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“Alas!”

I hear it all the time. “Alas! My business is too specific, too niche, too boring to be marketed!”

It’s so sad how many people believe that unless they’re selling Doritos they’re somehow not eligible for marketing. We still tend to think of marketing in terms of huge budget Super Bowl ads – big media buys with flashy ideas and a huge price tag. Or else we think, well, maybe marketing works for something fun, but it’s not going to move these semiconductors I make.

Now, that’s just silly.

All marketing is is a way for you to talk to the people you want to do business with. If you’ve got customers, you’ve got a market; and if you’ve got a market, well, you can (and should!) be marketed. You need to own up to this reality, and embrace the possibilities it presents. And while it might seem daunting, it isn’t really.

Getting started is really just a matter of making yourself available, informative, and helpful. That’s what your ideal clients are out there doing online: looking for help to their problems – exactly the problems your business solves. And while marketing can (and very often does) get complicated, you can kickstart your marketing efforts just by making sure you have a couple of important pieces in place: your website and your social media presence.

Your Website

Okay. When we talk about digital marketing, in a really huge way we’re talking about making sure you’ve got the tools to attract your audience and enable them to make a purchasing decision. But lots of people think that all your website should be is a place to talk about yourself.

Well, that’s a load of crap is what that is.

Your website is about satisfying your customers – whatever that means. If you want to build a website that’s an effective marketing tool, you have to make that your primary goal. Because that’s how you get them there, and it’s how you keep them there long enough to learn what they need to know.

Look at that again: learning what they need to know.

So let’s think about who your customers are and why they’re out to purchase at all. They have a problem – and what they’re really looking for isn’t a product; it’s a solution. That means your website needs to communicate their problem back to them and promise relief. And it needs to do it in under 10 seconds.

It’s actually not that hard if you understand your customers’ pain points well enough. By keeping the focus on them, you remind them why they’ve come to you to begin with, and you keep yourself from crushing them under an onslaught of personal stories and slideshows.

So take some time and focus on developing a core message that appeals to your clients and communicates your value to them quickly and effectively.

Your Social Media Presence

Social media is one of the most valuable tools you have – and you probably have no idea how to use it correctly.

Basically, you need to prioritize.

That goes both ways, too. Whether you’re trying to make sure you have every social angle covered, or you’re just not giving social a second frickin’ thought, you need to make sure you focus. If you’re new to marketing, you’re probably running off pretty limited resources, so take some time to figure out where your customers hang out – and how they engage with content.

Because that’s what tells you where you need to be.

Picking a place to focus your social media efforts is a fantastic way to marshal limited marketing resources and get a better understanding of who your customers are off the sales floor. So stop, think, and figure out where you need to be instead of worrying about being everywhere or resigning yourself to being nowhere.

Here’s a quick rundown of the relevant social platforms:

  • Facebook & Twitter:  Both are great if customer engagement is a priority, especially for service and retail businesses. But since these aren’t selling platforms, you need to make sure you aren’t using them for that. Both are best handled as ways to build & maintain brand awareness and connect & communicate with customers.
  • LinkedIn: A great thing to focus on if you’re in a B2B industry, because it lets you focus on hands-on connections within professional groups who are explicitly there to find solutions to business problems. It’s a great way to build up your potential client base and get your business’s name out there.
  • Google+: A Google+ page for your business gets you very strong placement in Google searches, displaying your contact information, phone number, location, operating hours, and web address in one easy-to-read card right there on the search results page. It strengthens your indexing in Google search, so you want to at least take 20 minutes and set up a page. 

In short, your business can be marketed; it’s just a matter of knowing who you want to reach and where they are. By focusing on building a strong web presence, you can begin to develop marketing efforts that resonate with your clients and attract them to you.

Now, this isn’t the whole kit’n’kaboodle. After you have this foundation, you need to work on driving traffic and building strong lead capturing tools. But this is where you start – and ultimately this is where everything ends up.