Hint: Understanding your target audience is key!
You might think that because I have a background in communications and marketing, creating a marketing strategy for my own business comes easily. The thing is, the marketing platforms and ways of reaching people have changed so much over the years that it’s near impossible – in my opinion – to keep up to date on all the methods.
I subscribe to various experts who give me the highlights each month of what’s happening with the various social media platforms that are important to me; I hire team who I trust to be up to date on the systems and processes needed to post and share to these platforms; and I spend a lot of time every month deciding what I most want to talk about and what my community needs most, right in this moment.
It’s an ongoing process that requires commitment, structure, and an enthusiasm for communicating with your people – your target audience – in a way that feels authentic to you and a way that fosters “two-way communication” (as we said in PR school all those years ago) between you and your community.
So, how’s it going? Keep reading if you would like to make this process easier for yourself!
Understanding your target audience
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, understanding your target audience is key. Absolutely key.
It’s at the core of the work I did with big business and governments in my PR days and it’s at the core of the work I do with my business coaching clients today.
You have to know who you’re talking to. And honestly, in some ways it’s harder to reach people than it used to be and in many ways it’s easier.
In the “olden” days of news releases and press conferences, you would prepare your material and “release” it to the world via the news media. There would only be a few news channels available, so you could pretty much bet that your content would be on the nightly news or the morning radio show. Today, we all have our own news channel at our fingertips, so the trick has not just become to share “news” or information that is helpful and of interest to your ideal client, it’s also about letting your ideal client know about your personal “news channel” and having them come there to get their news – from you.
How to find clients online
But with so many marketing platforms out there, how do you know where to find your clients? How do they know where to find you? Are you the “best kept secret” in your area of expertise? Most new entrepreneurs feel they are.
Furthermore, so many people who are exploring working with me don’t like social media. Nope. They’re a bit afraid of it. They’re afraid they’re going to screw it up and find it a time rabbit hole. Plus, it’s overwhelming, with all those ways of reaching people – all those news channels – how do you know where to start?
To find clients online, you need to:
- Understand your ideal clients
- Understand your authentic marketing style
- Understand where first to put your limited resources
- AND – and I can’t stress this enough – YOU NEED TO BE ONLINE
Because even if you don’t like to be on social media, most of the world is on the internet. It’s the one place you can guarantee people are.
How to align your marketing channels with success
So, where to start?
The basic formula for marketing and communications has not changed:
- Research the situation
- Create a thoughtful strategy to achieve your goals
- Implement your strategy
- Evaluate the results
- Make needed adjustments
- Repeat what’s worked well, change what didn’t
It’s a guessing game often, even for the experts. Part of the reason it’s a bit of a guessing game is because the social media algorithms keep changing and what worked last month, may not work this month.
So let’s focus on what you can do:
- Know your target audience – their habits, their interests, what they most want. Find out where they hang out and meet them there. To help you with this part, I’ve released access to this worksheet that I offer my Aligned Business Collective clients. You can gain access to it here.
- Understand your authentic marketing style and spend time doing that. Do you like to speak? Write? Create video? Take photos? Whatever you prefer is where you should start. Eventually, you can hire out the rest. Regardless, do more of what you naturally like. It’s where you will show up with the most confidence and with the most enthusiasm.
- Communicate with your potential clients where they already are. Is it in real life? Through in-person networking events or community groups? Perhaps your people love Instagram and hang out there in the evening after work. Perhaps they scroll LinkedIn on their lunch break and you will have better luck there. Wherever and however it is, that’s where you need to be.
- PRO MOVE: Align your marketing platforms. Try to speak about the same things in all the places. It’s just the “how” that will be different. For example, LinkedIn may support more thought leadership while Instagram will see more success with quick videos and photos.
The benefits of aligning marketing platforms
When you show up consistently, in front of your potential ideal client with regularity, you will start to gain an online presence that people can trust. I often have people follow me for months if not years before they reach out for a complimentary strategic conversation with me.
The Know, Like and Trust factor is a real thing. Once your ideal client gets to know you, they will come to like you and then trust will follow.
Increase online presence
Like it or not, the online world is here to stay – and the only constant is change. This is why it’s so important to dial into your ideal clients, your expertise, your preferred ways of working, get online and make a repeatable plan to stay there.
You’re here now! And so are your ideal clients. Your marketing platforms may shift in time, as you try different ways of increasing your online and offline presence. What won’t change is the strategy of being thoughtful and purposeful about how and where you show up will elevate your presence, boost respect and trust for your offer and will help you stay competitive in your market.
Good luck! And if you’re a new or growing small business owner, check out the Aligned Business Collective for more resources and inspiration. You don’t have to grow your business alone.
To your success,
Susan Elford is a Leadership Coach and Business Mentor who especially loves to work with women who want it all: a fulfilling career or business while living a full and satisfying life. Through powerful career coaching and business mentorship to get their career or business to the next level, Susan helps her clients get real about their strengths and celebrate and promote them so they get more of what they want: success at work; success in business & success in life.
WHAT’S YOUR NEXT BIG MOVE!?
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