In the previous chapter, we talked about how being online is a must. When you are a local business owner and you want to impress new customers via online channels, your efforts may go to waste if you don't understand your own online playground. This is your place to try things out, experiment, play and get creative...so let’s get to it!
To master your online marketing strategy as a local business, follow these three steps.
1. Create Buyer Personas
2. Analyze your competitors’ efforts, strategies and their channels
3. Pick the right channels
First of all, you must know WHO you are talking to. And who WANTS to listen to you, consume your content and most importantly who wants to become your customer. This is the essential of marketing that will help you communicate via the most effective channels. You will target relevant people who are most likely to be highly engaged and buy your product or service. You can adjust your product/service and it's pricing so it fits the demand.
Imagine them as a generalized representation of the demographic where you can find your ideal customer = those are the people your communication and marketing should be targeting.
Creating personas helps you understand your audience and deliver the best information and content to your followers and customers. Knowing your audience will not only determine what you share, but how and when you share it.
So how do you define your personas?
Here is a nice guide for you. In a nutshell: Try to decode the patterns of your most valuable customers. Be a detective for some time and try to figure it out!
Define and understand who your average customer is by answering the following questions: Who is your customer? Who’s buying what you’re selling and how? When? Why? Is there anything else you need to know?
Most products and services target customers in specific niches. Consider the age, gender, location, culture, occupation and socio-economic background of the buyers your business typically serves, then consider the expectations and communication styles of people from these demographics.
Analyze who interacts and engages with your profiles. You need to know why people follow you as well as who each follower is. Check their profiles. Of course, they won't all be the same.
Try to divide the people into 2-5 groups according to patterns they share. It might be regarding the demographics, interests, or a place in which they were pinned. The pattern also might be that they are customers of some other business. Analyze the profiles and piece together your results.
Collect the information that is RELEVANT to your business. Don't just use your imagination and hypothesize. Find ways to get actual evidence of the given behaviors. You can ask people in person, observe them, send them surveys or ask your friends. If you don't have any customers yet, try to describe your potential competitor's most valuable customer or think about who you created your products/ services for.
Find out how your current customers found your business. Ask them why they have chosen you over the competition.
You can use the personas to create better content – tips in this article – as well as to target certain groups of people! Your success ultimately relies on a well-targeted ad.
See our example personas for a coffee shop.
Remember, all of this takes a bit of time, patience and practice. Start with the personas now, the fruits of your labor will come later.
Do you already know your persona? Take a look at how they interact with your competitors. Then, dig even deeper.
By analyzing your competition and monitoring them continuously, you’ll get to know their behavior. This enables you to stay one step ahead. Do your competitors respond to their social media comments late? Do they have old cover photos? Do it better. Do they publish amazing and funny videos?
Learn from them about customer service. Get the inspiration, but don't be a copycat! You will develop what differentiates you and find out what will give customers a reason to pick your products or services over your competitors'.
Who are your competitors? You may be able to name one or even two of them off the top of your head. However, there are likely other companies that don’t look like threats now, but with a few adjustments, could chip away at your customer base.
You’ll get a good idea of how people feel about your competitors' businesses.
If you know what people say about your competitors, you can always learn what's desired and what's not and you will see what works well and what doesn’t when engaging with your own client base.
Are there any posts that get tons of attention? Try to decode what stands out and why so you can test it on your own audience. Of course, if a competitor is strong on social media, it also means that you’ll need to step your game up and think of something new and interesting.
You will see what's happening in regards to their marketing strategies and business and most importantly, you will be informed first.
Perhaps your business approach is more in line with the social or environmental priorities of your customers, or maybe you simply have lower prices. Whatever it is, tell the world you are good at it - that you are special! But make sure it’s an honest assessment based on the research and analysis you gathered from your competitors.
A key element of your social media strategy is to find the best mix of channels. Think about where you are going to be the most active, and also, where do your Buyer Personas spend their time? Find your customers where they truly are!
Do you know how many platforms there are today? The most common channels are Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter & YouTube. Each one of them is fruitful for a different type of audience demography and content. Which channels will you pick? The demographics are crucial, check the channels and their demographic insights here.
Diversify your efforts across multiple platforms. This is important because your customers and fans are using multiple platforms at the same time. The average user in the U.S. is using up to 7 platforms at the same time.
All the steps above should work as a system of continuous tasks. You should always optimize and check whether there are new competitors, new buyer personas or new channels you could be active on so you don't miss any chances to increase your success. Speaking of your success, it is very handy to have your business listed on relevant platforms. We will cover this topic in the following chapter. 😎