You likely know that you need a marketing strategy for your small business, but actually creating one can often be a daunting task—especially given the wide range of platforms from Facebook to Snapchat that all claim to be the place where your customers are hanging out, just waiting for you brand message. Before you set up a Facebook business page or draft marketing slogans, these three key steps can help guide your thinking toward a robust strategy that works for your business. Here’s how to identify your niche in the marketplace, your target audience, and the most effective ways to reach customers.
1. Figure Out Who Your Customers Are
Before you can create a marketing strategy, you need to know what type of person is most likely to become a customer through a process called audience profiling. Profiling requires both qualitative and quantitative research and helps you identify the characteristics that current customers and those of rival companies have in common. Profile information might include age, gender, income level and profession for individual customers. When you decide which audience to target, don’t base your decision solely on which group is most likely to conduct business with your company. Also consider who are likely to become return customers. These people or groups will be the most valuable and as such should get special consideration as they represent opportunities for which business will become returnwhose business will be the most valuable financially and will provide opportunities for a long-term relationship and increased spend over time. return customers
2. Know Where to Reach Your Customers
The characteristics of your target audience should inform your marketing strategy. Think about the target customers’ priorities and the type of information or special offers that would convince them to try your service. Determine how your business can become most visible to this audience. For example, choose the most relevant platforms for advertisements and public relations opportunities based on the media your customers use. Demographics, like age and gender, can help inform these platform decisions. For instance, Facebook users skew older while Instagram skews younger. Don’t forget real-world events! Research the events your potential customers attend.
3. Understand Your Customer’s Needs and Preferences
Audience profiling should inform your marketing strategy and product development. It’s important for small businesses to be agile and adapt to the needs of their customers, which may change over time. Send a survey to the customers in your email database to learn what factors influence their buying decisions. When you reach out to your audience, you’ll receive feedback from your most engaged customers and show them that you care about serving their individual and collective needs. Attract more responses by including a special offer for those who take part in the survey. Once you’ve collected the data, analyze the results and use it to influence future product development decisions.