Learning how to market yourself to your customers is something that many business owners struggle with. The best way to do this is by communicating effectively with customers. In order to succeed and grow your business, you need to know how to get your message across by using social social media to engage customers. You can write until you’re blue in the face, but unless the content is geared toward your audience, that hard work will go to waste.
So what marketing efforts do you use to market yourself to your customers? How do you know what to say? First you need to figure out who you’re talking to. Then you can tailor your content to match your marketing and make your efforts more effective!
Finding your target customer will help you learn how to market yourself to customers. Your target customer is more or less a buyer persona, a tool that companies use to research and market to customers. Developing personas can be complex and time consuming (there are people who specialize solely in creating them!) and small businesses don’t necessarily have the resources for developing personas.
But you can determine who your target customers are without developing full blown personas. Here’s how to do it.
Your target customer, like a persona, is a simplified profile of your typical customers. Developing a sense of your target customer forms a kind of shorthand for what your future customers share – their education level, age, ethnic background, personalities, sense of humor, motivation, and concerns. Odds are that your business includes room for several distinct types of customers. Your target customer will be your most common or profitable customer. The customers who will become loyal and tell their friends about your business will generate growth for your small business.
For example, target customers or personas for a fitness center may include different types of people such as serious athletes like bodybuilders and marathon runners, college students, parents, and retirees. But the target customers differs between individual businesses.
A fitness center in a city will attract more college students and young professionals than parents and retirees. On the other hand, a fitness center in the suburbs with a daycare facility and a pool will attract more parents and retirees. That might seem obvious, but it’s something that business owners need to consider when marketing their business to customers. The way you market will be different depending on your target customers or personas. What marketing strategy should you use? That depends on the message that you want to communication to your customers.
The same goes for any business – find out what your customers like and why they are there to communicate your message to them.
So, how do you get to know your customers well enough to determine your target customer? The most direct method is to do your research. You can send out surveys or interview a select number of your best customers.
You collect customer email addresses, right? Send out an email with a few survey questions. If you sell across multiple cities or countries, you can use resources like Census.gov or Wikipedia to learn more about the demographics of your markets. Social media is a two way street – look over your fans’ profiles, read their tweets and Facebook or blog comments. Listen to what they have to say. Find out what they care about and why they chose your business over others. Use this information to figure out how to market yourself to new customers.
Another way to research customers is by collecting information from them when they become customers. You’ve seen the “How did you hear about us?” questions on forms. That’s a way of researching how customers found a business. Ask your current customers how they learned about your business to learn more about them AND to get more customers like them!
Did they find your website online? Like a Facebook or blog post? Maybe they heard about your business by word of mouth or at a networking event. Learning how you acquired customers is the best way of figure out how you can get more customers.
After you learn about your target audience, you can then figure out how to market yourself to potential customers. Which marketing strategies will work for your business will vary based on your target customers.
Social media and online marketing will be some of the best ways to reach customers between the ages of 20 and 45. Twitter and Instagram will reach target customers from ages 20 to 35, whereas customers between 35 and 45 may be better reached on Facebook.
Taking the fitness center example from earlier, the marketing strategy for each business will differ based on their target customers.
The city fitness center will see more success on social media and hosting local events that will attract students and young professionals. This fitness center should have a strong presence on social media. A social media marketing strategy could include:
The suburban fitness center will have a different marketing strategy. Their strategy would be more focused on the needs and wants of their customers. Parents are often concerned about time management and childcare and retirees have concerns about maintaining an active lifestyle as they age. A marketing strategy for this fitness center might include:
Once you’ve established who you are marketing to, then you can more effectively reach your target customers. Develop a marketing strategy based on your customers – email campaigns, hosting events, social media marketing strategy, blogging, or partnering with other businesses.
Stick to one or two ways to reach your customers and keep track of your results to see what worked. Did you get more followers on Instagram or Facebook? Have you had an increase in customers and sales? Track your marketing and determine if your efforts in marketing yourself to customers has worked!