There’s no easy solution that will get you more clients right now. But there are simple marketing techniques that will put you ahead of the competition and earn you new customers.
Understanding and implementing target marketing and customer behavior analysis are the core of successful marketing strategies. However, many small businesses do not have the resources to devote to such extensive endeavors. So instead, focusing on select components of each strategy can give a tremendous boost to your marketing efforts, and provide the best return on your time.
First, you need to understand your company’s brand philosophy. Here are some questions to help:
- What three adjectives would you use to describe your business?
- What is your business’s customer service philosophy?
- How and where do you communicate with customers?
- What do you do if someone says something bad about your company?
Next, understand the difference between a customer and a consumer. A customer is someone who actively purchases from you, but may be instructed to do so by your consumer. A consumer can be a customer, but they are the person who uses your product or service directly, and interacts with your brand – they consume your content. Think of it like a wife asks a husband to buy an item – you’re marketing to the wife, even though the husband is your customer.
Know Your Consumers
Understanding who your consumer is – both knowing their demographics and psychographics. Also knowing what they need, is crucial and can lead to the success of your small business. To know who your consumer is, ask yourself some simple questions:
- Who uses your product or service: How old are they? What’s their income level?
- Where do they live, and does your business’s proximity to them matter? If you moved out of your locality, would you still be a viable solution for them?
- What non-direct competing brands or companies do they also purchase from?
There’s a reason why some Walmart locations have a McDonald’s inside while others have a Subway or another store. The companion brand is determined by the market that store serves. Your messaging, tone, and values should communicate specifically with them.
Think about the brands or companies you blindly trust. Deconstruct the consumer decision making process that happened when you first purchased from the company:
- Did you purchase the product or service based on a recommendation or after researching the competition?
- Did you just happen to pick it from a shelf or list of others, like it, and stick with it?
- Did you hear or see a catchy ad?
- How did they earn your trust?
- How do they keep your trust?
Using these answers, ask your most loyal customers the same about your company. Offer an incentive for helping. Knowing your customer’s behavior and their process of making decisions is important to knowing how to effectively communicate with them.
Understand Your Consumers
Understanding what your consumer values can create an instant emotional connection. If you can tackle this, along with our 5 tips to improving performance, you can truly drive company performance. Many consumers make purchasing decisions based on emotion – so it’s smart to take advantage of that.
Here’s a real life Case Study:
A local HVAC franchise holds a monthly vote-driven contest with a prize of $10,000 awarded to a local non-profit organization. They advertise the contest with a few targeted radio ads and a social media campaign based on their target consumers. Every month they have at least 500 shares on Facebook, 2,000 votes in the contest, and more followers than any of their competition. How does that translate to their business? I personally know eight people that use their preventative maintenance service and their business is attributed directly to their company Cares program.
Why It Works
The campaign works because the HVAC company creates an emotional connection with you when you participate in the contest. They do this because, as a consumer, their target market values a company that cares about the community. Understanding what your consumer cares about allows you to instantly connect with them by sharing a common value. Here are some direct ideas:
- Do your consumers care about accuracy? Then they may connect with a money-back guarantee.
- Do they care about value or cost? They may connect with the benefits they receive based on the cost.
- Do they care about customer service or your commitment to the customer? They may connect with a satisfaction guarantee.
Once you understand what they value and want, tailor your messaging to their needs, and place it in locations they frequent both offline and online. Ask customers to follow you on social media or sign up for a monthly newsletter for special offers.
Communicate often, but provide value when you do so. If your audience can't understand the value in your message, your message will be ignored. If you offer value, with some kind of benefit, you will often have more success reaching your consumer base.
Balance your messaging with sales offers, and think like Nike. They offer numerous free resources to help with their consumers fitness goals (most recently the app, Nike Fit Club), but never actively push Nike products. However, all of the imagery have people wearing and using Nike products. As time passes, consumers grow their affinity for the brand due to the value that Nike provides, and become loyal to the brand. This happens because Nike understands what their consumers want and feel most connected to.
You must be honest to gain your customer’s trust. Misleading and deceiving customers will have negative side effects, and you may have a hard time recovering. Consider these approaches:
- If giving to the community, be genuine with your purpose. Doing it with the goal of gaining positive public relations benefits will be seen as such.
- If you’re giving away something to customers, ask for little in return. The customer needs to feel like they’re benefiting more than the business.
- If you’re engaging with the community, give more than you receive. Speaking at special events about your industry can be a great way to engage without actively selling.
You want the voice and brand you develop to be considered genuine and honest. So adopting this approach as you interact daily, can mean positive word-of-mouth referrals, social shares, and brand or company advocates.
Customers are the lifeblood of your business, like you are to us. We’re committed to providing helpful resources and insights to help maximize your business and communication with your customers. If you found this article helpful, hit the share buttons to send it to your friends or other small business owners who may find it useful too. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to get more articles like this posted directly to your timeline or newsfeed!