New to Online Marketing? Here’s What You Need to Know – Part 2

In last week’s post we started a conversation around some of the basic details of your business. Knowing this information is the foundation for being able to make a big difference in the way you go about marketing your business, especially online. We mentioned making a list of the valuable products or services your business sells (Remember, EVERYTHING isn’t valuable to EVERYONE) and who you sell to.

So, how do you determine your valuable assets and who your target market should be? And then, how do you take advantage of the best marketing channels for your business? Let’s break it down into a few simple questions.

What do you sell?

Your business survives due to diversity. That’s what makes it sustainable. So, what asset do you provide as a business that is diverse enough across your market?

This may be a service, a product or a few, but there’s going to be one thing that sets you apart that is the first thing that comes to mind when someone thinks about your business. Another way to think about it is, what keyword would someone use on Google to stumble upon your business? (HINT: It won’t be your business name.) We’ll discuss more about these keywords later.

Who do you sell to?

Who are the people that are your most frequent customers? Don’t think of them by name, age, or any of the typical demographics that come to mind. Think instead of the lifestyle of those people, their viewpoints, feelings, and what drives them. You want to make connections with your customers. To do this there must be some synergy between you that draws you together.

A tech savvy teen in their first job is not in the market to purchase a new sectional for the family room. A grandparent, in most cases, is not spending $2500 on a new gaming computer. A family of four would be in the market for a reliable vehicle. A lawyer would be in the market for a quality suit. Each of these people is at a place in their life where their needs and wants are based on their situation. Their internet searches are going to reflect that. Put yourself in their shoes and think what you would do in their situations to decide if they are your right audience.

Where do you sell?

Do you have the capacity to sell beyond your boundaries? What I mean by this is, do you customers have to come to your store to do business? Can you sell your value online? How far is your reach? It’s important to know this, as again, you aren’t selling to everyone.

Your website and online presence can be accessed by the world, but your promotion on it doesn’t have to be. There are ways to target where you promotions are seen by the people you are trying to reach. The way in which you present your business in your promotions will also help to spread the right message about where your business boundaries lie.

Inbound Marketing 101

Now that you have an idea of who and where you are targeting, you can begin to think about where the best option is to reach them. Inbound marketing is all about sharing. Promotions was the original term for this before the internet took hold. If you share value and information, at some point, that person you share with will come to realize that they are in need of your product or service. They may not know it right away, but that’s part of this process. It’s about drawing people in, not pushing business sales and promotional information out to them, which is a common mistake many businesses have made when it comes to social media.

Let’s break down a couple of the options for you to share your valuable information.

Your Website

This is the hub of your business. Everything should flow to this space. In a previous blog, I listed the 5 Valuable Items Your Website Needs for a Polished Web Presence. This is the bare minimum your site should include. Your site is meant to drive prospects to your business. It’s the last stop before a stranger becomes a customer.

Social Media

These are your “advertising channels”. Think of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and more as your local TV stations. NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox – each of them has a different audience, as do each of the social media platforms. By defining your business and target audience, you can select the social media channels that are going to provide the best results for you. Remember, the goal is to not use ALL of them. Great social media marketing takes some time to develop.

Blogging

You are an expert of your business. Maybe you have other experts that also work for you. Take for instance a technology consulting company. In this company you may have executives, sales people, and engineers. Each of them has a valuable skill set and knowledge to share. Your blog does not have to be overly informational or a researched and cited essay which takes weeks to create. You have excelled in your business because of the knowledge you have. Share that knowledge in a way that makes sense to your audience who are interested in understanding more about your business.


Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing

WORD OF CAUTION

Do NOT, I repeat DO NOT write blog posts, create social media posts or create a website that is 100%, or for that matter, even 60% about sales. If you are sharing information that is nothing more than telling viewers that you have a sale going on, or that you have the best used cars in town, then this type of marketing is not for you. People don’t like being sold to. They like to make their own decisions. The worst thing you can do is use these channels to try and sell them.

But, now you’re asking, isn’t that what the ultimate goal is? Yes, you are correct, but remember, as I mentioned earlier, by providing information that potential customers are seeking, they are more likely to build a connection with you. They will feel that they can work with you because you understand them. These will turn into long term clients, primarily because you have taken the time to think about what THEY want.

As this site’s blog continues to be developed, I will break down these ideas and provide additional insights into valuable resources and information for your website, break down the social media platforms, providing tips and tricks for each as well as giving you some brainstorming ideas for your own blog.

If a one-on-one session is more your style, I am happy to enjoy a cup of coffee (or in my case a chai tea) to discuss how you can take control of your business’s online presence.

Promotions is still easy, it’s just the way in which we go about doing it that takes a little more work.