Small business marketing is becoming more complex. The online environment changes rapidly, so it’s important to remember the basics of marketing. That’s focusing on customer needs.
Profile your target customer
Who is your ideal customer, what do they buy, why do they need those products or services, and why do they buy from you? Most companies serve several market segments, each with different requirements. Therefore, it is important to identify those segments and create a customer profile for each one.
Decide how to reach your customer
What are the best ways to reach identified customers and market segments? It may be that the best route is offline, but most likely the most efficient and profitable method is online marketing. Research what methods target customers use to obtain information. It can be through search engine queries, or possibly social media or online postings. Whichever route is best, direct your efforts to those outlets.
To be found
There is little point in having a website if it is not found when a prospect types a relevant search term into one of the major search engines. Statistics show that over 90% of prospects never go further than page 1 when searching for information. The same argument applies to social networks. With any online marketing tool, the goal is found.
build a relationship
Once found, only a small percentage of prospects will make an immediate purchase. A much larger proportion will keep coming back to learn more and buy in the future. Once a prospect lands on an online communication channel, the goal is to start building a relationship and credibility to achieve a sale in the medium and long term.
A relationship is of little use if it doesn’t ultimately turn into a sale. Therefore, it’s important to guide prospects down a path and tell them specifically what you suggest they do (calls to action). The process may include securing a potential email address (perhaps in exchange for a valuable download) to facilitate ongoing dialogue.
So the key to small business marketing success is to start with the customer. With the customer defined, deliver the information they need and develop a relationship that ultimately results in a sale. It is important to ensure that the message is sent via a method that is more likely to be read and compromised. Don’t be invisible, forget about the hype and focus on the basics.