Marketing. Everyone has an answer for the best way to do it: post on social media, pay brand ambassadors, blog every day, send out mailers, buy online ads, put up flyers, make a commercial, the list is literally endless.
And the reality is that none of these are wrong. The key is finding what works best for the audience you're trying to reach. A business is like parenting. (Full disclosure: I don't have kids to confirm this with, but the logic is sound!) The minute you make the decision to take on this new role, every subsequent decision needs to be filtered through the lens of caring for those entrusted to you: in this case, your perspective clients. Your business is no longer about what's convenient for you, but what is going to catch (and keep!) the attention of your prospects.
So how do you break through the noise and find a way to connect with your consumers?
Here are three keys to increase your marketing success:
- Research. I can't stress this enough: know your audience. Every single aspect of your marketing strategy derives from who you are targeting. How old are they? Where do they live? What is their economic status? Get as specific as you can. Look at census data, interview clients, do whatever you can to have a full understanding of the people you're trying to reach. You wouldn't try to talk to a toddler the way you would a teenager, and you wouldn't approach an athlete the way you would a singer. These distinctions are vital to showing your clients you understand them and can provide for their needs.
After you know who you're reaching, you need to know everything you can about how you're reaching them. Did you know you can only use 30 hashtags per Instagram post? Do you know the peak hours your audience is online? (Or how to find that information?) Do you know how Facebook's algorithm works? Take the time to fully assess the restrictions, guidelines, benefits, and disadvantages of any strategy you pursue, digitally or otherwise, and make sure you account for and leverage those conditions to the best of your ability.
- Authenticity. You've taken the time to develop your brand, which means you've already developed some relationships with your clients and community. But relationships with a large corporate entity are really just one-way communication. Your audience can't connect with an entity the way they can with a person; so don't be afraid to show off your humanity and get real.
Be goofy. Make mistakes. Pick fights if you want to. As long as it suits your brand, don't be afraid to put yourself out there in any way you see fit. The more humanity you can provide your audience, the more they'll see themselves in what you have to offer. Shared experience is a powerful motivator; the more you can connect through the normalcy of life, the greater the chances your audience will become your clientele.
- Intentionality. Go out of your way to make sure you keep your brand focused, and get creative in the process. Certain brands are built on sarcasm and snark; so if they started sending out heartfelt thank you cards, their clients would be confused. But if your brand is built on community and development, going the extra step to send a thank you not only improves your customer's experience, it turns them into a walking billboard for your business.
But don't stop at thank you cards; experiment with ideas to benefit your prospects. Host a giveaway. Send mailers that have recipes on the back. Give out free coffee. Take your customer's needs to heart and find ways to improve their daily lives. The more you can benefit their small needs, the more confidence they'll have in you to manage their large ones.
What improvements can you make to your current marketing strategy? How can you find out more about your clients? What strategy brought you the biggest return? Let us know below!