Back to Basics: Targeting for Small Business

Know your customer.

In today’s market environment, developing a customer centric communications strategy is not an option for high performing companies. Companies can no longer afford to underestimate the power of social media and digitally enfranchised consumers. Consumers expect to find everything on the world wide web and if your business is not playing in that space and optimizing its strategies to meet potential customers online you are not maximizing your profits.

The first step in communicating effectively with potential customers is getting to know them. It’s not enough to deliver your brand and/or product message through mass communication, or even through social media channels. You have to carefully craft the right message that will resonate with your target demographic and provide the perfect opportunity for them to engage with your brand. To effectively reach your target market you must first define your target market by following the steps below.

1. Identify the benefits of your products or services

First identify why someone would need or want to purchase your products. How will your products enhance your customers lives? What gives you the competitive edge over similar products? How are you currently expressing the value of your products? Is it working?

2. Evaluate the demographics of your current customer base

Survey current customers to get a better understanding of their general demographics. Explore their motivation for purchasing your products. Learn when and where they look for your products. You should also research competitor brands and analyze their customer demographics as much as possible.

3. Identify sub markets based on overall demographic characteristics

Marketers are trending toward providing an individualized experience for customers, and for good reason. With the emergence of social media as a marketing tool, companies now have the opportunity to engage directly with their customers and potential customers. In order to participate in this type of customer engagement companies must get granular when defining their target audience, to understand where to reach different customer subsets and provide the most engaging experience.

4. Develop customer personas

The last step is to develop customer personas based on the subsets you’ve identified. Create an actual bio that reflects the demographics, psychographics and purchasing behaviors that were uncovered in the previous steps. Make note of where and how your potential customers are likely to consume media. Understand their social media habits and their propensity to engage.

Once you’ve gone through all of the steps, you are ready to develop a communications strategy that meets your customers where they are. Including opportunities for your potential customers to not only receive your message, but to engage with your company will be beneficial. Remember that today’s marketing environment is all about engagement and you will begin establishing the building blocks for long term customer loyalty.

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