The next step in the marketing process is to locate your potential customers. Your customers spend their time at work, at home and online. This means your marketing efforts should be focused both online and offline.
In this section you will learn:
- The difference between offline and online marketing
- How to choose your marketing channels
- How to group your customers into four main types
- Create a Marketing Calendar
- Tips for networking
Offline and Online Marketing
Some examples of this are:
- Mailed flyers, brochures, and in store coupons
- Television commercials
- Radio interviews and commercials
- Magazines, newspapers, and other paper new sources including cultural newspapers, newsletters, religious organization bulletins, and both cultural and religious magazines
- Signs and billboards
- In-person networking, speaking engagements
Online Marketing is any marketing channel you use that happens over the internet. Some examples of this are:
- Facebook and Google Ads
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for your website
- Content marketing (blogs)
- YouTube videos
- Social Media Influencer marketing
How to Choose Your Marketing Channels
With so many choices available, it can be difficult to choose which marketing channel to use for your business. You will probably choose a variety of offline and online options to market your business. Choosing the right channels may involve a little trial and error. It is helpful to review your “ideal client” profiles and think about where these potential customers might spend their time.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What marketing channels do my competitors use?
- If I were shopping for my own products or services, where would I look?
- Will I be managing my own marketing channels or outsourcing this to a company to do for me?
- Am I a Business-to-Business (B2B) or Business-to-Consumer (B2C) business?
B2B is a business model that focuses on selling products and services to other companies. Companies such as Salesforce.com are an example of a B2B company that sells software services to other businesses.
B2C is a business model that focusses on selling products directly to consumers. Starbucks is an example of a company that sells its products (coffee) directly to consumers.
Grouping your Customers
Review the marketing funnel below. Understanding the stages of the marketing funnel can help you to choose the best marketing material for your business. The funnel gives you an idea of when to use your marketing materials and where to aim your efforts. It helps to group your potential customers into four types: Suspects; Prospects; Clients; and Champions.
You can then choose marketing materials for each type based on their stage in the funnel.
Group 1: Suspects
Who they are: Everyone who has not yet come in contact with your business but fits the description of your “ideal” client.
How to get their attention: This group is in the “know” phase of your marketing funnel so you should be grabbing their attention with advertising such as direct mail, or Google or Facebook ads with free offers or coupons. Directing site visitors to your blog and offering workshops, free e-book downloads, and sign-ups to your newsletter are all great marketing tactics to use with this group.
Group 2: Prospects
Who they are: These are people who have responded to your company messaging in some way. They may have liked your Facebook page, or downloaded a free e-book from your website or attended a workshop or networking event with you.
How to get their interest: Since this group has already connected with you, they are probably at the “like” stage of your marketing funnel. This group will probably respond well to a “free trial” offer or “first time buyer” discount. Offer this group marketing items such as “trial products”, taste tests or free service estimates.
Group 3: Clients
Who they are: These are people who have already tried your products or services.
How to keep returns: These people are now your customers in the “trust” and “buy” phase of your marketing funnel. Your marketing efforts should be designed to keep them coming back to you. Offers such as “loyalty rewards” and “frequent buyer” discounts work well with this customer group.
Group 4: Champions
Who they are: Happy customers who are telling others to be your customer are in this group. They are acting as your unpaid sales team; encouraging friends and family to do business with you. Reward this group!
How to get the referrals: Encourage this group to write Yelp and Google reviews. This type of customer will also write a great testimonial for your website. Reward these customers with additional loyalty rewards or surprise service rewards and discounts.
Your ability to turn customers into champions will greatly impact how fast you are able to grow your business. It is less expensive to market to happy customers than it is to market to “suspects” and “prospects”. The more your business grows the more you will be able to focus on creating a good referral marketing plan.
Create a Marketing Calendar
For your marketing to work well, you will need to be consistent with your efforts. Measuring each activity and following a budget is also important. Refer to your original S.M.A.R.T. goals in Section Two. Use your goals and all that you have learned to create a marketing calendar for your business. It does not need to be complicated, but it should track the activities, budget, and return on investment (ROI) of your efforts.
Networking is a way for you to get to know people and for others to get to know you. It helps you learn about programs and members of the community that could help with the success of your business. Networking is an opportunity to find out what you have in common with other people, groups, and businesses, and learn how you can help each other be successful. Networking is an inexpensive way to market your business.
Tips for Networking
Build up a meaningful contact list
Set a goal to meet people when you go to a networking meeting but keep the number small. Meeting a lot of people at an event doesn’t mean you have made meaningful contacts. It is important to look for quality as you develop your network, not quantity. It is more valuable to meet three good contacts who will remember you a few days later than 30 who will not. Spend a little time with people you already know. This may not be possible at first. As you network more and more, you will find that you are more likely to see people you have already met.
Don’t wait for someone to invite you when you are just starting out. You have to find your own events to attend.
At most networking events, people wear business suits. If you do not have a suit, wear clothes that are business casual.
Arrive on time
This is one of the few situations where it is appropriate to be a few minutes late. It is still a good idea to arrive on time so that you do not walk in after a meal or speech has started.
Jump right in
The hardest part of networking is learning how to walk over to somebody you don’t know and introduce yourself. Remember that everybody in the room will also be meeting new people. If you are uncomfortable, bring someone with you the first time. You will get more confident when you know more people. They can introduce you to further contacts. Be prepared to shake hands, smile and make eye contact.
You know your business better than anyone else. Your excitement and passion are wonderful tools to use in your networking efforts. Take every opportunity to tell others about your business and lead by example. Even an elevator ride can be an opportunity to talk about your business. Whether you are networking in person, or online, be prepared to talk about what you do and inspire others to do business with you. An elevator pitch needs to be short and to the point. Your audiences should want more details after your 30 second pitch.