Marketing to customers online
Fact: “Everyone” is NOT your target market.
At least 60% of the small businesses I have worked with in the past have answered the following questions with the same answer.
“Who is your target customer?”
The most common response? Everyone.
Marketing to customers online can be difficult, especially if you are a new business, and still in the “defining” stage.
Defining Your Target Customer
Being laser-focused on your target market is crucial for your business. Once you define who is going to buy your product or service, you know who is most likely going to need your business and the problem you want to solve. Being a big fish in a small pond rather than vice-versa is a more effective strategy. It is easier to build your reputation and sales if you are more targeted in your marketing.
To give you an example; Debbie is one of my target customers for my Digital Academy. She is 38 and has two children, lives within the M25 area, has a disposable income, drives an Audi or Range Rover and is time short. Debbie also wants to learn more about social media as she isn’t tech-savvy, works full-time and runs her small business on the side. This is my niche target market. Once you know your niche target market, you can them THINK like your target market.
The online world is overpopulated, and because of this, finding your customers is going to be even more difficult but to help you, I have given you three questions you need to ask yourself.
1. How Are My Customers Finding Me?
Google is the largest search engine in the world, so what does SEO mean to you?
Google defines SEO as “improving a website’s presence in organic search engine results”.
As great as it is to have SEO on your website with keywords that are generating traffic, you need to step into the shoes of your customer and ask yourself the same questions you would ask when marketing to customers online.
Whilst it’s impossible to narrow down one specific keyword your target audience searches for when looking for what your business offers, you can get close enough. There are four different types of keywords that your audience will use to search online.
- Broad keywords: short, simple terms that are usually only one word long that are specific to a number of industries.
- Fat head keywords: similar to broad keywords, but are usually two or three keywords to get more specific.
- Middle keywords: longer, more precise search terms that is being searched on a daily basis.
- Long-tail keywords: the most specific kind of keywords made up of a series of words that would identify exactly what your company offers.
Having a successful SEO strategy is more than just Google. After defining the right keywords, you will need to make these a key part of your overall marketing strategy including Social Media, as well as on-page copy on your website. This is what is called SEM.
Do your SEO research using Google Analytics, and find the keywords your audience are using and implement them so that you can find, and market to your customers online.
2. What Language Are My Customers Using?
Every single piece of content you share online whether it be a video, picture, blog or even your website, it should serve a specific purpose for a specific customer. If you have read any of my content, or have attended a webinar or talk of mine, you will know my target market are specifically small businesses and the language I use reflects this.
The most important of understanding what your audience WANTS is to listen, and have a two-way conversation. Take into account the feedback you receive from your customers as they are what will make, or break your business.
Gaining feedback from your customers is something you should be doing on a regular basis, and there are many ways you can do this.
This could be done through surveys (try Google Forms) as well as through focus groups. I have a private members Facebook Group which contain hundreds of my target audience, and I use this group to not only engage, but to run polls and get THEIR input.
Using Social Media is a great way to observe what your audience are saying about you online by doing your research (using Mention), as well as offering great customer service. This, paired with nurturing your email marketing database on a regular basis will give you the feedback you are looking for when marketing to customers online.
Put yourself in your target customers shoes and speak their language. What are their needs? Are you using the same terms to describe your products as you target customers?
3. HOW Am I Analysing This Data?
As soon as you have done your keyword and language research, you need to analyse your findings. How are people visiting your website, and where did their journey start? Are they coming from organic Google traffic, or are they coming from Social Media?
There will always be something to analyse behind every keyword. Do you know what keywords are giving you the highest bounce rate? Which keywords and language on your website are leading to your customers staying on a page for a longer-than-average period of time? These are the questions you need to ask yourself.
They are the three questions you need to ask when marketing to customers online, but what do you REALLY want to find out about them?
Seven ways to find out more about your customers:
1. Their interests
What do they like to do on a daily basis, and what can you find out about their behavior that gives you an insight into their interests?
2. Who THEY are
Are you selling to individuals, or are you selling to businesses? Think about what it means to define your business, which I covered earlier in this article.
3. Their skills
What skills do your target audience have? To be able to find your audience online, you need to be using the right keywords, and knowing their skills will help you define this.
4. What THEY expect from you
If you are selling a product, and it requires delivery; are your audience expecting a “next day delivery” service, or a “money back guarantee”? Understand the expectations, so that your customers are never left disappointed.
5. Their passion
What are your target market most passionate about? I know my audience are passionate about their business, and making it a success so I give them the chance to do this through my webinars, online trainings, and seminars.
6. What THEY think about you
Positive sentiments are what will make a business a success online. Regardless of whether a customer thinks of your in a positive or negative way, you need to know and find out WHY they think this, and what YOU can do to change it.
7. Their values
What is most important to your target audience? I know that my target customer is likely to have children, or be in a committed relationship which means that I change the times that I run my trainings to accommodate this e.g. my webinars are always at 7pm. Understand their values, and meet their expectations.
I hope that this piece of content will help you think like your target customer and help you with successfully marketing to customers online.
I would love to hear your feedback on whether you followed the above steps, and if you found anything interesting about your online customers when searching for them online.