Small Business Marketing – Getting Your Customers To Come To You

Many entrepreneurs are confused or overwhelmed by marketing – especially those who’ve only been in business a few years.

Some are never able to really get a handle on it.

And as a result, they spend their time doing what I call “shotgun” marketing – just spraying their marketing efforts in a bunch of different directions and hoping that they’ll eventually hit something.

Sometimes this works.  However, this won’t give you consistent and dependable results.

The way to get your potential customers to seek you out is by targeting your marketing efforts directly to them – communicating that you understand their needs, concerns and their pain.

This is why I recommend you focus your marketing on a niche.  The types of customers that you choose to market to is your niche.

While you provide services to a wide range of customers, your niche is where you focus your marketing efforts.

However, many entrepreneurs, solo-preneurs and small business owners have this basic misunderstanding about niches: “if I market to one niche, I’ll drive away the other potential customers.”

But this is the wrong way to think about a niche.

Two Reasons To Niche Your Marketing

1. Budget

Unless you have a multi-million dollar budget, you can’t afford to market to every person who can possibly use your services.  You have to make a choice.

2. Clarity

When you niche your marketing, you establish in the minds of prospects, who you are and what customers are right for you.  When your prospect can picture himself as your customer, your marketing has a much better chance of being successful.

Here’s an example.

Try to imagine that you’re a chiropractor.  There are lots of them out there – many good ones.  And for the most part, they can do the same basic things – they can relieve pain, like back problems, headaches and many other types of symptoms.

So what would be your approach to marketing?

An even better question is, how do you distinguish yourself from all the other good chiropractors?

Research has shown that the more specific and clear we are about the customers we serve, the more chance they’ll find their way to us.

It’s really hard for your prospect to know why he should pick you over the others if your marketing materials say that you basically solve all the same problems as other chiropractors.

However, if you say that you specialize in maladies suffered by tennis players and golfers – a “sports chiropractor” – you have differentiated yourself clearly and your potential patient knows why she should choose you.

Using this approach you could then focus your marketing on trainers, athletes, and golf clubs, for example – professionals who are in a position to send patients to you based on your specialty.

You wouldn’t limit your practice to only helping athletes.  You focus your marketing on them.  Non-athletes, because of your reputation, will find their way to you also.

This is obviously a very specific as well as hypothetical example.

But all hypotheticals aside, this method works.

Niche Marketing By A Major Corporation

It’s the humongous insurance company, Geico.

Have you seen their commercials?  They use three extremely different approaches, since they can afford to.

1) The gecko who’s put in business situations with a human executive.  These ads target companies who insure their employees, offering to save them money.

2) The second campaign humorously focuses on consumers – using little piles of money with eyes to communicate savings, trying to get people to switch to Geico.

3)  The third campaign features cavemen in the commercials using the slogan “So easy a caveman can do it” attempting to alleviate peoples fears about switching insurance companies.

Three distinct approaches.  Imagine if Geico tried to speak to all three in one commercial.

The message would be a muddle and people watching would have no idea who Geico was speaking to – in short, a waste of money.

And when you try to speak to different customers with their very different needs, your marketing efforts also end up being confusing.

If your marketing budget is as big as Geico’s then I encourage you to go ahead and market to different niches.  However, as you can see, they’ve focused their ads on narrow niches, even despite their huge marketing budget.

Many entrepreneurs and small business owners are resistant to narrowing their marketing, because they’re afraid they’ll attract fewer clients.

This simply isn’t true.  Chances are, if you’re a small business owner, you can’t afford to market to EVERYONE.

It’s vital that you’re clear who your customer are and why they should come to you.

Photo: by CubaGallery – www.flickr.com/photos/cubagallery