Whatever your product or service, there are customers out there who will be willing to pay for it. It’s just a case of finding them – and more importantly, helping them to find you.
Knowing your customer
Whether your business is B2C or B2B, when it comes to finding customers, there is one key step that people often miss. That is to identify WHO your ideal customers are. Missing this can lead to a watered down message and less impactful marketing. It can be tempting to try to reach as large an audience as possible but this isn’t always the best way.
Imagine for example, that you are a photographer and that you particularly enjoy and excel at working on outside shoots with children. Your ideal customer will probably be a parent who is looking to capture some great memories of their children in an outdoor setting. You will be much more successful in attracting these customers if you target them directly and are specific about what you do in your messaging. Advertising yourself as just ‘a photographer’ will most likely reach more people but those ideal customers are much less likely to notice you or buy from you.
So before you go out looking for new customers, think about the type of people or businesses who are most in need of your product or service and who are most likely to be attracted to your brand.
Creating a strong brand
Once you know who your ideal customers are, you can ensure that you create a strong brand to attract them. Make sure that the characteristics and ideals that your brand stands for will resonate with your target audience. Your brand tone of voice should be created as if to speak directly to them and your logo and design should reflect their tastes.
A strong and consistent brand will help you to stand out in a busy market place and ensure that you are easily recognisable.
For more on this, take a look at our article on branding.
Marketing your small business
If you don’t have much experience in marketing then it can be difficult to know where to start but the good news is that we’re here to break it down for you and help you not waste time on marketing activities that may not get you anywhere. Instead, we’ll give you the options and help you decide which will work best for your specific business.
This is perhaps the most traditional form of marketing. As the name suggests, print advertising uses printed media such as newspapers and magazines. By targeting the publications that your ideal customers are most likely to read, you can reach more of them.
It also includes other printed formats such as flyers, posters and direct mail.
Print advertising has largely been overshadowed by digital advertising but it is by no means dead and can still be a highly effective way of finding new customers for your small business. Always keep your ideal customers in mind when deciding how to proceed. If you are a local business looking locally for customers, then a door to door leaflet drop or advert in a local paper can be the perfect way to find your customers. Taking out an expensive advert in a national newspaper, would likely be much less successful and much more costly to you!
There are a number of different forms of online advertising available. Probably the most common is Paid Search or pay-per-click (PPC). This allows you to bid on certain key words and terms that would be relevant to your business and in so doing, to rank more highly for those terms in search so that customers are more likely to find your business when looking online. As always, a good understanding of who your ideal customers are, will help you to choose keywords and terms that they are most likely to use to find you.
Another form of online marketing is Display Advertising. This is where you can pay for more visual ads such as banners which will be displayed to prospective customers as they browse.
Social media now provides another huge form of online advertising with all of the main social channels having options for paid advertising. Ads can be targeted to specific audiences so keep your ideal customer in mind when creating them!
Content marketing has grown hugely in popularity over the last ten years. The idea behind it is to use valuable free content to build a relationship with prospective customers so that when the time comes to sell to them, they already feel that they like and trust you and so are much more likely to buy. There are many different forms of content marketing and usually a combination of them will give the best results.
Blogging/vlogging – this can be a hugely successful strategy. Research by Hubspot showed that companies who blog receive a whopping 97% more inbound links to their website.
Email marketing – building an email list is a fantastic way to find new customers. It allows you to communicate with people on a much more personal level and those communications aren’t floating somewhere on the internet, they’re going directly to people’s inboxes.
Social media – We mentioned social media as part of the Online Advertising section and it should also be part of your content marketing strategy. With content marketing however, it is less about paying for advertising (although this can still be part of it), and more about creating a community of people who love and interact with your brand.
These are just some of the ways that you can do content marketing for your business. Other ways to consider might be starting a podcast or running webinars.
How Experian can help you find new business customers
Here at Experian, helping businesses with their marketing is what we do and we’d be delighted to help you too. We have a number of tools that can help you whether you want to find more leads or enhance and analyse the data that you already have. For more information, take a look at our B2B Prospector Service.