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Target Marketing Online: Where to look first

My biggest challenge with marketing online is finding people who would be truly interested in the business either as a customer or a distributor. Advertising on other sites is OK, but can get expensive. So, I need to find a better way to connect with people to get the message out. I have been writing guest articles on general marketing and follow up techniques for direct sales. My articles include a simple demonstration of how my business/product can help them personally connect with customers for less money and time. I have had a few leads, but need to get the word out to more people. I know my product can help them get more referrals and reorders. I just need to find the prospects!

This is one of my favorite questions. In an industry where we’ve been trained that “anyone with a pulse” is our prospect, it’s ironic that so many people building an online presence can’t seem to find anyone interested in what they have to offer. Then the question comes: how do I find prospects?

Several entries in the 12 week challenge contset have a similar theme. But this entry outlines at least SOME strategy: advertising.

While it’s true that advertising is a fast way to bring in leads – when done properly – it’s also true that it’s a fast way to lose money – when done improperly.

So what can we do as business owners to attract our perfect fit clients to us?

First, we have to know who those perfect fit clients are. In direct sales, we actually have multiple “customers” – or actual clients, our hosts, and our recruits. In small business we may also have multiple customer types depending onteh products or services we offer.

The challenge is that no one approach will work for everyone. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to marketing (online or offline).

That’s one of the reasons you’ll see the same print ad in different magazines with different models. Same content, same poses, same message, but the models have different hair, skin or makeup coloring. It’s why you don’t see ads for bikini waxing in ESPN magazine.

Because different things appeal to different people.

Just like Super Bowl ads and print magazines, online marketing is not suitable for everyone.

Uh-oh, do you feel another marketing bashing coming on?

Wait. There’s more.

You can’t use the same message to attract everyone.

For example, if your goal is to increase sales, you need to be looking for BUYERS. If you’re looking to increase the number of recruits on your team in a direct sales organization, you need to be looking for business builders.

You won’t always find those people hanging out in the same online or offline “places”.

Different bait for different fish, so to speak.

Once you’ve developed a perfect fit customer profile, only THEN can you truly consider the likely places to find them.

For example, if your perfect fit customer is a 30-something single mom, probably a lawyer, who lives in your local community (let’s say Peoria, IL), then do a google search for women lawyers in Peoria, IL.

My search yielded the women lawyer’s directory pretty quickly:
http://www.womenlawyers.com/states/il.htm

Who says you can’t find your target market?

So my first question to people is always: Do you really know who your prospects are? If you can identify a true demographic – right down to the color of their fingernails – it’s actually like shooting fish in a barrel anymore.

They’re everywhere – particularly online – and with online marketing, you don’t have to limit yourself to a local area! In most cases you can attract a global, if not national audience.

I live in Michigan. The bulk of my direct sales customers are Internet leads that don’t even LIVE in my state – and have NEVER met me. In my coaching business, many of my clients are on the Eastern seaboard states.

I’m a no-nonsense, play no games kind of girl. I tell it lke it is, and rarely sugar coat – mostly because I never really learned how. Easterners from New York, Maryland, Delaware, they understand that, they’re attracted to that – thus, they find me.

Not everyone is my customer. I embrace that and play to my strengths. That’s not to say I wouldn’t enjoy having a few more clients in Arizona or California (I love reasons to travel!), but I also don’t focus a lot of time spinning my wheels when I know I have a huge untapped market with people in areas I already serve.

Again, it comes to focus. Pick one thing and focus on that. If you’re young in your small business, focus on increasing sales and market share – on getting your name out there, being seen and getting seen. Build some stability into your business and “grow slowly” as Wolfgang Puck said in Inc Magazine.

If you’re a seasoned business owner, consider laying a foundation for expansion in your marketing. Direct Sales Leaders should focus on team building and establishing a persona for your organization – one that follows you to whatever company you may end up with. One web page can’t be all things to all people. So stop trying.

If you have multiple markets, multiple segments, multiple perfect fit customers, create multiple approaches to reach them. People are not cookie cutters, and we don’t all respond the same to every marketing piece. We are savvy, we need multiple contacts, and you can’t jsut click your heels together three times and get us to buy into your message.

You MUST establish a level of KLT: know, like and trust.

But that’s for another post another day. Tomorrow perhaps.

Today, know that your biggest successes will come from the moments of clarity you can build into your business. The more clear you can be on what you want, the easier it is to attain that want.

Otherwise, you’ll be scratching your head, because you can’t see the forest for the trees.

In the 12-week challenge, we’ll devote time to not only identifying your perfect fit customer, but analyzing where you can find them, crafting a message and offer to attract them, and ways to connect with them that are meaningful. There’s still time to enter the contest, and tickets for the program went on sale yesterday. You can purchase your tickets here before we’re sold out. Only a total of 175 “seats” are available for this event. when they’re gone, they’re gone! Winners will be announced October 20, 2009.

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