“How can I find customers online” may be a pesky question for business owners in 2021.
Being online effectively can be a huge amount of work. Especially for solo-preneurs and small/mid size business owners.
To be sure you are leveraging your time in the most efficient way, you must find where your ideal customer is spending their time online.
Nearly everyone is online these days, but the possible differences are almost endless.
There are people in 2021 who still do not have any form of social media and only communicate through email. Some do not have email or Facebook, only snapchat and twitter. Others only use facebook.
These variations are why it is critical you know who you are trying to reach. You don’t want to spend all your time and energy in a certain corner of the web to find out your business isn’t growing because your people aren’t there.
The solution is to know who you are trying to reach and identify where they hang out online.
First, identify who you are trying to reach with your message.
Who comes to mind when you think about selling your service or product?
Is there a certain demographic that will be most interested in what you are offering?
(“Everyone” is not a viable answer here, think specific details of the type of person that comes to mind.)
If you have a home repair business, you can narrow your ideal customer to home owners and land lords. These are all adults of varying ages, but you can safely rule out renters or teens as your ideal customers.
Do you sell made from scratch dog treats? Your primary target customer is a pet owner who is interested the quality of food they feed their canine best friend. You can rule out cat owners (unless of course, they have both animals in their household!)
Most likely, if your business has been operating for a while, you already have an established customer base. Use that information to draw up a rough overview of who it is that’s drawn to what you offer.
Second, identify where those ideal customers hang out online.
Once you narrow down the age, gender, geographical location and interests of your ideal customer, you can compare that with the features of various online communication spaces.
Ask around in your network. Find people you know who match your target audience profile and find out where they are scrolling. You might even poll your customer base.
For instance, B2B (Business offering products or services to other Businesses) might gravitate toward twitter or LinkedIN. If you are B2C (Businesses selling directly to consumers) and want to appeal to people using a combination of images or short videos, consider Instagram. If your target is the younger generation you would do well to develop a presence on whatever is the newest, trendiest platform, which at the moment is tiktok. For a catchall approach for older audiences because it has such a wide variety of people in its user base and so much versatility in how it can be used, consider Facebook.
The pitfall to avoid though, is spreading yourself too thinly. If you find yourself with several platforms to connect with your target audience, first choose one or two to do well. Then as you get the hang of it, add other platforms. Don’t try to do too much right out of the gate. Find more best practice tips for your online presence here.
With a clear audience in mind and research about where they spend time online, you can leverage your time and energy to the most effective online activity to reach existing and new customers.
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Bottom line: Do social media for business well by developing an ideal client profile and matching that profile to an online platform where you can devote the bulk of your time and energy.
One of the keys to being found online is registering with the search engines. Have you claimed your google or bing business listings?