How to know you customer seems obvious doesn't it? You meet them, you speak to them and you engage with them. This has been the way it's been for eons. You find what they want and fill that need. Long before social media it was word of mouth and maybe leaflets or even sandwich boards, but still the important thing was to meet them.
Time and time again I meet with overwhelmed, frustrated business owners who struggle to reach their audience. They know who their customer is but yet they can't find them. They tell me they have done Facebook ads, printed out fliers and put up a video or two in Youtube about what they do. These are all important parts of a working marketing machine but what a lot of businesses fail to do now is put themselves out there personally. By this I mean meeting people via networking, going to fairs, joining your local Chamber of Commerce or taking part in courses and networking with your Local Enterprise Office.
I was at an event recently where there were speakers during the day and then networking in the evening with attendees and also the speakers and several people (notably mostly women) said they wouldn't go to the networking. ¬hen I asked why, they said they were on their own. I felt very frustrated by this! I'm a woman and I was there on my own too but to pass up an opportunity to speak to people who would benefit me or be my target audience would be insane! I was once very nervous and unsure about what direction my business should go but after a few hiccups, I started making connections and found a few familiar faces at each event I went to. The only way to build confidence in your product or service is to HAVE confidence in it. If you can make it out on a days talks on your own, then surely going to a networking event to benefit you even more would be easy?
The days of "You build it, they will come" are long over. Since we are now part of a Global market there are just too many people to reach. Depending on your business you will still need to reach the "right" people. If you sell internationally, then of course it's difficult to meet people but you can still build a relationship with people through conventional channels by attending export / import events or you actually travel to the countries you're targeting. Alternatively you can reach some of your target audience through Livestreaming. Blab and Periscope are essential in this respect as so many people can see you and communicate with you at once.
If however you are nationally based then it becomes a lot easier. Take a notepad and pen and write down all of your local networking opportunities via the LEO and Chamber and then check out LinkedIn for the local networks being arranged outside of those. Then come up with an Elevator Pitch!
Simply put an elevator pitch is a couple of sentences that you get to succinctly tell people who you are and what you do. These are really handy for networking occasions and when you only get the time to say it and hand them a business card. It mustn't be jargon and must answer a problem. I have a great article to share with you in creating yours, please read it carefully as it's full of great information!
I would of course say social media is important, but it is NOT the most important part of your business. Knowing your customer, excellent service, going that extra yard and responding to questions/queries are vital to having a successful business. Please don't throw all of your efforts into social media or fliers, etc. There really is real people you can meet, greet and relate too if you just gave yourself the chance to.
"People sell to People"
If I can help any business, large or small with any of this let me know. If you want a "wingman" at an event let me know too!