason to keep buying from you, focusing on personalized customer service and a reliable, high-quality customer experience. Listen to feedback and make changes in response to what your existing customers say. Consider giving VIP-only offers to your loyal customers to show them that you appreciate their business.
Your marketing efforts will help you win new customers and increase repeat visits from existing customers. By setting up a strong online presence and networking within your own communities, you’ll increase brand awareness. When you back up your marketing efforts with a strong product and great customer service, you’ll see your revenue increasing each month.