The other day, I was at an event where a new business owner asked, "How can I get my business out there?" Immediately tips came flying in from the group:
"develop a stronger online presence"
"network, network, network"
"ask for referrals"
Yes. All these things. But you first need your fundamentals—what resonates with what audience and in what space—to give true power to your advertising, content creation, and pitch. So how do you ensure you have a solid base, to begin with?
First, sell people something they want or need.
Obvious on the surface. But sometimes, we can get caught up in what our competition is doing. Or create something we love that maybe isn't the best fit with what our clients need. Product-market fit is foundational; successful business owners know this work is never done. Here are some ways you can make sure your offering matches your client's wants and needs:
Conducting market research is one of the most effective ways to understand your target market. This can include surveys, focus groups, and other forms of data collection to gather information about your target audience's needs, wants, and pain points.
An excellent option for a small business is client interviews. This more personal approach can give you direct insights into your target market. You can contact clients via email or phone and ask if they would be willing to participate in a brief interview. During the interview, ask your clients why they chose your business over your competitors, what they like about your products and services, and what you can improve upon. Ask them what would cause them to stop using your services.
You can use this feedback to understand your target market better and improve your offerings. Another benefit of interviews is that they can help you build stronger relationships with your clients, increasing customer loyalty and word-of-mouth referrals.
Creating a detailed profile of your ideal client can help you better understand your target market. But I encourage you to go beyond demographics and write for your actual clients. For example, I have content themes saved with client first names based on the problem they came to me with. This helps me write from the clients' perspective on an exact problem. And as a bonus, I also get to use testimonials to unpack how we solved that problem.
Supplement your understanding with social listening. Monitor relevant social media channels to see what your target audience is talking about, how they use language, and what content they engage with. Follow topics on Twitter, Reddit, or Quora.
Examining your competitors can also provide valuable insights into your target market. Analyze your competitors' products, services, and marketing messages. See what they offer that you don't and what you offer that they don't. Use this information to uncover your unique value and carve out your positioning.
Go a little deeper than the glitz and glam their websites offer. Look for reviews. Look at the language people use to describe how the company met (or did not meet!) the needs or wants.
Second, communicate your offerings clearly.
Your core marketing message should be clear, concise, and easy to understand. Use jargon sparingly. A little bit acts as a signal, but too much may confuse your audience (or worse, make you look pretentious). Instead, use language that is simple, straightforward, and accessible to everyone.
Highlight Unique Value
Your core marketing message should highlight what makes your business unique. Take all those goodies you uncovered in your product-market fit and reexamine your mission, vision, and values to reveal your value proposition. But go deeper in this exercise. You started your business because you knew that you could do something better. You knew there was a missing wow factor and a better way to serve your clients. Tell us what that is!
Do you, boo
A brand is more than your logo and website. It represents what you stand for and your vision for your clients. Your message should filter through your values and why and have a cohesive style and tone. This is your voice. Own it!
Third, hit the channel that makes you money.
Social media can be a powerful tool, but you must be honest with yourself about the time cost and what it's actually getting you. Social media is a layer. It's great for selling products and amplifying your message. However, I have learned over the years of working with business coaches and through my own experiments that nothing beats a conversation—especially when you sell a personalized service. As a bonus, talking to many people is a great way to practice your pitch and intro and get feedback without feeling pressured.
Sometimes we put out a lot of content because it feels like we are doing something. I know this because I played this game with myself for YEARS to avoid making phone calls. But when I got honest with myself about where my leads were coming from (and where they were not coming from!), it helped me stop the busy work.
Fourth, don't get bested by complacency.
It is important not to let success create complacency in business, as the market and consumer needs and wants are constantly changing. Routinely ask yourself hard questions about your offerings and customer journey and then take action to improve them. Revisiting your market fit and message regularly and staying on top of social listening can help ensure that you remain relevant and continue to meet the evolving needs of your target market.
Getting your name out there is challenging for everyone. Ramping up your online presence, networking, paid advertising, etc., can all be effective tools for getting your business out there. However, these tactics only work if you have your fundamentals right. Once you nail those, you are unstoppable!
You don’t have to go at it alone. Three ways we can work together:
I will expertly craft and deliver a brand position and message to increase your revenue and impact.
Expertly craft a brand position and message to increase your revenue and impact alongside you, so you a) learn invaluable skills and b) bust the obstacles blocking your growth to get the business and life you truly desire.
Hold you accountable while you work on that really big thing, like creating your personal brand, writing a book, launching a new business, or building that dream lifestyle.