My marketing ideas for SMB start with researching your audience.
I have worked with and for Small Businesses(SMB) for over 5 years. Over those 5 years I have learned that SMB companies need help with marketing ideas and don’t know where to start when it comes to those marketing plans/research.
Do they make banners?
Should they pay someone to flip a sign on the street?
Does their store need an upgrade or make over?
All of these questions are very valid but there is no research behind those decisions. How do you know the sign flipping guy is the right investment? When should you send him outside? What should the sign say? Where should he flip the sign?
When it comes to marketing, it always starts with research.
Research should be the backbone behind any business investment, big or small. You wouldn’t rent a store front with out seeing the location and making sure your targeted customers are in the area. Why would you make any marketing decisions for your business without doing your research first.
Now that is a long winded way for me to get to the point – you should always know …
Now that is all great and good and something a lot of us learned when trying to write papers in grade school but HOW DO YOU IMPLEMENT THAT IN THE REAL WORLD? So lets get started with the fun stuff.
This one should be easy.
Who is your target audience?
Who do you sell your products to the most?
Who do you see in your shop or visit your website most often?
Is it moms shopping while their kids are at school? Is it teenage kids after school or on their summer break? Is it middle aged men after a long day at work? These are the types of questions you should be asking to find out WHO YOUR WHO IS.
What are you trying to sell?
Is your product seasonal?
Does your product require accessories?
Is your product self explanatory?
You can be a long time business owner or a newbie, sometimes just sitting back and thinking about your product from different points of views can help you re-sale your product.
When do you see your buyer most often? (This ties into WHO your buyer is.)
When is the trend of time of day you see your buyers?
You know this because you have to staff for at certain times of day. You also know this if you look at your site traffic on your website. You know this because you see an influx of sales at this time of day.
Now this will require a little bit more research. Maybe looking through social media for your audience and doing some “light” stalking.
You need to find out WHERE your audience is when they are not at your business.
Where do they hang out?
Where do they spend time with friends?
And if you have a few good customers who you have a relationship with just ask. Sometimes just the simplest route is the easiest way to get the answers you need.
How does your audience communicate?
How do they like being spoken to?
Are you speaking to the millennial era, because then you need social media. Is your audience book club goers, then you need to advertise at your local library, coffee shops, and local lunch hot spots. Are you speaking to the ‘sandwich’ generation, then coupons and emails are a great way to speak with them.
What do you do now?
Now that you have all this great RESEARCH on your audience, what do you do with it?
My advice is write/type it out so you can see it like a store line. Maybe just write out; Who, What, When, Where, and How then write out your answers next to it and see how they all connect together. Once you start putting it down visually it will help you understand how to communicate with the audience, when to communicate, what type of marketing material to communicate with, and who you are communicating with.
I promise it will all come together and if you have any questions, please feel free to comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am more than willing to help free of charge.