Let’s face it, as a small business owner, you have a thousand responsibilities, all with the priority level “NOW”. You know you need to market your business, but you just don’t have the time to sink into it. Well, thanks to the internet, and this marketing guide, you can now come up with a serviceable marketing plan in under 30 minutes.
Step 1: Define your Target Market
Who buys your goods or services? Or who would you like to buy them? I’m thinking about starting a exclusive, male only group, that plays board games together in my neighborhood. Let’s build out a few basic stats on this group.
- Location – Portland, Inner SE
- Age range – 18 – 50
- Gender – Male
- Income – 40,000+
- Hobbies and interests – Board Games
Now that we have an idea of who is going to be giving us money, let’s find out how many of them exist.
Step 2: Market research
DON’T PANIC. I know this looks complicated, but I’ll walk you through it. Facebook provides a nifty little tool that lets you mine the user data they collect. (It’s designed for targeting ads at those users, which you might want to do later.) We’re going to see how many people out of all Facebook users are in our area and target market. Notice the red lines I’ve drawn:
- New Audience – This is how many results you have, it changes as you update the items below.
- Location – I only want people in Portland, OR.
- Age – We’re going to narrow down to 18-50 yrs old
- Gender – We’re going to be sexist and only choose males. (just for the example!)
- Interests – I’m going for people that list board games as an interest.
- Advanced – There are a lot of additional items you can choose here, you can even sort by people that have a smartphone.
Now play around with that a little bit until you feel like you have a pretty good description of your target market. Obviously the more specific you get, the higher the chance that they will need your product or service, but if you get too specific, you’ll quickly run out of people.
For my search of Men age 18-50 in Portland who like Board Games, I have 8-9 thousand active monthly users. That’s 1 in a hundred of all Portland Facebook users. Now let’s check out who’s around my neighborhood with this handy tool. Just pop in your zip code and check out the results.
We have 25,000 people in our zip code. Now let’s double check our target
- Age – It’s good to see that 50% of my area is in the target age group
- Male – We’re going to assume that around 50% are male
- Income bracket – About 60% of the people fall into my $40,000+ target so that leaves 15,000 people.
Now let’s combine the data. We’ve already sorted for age and male-ness in Facebook. So out of the 15,000 in my area that have a good disposable income, 1%, or 150, should enjoy games. If we can sell our game night idea to 20% of those people, we’ll have a thriving business! We could also call around to local game shops and get confirmation that these people exist.
Step 3: Connect with your target market
- Make sure your website is appealing – We’re going to need to change our mauve doily background I think.
- Connect with existing resources – Talk with local game shops, get emails, connect on Facebook, read blogs, etc.
- Content, Content, Content – Create in depth reviews on every awesome new board game that comes out. Become the go-to expert. See section 4 for some bonus tips on creating content.
- Guest blog – Find other sites that could benefit from your expertise and share your knowledge there.
- Social Buzz – We’re going to have our friends make a pile of all their games and post it. The largest collections wins a prize.
- Paid Ads – We’ve already got our target selected in Facebook, so we’ll spend a bit to promote our best posts, and draw people to the website.
- Email List – We’ve harvested emails from everyone, and now we’re going to SPAM them! Just kidding! Make your emails something people look forward to reading, and leave off the SPAM.
- Ask for the sale – This is more of a bonus step, but don’t forget that you’re not just the game news fairy, you actually need to ask people to buy something. Chances are, if you’re doing all of the above stuff, your target people will be more than happy to pay a reasonable price to join the club.
Ok, so actually executing this is going to take longer than 30 minutes, but hey, you’ve got a good chance of NOT wasting your time now that you have a solid plan.
Step 4: Bonus Section!
You’re living the dream! Now hire someone to do the boring stuff, and you’ll have time to do all that marketing you’ve always wanted to do. Here are some of my favorite tools and tips for creating engaging content without breaking the bank or taking hundreds of hours.
- There is no such thing as boring subjects! Think watching paint dry is boring? WRONG! There are hundreds of people around the world who’s job is to create new paints, watch them dry, and test the performance. Boring is a cop out, you just need to find what people are excited about, and tap into it. Don’t be ashamed of your profession, in this age of regurgitated content, your super detailed sewer repairs may be just the thing people have been longing to read about. And don’t forget the pictures!
- Piktochart – Even if you’re not a great artist, you can still represent things visually. The basic version of Piktochart is free, and has loads of templates to choose from and modify. Sometimes a picture is worth far more than 1000 words!
- FreeImages – Be careful about pesky copyright issues, even though it’s easy to grab photos off of any old site, you could get in trouble! You may be asked to take down the image, or even receive nasty letters from lawyers. There are places around the web that have free (gratis) and free (libre) images, which you can use without them potentially coming back to haunt you later.
- Keyword checker – If you’ve never taken a look at what keywords are on your site, now’s the time. It’s not that scary, just pop your page in the box, and see what you’ve written. If you’ve been using the same word or phrase over and over, maybe it’s time to branch out, open up a thesaurus and bust out some synonyms!
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