No More Shotgun Messaging: How Small Businesses Can Personalize Their Brand
August 1, 2017
By: Cathie Ericson
Deciding on the right marketing vehicle can give almost any small business “shiny object syndrome.” Radio advertising? Sign me up! Wait, sponsoring an event? Fantastic! Oh, the new hot thing is search engine marketing? Yes, that too!
The truth is, we’re often tempted to try the “latest and greatest” in an effort to get our message out, but that can result in “shotgun marketing,” where you try to be all things to all people.
A more successful strategy is to use a laser focus on your target audience and personalize the message to best showcase your brand.
Step 1: Determine Your Target Audience
So who is your target audience? If you said “everyone,” it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate. Here’s why: You can’t possibly reach “everyone,” especially as a small business with limited marketing resources.
Because it may be hard for small businesses to compete solely on price, it’s vital to weave yourselves into customers lives in a way that makes your company and its products and services integral.
To achieve that, determine what makes you indispensable to your target market. That allows you to "focus on the skills or services that uniquely benefit that customer." Being the best to provide a solution to their unique situation enables you to maximize revenue and build stronger customer relationships,” says marketing coach Debra Murphy of Masterful Marketing.
The result? The end of shotgun marketing.
Step 3: Personalize Your Message
Once you know exactly who your audience is and your “unique selling proposition” — that is, what sets your business apart from competitors — you can narrow your marketing activities to reach those consumers.
Here are three ways to do so:
Use social media
No discussion of marketing would be complete without mentioning social media, considering that nearly half of local businesses use social media to generate brand awareness, and a hefty one-third of Internet users find out more about a brand or product on social networks.
You have something everyone strives for: authenticity. By focusing on your customers on a personal basis, you can help create conversations and connections that are wholly unique to your business.
Two savvy ways to do that are by asking questions and sharing user-generated content. In other words, start the conversation with your clients and then help them keep it going among themselves. The goal is to reach a heightened quality of interactions, rather than just a large quantity.
Hold an event
One powerful way to connect with your customers is by equating your brand with community building and lifestyle experiences. Research shows that consumers these days are looking for experiences, so helping create or sponsor an event is an ideal way to reach your target audience.
No small business toolkit is complete without customized promotional products. While it’s important to have standard personalized products, like business cards of course, try to think beyond the coffee mug for a more creative item that will really stand out and help brand you specifically for your target audience.
The possibilities for signature items are nearly endless and should be a crucial component of your targeted marketing.
About the Author
Cathie Ericson is a freelance writer covering business and consumer topics. She creates branded content for Fortune 500 companies, and her work has appeared in LearnVest, Costco Magazine, Forbes, TheGlassHammer.com and IDEA Fitness. Follow her @cathieericson.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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