Just the other day, I had a conversation with a small business owner in town who was convinced that she was going to reach all demographics online at once to get new business.
Since we’re friends I told her she was nuts.
I can still see the rubbernecks of her customers staring at us as she burst out laughing. I steadied my shoulder for a punch, but she didn’t swing 🙂
She’s just a few customers away from real success, but many thousands away from having a social media staff.
I thought of her when I saw this infographic today (posted by webpagefx.com) and if I had it handy at the time, I would have loved to show this to her. It’s not that you have to market everywhere to everybody (although a comprehensive strategy spanning sites, social and media may be the end goal), but you have to market where the money is.
That means you have to market where your best customers are. In case you’re wondering, I would consider your best customers to be the coolest, easiest to work with, and the most profitable.
Oh, back to the story. Before heading out of the store, I asked her how many new customers she needed. She hadn’t thought of that and didn’t have an answer. I did the math for her in my head on the spot.
5 per day. That’s it.
So, in a matter of minutes, we went from marketing to the entire world, to getting 5 new customers per day through just a few minor efforts. She just needed a bit of perspective, I guess. I’ve outlined some of the hints we talked about below. You can pull yourself out, take a wide angle view and see your business in a new light. When you read these, disregard any feeling that you will have a lot of work to do. None of this is harder than anything else once you understand it.
Here are a few simple rules to growing a small business via marketing and then the infographic:
- Don’t spin your wheels – find the online resources and strategies that pay off for your particular business as quickly as you can. This is faster, cheaper, and easier than ever before.
- Focus your efforts – even though you should start by trying many things, reign it in. Concentrate your efforts in a few manageable areas and seek out the least possible resources needed to keep the profitable customers coming in.
- Get to know your target audience – general marketing is fine for big brands perhaps, but if you sell to a certain demographic 7 out of 10 times, come clean. Be honest with yourself that you need more of the 7, not more of the 3 outliers.
- Seek out your best customers – Your most profitable customers are somewhere and you should find them. Rest assured, there is a place where your customers hang out in real life and online. Your job is to unravel where that is. I remember flyering a library for a year before I realized I was never going to get a call from the flyers. My customers just weren’t there. Where are your customers both online and in person?
- Use data – anytime you can collect data, do so (without being annoying). Keep spreadsheets and find patterns. Incoming emails, calls, texts, walk-ins. You should know where they came from and how much they spent per visit, and lifetime. Keep track of your marketing expenses and find out what campaigns are worth doing. Don’t use intuition or guesses if you can avoid it.
- Tell your story – the reason some businesses succeed over others is the story they tell. Companies are generally not fully aware of the way their brand is pictured in the mind of the consumer. Picture a company you love. What is the feeling, story, promise they make? Then realize that your company is passing on this same information. Work on it, it’s worth it, especially considering the next rule.
- Be consistent – Pick they types of things you’ll say, and then say them over and over (in unique ways) while bringing some value to your potential customers. Be relentless. If you start an email list, email once a week without missing a week. This is what separates good marketing from just playing around.
- Times change – You should be prepared to be where the next thing is (Instagram had only 5 million sessions in July, 2012 compared to 4 billion sessions in Nov. 2016). There will be something new and probably soon. Also, be prepared to switch tactics in case one of your beloved marketing resources is purchased, goes out of business, or goes out of fashion.
- Focus on the revenue – after you commit to marketing, you’ll see that many companies have their hands out, ready to take your money. Few make any guarantee that you’ll see more than just exposure. You need to make revenue on advertising and marketing campaigns (note that good will and generosity stuff I consider PR). The goal isn’t to get out there, it’s to make sales. Don’t lose sight of the real reason you’re spending money on marketing and advertising.
- The customer is always right – the moral of the story is… don’t give any thought to the few customers that have crazy demands. Even in the most perfect business, customers come up with some doozies. Don’t let returns, refunds, broken policies, or even criminal acts leave you wanting to take your frustration out on your customers. You’ll just repel the good ones with the bad.
- Make it simple – you’re in a position to make the sales process easy for your customers, removing barriers, and making sales more impulsive and faster. Start with your marketing. Make sales offers that don’t include a bunch of crazy rules and regulations. Be liberal with expiration dates, etc.
- Have fun with it – develop a simple story and a simple marketing message and get it out there. That’s it. Overwhelm is a fool’s game when it comes to marketing. A trick you can pull on yourself is to be just 10% better in all your marketing efforts. This causes you to make everything sound, look and read better. It makes the customer experience better. It brings in more revenue. Just don’t take yourself too seriously. Overly stiff or seriously businessy stuff is antiquated. Just do your thing best you can without it getting you down. Be fun.