How to Reach the Right Audience With Your Small Business Marketing
Marketing your small business is a crucial element in building and growing a successful company. Understanding who you are trying to reach and convert to customers can help you market successfully.
Defining your key audiences ensures your marketing efforts are tailored to the right demographics and that your marketing dollars are used effectively.
Define Your Key Audiences
All too often small business owners answer "everyone" when asked about their target audience. Businesses exist to meet a need or troubleshoot an issue people or industries experience, and different types of customers have different things they're looking for. Follow these steps to segment your audiences and make your marketing more effective:
1. Build a Profile of Your Current Customers
Start by looking at your current customers — their demographics, what they buy and when, and whatever else is relevant to your business.
Some of the facts you may want to compile include:
- Age range
- Location (place/region/time zone)
- Spending habits
With this data in hand, identify commonalities and trends. Building a template of your current customer (also known as a persona), helps you develop a sense of the type of person your company appeals to, their broader interests, and where you can reach them (whether that's on Facebook or via posters you distribute locally).
If there are different types of buyers, create profiles for each segment so you can engage them in a way that's relevant.
2. Avoid Clutter and Stereotyping
Be careful to avoid adding customer descriptions that are too specific (e.g., "Age: 43") or elements that are irrelevant. Cluttering customer profiles with items that don't matter will make you lose sight of what does. For example, for many businesses "hair color" and "gender" won't make a difference in how you market the product or service — unless you own a hair salon. Pick the elements that make sense for your business.
In addition, take care not to stereotype your target customers. Even if most of your tech company's customers are male developers in their thirties, solely focusing on them in your visuals and marketing will limit the appeal of your product and service for people who don't fall into that audience segment.
3. Identify New Target Audiences
Getting to know your current customers is a great first step towards identifying who else you could be serving with your products and services. What audiences that you aren't currently serving have similar needs as your existing clientele? Use your profiles of current customers to brainstorm how to grow your business by going after new types of customers.
4. Share Customer Profiles
Get everyone on the team on the same page by sharing profiles of your most important types of customers.
There are a variety of tools and apps that let you easily create and share customer profiles. Xtensio, for example, offers a free user-persona template.
Use the profiles as a starting point for discussion, not as an end point. It's better to have your team pick apart the profiles and have to revise them, then to use an incorrect representation of your customer base.
Learn From the Competition
How your competitors spend their marketing dollars — online, on social media, or in print — can tell you a lot about your target audiences. But you'll need to evaluate how successful your competitors are in their marketing efforts. On social media, look for high engagement with social media posts or ads — that's a great indicator that they've tapped into a right audience. If you see outdated ads or posts with limited engagement, your competitors may have missed the mark with their efforts.
Don't limit your review to the usual suspects. Look at other companies that serve the needs of your target customers, even if they aren't traditionally considered to be in your industry. Likewise, look beyond your local area — a bakery in another state cooking up creative campaigns may give you better insights than another bakery down the street that's not very savvy when it comes to marketing.
Focus on Audience Quality, not Quantity
Marketing is the first piece of the sales puzzle, so engaging the right people from the get-go is critical for long-term success.
By considering your key audiences and their favorite channels and formats, you can spend your small business marketing dollars where it's most effective.
Finally, consider registering a top-level domain that aligns with your target audience. For example, a .info domain may be just perfect for customers who do a lot of research before buying a product, whereas customers who look for professional expertise may be more impressed by a .pro domain.
Specific landing pages for different campaigns and customer segments can add an extra wow factor to your small business marketing.