One of the greatest challenges facing today’s startups is the ability to gain traction amongst an over marketed consumer base. Convincing a group of customers to invest in a new product can pose enough of its challenges. When it comes to locating and attracting them on a limited budget, the hurdles are even higher.
For the entrepreneur whose early stage startup has yet to gain traction amongst an audience, here three of the most helpful tips to get you started.
Define Your Target Audience
There’s a reason why this one tops the list of most entrepreneur sites: it’s an essential aspect that will affect every one of your efforts on growing your audience. While as a business owner it’s natural for you to want everyone as your consumer, you should know from the start that not all customers will want your product. As such, breaking down your audience into particular segments is crucial.
As you shop around for a target audience, examine the consumers that will make the most sense for your product and then start to narrow down your field. Define your audience by creating a detailed profile of what your ideal customer might look like on paper. Consider aspects of their life that will influence their decision to purchase your product such as salary, location, relationship status, gender and entertainment interests. For instance, if your business sells alligator tours, you might find a higher rate of success with tourists who have an interest in doing a honeymoon in Florida than you would with an audience of 13-year-old boys interested in theatrical performances. In the end, the more you can segment your audience, the closer you will get to finding potential consumers who will likely invest in your product.
Networking and Referrals
Using your network to land referrals is an excellent way to sign new customers because of its low cost. What’s more important, it offers you with an opportunity to piggyback on a relationship where trust has already been built. Your network is also a great way to obtain customers who are likely to return and make future purchases.
To harness the reach of your social network, connect with your audience and offer them a chance to try out your product. Providing them with an opportunity to test drive your brand also opens a window for you to solicit future business and recommend your product. It’s a low-cost way for you to pick up new customers and do some marketing.
Social Media Advertising
Today social media is proving to be the ultimate jumping off point for any advertising strategy with an aim to grow an audience. In fact, 82 percent of small business are using social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram to help grow their consumer base and increase business sales. With 65 percent of all Americans logged into some social networking account, there’s opportunity for your advertisements to check off a large group of customers from every one of your targeted audience groups.
Start growing your social media presence and expanding your customer base, by first making a plan for your approach. Rather than casting a wide net, consider what you learned about your target audience when you initially did your research about them and worked to define them. As you survey the data you’ve collected, review which consumer groups are more prone to appearing on certain platforms. Typically, different groups of consumers flock to various social media channels. For instance, ones that are interested in food and dining are more likely to be found on more visual channels such as Instagram than they would on platforms like Twitter. Similarly, older, more business-oriented audiences are easier to find on pages like Facebook. Once you locate your audience, focus your efforts on building strong relationships with them online. To make a connection with these groups, you will want to feed content that they will deem worth their time. A solid social media strategy will include ways to engage an audience and find opportunities to market a product without zapping out the fun for those who came by a page to solely enjoy its content.