Gina Blitstein Article
|Gina Blitstein combines her insight as a fellow small business owner with her strong communication skills, exploring topics that enhance your business efforts. That first-hand knowledge, matched with an insatiable curiosity to know more about just about anything, makes her a well-rounded writer with a sincere desire to engage and inform.|
3 Insights to Make Your Business’ Marketing Authentic and Effective
Marketing your business is an essential part of keeping a steady stream of customers coming your way. It’s important to recognize that marketing is a remarkably broad undertaking that can - and ideally, should - be customized to your particular business. It can be daunting to set upon a marketing plan for your business alone; there are so many choices, channels and methods out there. While there’s a plethora of advice available to those seeking marketing guidance, much of it comes at considerable cost - or at least an agenda that may not squarely fit with your vision for your business. That’s why it’s important to investigate marketing options and practices independently (as much as you can) to familiarize yourself with how things work in the advertising world of today.
Pre-technology marketing relied primarily on generalized assumptions about your potential target audience: who could/would afford your offerings and where those people would be found. Basically, that “sweet spot” would be where advertising dollars were allocated. Other, possibly equally as fertile pools of interest, could easily have been overlooked, simply because it was anecdotally believed that there would be little interest there. Technology provides solid data to help us identify a myriad of niches where probable interest in your offerings can be identified - and thereby addressed. This gives you the ability to do more than focus your marketing efforts in a limited area; but to expand it to reach a wider array of potential customers.
Armed with information you can obtain from tracking ad clicks, website visits and other online demographic data (location, time of day, interests, age, relationship status, lifestyle, income range…) very specific groups can be targeted for marketing. This is a much more refined way of determining who may be interested in doing business with you than throwing your marketing efforts at one single wall to see what sticks. That being said, there are no guarantees in marketing. More, specific data helps, but there’s no magic bullet, no secret to successful marketing. There’s only good sense and utilization of the tools and information available in an authentic way. You know your business and customers like no one else, so you’re in a unique position to infuse your marketing efforts with a potent degree of personalization.
Whether you handle your marketing on site or hire a professional firm, it’s prudent to
think about and determine these factors to craft a marketing plan that will prove authentic to your business and effective at attracting customers:
1. Who makes up your target audience(s)? Yes, you can certainly have more than one target audience - but keep the number small. Let’s use an example: Your cafe may be near enough to the Interstate or a motel to warrant advertising to travelers; but don’t forget to keep your regulars incentivized to continue frequenting your establishment. It’s smart to target both these groups to keep business consistent and brisk. The marketing you do will be different for each group, of course. Travelers won’t be enticed by the same incentives that keep your regulars coming back. Both groups are well worth marketing to; the key is appealing to the needs and desires of each, whether it’s making them aware of you or giving them a reason to choose you again and again.
2. Where can your target audience(s) be located? Even once you know who your target audience(s) is, you have to advertise where they’ll see it. Continuing with our fictional cafe example, travel websites and online groups, road signage, and printed materials at local gas stations, tourist attractions and lodging are completely appropriate to catch the attention of your “just passing through” customers. Loyalty cards and daily specials will reward your regulars, enticing them to patronize you often, as will community involvement and personal interaction.
3. How can you most organically reach your target audience(s)? The final piece of the marketing puzzle is reaching out in a manner that is natural and authentic. Mismatching the level of your efforts to your customer base’s degree of interaction will result in your message being lost. In the case where your potential customers are not on the platform where you are advertising, or not as engaged as your advertising requires them to be, you are wasting your efforts. That’s why research is so important; it’s not always the right move to go full steam ahead in all directions in your advertising efforts. Keep it consistent with the level of interaction your customers already use.
Marketing comes in many shapes, styles and guises. The important things are are to target with an open mind, reach out appropriately and market thoughtfully. Your efforts will be rewarded with contextual connections and interested customers.
How do you authentically market your business?
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