13 tips to get your marketing targeted accurately

SniperThe challenge for most small business owners (and some big ones) is that they have only a hazy idea of what their perfect customer looks like.  Here are my tips to get your marketing targeted with laser accuracy.

  1. Think of your best ever client – the one that loved everything you did and that you loved working for – and describe them in detail.  This should give you a good place to start.
  2. Identify the type of company, size, number of staff, annual turnover, geographical location, ethos, values and beliefs, job title of the person you want to be working with.
  3. Find out where that person networks, online and offline.  What groups do they go to?  Where are they active online?
  4. If they don’t network anywhere, invite them to somewhere you go that would be appropriate to them – and explain why you think it would be a good forum for them to be in.
  5. Show your expertise in their online groups by offering help, not just to them, but to the whole group, by answering questions, suggesting solutions etc.
  6. Get introduced by a mutual connection.
  7. Offer to do a 10 minute presentation at a networking group you both attend.
  8. Ask if they’d like to have a 1-2-1 so you can get to know each others’ businesses better.
  9. Ask good questions – that show a real interest in their business and their challenges.
  10. Check out what they read professionally – get articles published in their most read publications.
  11. Don’t sell at them.
  12. Try to connect them with other useful people you know.
  13. Ask them what you can do for them.

If you have more than one niche then repeat the process with each niche.  You’ll find that this approach takes time, but has a much more targeted marketing focus than simply spreading yourself around everywhere.  It also means that you’ll end up talking to more perfect clients, rather than a lot of unsuitable prospects!

 

How good is your marketing hub?

Marketing hubMarketing spans many activities from audience research, product or service development right through to sales.  However, when most people talk about ‘marketing’ they’re talking about the promotional part of the process.  This is the bit where you are trying to ensure as many people as possible know what you can deliver for them and are excited enough about it to want to get in touch with you.

This part of the marketing mix can include blogging, social media, direct mail campaigns, lumpy mail, promotional flyers, exhibitions, networking, pop up banners, brochures, business cards, newsletters, list building and so much more.  However, there is one thing that sits at the centre of all this – your website.

If your website isn’t ‘sticky’ (attractive with a compelling message) all the other activities can be a waste of time and money.  In today’s world we’re conditioned to check people out online and, for most people, that’s the company website.

So you’ve paid a designer to create an attractive marketing flyer, you’ve paid a copywriter to write a powerful message, you’ve paid the printer to print a few hundred and you may even have paid someone to distribute them for you or invested in a mailing campaign.  Now what?

If you happen to be very lucky you may find that one or two people are actually looking for exactly what you are offering and are on the phone right away (you did include your phone number on the marketing flyer, or course).  Quite a large percentage of the recipients will file the card into the nearest bin!  Some people will think ‘that might be useful sometime’ and file it in a marketing file.  The rest will be mildly curious and want to find out a bit more about you and your company; these people will look online and most will go to your website (which, of course, was also on the flyer, wasn’t it?)

This is where you win or lose.

If the majority of people arrive on your website, look at it for a few seconds and leave again all that money you’ve invested in your marketing flyer have been wasted.  If they stay on the site, sign up for your free report (so they’re on your list and you can continue to market to them), read your blog, look at a few other pages and like what they see, it doesn’t mean they will get in touch and buy today – but they’ll be open to listening to you some more in future and may become a customer down the line when they need what you have to offer.  The stats say that, on average, you have to ask people at least 5 times to buy before they actually say ‘yes’.

So how good is your website at getting people to stay on it?

Check out your analytics to find out how long people stay and make sure there’s a means of capturing their email address for future marketing mailouts.  If your bounce rate is more than 50% you need to start work on making your marketing hub much more attractive.  The problem could be the layout, the colours, the message, the number of options people have, the titles on the menu tabs, the headline (or lack of it) – or many other things.

Remember, everything points at your website – your business card, social media profiles, all your marketing material – it really is the hub around which everything else revolves.  Make sure you’ve got it right.

Why, Who, What and How?

ConfusionWhen I’m talking to clients about their reputation marketing I’m often surprised at how little thought they’ve given to:

  • Why they are doing it – what they want to achieve
  • Who they are trying to reach – their target audience
  • What activities are best suited to the audience
  • How they will use the tools available

If you’re finding your online marketing gets random results, let me invite you to stop DOING and indulge in a little reflective thought (maybe with a nice coffee and a bun or biscuit – caffeine and sugar will ensure your energy levels are up).

Why do you want to market your business?

It might sound like an obvious question, but it’s the detail that counts and many people haven’t got beyond very general goals.  I often start by looking at my RAVE acronym as the basis for why.  Rave stands for:

Reputation: actively promoting your reputation to build a positive image

Authority: becoming the ‘go to’ person for your industry

Visibility: being seen in all the right places so you’re the first person people think of for your skill

Expertise: sharing your knowledge so that you demonstrate that you ‘know your stuff’

This is helpful in getting focused on goals, but unless you know who you are trying to reach it’s academic!

Business group2Who are your target audience?

What does your ideal client look like?  Think of the best client you’ve ever had; a company who loved what you did/do for them and that you loved working for.  That’s a good place to start.  Describe your ideal client in as much detail as possible – type of business, size, number of staff, turnover, location, customer base, etc.

When you have a clear idea of who you want to reach, you’ve taken a huge step towards a really focused marketing campaign.

What do you do to reach these people?

Where do these people congregate?  Are they active on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn?  It’s not sensible to be highly visible in a place that your key audience never goes!

When you’ve established which platforms they use you need to find out if they are in an industry group or on a forum related to their expertise?

It’s also useful to find out what they read; certain blogs, industry journals, local publications or business magazines.  If your target audience regularly read something online or offlline, it makes sense to be featured in that publication.

If you know what your target audience looks like, where they hang out, what kind of material they’re interested in and where they are actually looking you’re a long way towards being able to engage with them.

This may seem b******g obvious – but only if you’re already aware of all this and have started thinking it through or are already taking action on it.  If you are still trying to interest ‘anyone who wants what I offer’ in your services or products, this may be quite like rocket science to you!

So – you now know who your audience are, have identified that they are active on one or more platforms and that they are interested in the kind of material that is relevant to their business and specifically around subject X.  Now what?

How do you use the tools effectively?

4SM logosIf you can offer them expert advice around subject X this is easy – write a bank of tips and advice that you can share with them.  Post them on the platform where your target audience is active.  Link your tips to somewhere there’s more information.  Typically this might be a blog that covers a whole group of tips.  Nobody reads every update you post so if they just get one and can then go and read more, that’s going to give them something to remember you better.

Post on your chosen platform(s) daily at different times of day.  For value-based tips you can use one of the online tools to do this (like Hootsuite) so you don’t have to be hovering over your computer all the time.

This is all pretty straightforward, BUT won’t get you talking to people that are your potential clients.  That’s where being active in the right groups, answering questions, offering help in relation to requests for help on Twitter or in forums.  Engagement is essential.

For anyone who has ‘cracked’ Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest (or any of the other social media platforms) this probably all makes sense, but if you’ve got an account, but have no idea how to get the best from it the How will need to include some lessons in how to use the tools available on your chosen platforms.  If that’s where you are at right now take a look at these two websites: www.3andahalfsteps.com and www.stepbystep-onlinemarketing.com.

 

 

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