Part 1: Establish a Target Market, and Stick to It.
We sometimes don’t stop to appreciate the seeming simplicity of online search engines. Have a question? Just type it into Google, Bing, or Yahoo and you’re rewarded with thousands of answers from sources around the world. But how do you get found online? As a small business owner, you need to think about the questions your prospective clients will be asking these Search Engines that will lead them to your business. In this 3 blog series, I will be giving away some tips that will help you increase your SEO, and in turn help you find the people that are trying to find you online!
Establish a Target Market and stick to it!
The first thing you should do is be strict in your choosing your target market and structure your marketing in a way that speaks specifically to these people. For example, my business targets local small business in York Region in the Health & Wellness, Fitness and Eco-Friendly industries. This is business 101, however you would be surprised how many businesses establish their target market in their original business plan, but as day to day business life goes on, it often gets watered down, diluted and misconstrued. We always tend to think a wider range will yield larger results, when in this case, a narrower one is stronger. If you’re in an industry with a large pool of competitors, your target market can be the deciding factor of being found online.
For example, for my industry of Online Strategies including Social Media Marketing, Web Management, SEO services, etc. in North America there are presumably tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of businesses ranging in size from solopreneurs to fortune 500 companies. Why would I even think about entering this industry? Because my target market is unique. I have set my target market very specifically to include:
Small businesses (1-10 employees) in York Region, specifically Newmarket, in the Health & Wellness, Fitness and Eco-friendly industries who want to maximize their online presence.
Examples: Dental hygienists, personal development coaches, not for profit organizations, holistic wellness professionals, fitness coaches, personal trainers, naturopathic doctors, spiritual leaders/healers, green initiative leaders, environmental conservationists, sustainability leaders, etc.
While the list goes on and on, my target is still narrow enough to allow me to cater my marketing to find these people and for them to find me. There are still hundreds of businesses catering to York Region, but I have not found any others catering specifically to businesses of my target size and Green-Focused industries.
Now that you’ve established your target market, get to know them better.
Based on my parameters, my target market typically includes solopreneurs/entrepreneurs who manage all aspects of their business themselves. While they may be experts in their specific field, they may not be the most tech-savvy when it comes to online strategies. They are providing and want to keep providing great services, but have a hard time reaching the people who need them. The most common challenges they face are simply a lack of technical knowledge and a lack of time to invest in acquiring that knowledge. They have more important things on the go in managing their business from within than thinking about their online strategies.
Now that you know more about them, how can you help them and their business?
First, I do my market research to find out the common questions or issues that these companies may have that I can help them with, and build from there. What are the day to day issues these businesses face? Are they limited by financial constraints, time constraints, knowledge constraints, or even all of the above?
Secondly, you need to work backwards to determine the questions that these businesses would be asking Google, Bing, or Yahoo. To do this focus on the answers that you provide to some of the day to day challenges your prospective clients might be facing that you determined earlier. How do I use twitter to reach prospective clients? How does SEO work? How often should I publish a blog? I then cater my marketing towards answering their questions. This method helps me sufficiently narrow both my financial and time investments spent on marketing.
Now that you know some of their questions, what are you going to do about it?
Writing blog posts are a great way to address solutions for the questions people are typing into search engines. If your online presence is working correctly to boost your SEO, this should increase your chances of your answers popping up in response to their questions.
In the end, it’s always about how your expertise can help someone else achieve their goals. Find out what sets you apart from the competition, set your target market, go full steam ahead and don’t look back!
Do you have a target market? If so, share how this has impacted your business marketing strategy. If not, what is holding you back from setting one? As always I welcome your feedback. You can continue the conversation with me on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comment section below.
Join me next time for Part 2 in this 3-Part Series of How to Get Found Online: Is Your Website Responsive? If you don’t know what that means, you definitely can’t miss it!