The key to attracting new customers to your business, whether online or off, lies in understanding a few simple things about how the brain works. Usually at an unconscious level, people are constantly scanning their environment to separate the relevant from the irrelevant, the safe from the potentially hazardous, the desirable from the unappealing. The major challenge for the small business marketer is discover what motivates their target audience, and then to speak as directly as possible to those fears, desires, goals, priorities, and needs.
But it Worked in the Movies
You’re only kidding yourself if you think you can be all things to all people. That insidious form of self deception falls in the same category as ‘If you build it, they will come’. Woody Allen is quoted as saying that ‘Eighty percent of success is showing up’, but bear in mind that comedy (and sometimes drama) is often based on exaggeration. Showing up -- which can range from creating an Internet presence to attending networking meetings -- is a good start, but it generally won’t get you too far unless you throw in a dash of originality, competitiveness, and a strategic plan of action.
Since people are constantly looking for specialized information, services, and products, a strategy worth pursuing is to devote at least 50% of your marketing efforts to reaching niche markets. Granted, marketing is no more of a ‘one size fits all’ endeavor than anything else, but what isn’t going to change is the fact that people are generally drawn to things that are customized, personalized, or otherwise geared to their personal preferences.
Are You Talking to Me?
Considering that your prospective clients and customers are continually scanning the Internet, the media, and their environment for information that’s relevant to them, why not tip the scales in your favor by tailoring your marketing message directly to the different niche markets you’re trying to reach? Whether it’s senior citizens, new homeowners, parents to be, recent graduates, newlyweds, or frustrated job hunters, capturing people’s attention can sometimes be as simple as recognizing them as individuals or as a member of a specific demographic group.
For example, have you ever inadvertently ignored someone who was saying to you ‘excuse me’ or ‘you dropped something’; but if they called you by your name, you’d immediately snap out of your haze and pay attention. Again, it’s just a matter of breaking through people’s filtering systems and being noticed. That’s often the number one step to effectively marketing your products, your services, or yourself. Actually, I’d break that down into three parts: get noticed, connect with your prospect, and put them in a receptive state of mind. If you convey the impression, right off the bat, that your service or product is tailor made for their needs, wants, or specific situation, then you may have fulfilled all three requirements in one fell swoop.
Once you’ve clearly and compellingly presented your case for making your prospect’s life easier, more secure, healthier, more comfortable, prosperous, convenient, happier, or more problem free, your remaining challenge is to anticipate objections, lower sales resistance, and inject your offer with a subtle, yet perceptible sense of urgency. If you’ve painted a vivid, benefits-filled picture of your service or product, their motivation to experience those advantages will help you convert them from a prospect to a customer.