- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On August 14, 2012
In the past few years, online marketing has exploded. Its immense popularity stems from the fact that it works.
When you need effective marketing, it’s tempting to dive in to one of the many, many digital marketing strategies available to you. But before you start committing your time and resources, take a step back and ask: “where are my customers online?”
The Internet is a huge metropolis, the largest on Earth, so placement of your marketing is crucial. You don’t want to spend your time posting valuable information on “avenues” your potential customers will never walk through.
But how do you know where your customers are online? What can you do to make sure your small business online marketing is strategically placed for best results?
Start with the place most people turn to when they have a question: Google.
A consumer research study performed by AYTM Market Research found that 74% of consumers use Google search as their primary search engine. You probably relate to this. When you need to find a local plumber, do you dig out the yellow pages and start making phone calls? For many of us the answer is a resounding “no”. We get online and start searching for “plumber Morristown, NJ” or wherever it is that you live, and in seconds you have websites, reviews, phone numbers, and much more.
The first company to show up for your plumbing search has figured out something precious. That company has figured out how to be where its customers are, and they’re probably reaping significant benefits from showing up at the top of this Google search. So how can your business achieve the same results?
To show up at the top of any Google search, you need to find out which keywords help your customers to find your website. There are several ways to do this.
First, you can simply ask your customers what they type into Google to search for businesses like yours. You can ask them in-person when you work with them or in a survey online.
Second, you can check your website analytics tool (for example Google Analytics) which can give you all kinds of information about visitors to your website, including the search keywords that lead your visitors there.
Understanding your customers’ demographics is key to successful small business online marketing. Who are your customers? Are they mostly men or mostly women? Are they college students or empty nesters? Do they drive Audis or bicycles? Do they have children or are they childless? Different groups of people spend time on different websites, post to different social media outlets, and seek out different kinds of online entertainment.
For instance, if you own a fabric store, you’ll want to be present on Pinterest, which is frequented by people interested in posting photos of sewing projects or giving ideas for interior decorating. Pinterest would not be a good social media choice for a business-to-business accounting company because their target audience would not be well represented on Pinterest. However, LinkedInwould be perfect for an accounting company seeking other businesses as clients as Linkedin is a social network heavily focused on businesses to business communication.
Before you spend a great deal of energy on perfecting your online marketing strategies and tactics think about where you and your particular type of customer will meet. How will they find you if they search? Where do they hang out online? Knowing your customer is just as important online as it is in the physical world – perhaps even more so…