Have you ever found yourself in this situation?
You get some media sales person, or some advertising deal of the week that seems to good to pass up.
I’ll share an example, my wife and I also own a deli together. She gets a lot of media sales people coming in and pitching various advertising programs, and deals. FYI, she makes all her own decisions in the business.
Lately she has been getting what appear to be some very interesting advertising offers to try, and some great pricing to boot. So she is starting to experiment a little bit with a couple of these different advertising options and offers. It’s too early to say if they will work for her or not.
The point of the story is that when I ask about her strategy, she is just kind of guessing at what to do. She has an idea about what her target customer is, but she has no real demographic information on them.
She does not have information on age, employment status, gender, occupation, income, or education level to analyze her customers. Also, she does not have a good system in place that shows her who her best customers are.
When you know who you ideal customer is, it becomes easier to decide what marketing and advertising to do.
Now to keep this brief, I won’t get into the whole discussion on using your strategy to create your marketing plan. But keep in mind, when you have a plan, it keeps your marketing decisions focused and eliminates distractions that sales people can create.
So How do You Know?
There are four key questions you will be able to answer when you are on the right track with your marketing strategy.
You can clearly describe your ideal client.
You can find more of them.
You can describe them to referral source.
You have a significant point of differentiation that you can build your business on.
So let’s use my business as an example of clearly describing my ideal client. This is meant to give you an idea of how you can go about this process yourself.
You are my my ideal client if.....
You have been in business at least 3-years.
You are a small business owner with less than 99-employees, or you are a self-employed professional.
You sell products or services that are typically purchased more than once.
You are frustrated with your current marketing efforts, because you aren’t getting the results you want.
You do not have an effective in-house marketing department.
You have been the rainmaker but you have hit a plateau.
You are not sure how to get to the next level in your business.
You have a marketing budget to invest.
You have the humility to know that you don’t know everything, and you want my help.
You are decisive and can make decisions.
You Can Find Them
Using my methodology, I will show you a couple of ways I go about finding my ideal clients.
The first way is to pick a specific geographic region where I operate my business, and buy a list of businesses. This can be targeted to size, type, location, etc. Info USA has the ability to really drill down the specifics, and I’m sure others could also.
The second method I use is to look at the businesses and self-employed professionals who are already advertising. This is usually a good indicator they are interested in growing their business.
The third method I am starting to use is Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. The reason is the ability to target my target audience, and measure my return on investment (R.O.I.).
A word of warning on advertising, make it accountable, measurable, and make it a two-step process to get more activity on your ads.
Describe to a Referral Source
This is exactly as it sounds. You could make it a document you would share with your clients, strategic partners, and any other referral source. You could even make it a web page to send people to. Consider this one of the essential tools that makes it easier for the right people to refer you, and get others to "Know" about you.
This part can be a real challenge for small business owners and self-employed professionals to think about. Think about the reasons you started your business, or bought it. Think about the little things you do different, or better than your competition. Go look at your competitions website, ads, literature, etc. What do they talk about, what do they think is their point of differentiation?
What you will probably see is a vast expanse of vanilla. Everyone is saying the same things, and everyone thinks that they all give the best service.
In addition to this homework, there is one more secret source to find your point of differentiation. Interview your best current clients. Find out why they work with you, what you do well, and what you could do to make it even better.
Somewhere within what your best clients share with you, and why you do what you do, is a pot of gold. This is the secret that your competitors do not care about, and the majority will not spend the time to find out.
So now you know the questions you must get answers too for a successful marketing strategy.
Now go forth, and conquer, my small business warriors!