Know who wants what you have.
Asking, “What are my marketing options?” without having any parameters to help provide guidance on receiving a quality answer can be risky. It leaves you open to being sold advertising that may or may not be the right fit for your business needs.
I suggest asking yourself two different questions:
1) “What are my business goals?”
2) “Who wants what I have?”
- Direct the call to action in your advertising message; this defines what it is you need people to do in order to meet your goals
- Narrow down your marketing options; they provide insight on the types of advertising that will make it easier for people to act on what it is you need them to do
- Inform design and functionality; once you’ve captured their attention, consider ways to create the path of least resistance that allows people to purchase what you’re offering
Here, in Part 2, I’ll give you some tips for getting in front of the right people while continuing to narrow down your marketing options.
Part 2: Getting in front of the people who want what you have
Your target audience is crucial.
For most entrepreneurs and small business owners, this is hard thing to narrow down. You started your business because you’re passionate about bringing your services or products to the world. Who wouldn’t want what you have, right?!
Well, not entirely.
You could say the audience for a high-end clothing boutique is women with disposable incomes, likely to be over the age of 35 because younger women tend to have less money. With a little thought, you could probably come up with a list of commonalities or other characteristics this group of over 35 women have…dines at higher end restaurants, educated or surrounded by those who are educated, deems appearances important, lives a healthy lifestyle, etc. Suddenly this isn’t everyone at all.
It’s important to note I am not saying other people don’t shop at this boutique–lots of other types of people probably do. But, of those, this over 35 female group makes up the majority, 51% or more. This is the core target audience. When marketing, it’s important to focus on the core or majority–you’d go crazy and broke trying to get the attention of everyone. Your core target audience is where you make most of your money anyway, by focusing on them you’ll attract more of them.
Defining your target audience can be a game of fact meets psychology. Use the demographic and geographic facts you have to draw some conclusions about what motivates them. And, if you’re unsure, engage in conversation. You’d be surprised how much someone is willing to share about themselves if you ask. Before you know it, the commonalities will start to rise to the top. If you can’t ask, take notes on their behavior patterns when purchasing from you.
How does all this continue to narrow down your marketing options?
Going back to the high-end boutique and assuming the core target audience (more than 50%) is this group of educated and affluent 35+ year old women, you can start to make conclusions about the types of newspapers they might read, the types of online sites they might visit, and even the events or fundraisers they might participate in. These are the locations where you want to be putting your marketing efforts.
If you’re still unsure about where to start once you’ve outlined who your target audience is, ask the people selling you the advertising who their target audience is. If their audience and your audience aren’t a match, don’t make a commitment. I recommend asking this question to anyone who approaches you about participating in any form of marketing–sponsoring an event, buying print or online advertising, even how to choose which social media channel is right–different options exist within each category because their core target audiences vary.
It’s your job to get your message in front of the right people:
1) Write down what you know about your customers and highlight the things that repeatedly overlap, this will help you define who your core target audience is
2) Seek out marketing opportunities that allow you to get in front of the core audience you’ve defined, this will bring a better return on the money you spend and attract more of the same types of people
3) Always ask those selling you marketing or advertising who their target audience is to make sure it’s a good fit
Now, combine what you need people to do (based on your business goals) and what you know about your target audience to help you make stronger marketing decisions.