Why are so many businesses not reaching their business, marketing and sales goals and what can you do to position your company for more growth?
In 2012 Terry started her business with excitement and enthusiasm. After years of corporate bureaucracy and capped salaries she felt it was time to strike out on her own and do something adventurous, fun and rewarding.
When she lost her job due to a corporate draw down she knew that this was her opportunity. She got a severance big enough to help with some seed money and a few months of living expenses.
Terry immediately began researching how to start a business. She came up with a name and incorporated her business.
She was ready. She was a legal entity and that meant she could just jump right in and start taking orders.
There was one problem… no matter how much she told people what she was selling it was harder to get her prospects to spend their money that she thought it would be.
It didn’t take long for her to realize that she was in trouble. The worst part was that she didn’t know why she was struggling so much.
So Terry did what so many of us do; she started working more hours and tried to do more “things” in the hope that her “hard work” would pay off because isn’t that what business requires?
That’s what she was always taught in the corporate world.
The one who works the longest wins.
She simply didn’t know what she didn’t know and within a year her dream was shattered.
Maybe you can identify with Terry’s story? Maybe your story is different but the results are the same?
The truth is if you don’t have a foundation you can’t build a business.
Today, I’m not going to talk with you about your message or ask you what “Business are you “REALLY” in?”. I have written about this the extensively over the last year in virtually every article.
Having complete clarity around your business is so important, yet so many of us as business owners are completely lacking in this area.
I talk with business owners every day who are working under assumptions instead of data and facts. You know what they say about assumptions? (See, I’m making an assumption that you know and what if you don’t?)
Assumptions in business will run you out of business.
Sure, sometimes an educated guess or our intuition pays off and we have to do that. But, that should not be normal operating procedure.
Instead of talking about your message today, I’m going to specifically share how discovering your target market is the key to your success when combined with a powerful message.
I’m going to deal with some of the assumptions you are making about your audience and hopefully by the time you’re done reading this article you will realize that you are missing a lot of opportunities and business because you don’t “really” know your target audience.
My Journey and My Own Target Marketing Mistakes
Before I go into the assumptions and ideas that will help you about your target marketing, I want to share why I understand your struggles so well.
It’s because your struggles were once my struggles until I realized why I was struggling.
Why was it that I was always attracting the wrong people?
- Do It Yourself (DIY) people who never had an intention to buy from me but wanted to just pick my brain for free information that they could use to build their business. It’s not their fault if I was willing to do it, right?
- People who want a successful business but don’t have a viable market or business model but they sure are passionate.
- Those who have great ideas and no money.
- Those who want a quick way to the cash but don’t want to make the effort or do the work.
On May 29th it will mark the one year anniversary of my blog. It has been a massive learning experience. I have had some major successes and a few times I’ve failed in some areas of my business as well. It’s all part of the learning curve.
When I started I had a few assumptions about blogging and a few fears. My blog appeared to start strong but the truth is I just worked my rear off for six months by writing, connecting, engaging, sharing and offering value.
I met all my goals in 2014 as you can see in this article.
As my comments grew and connections happened naturally through my strategy of networking online I begin realizing that eventually I would start losing my audience and the appearance of success because my comments would start dwindling as I shifted from engaging with those who were not my audience to those who are.
Why was this the case for me?
I teach that for business blogging and content marketing to work we have to be very clear about our business and our audience and focus on the right strategies to meet them and earn opportunities for them to buy from us. That means our execution has to be about them; not us.
In turn, that means personally my articles are getting more and more focused on my target audience. I’m very, very specific about writing to one person with one problem; with a possible solution.
Just like Terry above. People who have had her experience will identify with her and understand where this article is headed as a result because they want to learn how she overcame her challenge.
Today, the articles on my site and on other sites are getting clearer for the reader.
It resonated and some of the comments are blog articles in themselves.
To the point more specifically, I have a few new prospects and that is what excites me!!!!
How is Measurable Data Changing My Marketing?
Do you remember a bit ago I said that too many of us are making assumptions about our audience? In the initial stages of our research that is okay.
In fact, in my Foundations of Internet Marketing or in my 1-on-1 coaching I spend a lot of time working with my clients to help them understand who their primary target and secondary target audiences are. Sometimes we have information from previous clients and experiences and sometimes we work on coming up with good old fashioned common sense ideas of who the target market is.
We have to have a starting point.
Knowing your basic audience comes from asking what are the tangible values your customers experience and how do they feel about your business; and what are the specific problems that each tangible value solves?
Once you know that, then you ought to know or generally have an idea of who you want to talk to based on the answers to those two leading questions. For example I worked with CodeLocks, a large manufacturing company of locks and keyless locks. They identified their basic target markets:
- Gyms and workout facilities with changing rooms.
- Homes with school aged children.
- Corporate offices
- Retail stores where employees could store personal belongings
- U.S. Federal Government facilities with sensitive and restricted areas.
I could do this all day! LOL…
The point is to However, I’m still amazed at how many businesses have never even done this basic level research and work in their business and they wonder why they are not attracting an audience?
The overwhelming majority of businesses engaged in blogging, content marketing and social media marketing are writing so broad that don’t say or mean anything and yet still expect that the readers will come and be converted to prospects and customers because they included a call-to-action and a form to fill out.
Sorry folks, it’s not 2010 and it doesn’t work that way anymore.
You need to be very specific – one problem or issue for one person with a solution.
Give them a reason to want to contact you!
Going Deeper into Your Target Market
While Codelocks did a great job of stating the obvious, there was a lot left on the table that they never considered.
In my research I discovered some entirely new target markets that their marketing and sales teams completely overlooked:
- Fire departments
- Police Department
- Veterinary hospitals
- Specialized vehicles that store sensitive items
- And more…
WAIT! There is even more that is needed to help a business in marketing and sales and I’m about to explain how you can meet more of the right people and earn more sales!!!!
Recently I attended an event with the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce training where I met Rhonda Kleiman. Rhonda is the Business Resource Solutions Specialist with the Chamber and she shared some incredible ideas and tips on how to use various business databases for market research for target marketing.
What I learned is that there are some very powerful databases I never knew existed that have an incredible amount of information for both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing applications.
I’m big into understanding the audience because blogging and content marketing is a very personal thing. It’s not a mass marketing tool and as I’ve already explained without saying it that is really how most businesses are using the internet; and they are failing miserably and wasting a lot of money in the process.
What if you had this kind of information about your specific target audiences?
- Purchasing habits of both businesses and individuals? Yes, we tell marketers a lot about ourselves when we use those coveted preferred shopping cards, credit and debit cards, make online purchases; and more. You never get names, addresses or sensitive information in reports and nor should you.
- Specific locations of businesses in all kinds of detailed variations for virtually any need.
- Lists of start-up businesses to include the type of business, location and the names of the owners. If you’re wondering these lists are coming from government sources when businesses incorporate or create LLC’s, etc. It’s all public information that is complied and updated monthly or quarterly.
- Income ranges of neighborhoods or yes specific business revenues.
- Educational levels.
- Veteran status.
- Life stages (young singles, young achievers, midlife success, households with children, empty nesters, seniors, etc…)
- Lifestyle traits (where they shop, what they read, what they watch, what they drive, what’s important to them)
If there is a way to glean this type of information, then imagine how much better the quality of your content marketing, blogging, social media marketing, videos and podcasts could be?
You marketing goal is to simply demonstrate you’re competent and that you’re trustworthy because you understand your prospects and customers and can give them what they need or want.
In sales, your job is to allow them to buy you. When I go into sales meetings with businesses I do my research. I know:
- Their industry trends
- Industry challenges
- Public perception
- Where their business fits into the industry norm based on the current business climate.
How do I know?
Because I have access to the data and data is where the real power is at. I’m no longer making assumptions. I’m able to tell a business that I know exactly what is happening in their industry and where their business is at and come to a meeting ready to offer solutions.
I am confident and competent and businesses appreciate that you have done the research and work.
That is what makes a business successful!
I don’t care if you’re in retail, manufacturing or service industries; or if you’re an offline or online business – these principles are the same!
Terry was struggling because she didn’t have enough data to support her message or give people a reason to buy from her.
Corporations spend millions of dollars on this type of data to reach their prospects and customers with solutions or fulfilling wants. They know that their success depends upon it.
So, Mr. or Ms. Business owner; why are you guessing and costing yourself money?
I’m going to challenge you… you can do research on Google. But, it will not take you far enough. The data is highly fragmented and it will take years to compile it in a format that you can use if you can find it, let alone find it in real time or in six month increments.
Maybe you do have access, do you have the outside perspective to objectively analyze the data and its application to your business?
Don’t be a do it yourself (diy) person and waste both time and money doing something that you may not have the skills and experience.
Did you know that according to the Small Business Administration and also in other formal data that 80% of all businesses who start will fail in 5 years. Of those businesses 70% will fail within the first 24 months.
Because they haven’t done the necessary work to define their passion, vision, message and target market or they have but they gleaned the wrong data because they didn’t understand it.
I want to challenge you to jump in and really discover your target audience and start growing your company.
I am working to gain access to the most detailed business databases in the world that compile information from government data, Dun & Bradstreet and others who can provide all the information I spoke of above and more.
I am creating a new service that will take you through the process of helping you discover new target audiences and where they actually hang out at so that you can better and more cost effectively reach them.
Let me give you one quick example.
Let’s say you’re in pet supplies in Lancaster County, PA.
Did you know that pet supply spending in and around Lancaster city and the affluent communities around the city is from $0 – $500, but outside of the city the money spent on pet supplies can be as high as $20,000?
Because there are farm animals and working pets who service those farming animals. As a business they spend a lot of money to protect their assets. It’s the farmers and businesses in the county who are spending the big money on pet supplies.
Here is a more interesting thought…
How likely are farmers to be online doing Google searches when they work 14 hour days? The data however showed that 84% of them are hunters and fisherman and subscribe to Field and Stream magazine; and that 90% of them log onto Field and Stream’s website at least once a week.
Knowing this kind of data will help inform reports from sources like SEMrush or Google Keyword Planner to help you attract more relevant prospects via content marketing.
And, perhaps they ought to consider some ads in magazines if that’s where the target market is at in addition to banner ads on a website that directs them back to a content marketing piece that talks specifically to that audiences needs.
If you want to really start reaching those who are able, willing and ready to buy from you then your content marketing and blogging has to get more specific than it has ever gotten before.
Don’t be afraid of low numbers; be afraid of the wrong numbers.
For example, last week’s article was written for U.S. military veterans. Did you know I only got four comments? That’s a record low!!!!
However, I also got 20 new prospects to talk with. That’s a record high in one week for an article.
Specificity is your friend online and don’t put all the focus on metrics that don’t convert to sales.
I mentioned that I’m creating a new product where I will work with you to learn your specific target audience in more detail than you ever imagined before.
This new service is in beta as of May – July 2015. As such, the rate is significantly discounted. If you want to learn more about it and how I can help you discover the most valuable information your business may ever need; I want to encourage you to visit the “Contact” page and email me about your interest in the beta program. I would love to get to know your business and share this beta program with you to determine if we are a good fit for one another.
As of the publication date of this article, there is not a landing page yet but when there is I will update the site this week.
Terry’s story doesn’t have to be your story.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you!
If you have a comment, idea, or question please leave it below in the comments section and let’s get the conversation started!