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Hey, Small Business Owners: Do Your Marketing Homework!

It’s one thing to start a small business – anyone with a great idea and Kickstarter account can at least get a business up and rolling.

But keeping your small business afloat and (hopefully) growing it along the way? Well, that’s a whole different story.

If you’re fighting to stay relevant in a sea of competitors, you’ve got to do your marketing homework. Fortunately, we’ve got the study guide to help you become the best in your business.

Lesson One: Market to Your Target Demographic

A target demographic is just a fancy marketing term for “the people most likely to buy your product.” These are the people you should be actively marketing to, and it’s important to learn as much as you can about them.

Do they get their news from a newspaper or a push notification on their smartphone? Do they browse brick-and-mortar shops or use one-click ordering on Amazon? How social media-savvy are they?

The answers to these questions can help you develop a marketing strategy that they’ll respond to, whether it’s a print ad in the paper or an ecommerce website that offers free shipping.

Lesson Two: One-Up the Competition

Let’s face it: you’re not the only small business that sells freshly ground coffee or interior design services. Your potential customers have a choice in the business they patronize, and you’ve got to give them a reason to choose you.

Scope out your competition — whether it’s by performing a simple Google search, giving them a call, or meandering through their store (fake mustache and spy cloak optional). What do they have that you don’t? What can you offer that they can’t?

Once you know who and what you’re up against, it’ll be easier to funnel business away from them and toward you.

Lesson Three: Talk to Your Audience

Marketing is a hands-on venture. You have to be willing to put yourself out there and listen to the things people have to say – regardless of whether they’re good or bad. Start a conversation on social media, post a survey on your small business website or plop a suggestion box down on the counter right next to the register. You can even bribe people for their feedback if you have to – a 20% off coupon or an entry into a drawing goes a long way toward getting people’s feedback.

Once you’ve got their opinions, use them to revise your products, services and marketing approach to better serve your customers, and bring more through your door.

Small business marketing is more of an art than an exact science, but you don’t have to tinker your way through it alone. Whether you need help constructing a long-term marketing plan or a hand with your small business’ social media presence, we can help!

Smart small-business owners do their homework, but the best get a little tutoring from an expert. We’d love to be your expert – all you have to do is ask!

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