If you are running a small or mid-sized business like me, chances are high that you’ve probably questioned yourself umpteen times, button holed your friends in marketing and read up like crazy various blogs and still wondered how to promote your business on the Net without spending too much money.
If you’re not from the Digital world like most of us, the choices can be quite confusing. Should you do SEO or would SEM suit you better? Should you look at re-marketing or should you look at going all hog on Social Media or should you focus your efforts on Email Marketing? Or maybe it’s better to simply run an affiliate PPC campaign? No matter what choice you make, you are likely to end up feeling that you’ve probably chosen the wrong one with your limited budget.
Which is why this 101 primer for Small Business Entrepreneurs should help!
- Define your business and your target geography
Is your business selling to other businesses (B2B) or do you sell to consumers (B2C)? Does your business serve its customers over a large geography (National or International) or does it serve a localized community? (Regional, city specific).
Answers to the above will focus your attention to your target segment and your target geography to start with.
- Is your business a service business or a product business?
Does your business sell a service to others like car washes or consultancy or does it sell a tangible product one can touch and feel? Selling a service over the net is very different than selling a product and therefore it is important to use this to further consolidate and remove media vehicles that don’t lend themselves effectively for selling a service or a product.
- Who does your business want to reach out to?
If you’re running a service business within your community, ask yourself who your main users are? Is it the men or the women or the child? Define the demography of your target audience. A good way to do that is to actually describe your customer. For instance for my own website www.agencyonnet.com we defined our target audience demographically as
Primarily Male, aged between 25 to 50, working as entrepreneurs with businesses in English speaking countries like India, USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Singapore etc. etc.
This helped us focus strongly on who we wanted to target to and in which country. You could do that similarly for your business.
- Does your product or service purchase require personal selling?
Often businesses make the mistake of assuming that because they know their own product or service well enough, everyone else will too! This is not the case always. Sometimes consumers whether they be B2B clients or B2C consumers need to see the product or service at work before they understand the benefits well enough.
If you’re business needs this to a high degree, you will need to factor in lead generation programs as your primary output from all your marketing initiatives.
- Is your business something that the consumer searches for actively? How does he search for it?
I have nothing against Google. I use it actively enough. I just don’t use it as actively when I want to hunt out a local business. I see enough signage on my way to office and back that tell me where I need to go. Far too many businesses opt in to spend money on SEO without asking themselves the simple question as to whether their audience within their geographical community is actually looking for such a product or service!
- Is your product or service frequently purchased? Define the frequency.
Defining how frequently your product or service is actually purchased by the same consumer will determine how regularly you need to advertise to the same target audience. A consulting service is something that is purchased infrequently (hopefully!) by the same target audience but florist’s service may be purchased far more frequently. If you’re running a flower delivery service you may want to keep yourself top of mind with your audience so that when they are looking to buy flowers they remember you.
On the other hand, if you’re running a consulting practice, you may want to set up regular email correspondence with your target audience on a set frequency. Likewise if you’re running a restaurant that caters to a specific local community.
- Are your customers digitally inclined?
And I am not talking Facebook here! True Facebook may tout itself at having a 1Billion + users all over the world, but I would hardly use Facebook to promote my B2B site, no matter how Facebook tries to convince me of the benefits. I would much rather use the more expensive Linked in or Email marketing to reach out to my small business customers if I use the Internet at all!
If you believe that your customers may not be digital inclined don’t go all over the internet to reach out to them, especially if your business is not national in nature. This last question is more directed to those parts of the world where penetration is still low and adoption of the Internet as a way of life is still relatively low.
Spending money on the Internet like any other marketing task can be quite confusing and frustrating especially if you’re not as knowledgeable as the ones that come selling digital services. Removing the chaff from the wheat is what you need to do as an entrepreneur and this primer essentially has hopefully led you up that path.
This article was written by the team at Agencyonnet, a B2B platform that helps businesses find cost effective marketing service providers around the world in over 60+ marketing categories.