I am one of those people who love to get a good deal when I buy something. When I shop for something, I want the best quality product or service because I like knowing I own something I can be proud of. I like a car that’s been well reviewed and I search for that information before I buy it. I like buying books and movies from Amazon because I know they offer quality merchandise, reliable shipping and competitive prices. That is the kind of shopper I am.
My girlfriend, on the other hand, approaches things in a totally different way. She is into ‘couponing‘ and she regularly reads every blog out there to find out which products she needs have coupons or other types of discounts. To her, a good shopping trip involves a savings of 40% or more off retail and few things please her more than seeing that she’s saved 80% or more. She does this with groceries, household items, clothing – everything. To her, price is what matters first and she won’t overpay if she can possibly score a savings.
Two diferent examples of customers
We are two examples of customers you might have in your own business and we represent two different types of people who need different information from you. One of us wants to know what makes your product or service ‘better‘ than the competitor’s and the other wants to know how much we are saving by buying from you. Once you understand our needs, you can start to understand why we would buy from you and you can offer us the approach we need – the information we need – to feel confident that buying from you is in our best interest.
The reason I decided to share this story is because a lot times what consumers don’t know is what is stopping them from buying from you. Perhaps they know your business exists and how to visit your website or your physical location, but they do not know why they should buy from you. That is what we want to talk about today.
Things We Never Think to Ask
This is the heart of the matter and very easy to understand. We, as Internet Marketers and business owners of every kind, are often so well informed on our products and services that we quite plainly no longer think the way our customers do about those products and services. It’s one of those situations where you can’t see the forest for the trees and it can hurt your marketing in a big way.
Just as the consumer doesn’t think to ask for the information they need in order to find your product to be the one that meets their needs, we don’t think to ask them how what we have to offer could benefit them. We get relaxed into our markets and we might lose that crucial sense of urgency and because of that, we miss out on chances to grow our business.
Research to See Who is Buying From You & Why
If you want to make sure you are not getting lax in your marketing, you need to make sure you are keeping up with your main customers, the core markets you serve. You need to know who is buying from you and why they are choosing your products or services – not just why they are choosing you over your competitors. For instance, let’s say that you sell a course where the customer is taught how to speak Spanish.
Perhaps you have come to see that the majority of your customers happen to be those who are planning a trip to a Spanish speaking country and they want to be comfortable with the language before they take that trip. Intelligently, you have geared most of your marketing to these folks, choosing to advertise on travel-related sites and places where that type of higher income person who can afford such trips would be most likely to go. Very smart! You are doing what you can, but could you do better? The answer is probably yes.
Using our Spanish language course example, let’s say you look through your customers and notice that several of them are people who are taking part in volunteer activities in Spanish speaking languages, doing work for charitable organizations. This is an opportunity because perhaps you had not been marketing to these globally conscious folks that want to change the world. Maybe fine-tuning a campaign to reach them could help you expand your market.
Perhaps you also find that a portion of your customers are looking to obtain Spanish language skills to help them improve their odds of being hired. It’s a down economy right now, according to the media, so perhaps approaching this segment of the market and explaining how your product is a low cost way to improve their attractiveness to potential employers would be a smart idea. Maybe even college students who took French and are discovering that more US businesses are hiring Spanish speaking graduates would be glad to hear about the course you offer. That’s one more group of people you could sell to.
The point here is to thoroughly investigate your customer base and find out more about the people buying from you. If you sell via a website, this is something that Google Analytics or a similar service that collects data about how people find your site can help you do.
Can You Grow an Existing Segment of Your Audience?
Let’s consider how you can grow a segment of your market that you already have buying from you. We’ll use a new example for this, let’s say you have a pet store that focuses on saltwater fish. Most of your clients are in your metro area and they are primarily folks who keep fish as a hobby, but also include offices of doctors, lawyers and other professionals who find saltwater fish to be soothing for clients in their waiting room as well as a symbol of prestige. We’ll say that in this case, hobbyists are 75% of your customer base, and you want to grow that smaller segment of your customer base that contains professionals who have saltwater fish tanks in their offices. How do you grow this segment?
Exspand the geographic area
One of the first things you want to do is take a look at how aggressive you have been in reaching out to professionals in your area who are not yet buying from you. Is your company leveraging the power of SEO to reach local clients? Professionals are busy and they rarely want to wade through search results to find what they need. Focus on including the city you are in, or even the state, and maybe think about serving a wider area if you need to. Sometimes, if you want to expand your core customer base, you have to expand the geographic area you serve.
Perhaps you could create new brochures or even videos for your site that display the benefits to those who come to visit. Maybe improving your company’s Facebook page could help you attract more of these professional clients who might come to see you as a cost effective yet upscale company that that caters to their needs. Perhaps even creating another brand and doing ‘saltwater fish tank consulting’ would be a smart idea. The basic concept here is that you need to approach these members of that segment of your market that you want to grow and explain to them exactly what you have to offer and how they benefit by purchasing from you.
Are There New Markets You Could Join or Create?
New markets are always an exciting opportunity because you may discover a whole new customer base that you can sell to. You already have the products and services you sell, but maybe you aren’t selling them in every possible market out there that could use them. For our next example, let’s say that you run an online shop which sells a variety of different video cameras.
So far, you have done heavy SEO to bring in searchers looking for the various brands and models of video camera you sell and you have also done a good job at becoming a place where people come for the various accessories they need for those cameras. Bravo! But could you do more? Absolutely.
Let’s say you know that most of the people coming to you are buying video cameras so that they can record events like birthday parties, graduation ceremonies and so forth. You’ve catered to these folks and even established a popular blog that brings them in regularly to read about how they can shoot better videos, shows them tips for free or cheap video editing software and so on. Yet, you also have noticed that there are a few people looking for the best camera to use in their college film school courses. Eureka!
This is a new market of extremely dedicated customers who are very likely to buy quite a lot from you. Perhaps they need affordable options or perhaps you could set up a whole blog just for them where you cater to the information they want, even interviewing those who have made independent and no budget movies. This could help you expand your brand in a powerful way.
New idea for new market
Another idea using this same concept would be to find out if there are those who want to learn to establish a business where they serve as videographer for weddings and other events, recording everything in a professional way so they can produce high quality DVDs for their clients. This is similar to the film student customer base, but it is different enough that you may need yet another blog that focuses on what these particular customers want. Maybe you could even offer them tips to get their business off the ground.
This is just one example of how you could take a business and expand into new areas. The whole idea here is that you need to meet the needs your customers have or the needs that a group of people have who could become your customers. If you can do that, and do it well, you can get into or even start your own markets.
Let Your Customers Help You Tailor Your Marketing to Their Needs
The ideas we have covered so far are great, but you may find yourself wondering exactly how you are supposed to know so much about your customers. The easiest way to find this information is to ask your customers directly.
Send a survey or interview some of your best clients or customers to find out what they wish they would have known from you when they first purchased your product or service.
These are the people that matter to your business and they are, in their own way, experts on what you sell. Find out what got them interested in what you have to sell and also ask them what you could do better. You want to be able to approach each segment of your market with content marketing strategies that make sense for the audience.
You need to explain the benefits in a way that they can easily grasp, don’t make them work to figure you out – they won’t, they will just move on. People lack time and patience so you need to make it as easy for them to see why what you offer matters to them. Each segment of your audience wants something different and once you figure out what that is, you can pitch to them with great success.
Don’t Settle for Just One Way of Spreading the Word
We’ve mentioned Facebook Pages and blogs, but these are just two ways to reach out to your customers. When you are trying to tailor your marketing to meet their needs, take some time to ask them about how they use the web and how they discover new products and services. Perhaps there are commonalities such as a specific magazine they read that you should be advertising. Or perhaps they are Twitter fans and you need to set up an account so you can begin reaching out with your business.
The more ways you give your customer to consume your message, the better chance you have of hitting his or her preferred method of consumption…which means he or she is more likely to receive the information you are delivering.
Having multiple avenues to reach out to your customer base and keep them informed is very important. When you make a high quality blog post, be sure to share it via the social networks that are relevant to your business. It could take time, expense and experimentation to figure out which avenues offer you the most ROI, but this is the case in any business. You need to invest towards your own success and make sure everyone you have determined is a potential customer knows about what you are offering. Keep them informed and they are likely to become the buyers who build your business.
Information Really Does Rule Our Current Age
We talk so much about content here on Top Marketing Strategies and there is a reason for that: it serves a vital purpose for both your business and the audience your business relies on. Your customers absolutely must be informed before they can make decisions and if you are not giving them the right information – that means the information they believe they need – then you are failing to meet their needs. This then means you are missing out on sales.
People naturally want to know about things that benefit them. No matter what market we are talking about, this rule applies. Content that benefits them and at the same time shows them why what you sell is what they need is going to produce results. The so-called Information Age really is happening and if you aren’t yet leveraging the power of quality made content then it really is a smart idea to get started.
Remember, sometimes it does take trial and error to get the results you want to see, but it can be done. We have seen a lot of clients build impressive businesses just by leveraging the power of content their customers loved. What about you? Have you found content to be a powerful part of your marketing efforts? Have you found that educating your customers or potential customers has helped your sales? We love success stories so we hope you will share yours by leaving a comment below. Questions are always welcome, too, and we will respond just as quick as we can.