How to Market Your Business Online – The Steve Gwyn Way

A major barrier for many entrepreneurs is that they don’t have the foggiest idea on how to market their businesses. Sure, they may be aware that they need customers to survive but, beyond that, they don’t know where to begin. Fortunately, we’re here to help with five stepswhy to market your business online.

Step one: Define your target audience.

One of the first things you should do is to identify your target audience. This might seem obvious but, if you’re like most business owners, you’ve probably never really stopped to think about who your audience is and, more importantly, who you want to attract to your cause. Your business card, slogan, and website may all ring the same to your customers but, in reality, they can be targeting completely different groups of people. Once you know who you’re trying to reach, you can tailor your content and strategies to appeal to them. Start by asking yourself who you want to reach out to: existing customers, past customers, friends, family, social media followers, etc. Take some time to think about the different groups of people who may be able to benefit from your products or services. With this information, you can begin to define your target audience.

Step two: Create buyer personas.

Once you have your target audience defined, you can create buyer personas. A buyer persona is a short-hand way of defining the different types of people you’re trying to reach. Simply put, a buyer persona is someone whose experience, behavior, and responses you want to emulate in your marketing materials (i.e., business cards, social media posts, website content, etc.). To create a buyer persona, start by making a note of the different types of customers you have. If you have businesses across various industries, you might find it useful to create buyer personas which reflect the different customer needs across industries (e.g., leisure customers, business customers, and education customers). You can also create buyer personas which represent customers of a certain demographic (i.e., male, female, or other).

Once you have your buyer personas defined, it’s time to move on to the next step.

Step three: Develop a marketing plan.

One of the simplest, yet most effective, ways of approaching marketing is to develop a marketing plan. A marketing plan is a road map which details everything you plan on doing to grow your business. It should include all of your marketing strategies as well as the specific details on how you will implement them. Ideally, a marketing plan will cover all of the basics including:

  • Product/Service: Identify the product or service you will offer
  • Target Audience: Identify who you will target with your product or service
  • Goals: State specific goals you will achieve through marketing (e.g., increase web traffic, generate leads, etc.)
  • Activities: List the specific activities you will perform to grow your business (e.g., create social media accounts, develop a website, send out press releases, etc.)
  • Measurements: Measurements are how you will determine if you’re reaching your goals. Identify the metrics you will use (e.g., website traffic, social media engagement, etc.)
  • Timeline: Set a specific timeframe for your plan (i.e., two months, one year, etc.) and stick to it.
  • Plans: Make a note of any additional information you might need (e.g., pricing, personnel, etc.)

Step four: Identify the resources you will need.

Once you have your plan laid out, it’s time to identify the resources you will need to make it a reality. You might be wondering what resources you will need to market your business. The answer is quite simple; you’ll need money. However, money is just a resource; it doesn’t do anything by itself. To make your plan come to fruition, you will need to identify the specific dollars you’ll need (i.e., how much money you will need to hire an agency, pay for web hosting, etc.).

Step five: Review the plan.

Finally, it’s time to review your plan and make adjustments as necessary. Even the best plans can go wrong if you don’t follow them correctly. Therefore, you should always review your plan at least once a week (more often if you’re making significant changes to it). To help you keep track of what you’ve done, make a note of what you’ve completed (i.e., the activities you’ve performed) and, most importantly, what has resulted from your efforts (i.e., the measurements you’ve taken). With these step-by-step instructions, you’ll be able to market your business with confidence.

Above all, remember to have fun! Marketing is a lot of work but it can also be a lot of rewarding if you do it right. When you’re able to connect with your customers on a personal level, you’ll be able to form a stronger business-customer relationship and, in turn, grow your business.