Every business has a specific audience that they want to reach because they believe that those people are far more likely to become good, long-term paying customers than the general population – your demographic.
For years, real world marketers have sought out ways to help businesses pinpoint their individual demographic using a variety of methods to research and study consumers, but even their best efforts ended up causing companies to cast a wider net and hit lots of people who only partially fit the profile.
Marketing Online Can Help Connect You to a Targeted AudienceOnline marketing has changed all that by offering clearer and more detailed profiles than ever before, while creating a number of new kinds of targeted advertising that help businesses to reach people who are already searching for services like the ones they offer, as well as people likely to seek out their help in the future.
How exactly can online marketing do this for you?
Niche sites. On the surface, advertising your company on niche site doesn’t seem much different than picking a particular newspaper or indie radio station to run an ad. There are a few big differences though. The first is that even the least expensive of “broadcast” mediums tend to cost a lot more than anything on the web. The second is that the internet is so vast that you can almost guarantee that there is a specific audience for what you’re selling, no matter how specific it is. Third, on a niche site you have the ability to create a brand image at a fraction of the cost of traditional media.
Lists and sign-ups. This isn’t a new idea, but rather an old one in a new form. Whereas many companies used to (and still do) ask customers to sign up for catalogues and newsletters and mailing lists, lots of people are getting fed up with all the paper junk mail they receive. Most studies show that we aren’t as annoyed by email advertisements that we sign up for, though, so hitting people up in their inboxes can be a great way to go. And once people have agreed to let you advertise to them, you know they are much more likely to be convinced to buy something.
Content Marketing. Wikipedia describes content strategy as “…the practice of planning the content creation, delivery, and governance. A repeatable system that defines the entire editorial content development process…”
When we think of Content Marketing we think of the customer, where they are at in the sales process, and delivering them the information they need, in all the places they are searching for it, across each stage of the buying process. This requires creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
Marketing Online Can Help Connect You to a Targeted AudienceSEO. Search engine optimization is a way to bring people to your website who are already searching for the specific types of services that you offer. With well-executed SEO, when people type “buy power tools” into a Google search, your power tool company will appear at the top of their results and they will be more likely to come to you. Obviously it’s not quite as simple as that, but with the right keyword strategy for your web pages and blogs, and utilizing other SEO methods like building backlinks, you can very successfully target the market that’s actively looking to purchase your services.
Location-based marketing. If you run a business that’s mostly local, or you’re primarily interested in getting more customers close to home, local internet marketing is an offshoot of SEO that can help you corner your local market with just a few words. Let’s say your power tool business is in Bloomington, Indiana. Instead of “buy power tools,” you might want to use search terms like “buy power tools in Bloomington” or “Indiana power tools.”
By making your search terms more specific, you’re likely to find that fewer people are entering those searches, but you’ll also decrease the competition you face. This audience is far more likely to choose your business because you’re even closer to what they’re looking for. It can also greatly help with brick and mortar foot traffic, because research has shown that the vast majority of people try an internet search first when looking for businesses close to home.
PPC. Pay-per-click marketing uses advertisements that can either appear on specific niche sites that you believe your target audience frequents or show up when people search for particular terms. The upside of this kind of marketing is in the name itself – you only pay the company creating the ads when people actually click on them and come to your site. After that, it’s up to you to finalize the sale.
These are just some of the methods to pinpoint your audience online and use your advertising dollars smarter so that you increase your return on investment. The best online marketing gurus know that the landscape is constantly changing, so you always have to know what’s over the horizon and be ready for it.
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