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WHERE TO FIND CUSTOMERS FOR YOUR BUSINESS

In Part 4 we consider the importance of knowing your customer to then research and uncover where they hang out so you know where and how to find customers for your business.

For many of us starting out as small business owners we are a jack-of-all-trades, doing all manner of jobs; accounts, designer, writer, sales person, IT, customer service, cleaner, filing clerk, the roles go on.
It can be quite a juggling act, exhilarating and yet exhausting. As the customers start to roll in there is a feeling of relief that our idea was truly a success. But it can’t stop there, even for the most successful, we still need to keep the marketing, talking, investing in activities that develop our sales pipeline or funnel.

In this 6-part series we have looked at a few areas of how to maintain a steady stream of customers. This piece is about your marketing focus being aimed exactly where your customers are both on and offline.

Another way to keep your sales funnel full is by being very efficient with your time. Understanding we want to work smarter not harder, consider where your special, unique customer ‘hangs out’.

This is not meant in as slang, but rather literally place yourself, either physically or online, where your customers spend their time. When we place ourselves, our brand and our products where our customers are present we are in prime position to be talked about, remembered, referred to others or to have our products purchased.

The way to figure this out if of course to know who your customer is intimately. If this is your first time reading my articles, first go here to define your customer.
Without this step completed, you could be spending your time in all the wrong places and marketing to people who don’t need your product, don’t get ‘you’ or what you are about, because as we know not everyone is going to be ‘our’ customer i.e. a big waste of time.

Here’s an example:

If you create highly designed, edgy, modern, musician inspired printed t-shirts and you currently sell online but also want to wholesale to a retailer. When considering the best location for a retailer it’s not going to be in a conservative suburb with an elderly demographic. Your most suitable location will be in a suburb with a younger demographic where there’s live music venues and good shopping strips and hip happening cafe’s. To get exposure you would consider Music Festivals or markets, advertising on JJJ , PBS or dressing staff in a groovy café. Consider you may have more than one type of market, your t-shirts may appeal to middle aged married men who want to re-live their youth, ask yourself where do they hang out on weekends? When & where do they do their shopping? Does their wife shop for them, where does she hang out?

Here’s another example:

If you want to open an upmarket hair salon aimed at middle aged women with disposable income. You would design the interiors with them in mind, subtle and sophisticated. You would play music not too loud or ‘heavy’. You would open it in a suburb where you have easy access to this kind of demographic.

Think of every element of this demographic and ask yourself questions like:

• What is the age range for my target audience?
• Where is my target audience located?
• Are they male, female or both?
• What are the occupations of my target audience?
• What to they do in their spare time?
• What does their day look like?
• What are their movements?
• Where to they go and how do they get there?

Once you have identified your customer’s behaviour you can use this to help you determine where they spend their time most.
Now you can target your marketing activity in the right places to people who are really interested in what you have to offer.
Depending on the type of business you are running, your locations will be either physical, online or a combination of both. Look for local publications and online communities where you can contribute articles or information to increase your exposure. Consider joint ventures that increase your profile to your target audience. Remember to ask questions regarding what is available, you never know unless you ask!

Physical Location:
Those who have a physical business most commonly use physical locations to hang out with their customers. Research and look for events or places specific to your field that will host your customers.
For example, the owner of a beauty salon going through this research will discover that they target their customer at local beauty expos, beauty warehouses, gyms, local cafes and Chamber of Commerce events, local street trader association events and even places like school fundraisers.

Online Presence:
With the recent increase in the use of the internet, both physical and online companies can interact with their target audience online through social media platforms such as blogs, forums, Facebook groups, Instagram and so on. Online presence can make for a huge success in business growth, as has been proven by those who have taken to blogs and Instagram and have ended up with thousands of followers, majority of which now consume their product.

Social Media:
Facebook, Instragram, Linked In, Google searches, Tumblr and Twitter are the popluar online mediums that you can use to hangout where your target customers do. Determine which one best suits your product / service and where your customer hangs out. A good way to research which is the best media for you is to see what the leaders in your industry are doing, then use that as a starting point.

Hashtags are a great place to attract your target consumer. Make your hashtags specific and people from all aspects of the globe will be able to find you.

For example: A health coach will find themselves joining Facebook groups of people wanting to get healthy, local community hubs online, online forums about being healthy, and can hashtag their particular health products or specialities.

Figuring out where your people are can be a bit of trial and error, however it is much more efficient use of your time. A great approach is to interact either in person or virtually by adding value to their lives with no expectation in return. This allows for trust to develop within your target market and builds your expertise. When the time comes you will be the forefront of their mind to purchase from you or refer you.