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How to Market Your Small Business: Meet Customers Where They Are

How do you market your business?

Many small business owners focus on creating the best products and services based on their skills, knowledge and abilities. Then they go out and find people who need or want what they have to offer. Sometimes it works and you build a successful business around it.

But more often, especially, it seems, with small business owners in either service-based business or who are just starting out, it doesn’t work. They create services, for instance, that they would want or that they believe other people would need. They build some structure around their ideas, create a marketing message, build a website and off they go – feeling like they’re going to change the world.

Then reality sets in. Few people visit their website. Fewer, yet, contact them about their offerings. If they don’t get discouraged and give up, they often go looking for either a business coach, or take courses in marketing and copy writing. In turn they get sold the idea that if they were just clearer in their marketing message, people would flock to their business.

Now that’s true, to some degree. The the clearer your messaging and the better your copy writing, the better your overall marketing can be. So it’s not a poor plan to use a business coach (some consider me one, so I can’t knock it), or focus on your copy writing. But that doesn’t always relate to selling more of your services and making more money.

What’s missing is your audience.

Now when you take a good marketing or copy writing course you should get plenty about identifying the demographics and psychographics of your audience – and that’s good. You likely get as well a hefty dose of customer-focused writing – and that’s certainly helpful. It’s just both are premature.

The question so few small business owners ask themselves is – what do the people in my target audience know they need? Let me repeat that – what do they know they need? That’s the key to marketing – finding out what they know they need. Not just what they need, but what they know they need (I’m repeating this on purpose).

So is there any reason not to develop your services and products around what your audience knows they need?

How would meeting your audience where they are change your business?

Let’s talk about it!

(note: image from Sidereal on Flickr)

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Comments

  1. Hello Dawud,
    I wholly agree with the premise that in order to be successful in marketing I’d need to discover “what the people in my target audience know they need, ” and to “develop my services and products around what my audience knows they need.” Most businesses do this the other way around, with more or less predictable results.

    If my product is mainstream or just lightly different from those of my competitors, then I need to keep my ears close to the ground and listen carefully to what my target audience is saying that they need.

    However, there are times when as a marketer, you just need to wade your way upstream. If your product is something you believe is truly useful and if I may use the term “revolutionary” – something your target audience didn’t know they need, then if you’re up to it, you can risk telling your audience a different story.

    Few products fall in this category, but if those marketers didn’t risk their businesses and reputation in airing a different marketing tune, we wouldn’t have such innovations like sliced bread or the light bulb or cheap computers, for instance. 🙂

    Thanks for this thought-provoking post, Dawud.

  2. @recycling mike: of course you need to address all segments of your market in order for you to capitalize on a wider range of potential clients, but that’s what distinguishes an average copywriter from a great one. A great copywriter will know what triggers each market segment differently so that their is a little something for everyone. In order to achieve this, persona development is extremely helpful (persona created to represent each market segment).

  3. Redlands Web Design says:

    Dawud great post. Coming from a small company (5 in house, 3 contracted) I have seen this shift happen. We have had to adjust not only to our industry (web design) but also to the type of companies in our geographic region.

    In the last few months we have repackaged our services to be something that local business are willing/able to afford. In fact what we have done is taken our brand (high end design) and made it available to most people who can’t afford a real firm.

    It is a careful dance to dance. luckily we still have enough big clients, that we can work on the big stuff from time to time, but the local businesses pay the bills.

  4. Spot on Dawud! When I started my website, the language I used was the language of my clients.

    I knew what they were struggling with and had written about it in the past. But I knew they needed to see themselves in my site. I interviewed many as well as poured through the themes of all the struggles my clients experienced as well as how they talked about them.
    That was key.

  5. Redlands Web Design says:

    We started to offer packages that are really easy for us to develop. Basically we have streamlined our development time.

    What we have done is identify what ever small business usually needs. “services page, home page, about section, google map, contact form, testimonials. And by reusing a lot of the same code (gmaps and contact form, and our templating engine) we can basically take a site from post-design to development in 5 hours.

    On top of that we have reworked the wordpress CMS to the point were it serves all the purposes a basic client needs. And a lot of the extra functionality is served via widgets.

    So a basic site rinks in at about 2k. Which is more expensive than a geocities template, but its much more affordable than our 10-20k sites. (plus the design itself is custom)

    So yeah. we just streamlined our process. sorry this was so long =)

  6. Mike,
    I can see what you’re saying. Yet, before the iPod came out did anyone ever think there needed to be a better mp3 player? If it wasn’t said, then it sure was thought. And Apple found a way to tap into that.

    But don’t the new, unexpected products simply fill some need that people know they have when the product arrives?

    ayat,
    Persona develop is very important. It can help you, as a business owner/marketer, understand your audience better. Do you have an resources for developing solid personas?

    Redlands,
    I’d love to hear more about making your high end design work available to those who could normally not afford it. There are so many terrible websites out there for small businesses that you should have plenty to do for a long time to come.

    Dave,
    It is. Yet I hear interviewing being a part of almost no one’s plans in learning about their audience. Why not just go to the source and ask them what they need?

  7. Redlands Web Design says:

    Not only are the margins better (we generally hit the target hours, not under) but this is a faster turn around time, so its easier to turn on the google ad-words when we see a drought coming along, and turn some small projects (which take less collaboration).

  8. Good post, Dawud,

    I agree that many freelancers and creative entrepreneurs, especially, get caught up in what they want to provide – rather than what the customer wants. And that’s good, to a point. A solo entrepreneur who doesn’t want to do something… wont. At least that’s been my experience with my clients.

    Many small business owners, I find, don’t take the time to figure out who their audience is. And if you don’t know who your audience is – it’s pretty hard to give them what they want. Entrepreneurship doesn’t work like “Field of Dreams.”

    I’d expound on your thoughts to include advice on how to figure out who wants what you’ve got to offer! (In fact, I may do that on my blog… thanks for the inspiration!)

    Sincerely,

    Meg Meyer
    Executive Business Coach & Small Business Services Provider

  9. Interesting post. As someone who does my own marketing, let me add that invoking fear is always an effective approach. People are generally lazy about taking action, even when it’s in their best interest, so implying a risk to them if they don’t take action sooner than later is always a big help in conversions. (Yes, I know this is cynical but risk need not be a bad, threatening type of thing- it can also be a lost opportunity such as missing a discount if the prospect doesn’t call or purchase in the next 24 hours).

  10. Meg,
    You’re welcome. Let me know if you do that post. I’d love to join the conversation on it.

    The funny thing is that with the web, it’s never been easier – and more cost effective – to survey, poll, assess and track what people want. So why aren’t more small business owners doing it? Is it our fault, as their coaches and advisors?

    Redlands,
    No worry about length. I’m truly engaged in what you write. I thank you for taking the time.

    Sounds like you’ve figured out serve a new audience. That’s awesome. And it sounds like your margins are a lot higher on these projects.

    Shane,
    I understand where you coming from. Often it takes touching into someone’s pain or suffering to get them to change. So how do you do this without being a pushy salesman?

  11. Whoever said “build a better mousetrap” has a lot to answer for 🙂

  12. High Interest Savings Accounts says:

    Marketing a service business online is tough. Don’t forget about offline marketing for your business. This offline marketing can also drive traffic to your website. This word of mouth marketing can really get your website started.

  13. Redlands,
    Nice. Now if we can get other small businesses to look for the opportunities around them. Ultimately, that’s what this post is about – find out what people need and give them that.

    Chris,
    Don’t they? It’s this mousetrap idea, I’ve seen, that gets in the way. As a long-time friend once told me – it’s not about who’s got the best ideas or even the best products. It’s about who gets the most sales.

  14. I have read somewhere that the best salesman never sells, he solves problems.

    I believe it ties in nicely with the main thrust of your post which is to understand what your target audience needs.

    Jeff
    http://jeflin.net

  15. This is assumed to be a strategy so as to increase traffic to your business. Many websites having sales to do they consider several strategies each time to increase their sales obviously. Thanks for this tip on how to increase target audience.

  16. High,
    Without a doubt. What I’ve found is most important in deciding on marketing is finding what works for your business.

    jeflin,
    It’s true. When you understand your people’s problems – in other words listen – you can find the opening to share with them how you can solve their problems. Then there’s no sales, only sharing.

    Of course, you’ve gotta learn how to do this in a natural, organic way.

    Cosmetic,
    How do you, personally, find sales and traffic correlate?

  17. Jay Ramirez says:

    My only thought is that sometimes people (and companies) don’t know what they need. I’ll drive my car all day long thinking it’s just fine. I’ll stop by the dealership for an oil change and he’ll say, “Your oxygen sensor is busted and costing you 3-5 MPG. Would you like me to replace it?” To me that’s good service.

    I think part of being a good marketer is educating the market about what they need as well.

    Make sense?

  18. I am almost in retirement and what little consulting that I do now, is for entrepreneurs who come to me by word of mouth publicity that I receive from satisfied clients. That this happens is because, when I was in active consultancy, I took myself to where the action was. Armchair consultancy does not work! In fact, armchair anything does not work! It used to be called Management by Wandering Around, some decades ago, and it is still as valid as it was then.

  19. Penny Gould says:

    Find a need and fill it, identify and remove an inconvenience. Don’t sell a product, sell the lack of a problem.

  20. Dawud, all too often I have worked with clients who assumed both need and desire and failed miserably. The smart company will not only know their audience but will use their feedback to create other products/services that they will want and more importantly buy.

  21. Jay,
    It does make sense. How do you find out who your market is?

    Ramana,
    ‘Management by Wandering Around’ – can I use that? I love it. I wrote a post this morning that relates directly to the wandering around mentality.

    Penny,
    Exactly! So how do you know when you’re getting it right?

    Karen,
    Right on. It’s not enough to guess on what people want. The best approach is to go out and ask. Survey, question – find out what people want.

    What have you found as the most effective way to get that feedback?

  22. Dawood, I do not own the copyright on it. It is Tom Peters etc in their famous book, In Search of Excellence, that this was mentioned. For flavor, you can visit
    http://www.4hoteliers.com/4hots_fshw.php?mwi=1438

  23. MAGGIE AT COFFEESHOPMAFIA says:

    Stumbled. Have a great day

  24. interesting article… but what do the penguins have to do with it? or are they just there to look pretty? 😮
    -Jackie

  25. Jay Ramirez says:

    @Dawud You still need to do research (internally or externally) to determine who your most probable customers are and those most likely to need your products. However, a majority may not realize that they do and need to be educated on why they are better off by buying your products. I think I heard it’s something like 8-9% of your market is ready to buy right now. The others need to be helped (in the truest since of the word).

  26. Ramana,
    Thank you.

    Wholesale,
    I love that someone actually asked the question. The penguins do serve a purpose. That purpose is illustrating a highly defined target market. The idea is that your target market will be different than someone else’s.

    And also, look at the photo closely and see how part is in focus and part is out. In other words, you need to focus and be clear on your target market.

    Thoughts?

    Maggie,
    Thanks so much

    Jay,
    I agree. And first people need to know they have a need before they’ll search to solve that need.

  27. Ayo Ijidakinro says:

    Hi Dawud,

    This article is on point. Just yesterday I was looking at road work being done in my hometown, and it made me think. How does a municipality keep track of all the roadwork it might possibly need to do within its jurisdiction?

    1) Inspect all the roads in an area and respond accordingly.

    2) Listen to feedback from people in the community to understand where roadwork needs to be done.

    Similarly, many businesses know they have problems, but aren’t aware of the services out there to help them. By patiently taking time to notify one potential client at a time of areas in which the client can benefit from your services you can make him aware of not just his need, but also his solution.

    This is a far more proactive approach. True, it doesn’t scale as well as traditional marketing and advertising, but for a small company it might have a much higher ROI than traditional ads and traditional marketing.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks!
    Ayo

  28. Meet them where they are… and in their own term….

    People often ask if they should blog or publish e-newsletter, or podcast, or whatever.

    I’d say all of them, if they have the time. Repurposing the same content is possible and often we can reach people who are otherwise not reachable through one medium.

    However, I recommend that anyone should focus on two or three marketing strategies at a time.

  29. Stumbled.

  30. Playing to your audience is always the key. This includes keeping up with the latest trends in your target demographic, and also identifying new trends or products which play to that demographic.

    Good advice, both from the article and the posters above me.

  31. Ayo,
    But does it need to scale? So many of my clients need such a small number of clients to generate the revenue they want to make that scale may not be important.

    Of course, that changes if you want to move into a higher income level.

    Hendry,
    I agree. What leads to more success – doing ten things sort of well or doing two things great?

    Brown,
    Thanx

    Tim,
    It is, for certain. It goes to the old adage – he who knows his audience, makes the money.

  32. Good post. I’ve seen this happen quite often, especially in the small town in Kansas I use to live.

  33. I experienced this myself in my early days in online business. No doubt that knowing your audience is a killing factor. I’m grateful that I don’t flop. Nifty post Dawud!

  34. Yeah and it is very common that’s why a lot of people have been in your situation before.. like me.

  35. Gary,
    Example?

    Norhafidz,
    Thanks. What’s one key thing you did to make sure you wouldn’t flop?

    Marc,
    It is common. But why do you think so?

  36. SEO Services says:

    Great post! but I’ve never experienced this for myself before.

  37. Pot Roast says:

    Cold calling – it’s old fashioned but easy to drum up business with if you have proven results

  38. penny gould says:

    Re: sell the absence of an inconvenience – imitation is more than flattery – when others start to copy what I’m doing, I know I’m going the right direction… BTW finally took the plunge off the free wordpress and have a separate blog now… Like a deer in the headlights! Duh! The instructions for uploading widgets are SOOOO way over my head… So getting back to the theme of this post, what do my customers KNOW they need? I still need to get the basic hang of operating my blog, creating my opt-in email skills. I think if I can get myself up to speed I can start the basics of selecting a product to sell… When I do, I will keep in mind your angle of what do they KNOW they need… thx.

  39. @Penny, having just jumped on the self hosted WP bus myself, congratulations. I’m having my theme customized but I have gotten quite good with adding widgets and plug-ins successfully loading them to other newbie sites. If you want help, I’m glad to offer a hand! I know how overwhelming it can be and I am more than happy to pass along what I’ve learned. If you’re on twitter, send me a dm (http://twitter.com/karenswim).

  40. penny gould says:

    Thanks Karen. I guess today’s the day I commit myself to figuring out what Twitter is so I can get help figuring out WordPress! ; – ) I just stare blankly at the screen when I’m trying to figure out where to paste the widget I’m trying to upload!

  41. SEO Services,
    How do you know that?

    Pot Roast,
    What’s your conversion rate cold calling?

    Penny,
    If you’d like some help navigating these waters, shoot me an email and we can set up a time to chat. Sometimes even the smartest deer needs a hoof.

    Karen,
    Thanks for the offer to Penny, Karen. If you both do some work together, I’d love to hear the details. Perhaps we could even do a post about your experiences helping each other.

  42. It seems to me that the tricky part about providing a service your audience knows it needs is that there’s a good chance you’ll find a lot of competition from other would-be providers. The brilliance of products like the iPod, Starbucks Coffee, and the five-blade razor is that nobody knew they needed those products until word of mouth and a massive marketing machine convinced the world that they were essentials. The point is well taken, but it’s worth remembering that you can find success either way.

  43. >>I understand where you coming from. Often it takes touching into someone’s pain or suffering to get them to change. So how do you do this without being a pushy salesman?<<

    I would suggest compare/contrast your offer with a horror story of a client/customer who went elsewhere. Also, top 5 lists of Biggest Mistakes (make sure they’re not all obvious to the customer- this will make you look like the expert to trust)

  44. I just bookmarked this great article. I think there are a few more additions which can be made such as doing a full market research.

  45. Great article. Gathering your target audience in broad markets can be difficult. If you’re looking for a certain audience like wholesale electronics or wholesale ipods it’s pretty easy to do once you figure out the search terms that your audience is using on google. On that note google analytics is a huge help to finding your target audience!

  46. Guinness Merchandise says:

    Some great advice there.

    I absolutely agree you need to get right into the customer’s mind.

  47. Right make a basic planing on how to get your audience.

  48. Hi,

    As all of us know that customers are the king of the market. If they are satisfied they will fetch you 2 more customers by the way you can go on.

  49. Good post, i mean that business aim is to give satisfaction to the customers that improve the growth of your business.

  50. kingston dentists says:

    Its now very easy to get customers at your work place through online marketing.

  51. Mens Ties says:

    I agree on what you said. Many copywriters, before set out to write, think of which customers they are targeting. It really matters what types of customer we are targeting, and thus to get successful output.

  52. Marketing online have now made much easier both for customers and service providers as good a meeting place.

  53. Chichester Orthodontist says:

    Helpful marketing ideas shared from your experience. Hope it works fine.

  54. James M. says:

    hey man, awesome post, I really enjoyed the read. Keep up the good work man, if you keep up posts like this your blog will be a hit in no time 🙂

    BTW, I was reading another blog and this guy seemed to have your style… is this another of your blogs? Cheap Teeth Whitening/a>

    Anyway, thanks for the read, I’ll be back soon 😀

  55. internet marketing and advertising company says:

    Pretty good way to list and organize the important information about SEO

  56. The Baldchemist says:

    Hello again Dawud. Its been a while. Nice piece as usual.
    You know, sometimes all that is required to sell new products and services is to create a difference.
    Far too many look at what others are doing and follow the same worn out old path.
    Having said that, its bloody difficult to come up with new stuff because there isnt any!
    But one things for sure if you present yourself in a poorly created, badly written cheap same as everyone else way then guess what you get.. exactly what you pitched for! And… your prospects will suspect that if they do business with you they will get more of the same.
    Cheers and remember people love doing business with people they like when everything else is equal.

  57. Jean-Patrick Bisson says:

    Some very good suggestions there.

    I absolutely agree you need to get right into the customer’s mind and figure out how they think and what makes tick!

  58. That this happens is because, when I was in active consultancy, I took myself to where the action was. Armchair consultancy does not work! In fact, armchair anything does not work! It used to be called Management by Wandering Around, some decades ago, and it is still as valid as it was then.

  59. mens leather bracelets says:

    Nice post and thanks for the information of marketing our small business. Now a days marketing is one of the main things in the business and there is a huge difficulties to meet our target because of competition. Thanks for your sharing.

  60. Ya i am totally satisfied with you that the way you followed is the better way to spread any business.

    Acne

  61. Whitening Pen says:

    It’s a relevant and useful read. It’s interesting that Google has a website standard that rates sites by how well their content satisfies a keyword search along with such metrics as bounce rate and avg time on site. This would bode well for ranking sites according to what the audience or reader “know that they need.” So, proper content satisfying a need is rewardded with good rankings making it a win/win for site owners and Google searchers.

  62. StallenBTWS says:

    Yeah, I agree. Interesting post. I have a hunger to work for myself but as usual the marketing issues have gotten in the way somewhat. But working on it and you have provided some useful food for thought.

    Stallen

  63. I took myself to where the action was. Armchair consultancy does not work! In fact, armchair anything does not work! It used to be called Management by Wandering Around, some decades ago.

  64. thanks for the tip. I really am starting a new business and think your post’s a good guideline for me.

  65. I have looked at many sites and not come across such a site as yours that tells everyone everything they need to know. I have added you to my bookmarks, can anyone else suggest other related topics that I can search for to find out more information?

  66. Hi, newbie here,new to everything! lol A while ago, an instructor of mine mentioned 4 dif personality types when it comes to clients.Some want bottom line,some want details,etc,etc. How do I make a client “need” something they don’t particularly need, like jewelry? Not, “fine” jewelry like wedding rings, just something “eclectic”,or one of a kind.

  67. D Tuckahoe says:

    Very interesting points in your post. I agree with you. For one to be successful with their marketing, one must think like the consumer and go from there. Sometimes, it’s easier said than done.

  68. Financial Advisors says:

    “Then reality sets in. Few people visit their website. Fewer, yet, contact them about their offerings. If they don’t get discouraged and give up, they often go looking for either a business coach, or take courses in marketing and copy writing. In turn they get sold the idea that if they were just clearer in their marketing message, people would flock to their business.”

    I’m definitely having that problem with a website I’m working on now. How can I convince them that what I’m doing isn’t a waste of money?

  69. I think small businesses can find own clients in:
    Internet Catalogs
    Yellow pages
    Craigslist
    and on Meetups

  70. HID Bulb Expert says:

    Excellent article. I use to outsource my content for webpages, etc. Then I actually taught myself on writing content. Its just like everything else, “The more you do something, the easier it gets.”

  71. I think its all about giving value to your customer. Its about putting yourself in their shoes and coming up with a solution to their problem or a product they need, that’s it! 🙂

  72. Without knowing who your target is you can’t safely ‘aim’. It may seem oversimplified but once you are inside of the head of your prospect you know what they need to hear and how they need to hear it to resonate with them.

  73. travail sur internet says:

    Such interesting read and information, thanks for sharing this post. I will check back to read your other new posts.

  74. I have a couple of ideas for writing several books but I just need to know what is the best target audience? thanks..

  75. As much as this article makes sense, in my market it can be detrimental to show the audience what it needs. I’m a well-known successful wedding DJ in San Diego. As such, I have a lot of services I offer that are unique and help me to sign up clients. However, I prefer to disclose these ideas and services during an in-person consultation. This way, I can deliver the message with a clearer understanding, and I surprise my clients with additional services and show them how they can enhance their big day, without giving my competition an idea of what services they could provide that would help them do the same!

  76. Entrepreneurship says:

    Dawud,

    As you can tell from all the comments, this article hits the mark. The problem I seem to have is actually offering what the customer wants.

    I talk to customers and offer what it looks like the want. Then I look for feedback, and as a result, I have to tweak it, then tweak it some more. It would be a lot easier to just get the perfect product the first time.

  77. Wow genius idea on the “what they know they need”

  78. Lillian Fioretzi - WATHMOMS Magazine says:

    I have two websites. One is an online magazine where I can say that the last two years has been quite successful without being marketed a lot. The website is based on updated content ( articles) and I think this is what drives the readers to visit it with the help of keywords too.

    However, my second online business is a shop where I sell my art & products I make. This site is quite new ( only 1 year ) and can not figure out how I could get many visitors. I have written some content before my product lists with keywords etc… but the content can not be updated so often because my products remain more or less the same on the page.

    I have just distributed press releases online. Do you think this can help me to spread the word about my small art business?

  79. This opens the pandora’s box of, how well do the consumers know what they need? Most often they dont, and its for marketers to tap the latent needs. Thats how new industries are created all the time.

  80. online mx gear says:

    I totally agree and I’m passing this link to all my clients…. for several months I have been giving my clients that come for advice on surviving this recession thanks..

  81. Business VoIP Providers says:

    This article was very helpful. You have have to know your customers so that you can aim your business in a successful direction.

  82. As a real estate broker I have to say you are spot on! Knowing ones audience is what it is all about! I see hundreds of real estate sites that miss the intire purpose of a real estate site. Google real estate in any state and any city and you will see a gamate of sites from one extreme to the other and most miss their audience! Good job Dawud! George Tallabas, Real Estate Broker/Investor

  83. Great post David. Just read a Harvard Business Case similar to this about maximizing customer lifetime value, which is much more valuable than simply selling your product.

  84. Restauarant Loans Guy says:

    I guess in every industry it goes back to knowing your product. If you know your product you know your customer.

  85. I like to think of it as “going fishing” If you toss out a big net, you are bound to catch something.

  86. You make a good point. Business starters often think they know what their audience needs – but let’s face it: we are sometimes too much involved in our own business and cannot apprehend what our targeted audience is looking for. Let’s switch to that helicopter view and learn about what is needed out there.

    Reminds me of that restaurateur I knew who did not want to offer rice or pasta as side dishes because she did not like rice or pasta herself…

  87. Great post Dawud. I recently started a blog called Nickel and Dime Wine, which focuses on great wine deals. It’s pretty new so I don’t have a lot of readers, but last night I went to a local wine tasting and brought up the blog in conversation. I was very surprised to actually get comments on my blog from people I met at the tasting. It’s a perfect example of literally meeting my customers where they were.

  88. Locating where the customers hang out is the most important thing in marketing. If we success in locating the customers we can able to get many business.

  89. Knowing your target customers is the key to a successful business. This post is very helpful to some businessmen/women to really know how to become success in their business. Two thumbs up! 🙂

  90. This advice is golden. I am a wedding DJ, and this is precisely why bridal bazaars and wedding expos exist. They bring together the target audience and allow us to get our information to them. Of couse, we always complement it with lots of website information.

  91. 12 month car leasing says:

    The title speaks the thought itself. You cannot sell goods if no costumers to buy. This is also the same meaning of “You cannot extend what you are implying to people if you are not talking”. Thanks for sharing this article.

  92. Audience is everything in the marketing business. It can take a lot of work to be at the right place at the right time, but it really pays off in the long run. Sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error to get things done.

  93. 24 uur service says:

    If an entrepreneur could know where to find its clients and also knows what clients know they need that would be a success formula! I think that the most common mistake that entrepreneurs make is that they think they know what their clients want. Instead they should find out what clients know they want and sell that to them.

  94. You hit it on the nail. Not trying to sell a product but solving a customers need.
    Great!

  95. Totes Handbags says:

    Market research is a must before building a new bussiness, even an online bussiness. I totally reccomend Maria Veloso’s “Web copy that sells” to those who are thinking in building an online bussiness. You have to research your competition too, you may have a surpirse when you find out the kind of customers they have.

  96. dawud, beautiful question man, it may sound weird but You just made a beautiful question:
    “what do they know they need?”
    And sometimes they really don’t.

  97. car tv screens says:

    All small business owners should read this ariticle. Forcing the square peg in the round hole isn’t gonna work. Writing good copy has been a weakness of mine but it is something that I must overcome.

  98. Kissimmee Self Storage says:

    The reason this is important is that only a proportion of the population is likely to purchase any products or service. By taking time pitch your sales and marketing efforts to the correct niche market you will be more productive and not waste your efforts or time.

  99. Very well said. I have definitely experienced this first hand with internet projects. I think that I have a great idea that people will just love only to find out that no one is looking for it. If nobody is looking for what you have, even if its the best thing since sliced bread then it doesn’t matter, because most likely they will never know you exist. Before starting a project I always make sure that there is a demand and people are looking for it.

  100. Dawud, This is absolutely true for both online and offline marketing. You need to put all your effort in finding the customers that know what they need! This is the only way to be succesful!

  101. how to get whiter teeth says:

    It is obvious. When we have limited budget and our product is focused we need to reach out our target segment and need to meet them where they are.
    There is an old proverb saying, meet your friends where they like. As said we need to get our audience in their interest field.

  102. Karsten@best registry cleaner says:

    I guess thats actually the hardest part – finding out what your customer (or customers in general) need – big companies pay a shitload of money for research and trend scouts….what actually surprises me all the time is how less creative people are in that approach – I live in a small town in the south of europe and a lot of DVD Rental /bookstores are closing down – no surprise since most of the people have internet nowadays but a couple of weeks ago a couple opened another store with the very same concept….no surprise that whenever I walk past the shop its empty…

  103. Knowing your target is key! I think that if you know your own ’cause’, which already have just in case you don’t know it yet, it will help you relate to and understand your target, just as much as it will help them identify with you. It’s an integral part to finding your niche!

  104. Couples Counseling Chino Hills says:

    Time tested knowledge proves that an extensive grasp of ones field will lead to expertize in the profession.

  105. True you must know your target. But you must know how to reach them through marketing.

  106. Couples Counseling Chino Hills says:

    @Goji Yes, marketing is the key to sales. It is the cornerstone for any successful sales based business.

  107. I personally feel that we should be honest in providing the services to our customers..either a very big company or a very smaller one, like mine, both can influence the customer on cost or work done but what really matters is the quality and maintenance services. If a company can’t solve the problems of its customer, then I don’t think it will run longer…btw its my personal feeling only…:)

  108. Directory Submission Software says:

    Excellent Tips. Many customers today are out on social media sites like Twitter. Companies need to leverage these tools.

  109. Autoresponder says:

    One of the problems with small business owners is they are too busy to do marketing, even though this is extremely important.

  110. This is a great post with many valuable tips! I actually always think about my customers first, they are the engine of my success.

  111. All small business owners should read this ariticle. Forcing the square peg in the round hole isn’t gonna work. Writing good copy has been a weakness of mine but it is something that I must overcome.

  112. precy romero says:

    Thanks so much Dawud. This article will surely help me, as a newbie, there are so much to learn. Looking forward for more helpful tips in the future. Thanks

  113. Knowing! In my view is a perquisite to all aspects of a successful company. This is through the practice of reflective practice, forward projection and constant monitoring of all areas of the business. When researching your products strengths and weakness you will also survey within the research phase what your target audience all ready knows and wants in meeting their needs. No matter if you have a physical product to market, or a skill to service, or technology to sell, knowing you is knowing me and therefore the risk for client and supplier is limited and replaced with loyalty.

  114. Learn Internet says:

    I always consider that Internet is a best source to learn marketing strategics. As I running a small business I always used to learn internet tutorials to get new strategics for my business and never forget to comment before leaving the page just to appreciate.
    Thanks for your post its really nice and informative.

  115. Pandora Beads says:

    Monthly email newsletters are one of the minor forms of marketing I use and included at the bottom of the email is the opt-out option. I personally hate spam and I do my best to avoid contributing to it myself. It’s best to be like the magazine that you subscribe to that arrives in the mail with your other important letters. It’s there for when you have the time to sit down with it.

  116. I think google adwords is really useful for small business owners to get some instant flood of traffic. However, it should be noted that start with low budget to taste the water and once you get a hang of it, you can set aside a big budget for your google adwords.

  117. Dawud,

    You are right, before you go and put the effort into something you need to make sure that people want that in the first place. You could make the coolest best looking site on the internet, but if nobody has any interest in it, then it really doesn’t matter. I always “reverse engineer” my new projects by making sure there is demand and then building a site around that

  118. Have you seen the new rule that was handed down in March, 2010… You can now list your home on the MLS without paying a commission fee!

  119. thank you for the article, now I have a new idea how to promote or market my product. Online directory listing is the marketing strategic I’m using now

  120. I completely agree, surely researching the market segmentation you wish to move into is the only way to start any business.

    Firstly, the market is changing so quickly that even established businesses must dynamically switch and move to keep up.

    Secondly, how would you understand your potential customers and their needs?

    It seems the business world is moving, as ‘Girls Twin Bedding’ put “reverse engineer” projects.

  121. Buy Teeth Whitening Online says:

    I totally agree your quote of “what do the people in my target audience know they need?” This is definitely what can attract our target customers come back to us and ask for more!! However, many marketers do miss this point as for long term success!

  122. This article was very helpful. You have have to know your customers so that you can aim your business in a successful direction

  123. Very well said. If you want to start a business, find what your target audience needs, not what you want to give them.

  124. Small businesses get big when you deal it with proper plan and execution along with your guts and will to succeed.

  125. Facebook and Twitter are such great tools to get people to see your products and website. I know a few small businesses who are making it w/ the help of social networking.they not only target audience but broadens the spectrum too.

  126. Discovering your target audience is possibly the most important part of your business plan. Spend appropriate time discovering and developing who your target audience is, and how you can reach them. Using focus groups, friends, and family are worth the investment, as it gives you a strict, accurate line to follow when developing the rest of your marketing plan.

  127. I have recently started a small business with my friend. Thats why i started searching over internet for marketing and advertising methods and i just found your post. Its quite helpful and especially the comments coming from various users. Thanks for sharing.

  128. Bootstrap says:

    I have read your post and I’m giving thanks for opening up my eyes about the reality. I am thankful I’ve read these. I am now aware.

  129. For me, Social networking sites such as Facebook is a great tool to promote your products and sites. As we all know, Facebook has been widely known throughout the world! Anyway, thanks for sharing your blog post! Keep sharing!!!

  130. Natural Cures For Tinnitus says:

    Reaching your specific niche audience is always a challenge. Drilling down definitely helps.

  131. Excellent Tips. Many customers today are out on social media sites like Facebook. Companies need to leverage these tools.

  132. Marketing with a small business is so important to them. There is so much to it to learn to succeed. Keep up the good work.

  133. Victoria Overturf says:

    I think google adwords is really useful for small business owners to get some instant flood of traffic. However, it should be noted that start with low budget to taste the water and once you get a hang of it, you can set aside a big budget for your google adwords.

  134. Thanks for the great post! I’ve been thinking about this exact same thing over the last few days, so it’s weird that you posted on it. You definitely did a much nicer job writing about it than I could have though.

  135. Facebook is good way to promote products and sites. We must know how to promote it through social networking sites.

  136. Boost Mobile Phones says:

    While marketing you should know about the strength and weakness of your competitors and you must fulfill the requirements of the customer.

  137. Fitness Specialist says:

    Once we get the knowledge of working on social networking sites, we can easily promote our products.

  138. How to treat hemorrhoids at home says:

    For me, Social networking sites such as Facebook is a great tool to promote your products and sites. As we all know, Facebook has been widely known throughout the world! Anyway, thanks for sharing your blog post! Keep sharing!!!

  139. buy lomotil says:

    My spouse and I stumbled over here from a different web address and thought I might as well check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to exploring your web page repeatedly.

  140. Hi,
    This article will really help me a lot to review my strategies to meet my target customers.I just want to drop a note of appreciation for your work.
    Regards,
    Sana

  141. SEO Blog Philippines says:

    This is great. I recently opened an online shop and honestly I am having a hard time advancing having those established ones as my opponents. I hope things would turn out great. Thanks for this.

  142. good point..starting out is really hard especially trying to reach your target buyers..but with patience and drive it will happen.a good strategy too is a must

  143. Rejser til Thailand says:

    This is a spectacular article that I have really enjoyed. Hopefully I can learn more from your valuable experience. Thanks a lot for sharing this and please keep on posting more.

  144. good post, however only some of the points were actually treated actually good, I believe digging deep for the issue to construct it more informative will actually help, will be looking ahead for more informative billet than this. Thanks for sharing, there is a lot of information here that can help any business get started.

  145. I think it’s really important to get your company out there on the web in order to get the business clients you require. I found that really hard – your website has to come up withing three pages of a google search, you need to be talked about on all the social media forums so people will come to you and that all takes time. There is a company I know of that does all that for you so you can relax and don’t have to worry about your web presence, they are called Magicbuz and basically they have teams of conversationalists who promote your business on the web doing SocioViral marketing.

  146. I think a lot of people get blind sighted by thinking they know what customers will want, rather than doing the initial research and tailoring their offering to what the customers will actually want – and if that happens, it can be quite an uphill battle to turn your business round to focus on the audience you are after.

  147. cafe24 features says:

    I didn’t know anything about this so thanks this is quite informative. I’d be printing this article and share it to my friends. Great and informative post. Keep it up.

  148. Thanks for your great advice. This post is gonna help me target my customers.

  149. Ealing SEO Services says:

    You are so right, know your customer, create a customer avatar, a mental representation of your average customer their want’s their needs and aspirations.
    That’s the easy part, then comes the reality check – do the research to see if this representation is accurate, talk to your typical customer, do some surveys and then correct your avatar. Now you can build an awesome marketing plan.

  150. Usually i will start boring when i have to read something. But here in your awesome site I do not have boring at all. I really enjoy reading your post, really informative and light writing style. Great job pal!! Keep it up pal… ^_^

  151. Usually i will start boring when i have to read something. But here in your awesome site I do not have boring at all. I really enjoy reading your post, really informative and light writing style.Good post, however only some of the points were actually treated actually good, I believe digging deep for the issue to construct it more informative will actually help, will be looking ahead for more informative billet than this.

  152. Awesome site!!! Very informative and i found the great value of your post. Thanks Dawud.

  153. Rancho Cucamonga Web Design says:

    When I started my website, I spoke in the dialect and jargon of the industry and many customers didnt connect. I changed it and spoke in a language that they could understand and since then everything has been great.

    I knew exactly what they were going through and area they needed improvement on . All the opposition my clients experienced was how they talked about them. That was the direct connection to my success

  154. if you are not reaching your actual Audience that you want to target then there is no mean of creating that website or any social media page which doesn’t target your actual audience but it will create a Bounce rate on your website which is not good!

  155. thanks for sharing this awesome blog post well as i am blogging about funny and Humerus stuff i am sure my audience is going to be every one xD

  156. military patches says:

    It was a beneficial workout for me to go through your webpage. It definitely stretches the limits with the mind when you go through very good info and make an effort to interpret it properly. I am going to glance up this web site usually on my PC. Thanks for sharing.

  157. It is nice to read the information provided and such blogs help to students to find the proper way for their carrier and it is better approach to carry on the education.

  158. Hi Dawud,

    Your post hits the nail on the head! I have seen quite a few business websites that have been clearly written by a company who don’t understand the needs of their target market – I find this tends to happen to smaller companies who have been set up by one or two people and they are too proud to accept advice from other people (its a “they know best mentality”).

    Understanding your target market is vital for any industry!

  159. Hi Dawud,

    Great Article. In setting up our business, I have found that most companies are their own worst enemy.

    I have lost count, how many places we have contacted by either phone, email or their contact form on their website, with credit card in hand wanting to purchase something, and they simply just don’t get back to you.

    They really do make things hard for themselves.

    Most of the time, it is probably because the person who actually owns the company is not aware, so it is left to someone who is earning a wage, and they don’t care, because it means more work for them.

  160. MX Gear Australia says:

    I agree, Discovering your target audience is possibly the most important part of your business plan. Spend appropriate time discovering and developing who your target audience is, and how you can reach them. Using focus groups, friends, and family are worth the investment, as it gives you a strict, accurate line to follow when developing the rest of your marketing plan.

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