increase-salesWant To Increase Sales? There’s almost limitless methods for doing so. And all those methods boil down to one thing:

Be in front of your audience when they need you.

That’s it. That’s the key to increasing your sales. Think about it, when you’re at a restaurant, do you care with the bathroom is? Not til you need it, right? Or an ATM. You likely pass dozens of them every day and don’t notice them, right? But what happens when you’re out of cash? Every ATM comes into focus. What’s more, you might scurry to find one.

So many small business owners don’t consider this when they market their business. They work hard on their vision and business plan. Then they focus on their offer and how best to communicate that offer to a target market. Ideally, they’re wanting to position themselves as an expert in a select niche market.

But no one cares that you’re an expert until they need an expert. In other words, no one cares that you can solve a set a problems until they are faced with those set of problems. Then, they go out and look for a solution.

As a business owner, you want to find the most effective ways to get your business, your expertise, your solutions in front of people when they need it.

I know what you thinking…how do I know when people need what I have to offer?

The simple answer is, well, you don’t. But you can spend time identifying a clear niche in which to spend your marketing efforts (and budget). And you can use search engines, forums, social media (blogs, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc) and your website to make yourself more visible to people as a whole. The more people know what you do, the more potential for your work to passed on to someone who needs it.

For instance, you can use SEO and SEM to target specific key phrases that people may be searching for when they’re looking to solve their problem. But be specific and highly targeted. If you train poodles, you likely aren’t going to get much return for optimizing your site for dog trainers. But if you optimize your site for poodle trainers in New England, now you have a specfic niche you’re targeting. And when people need their poodle trained, and live in New England, you’ll likely get found.

Same is true with social media. Use your blog and profiles on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, among others, to establish your expertise. Then openly share with people who you are, what you do and who you do it for. If they don’t need your services, they may know someone who does.

And there’s other approaches as well – forums, blog commenting, article submission, etc. The list goes on. Just remember that you want to present your expertise at the time when people most need it. If you allow that to be your guiding light, you won’t be marketing in the dark. And more people will buy – today, even.

Are you targeting your audience at the times they need you most? If so, how’s that working for you? And if not, why not? Let’s talk about it.

(note: image from Troy Holden on Flickr)

Reader Interactions


  1. travel agent says

    Very good tips. I especially like the article submission idea. I submitted some to online sites such as ezinearticles and associated content. Many of the readers there are very supportive.

  2. Lyman Reed says

    Great article, Dawud… loved the points about the social networking sites. One trap that I’ve found myself falling into is just not keeping up with them… joining everything under the sun, and then not properly maintaining profiles, updates, etc., because I didn’t have a systematic way of maintaining them. Even if people remember you from one area, it can tend to blow things if you don’t have current information out there.

  3. Mike at Pacebutler Recycling says

    Defining your target market to the most minute detail possible is essential for success in any business. Becoming an expert in your niche – being “in front of your audience when they need you” – can make a lot of difference. But, as is often the case in the internet, people may not always need your services right away. Providing service, i.e., useful and value-laden information, at a time when when people aren’t buying, creates an impression of commitment and professionalism. Engaging your audience (through the forums and the other examples you gave), even if they don’t need you or are not ready to buy for the moment is strategically important in promoting your service and your brand. Or as you said Dawud, “they may know someone who does.” Hopefully, when the time comes when they’re ready to buy, you will be the first in their mind. Thanks for this great article, Dawud.

  4. Mikes says

    This is need research and you can use some SEO softwares to getting best keywords that google search engine have written in their keywords database.

  5. Home Recording says

    As usual, I go back to basics.
    What would you do in the real world? The key word is recall. Do everything you possibly can to enable a prospect to recall your name/brand.

  6. Skip Anderson says

    Dawud, excellent! Sometimes business concepts are extraordinarily simples, as is “Be in front of your audience when they need you.”

    But therein lies the challenge! How does one do that? Blogs, forum and social networking participation, etc., as you point out. But…

    I’ve been successful in reaching my audience, but I think it’s going to get more and more difficult to accomplish. As more and more people blog, participate in forums and social networking on the internet, it’s going to become even more challenging to stand out from the crowd. The volume will get louder and louder as more and more people jump on the PR/SEO bandwagon.

  7. Dawud Miracle says

    I’ve found the same thing.

    That’s been my experience as well. That’s why I’ve been doubling efforts lately with Plaxo and LinkedIn. And it’s already paying off with inquiries and work. But best of all is the relationships.

    How are you using social media to increase your revenue?

    Great points. I often suggest to my clients that they forget about a target audience and focus on speaking to one person. That way, people can feel like you’re speaking right to them.

    Are you using social media, then, to grow your business?

    Home Recording,
    Exactly. You want to stand out. The best marketing I’ve seen is when I’ve needed something and have looked for a solution that I might have found months ago. Sometimes I’ll crawl all over the web to find that specific solution.

    What about you, how do you usually select the solutions you use?

    True. But don’t you think that we also need to connect with people and directly find out what their needs are?

    It is difficult, I think, if you consider the mass of people’s needs. But if you put yourself in front of lots of people constantly, those who need you now can act now. And those who need you later can find you when they need you. Isn’t that the whole idea? And isn’t that the way we can draw business on a regular basis?

  8. Safety Harbor says

    I started doing article submission a few years ago with the sole intent to get backlinks to my website. I can’t tell you how many customers I have gotten from those articles! What a surprise.

  9. Susan Cartier Liebel says

    When marketing to prospective legal clients everything is about availability when the client needs legal services. You can be everywhere marketing, advertsing, networking, participating on all media designed for socialization but when they call and you are not available it goes something like this:

    I need a lawyer. I called you. You were not available. I called another lawyer. I no longer need you.

  10. Sacramento Wedding DJ says

    Thanks for the article! It makes so much sense but I never though about it like that. I didn’t see a point to having my own blog or using facebook but I get it now. I will be starting now! Thanks!

  11. Adam says

    Thank you for the article. There’s a lot of information packed in it. I would just like to add that besides doing all the things you suggested, it’s also important to know how to track your results. Internet marketing is constantly changing. You need to know what works best for you and react quickly.

  12. Nicole Price says

    You are so right, “no one cares that you’re an expert until they need an expert.”. The trick is that when looking for an expert, yours should be the product or service that is both visible and easily accessible. Very good post!

  13. Dawud Miracle says

    I get clients the same way. What percentage of your clients come that way?

    Home Recording,
    You always have permission to answer other readers. Please do.

    Do people wait to speak with you ever?

    How do you see yourself getting yourself in front of your audience when they need you?

    Absolutely. I have way too much to say about tracking that I can’t even get started in the comment box. Look for posts on tracking in the future.

    In the meantime, what stats do you find most important to track for your business?

    Is there something there you’ll utilize?

    How effective have been putting yourself in front of people when they need you?

    Web design,
    Certainly. Can you see yourself and your company utilizing any of what I’ve offered?

  14. Call Center Philippines says

    So Dawud, this means I have to make myself visible constantly? Because I never know when my target audience/market would need me. I guess this is where constant ethical SEO practice comes in right? I like how you laid out a very simple business principle that is often made to sound so complex.

  15. Secret Affiliate Code says

    Is it hard to find that Balance for you? And, will it be for others (beginners etc)? Thanks for the great article. I enjoyed reading.

  16. Tess of Koffern Von Rimowa says

    I also believe that good marketing would improve ones sales. You make yourself more visible to your target market with the marketing strategies that you use. With the strategies that I am using, I get to reach my target audience and I can say that it is really working for me.

  17. Dj Equipment CD Players says

    I agree. Advertising is the lifeblood of any business. Getting people know that you and your business exist is one of the most important thing you can do to your business.

  18. John says

    I have used social media for the past 12 months with quite a bit of success, with over 5000 followers on twitter and my face book kicking along nicely, it’s a great way to aim at people in your niche. Social media is a concept that people need to be a bit more open minded, it has a lot of potential if used the right way!

  19. 3D Cad says

    This is need research and you can use some SEO softwares to getting best keywords that google search engine have written in their keywords database.

  20. Chris @ Sunbelt says

    Getting very targeted with your keywords is such a necessary step that many forget. Another way to get those more targeted keywords if you’re running an Adwords campaign is to look through the suggestions periodically, they can often suggest great long-tail keywords that you may not have thought of.

  21. Walker says

    It is definately a combination of efforts. SEO, Social Media, PR,, networking, and so on. It IS the lifeblood of any business and I like to focus on a well rounded marketing plan with diversification.

  22. Bugner says

    You can use personal approachment to persuade other people tobecome your loyal customer.
    Never fail with your word. Give them any discount or something that make your product exclusive.
    That methode work for me.

  23. Chatroulette says

    Hey Dawud, Great article. The real trick is to find your niche and balance that with the free advertising such as Facebook and other Web 2.0 properties. Article marketing really does bring in good conversions if you have enough articles.

  24. Anne Moss says

    Excellent post – how much you can sell to any given traffic depends on the quality of that traffic. In other words – is this traffic made of people who are looking for the product you’re trying to sell.

  25. dolley says

    I was held when I read verse “Be in front of your audience when they need you”.

    I working for almost 9 years on marketing, but you thought really has shocked me.


  26. Trainee Trader says

    The bathroom anecdote really hits home. Most of the traffic to my site comes from tutorial articles I have written. I did not write these articles with the intention of making sales or marketing; they were simply written as I had a problem completing the task and wanted to document how I solved the problem.

    Thanks for providing such insightful content.

  27. Hosted PBX says

    In today’s online world there are so many places where people can find information. Using your ATM example, it’s hard differentiating yourself as a small bank ATM when there are thousands of Bank of America ATMs all over the place. So what do you do? Build more “ATMs” by utilizing SEO techniques that you aforementioned.

  28. Gen f20 Scam says

    hi I started doing article submission a few years ago with the sole intent to get backlinks to my website. I can’t tell you how many customers I have gotten from those articles! What a surprise.

  29. Plant pages says

    Hi… This article has good valid points which if applied to your online business or rather nay business will make you successful.
    ‘Be there for your customers’ ..I like the idea very much..

  30. Israel B2B says

    Great Post. The comments and suggestions about marketing your business using SEO and SEM are general though and I really advise every marketer to go and explore the world of SEO using subscriptions to services such as the SEO Braintrust. I also used the book – Social marketing – one hour a day to learn how to utilze social media to my advantage. This book is a must.

  31. Sweet Sam says

    hi this is really nice article. Basically when I started doing article submission a few years ago with the sole intent to get backlinks to my website. I can’t tell you how many customers I have gotten from those articles! What a surprise. thanks for sharing.

  32. Mike says

    In terms of SEO, free article submissions are getting less and less effective. It is incredibly hard to get your link onto a page with any Page Rank, and Google have long since gotten wise to the practise.

  33. Element Investing says

    It’s difficult to find the balance between making your site targeted enough that it ranks well and broad enough that there is decent search volume.

    Targeting “poodle trainers in new england” would give you a great chance for ranking well, but how many searches could you realistically expect?

    With “dog trainers”, the volume of searches will be undoubtedly higher, but so will the competition and difficulty in achieving good rank.

    Perhaps a hybrid approach would work best, targeting different levels of keyword specificity to give your site a broader reach. Being highly specialized will bring you the targeted traffic, but highly-trafficked sites also have their fair share of generic keywords bringing in visitors.

  34. My First Home Ltd. says

    “Be in front of your audience when they need you.” – The message is simple but when applied it could make your business stronger.

  35. Touchscreen monitore says

    It’s really very informative and useful post.thanks for sharing this useful information with us.keep blogging. Looking forward to reading your nest post. Thanks a lot.

  36. Brian Mullins says

    Nice article! This really speaks volumes and as a small business owner myself, I really push to find “my” clients and that has the potential to be anyone or anyone’s friend, co-worker, etc.

  37. Michelle Mangen says

    Hi Dawud:

    Had to stop by and see what you’ve been up to!

    I would add with your post that we must also maintain consistency and have repetition in our strategy – especially for the social networking side of things – because there is such an enormous amount of info flowing at us at all times – that it’s easy to forget “that person who does XZY” several months after the fact.

    By being present, consistent and reachable the clients will come by direct methods or by referrals.

    I would say at least 97% of my clients have come via relationships I’ve built on Twitter. LinkedIn is an area that I know I could also do well in, if I spent more time nurturing that network in the ways that I have with Twitter.

  38. Roofing Toledo says

    Very well written post. I also do article submission’s and they have worked very well for me in the past. You have some very helpful tips in here that will come in handy down the road. Thanks for the info.

  39. Medical Assistant says

    I’ve done the article submission thing and the directories are constantly shifting. New ones pop up every day and others close down. There are only a few stable ones.

    While this is a good strategy, improving content for the target audience is way more beneficial in the long one.

  40. Kristy says

    Thanks Dawud. I would like to add to the list that you have to keep seasonality in mind.

    There are times of the year (or even of the week) problems are more likely to appear in front of your clients and you are more likely to be searched for. Have a look at trends and get ready in advance. You will be on top of the wave before your competition.

  41. holiday luxury accommodation in camp bay says

    Your article is very true… i think i hd missed some points to Get More Clients.. thank u so much to remind them…

  42. Domain search says

    Very great article!
    My favorite way to find people who need an expert is on forums when they are a sort of problems forum where we could help them so they will know our knowledge and if a day, they need our services, they will know where to find us.

  43. Argyll: Virtual Offices says

    “So what do you do? Build more “ATMs” by utilizing SEO techniques that you aforementioned.” You go away and research where would be best to place your ATMs based on where conversations are happening, either in communities like here, or on social media networks. Then utilize SEO techniques to make the ATMs more visable.

    As for being there when the customer needs you, “I need a lawyer. I called you. You were not available. I called another lawyer. I no longer need you”, many small businesses are outsourcing telephone answering services, this not only makes you available to your customers but can save time answering spam phone calls that goes hand in hand with making your phone number as visible as possible for your customers.

  44. Francis@ Gift Cards says

    In this tight economy, every business needs much attention and should control the cost of operation. Your article gives much ideas for handling this situation effectively.

  45. Business Accounting Finance says

    That was some tasty food for thought, if I do say so myself!

    The phenomenon you’ve explained at the beginning of this article is quite profound: people are focused on the object of their thoughts, at times so much so that they can not see anything else. I would know the official, psychological name for this, except that I am busy trying to make my own business work. However, the effect can not be escaped.

    This brings the thought to mind: if you can not know WHEN someone is looking for a product like yours, perhaps you can know WHERE.

    For instance: if a person is in a shopping mall, they are probably interested in viewing and purchasing retail products. Enter the website, an aggregator for shopping locations. This is just an example but the point remains the same: WHERE a customer is located is often closely associated with WHEN one chooses to purchase.

    Any opinions, doubts, or suggestions?

  46. Computer Repairs says

    There is something more to add on this…When you are selling something then you should firstly choose products which are quite sensible to you, make sure that they will help your buyers, and if you are doing it over interent then your blog or website should be full of product details.

    As much details you can get about it in your website, then using pictures with text will help you huge.

    Just take an example where you are a buyer and what questions you will get in your mind. Content is king and it is the only way to convince your visitors. Just work in this way and you will prosper…

  47. this site says

    Very good point. Just stick to your original business plan, and focus on marketing to the need your business serves. People can often get sidetracked with their advertising

  48. taylormade superquad driver says

    Your site is great, but what makes it so wonderful is the power-packed information that you offer. I enjoy reading the posts regarding success from you, thanks alot.

  49. Stephen Kavita says

    I really love the power of article marketing due to the fact that the traffic you generate will be VERY targeted. In addition, the article will always be there 24/7 to get the attention of your target market.

  50. du?akabin says

    Very good tips. I especially like the article submission idea. I submitted some to online sites such as ezinearticles and associated content. Many of the readers there are very supportive

  51. Philadelphia Real Estate says

    There are a lot things that need to be done for a small business. That’s why people need coaches/ to network to find people who understand what we are doing, and hold us accountable.

  52. Iain Johnstone says

    Great post, I have always like social networking website and have used them for a few years now. It wasn’t until I got an email from some one asking me about a link I had up on some long forgotten profile that I realised I needed a system.
    I now use a spreadsheet to track all my profiles, usernames and passwords.
    When I make a major change to my website I work my way through the list and update each profile.

  53. Flameless Candle says

    Timing is everything. I sell flameless candles and getting people at the right time is really key. I have found that they need me most when they need to give gifts for weddings or other special events. I know sometimes I used to do tradeshows. The traffic volume from the crowd was great, but it doesn’t compare to the laser targeting I can do online. Thanks for reminding us of this very critical part of adertising and marketing.

  54. Mike M says

    I recently started my blog, but I am trying to produce blog postings that fit my target market without rambling.
    I like the article and the followups here in discussion are almost as useful.

  55. Palmdale Homes says

    Being where clients are looking when they need help is certainly the right way to go about marketing. I try not to put all my eggs in one basket and just be consistent.

  56. ayuan says

    It is great to use all kinds of methods to get people to know you and what you are doing. Shame on me, I just use 3 kinds of ways: article marketing, social bookmarking and blog comment (just start today). But article marketing is an effective to get traffic to my websites, and I also use some article marketing tools, they are helpful.

    Thanks for your advice. Maybe I should try social media such as you mentioned: YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

  57. Palmdale Houses says

    Hello Dawud, i think it’s great that you take the time to respond to comments… keep up the great work.

    I think a great way to achieve being in front of a customer when they need you is through a phone app or mobile based web page.

  58. buyingandsellingwebsites says

    Hello Dawud,

    Everything you mentioned in the article were true. And yes, it can all be summed up to one phrase, “be in front of your audience”. In other words, Search Engine Optimization. Every website owner wants his site to be on that most coveted first page of Google and the best way to do this is doing good in SEO. Thanks.

  59. Glass Scratch Repair says

    Great article; It has definitely pointed me in the right direction as to where I need to go with my internet strategies. Every once in awhile you get online writers block and then a piece of inspiration hits you, and this was certainly a large chunk of inspiration.

  60. Accountant in Quakertown says

    I agree about the SEO techniques. I’ve never thought article submission would do a lot of help in promoting sites. I love blog commenting however it’s a bit hard if you’re still new in SEO and would know the nitty gritty of do follow diver and the likes. It’s basically a domino effect in promoting sites online.

    Aurora Mesner

  61. David Koons says

    Too many times people are pushing their ideas to unwanting customers.

    You accurately address the need to “listen” to what people want, and then adjust your offering accordingly.

    Great stuff!

  62. David Koons says

    I like the emphasis on listening and responding vs pushing your ideas on unwilling customers.

    Always a great idea to find out what they want… and give it to them.

    Great stuff!

  63. james henry says

    use the social media and start doing seo. nowadays everybody is using interenet for product search, so you really need to focus on that and start internet marketing asap.

  64. Chicago Venues says

    I think its all about building the brand. That way when someone finally does need you they can remember that you exist. Otherwise, it is a challenge to contact customers in their exact moment of need.

  65. Joshua Mccartney says

    You should use the Social Sites. Most of the people use it so you can promote your business. You just need to be more competitive and create something new that nobody does.

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