Targeting in online marketing: tips for small businesses
When you think to start generating leads with an online marketing campaign, plenty of questions arise: how to start? whom to target? how to approach the target?
Why targeting is an important part of every online marketing campaign
Indeed, knowing whom to approach is an essential part. If you do it properly, all other elements of the internet campaign will be much easier to handle. If you fail to pick the proper target – you might get no deals, or get deals with customers who don’t actually need your product (and probably won’t buy it again).
If you know your target well:
- you can easily find them online (because you will know where to search for)
- you can find the best way to reach them (should it be a direct contact (via phone/email)? or should you attract them with your blog?)
- if you practice content marketing you will know what to write about, how to structure and prioritize your content
- you will know how to pitch them, what language to use, what values you should bigger focus on
Unfortunately, targeting very often is neglected by small companies. Probably it’s because small companies cannot afford using all the available targeting/research tactics. We’ve been there, and we had the same problem. So I’d like to share with you a scenario that we used to find our target. It doesn’t require much efforts and costs, but it proved to be an effective one.
1. Whom do you see as your clients?
Start from creating a customer profile. In the beginning, when you don’t have much data, start from assumptions. Try to answer these questions while brainstorming about your target:
- What type of companies will benefit the most from your product?
- To which sectors or industries do they belong?
- What business model do they follow?
- Their size?
- Location? (and remember that with online marketing you can reach your target no matter where it is located, so don’t limit yourself here)
- What tools or technologies do they use or have used in the past?
How to do that? Just pick your 5-10 top clients and see what they have in common.
2. Connect target’s needs to what you can offer
There are people, not some faceless companies, who stand behind businesses. And you need to know how to speak to them, what would attract their attention, how to grab their interest. To do that – define what are the needs, problems, goals, challenges, and “pains” of these people. Knowing them you can see how your product or service could help them and their businesses?
Collect data that would allow you to answer these questions:
- Do I know what problem/challenge/pain my potential clients are trying to solve?
- If there was a solution, would they buy it?
- Would they buy it from me?
- Can the solution (product/service) that I offer solve that problem?
- If they know how to solve their problem already, is my solution more attractive than their current one?
How to do that?
If there is no budget for profound market research, there is a trick that you can do to get all this data. Just find contact details of companies that fit your customer profile and check your assumptions by emailing them. For small businesses it’s an ideal solution, since it’s easy to find 20-50 email addresses and send messages to them.
Then collect the responses and try to arrange customer interviews with those who got back to you. Talk to them and try to prove or refute your initial assumptions about your target and their needs.
If your assumptions were correct – great, go ahead with finding your target!
If your assumptions appeared to be wrong – fix them according to you findings, and then go ahead.
3.Find concrete companies that fit your ideal customer profile
So you know who fits your target and that they are in need for your solution. Now it’s time to find concrete companies, that suit your ideal customer profile and whom you can contact later on with your pitch.
Usually, there is no need to go far to find those exact company that you can target. Start from your network: ask friends, colleagues, partners, people you know, check your LinkedIn contacts. If there’s nobody there interested in your solution directly – ask for introductions or referrals. Keep in mind the siх degrees of separation theory. It’s sometimes unbelievable where your contacts can lead you to, even if you run a small business.
You can also do additional online research, by simply googling and checking LinkedIn/Facebook/Reddit groups where companies that fit your target might gather.
If you target is pretty narrow, consider more sophisticated ways to find companies that fit your target. For example, by using plugins for finding client information, or by using online data providers or lead gen services.
When you get them – go ahead and approach them. After initial customer interviews you should know how to approach, talk to your potential customers and what to offer to them.