Marketing is essential to the expansion of any business. Therefore, it’s no surprise that online entrepreneurs scour search engines daily, searching for the most effective ways to market their products and services to the over 3.6 billion folks that use the web. As important as it is to know what to do in marketing your business, it is equally important to understand what not to do.
Marketing is typically tougher for new online entrepreneurs who are often strapped for money and lack the knowledge of what works and what won’t in their industry. As such, many online entrepreneurs end up throwing whatever strategy they develop at the wall, hoping that something will stick. But you don’t have to join that group. Here I will give you 6 tips on how to avoid making marketing mistakes that could cost you more than you budgeted or worse, the life of your business.
- What website?
According to digital.com, only 54 percent of small businesses in America have a website and 35 percent believe that their operation is too small to justify having a website.
In an era where the majority of persons prefer to shop online than walk into a brick-and-mortar store, this statistic is problematic and worrying for small business owners. The most important pieces of information a business can display are its address and contact details- two pieces that are easily presented via a website.
Even if you don’t intend to sell online, you must have a website to give people
information about your business because you can’t physically do it yourself.
- Target audience
Who’s your target audience? If your answer is ‘everyone’, then you’re already on the
wrong path. You can’t market to everyone because of the millions of internet users, only a select section will be interested in your goods, services, and content. Knowing definitively who your target audience is will help to define your marketing strategies and avenues as well as help you tailor your message to meet your customers’ needs.
So how do you find your target audience?
Create your ideal customer first
Forget the adage ‘build it and they will come’. That doesn’t work for the web. As a
matter of fact, it won’t work for any modern business in this global marketing space.
Don’t get me wrong. If you have awesome content that’s well researched
and written, you can attract a great many persons. However, if they are not within your niche, they won’t stay. So the goal of finding who makes up your niche is to invite them into your business, get them to purchase and continue purchasing! You want to attract the right people for your brand.
Finding your target audience will take a bit of effort on your part but it will be worth it when you see your buyers’ retention percentage steadily increase.
To nail down who these niche members are and where to find them, start by creating the ideal person for your business in your mind. Then transfer those thoughts to paper:
- What gender are they?
- How old?
- Are they employed? If yes, what do they do and how much do they earn?
- What are their hobbies?
- Do they have families?
- Where are they located and what topics do they research?
- What are their pain points and which of your competitors’ products and/or service
do they currently use?
- How can you improve in areas where your competitors are failing?
By visualizing who your ideal customer is, you’re better able to tailor content that speaks directly to them. They will also feel connected to your content each time they engage with your brand. That connection is important as its part of the magic of creating brand loyalty. Use analytics to test your theory
Now that you know definitively who you want to sell to, you must find out if these are the people that currently follow your brand. You can find a wealth of information about your audience from your social media platforms.
On Facebook, go to Insights and click People. Here you will find everything that you need to know about the people who follow you or your brand.
Twitter also provides information on what your followers are interested in seeing. The platform lists common topics and other Twitter accounts (your competitors) that your followers have in common. You can always investigate your competitors to see what they’re doing and improve on this.
When you have found your target audience, compare it to the profile you created. Then tweak your original idea to more closely reflect what data has shown. When that’s done, give your ideal customer a name and keep him/her somewhere prominent so you will always remember to create content and products/services that are ideally suited for him/her. Your marketing efforts will cost much less and give you greater returns once you start targeting ‘your people’ and not ‘all the people’.
- Researching and planning
It’s easy to say ‘ignorance is bliss’ and just try at marketing until something you desire materializes. Easy, yes but extremely costly, not just monetarily but it takes up a lot of time and effort to market blindly, hoping something catches. Avoid wasting money and effort by carefully researching data to prove the viability of your strategies. This will also save you from making other mistakes such as marketing to the masses or launching a product/service that no one wants or that is no longer relevant.
Knowing how well or badly your marketing efforts are doing is just as critical as planning and budgeting in your overall marketing plan. After all, ‘you can’t manage what you don’t measure.’
There is no other way to know if you’re hitting your customers’ pain points and if they’re satisfied with your delivery. Failing to gather data on your progress will lead to you operating a customer-centric business blindly. Consequently, your marketing efforts won’t hit the target as often as you’d like.
Progress measurement can also help you decide the future of your business, allowing you to invest only in the strategies that work.
How do you measure marketing efforts?
Use Google Analytics to see important data on the persons who visited your website over a particular period. This free tool is surprisingly super easy to use. In addition to seeing who your visitors are, you can also get their location (great for scheduling your social media posts), age, and how long they stayed on your site. It also reports on website traffic, bounce rates, backlinks pay-per-click ad campaigns.
Use this data to create a marketing dashboard that you can continuously update.
- Speed of success
Success doesn’t happen overnight (unless you created a product that could make
success happen overnight). So don’t invest too much money or hire too many experts with the hope of seeing your engagement or sales figures jump exponentially within a short period. There are so many cheap and free tools that can help you monitor competitors, find the best keywords of your ad campaigns, target the right people and then measure the results! Take your time learning about these tools and building a solid relationship with your customers. This will help you to create content and products/services that are best suited for their needs (and not yours). Soon enough, these efforts will redound to sales and an increase in customer retention.
You read the post, applied the information and your marketing efforts are working. You now have the results and conversions you’ve been seeking and think this is where you can relax. Wrong! Marketing is a continuous task that you must do as long as you are in business. This will ensure that you have a constant supply of new customers while maintaining the old ones.
You can’t afford to get complacent with your marketing efforts or strategies. For
instance, social media is free and very effective in connecting you with your audience. But this should not hinder you from exploring other options to market your business.
- Go directly to your market with flyers and posters promoting a sale, event or special
- Create or commission a mural on the side of a building to promote your business
- Find unique ways to collaborate with other businesses for promotion
- Attend expos and workshops within your niche to get the word out about what you
have to offer.
Marketing is essential to the growth of your business and when done correctly, can increase your revenue exponentially. However, some mistakes can render your efforts futile, so it’s best to avoid making them. Go through this list again to see where you’re falling short in your marketing strategy. If you have made any of these mistakes, don’t be disheartened. May web entrepreneurs have gone through this. The key is to learn from the mistakes and keep implementing measures to grow your business. What mistakes have you made in your journey as an entrepreneur? Tell us in the comments below and don’t forget to share this post!