There are so many tools you can use to market your business online, you might think it’s just too hard to pick one and figure out how to use it. But, don’t give up. There’s an easy way to do it by focusing your efforts and investing just a little bit of time up front.
The best part, once you’ve dialed in your marketing, you can usually just set it and forget it :).
You can do a lot online
When I talk to my small business customers they are amazed at the level of targeting you can do online. There are so many people online, you need to be able to narrow down who you want to know about your business. This includes knowing your customers and knowing your niche.
Know your customers
You can spend a lot of marketing money online with no results, but it’s usually because you don’t really know who your ideal customers are and exactly how you’re different from your competition.
Are they searching for competitors? Are they locals only? Do they generally make reservations at 3pm? Men? Women? Old? Young? Do they only search for you when their toilet breaks? Is your business a commodity where price is the primary motivator?
Just take a moment and write everything you know about the type of customer you’d like to target, I’ll wait.
Great! Now let’s figure out how to find the right opportunity.
Know your niche
There’s a lot of folks who market online, and your efforts will pay off best if you’re clever either in who you target or how you target them. Here are some ideas.
1. Target very specifically. For one customer we targeted these traits:
- Only searches done within 2 miles of my customer’s business.
- Only searches on smartphones
- Only during Brunch hours (10-2pm)
- Only those with disposable income
This kind of targeting meant that each paid click (on Google) was cheaper because it was very specific and also the ad was placed in first position on Google for these searches as no one else was really competing.
You should know that your position on Google is not just based on what you pay per click, but also the relevance of your website to the ad. For example, if your ad said, “Unlimited Gummybears” and it pointed to 24hourfitness.com, Google would give you a low quality score and there’s no amount of $$$ you could pay to get in a good position. They want to help their users find relevant information.
2. Target cleverley.
I build websites. As you can imagine, it’s one of the most competitive things to target online. After doing some competitive analysis, I realized that the majority of my top competition in the space were not bidding on their branded keyword terms. I ran a test and bid on my competition’s branded terms and saw two things: my CPC was less than the other keywords I was targeting, I saw 1 and 2 positions in AdRank.
If your competitor pays a lot for marketing and they don’t advertise on their branded keyword terms, test bidding on them and measure your success / failure. But be careful! If your competition catches on and begins to bid on their branded terms, you could wind up in a bidding war.
Facebook or Google?
Here’s a bit about Google and Facebook and why you might choose one over the other.
On Google it’s about intent:
Google actually has one huge benefit over others. With Google you basically get a free Google employee to build out your campaign for you. It’s a tremendous benefit. Seriously, it doesn’t require any specific knowledge, just an intent to spend money with Google :).
9 am – 8 pm ET
But, you don’t want to use Google unless you want to target customers with intent, e.g. I am looking for a locksmith now. It works best if what you do is clearly described and if what you do is narrow (e.g. there’s not heavy competition in your area). If you’re looking to improve reservations, gain exposure, or generally talk to a market segment then Facebook is a much better place.
So here are some good examples for Google targeting:
- Kouign-Amann’s in San Francisco (B Patisserie has the best)
- Locksmith Nob Hill San Francisco
- Boat taxi San Francisco
These are all good examples of queries that are specific enough that you could target them on Google without competing. In the case of Kouign-Amann, it’s specific enough that you could rank first (assuming there was enough search traffic for these.) The second search includes a specific neighborhood in the search, reducing your cost per click as well as who you target.
And the boat taxi isn’t a super competitive search term (as there are only two that I know of here in SF).
And poor examples:
- Great food San Francisco (too competitive)
- House cleaning San Francisco (too generic, why you?)
- Plumber (too broad, too competitive)
These queries are too broad and are highly competitive. It’s possible that you could rank first if you targeted these ads to very specific searches (in San Francisco, at certain times, etc).
On Facebook it’s about your ideal customer profile.
Unlike on Google, where you can target specific problems, Facebook is much better to target specific groups of people. And you have the added benefit that people spend a bunch of time on Facebook (936 million people log onto Facebook daily and spend 20 minutes on average each time they visit).
Here’s the demographic of who we target for our websites (Cursive)
Notice Facebook tells us about how many people fit this demographic and the smaller the number, the better your targeting is usually. This is pretty specific as we only want college grads, who are making a good amount of money, who are a bit older, and who live in San Francisco. Plus we want to exclude people that don’t already like our business on Facebook.
So here are some good examples for Facebook targeting:
- Everyone who lives 1 mile from your business who is employed and makes $70k+
- People who are interested in Kite Boarding in New York City.
- Single men who are interested in longs walks on the beach and who like cats
And poor examples of Facebook targeting:
- Everyone who is interested in Italian food (too broad)
- Just people who like lollipops in Albuquerque (too specific)
- People who need new shoes now (good for Google, not Facebook)
Track your Progress
The other really important part about running ads is you HAVE to track how they do on your website. This generally involves installing some code on your site so that Facebook or Google can track conversions for you. So you’ll need to contact your web developer.
If you’re not doing this, you’re just wasting your money.
Need help? Have more questions? Reach out to me—I’d love to chat. My email is jordan [at] getcursive.com.
P.S. If you haven’t already, you should order a free Facebook beacon for your business. They are free and they will help your customers SEE your Facebook page when they show up to your local business.A Quick Guide To Marketing Your Business Online Guest Blogger