I love marketing!! It is a very crucial part of my business and of any business operating online or otherwise. As a business owner, you must make it a top priority to master this subject if you want your business to grow and be successful.
I, like many other homegrown business owners, got my marketing education at good ol’ Google University. I highly recommend this learning strategy to anyone, especially business owners, who can’t see a conventional post secondary diploma in marketing in their future. It is crucial.
One of the most important aspects of marketing is determining your target market and figuring out the best methods to actually reach your audience.
For my business, I have focused my marketing efforts mostly on Facebook and Instagram, as they both maintain a community that is highly engaged and both have advanced targeting tools for their ad programs. On Instagram, there are 500+ million active accounts, 80% of which follow a business. According to Facebook, “compared to the average online reach of 38% for narrowly targeted campaigns, Facebook is 89% accurate”.
That is money well spent, especially if you don’t have a big marketing budget and you are looking for the biggest bang for your buck.
Using Instagram and/or Facebook’s ‘ad create’ tool, you can target your audience across various devices, you can deliver relevant messages to specific people, and, of course, you make the most of your money by reaching only the people that matter most to you and your business.
When advertising with Instagram, you have the option of promoting a specific post that may have already gained proven reach among your followers. You also have the option to promote your Instagram stories, which is a relatively new feature on the platform, but one that has already become extremely popular among users.
When creating an ad on either platform, you will start by location targeting, which allows you to select specific locations, a radius surrounding a specific location, or even exclude locations that you may already be targeting with different ads.
Next, you are able to refine your ad’s target market by based on content that individuals have shared about themselves on their profiles, like interests and behaviours, other apps that they may be using, and even lookalike audiences, which allows you to replicate your demographic based on your existing customer base. This is where advertising on these platforms really shines.
Since people will rarely be dishonest when creating their profiles, you can be sure that your ad is actually reaching your desired audience.
You may want to choose an age range, education level, gender, relationship status, employment, or even specific interests.
When targeting your ads, it is recommends that you should seek to reach more than 10,000 people. They do not disclose how many people you should limit your reach to, but the marketing experts that I have spoken to have said that this number should hover at around 100,000 people per ad.
You can create different ads for the different audiences that you are hoping to reach. If this is your strategy, just remember that you are trying to reach a whole new group of people with each ad, so try not to allow your target audience overlap with each new ad, while still targeting a relevant audience. Remember, you can’t be everything to everyone. You are working to reach the highest number of people and that requires a new and different targeted audience per ad.
All are very handy marketing tools.
I strongly suggest that you play around with your ads and target marketing by starting some campaigns with a moderately low daily budget. After about a week or so, you should be able to tell what is working and what isn’t. Replicate what works and ditch what hasn’t performed.
It’s all about trial and error so don’t be too hard on yourself if at first you don’t succeed, and please remember, do not throw good money after bad.
So, what if you don’t have a marketing budget to work with? Or what if you are just one of those people who absolutely hate those sponsored posts on Facebook and Instagram and don’t want anything to do with them? Fair enough, but you still have to find a way to reach your target audience if you want your business to be successful.
There are about a million ways for you to get your hustle on and reach your target audience for free, most of which you should be doing whether you decide to run sponsored ads or not.
Some of these include:
- Email Subscriber Lists: If you don’t have an email list, then you’ve got to stop what you’re doing this very second and get one started, like, yesterday. This is an invaluable way to recruit people, for free, who are already engaged in whatever it is you are doing. It enables you to follow-up with new and potential customers and allows you to retarget your customer base and encourage them to spend money with you again. I would recommend creating a discount code or a free download or some other type of “gift” that you will offer exclusively to your email list to encourage people to sign up. Trust me, it will get you results.
- Networking: Don’t be shy about your business. You’re proud of what you’ve created, right? It’s time to share it with the world. Try to connect with groups or meet-ups that are relevant to your business. It helps to have a business card for these occasions, but if that’s not in your budget, get creative and think of some other kind of takeaway that you can leave with the people that you meet that is representative of your business. If you operate your business online, this can be as simple as going to other websites and blogs relevant to your business and leaving authentic comments that include your website or email address.
- Giveaways: This is a small investment, depending on your business, but you can write off any giveaways up to a certain amount as a promotional expense on your taxes, so it is still worth considering. If you have a presence on Instagram or Facebook or any other social media platform, try offering a giveaway to your followers. I would recommend that you offer it on the condition that they complete a task, like signing up for your mailing list or even by being the first to buy a new product.
So what are you waiting for??
You’ve now got all the tools and information that you need to get started on your very first marketing campaign!
Please share what marketing methods have been successful for you and your company and stay tuned for more tips advertising for your business.