Looking for online marketing tools for your small business to help you target the kind of customer who buys your services, tells all their friends how amazing you are, and who comes back wanting more?

Whether you’re creating an online video, email campaign, or social media ad, you need to focus on the right audience to generate leads. At BizHack, we view this kind of marketing through our Five Pillars of Digital Success:

  1. Set your campaign objective
  2. Find your ideal target audience
  3. Drive action with an irresistible offer
  4. Capture them with a thumb-stopping video
  5. Generate clicks with a compelling message.

Today we’re going to focus on number two: Finding your ideal target audience. Keenly knowing an ideal audience shapes the marketing strategy for any small business. At BizHack, we want to set you up for success from the start, so read on to learn more about defining your ideal customer and how to communicate their wants and needs directly.

TL;DR: Many online tools exist to help you formulate marketing strategies for your small business. Learn them, know them, and use them well.

  • Finding and knowing your audience will guide your marketing strategy success.
  • Learn which tools work best for your business, budget, and overall marketing strategy.
  • Facebook, Google, and other platforms have developed many online marketing tools for small businesses.
  • Consider tools that help you scale your reach, speak directly in your customers’ language, and retarget people who have shown interest in your business.

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Why Defining Ideal Customers Guides Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses

Finding your target audience may seem overwhelming, which is why we want to share some tools that can help. In our webinar, Free Tools to Find Your Ideal Customer Online, we focus on effective and accessible online marketing tools for small businesses.

When you begin, start by dividing your audience into knowable groups such as people who could buy your product or service and your end-all-be-all customer. Trying to reach the entire market of the first group costs too much and hurts your brand. Instead, focus your efforts and strategy on your ideal customer and learn how to serve them well.

Consider your ideal customer to be someone who needs your services and sees the value in what you do. Think of the kind of person you had in mind when you started your business or the gem of a human you found along the way. 

Also, consider your return on investment to figure out this ideal customer by assessing where they fit in the following categories:

  1. Definable
  2. Findable
  3. Actionable
  4. Profitable
  5. Growth potential

Inside of those groups, you can further understand your audience through geography (where they are), demographics (who they are), behavior (what they do), and psychographics (why they do it).

Psychographics, or understanding why people do what they do based on interests and personality, have revolutionized how companies market to target audiences. Facebook, Google, and Netflix have shifted the paradigm of marketing and content creation by leveraging psychographics. 

Netflix, in particular, is an interesting case study. Consider that traditional television long based its advertising and programming on viewer demographics such as age and location. Netflix instead focused on viewing behaviors. They paid attention to their customers’ interests, creating taste clusters, which grouped people based on their preferred programmatic taste. From there, Netflix created algorithms to promote and produce certain genres of entertainment.

For example, if you watch Black Mirror, Netflix will recommend other shows tagged as supernatural, extreme worlds, or dark dramas. So, you can see that they take their company credo, “Your Netflix is not my Netflix,” quite literally.

How Do Small Businesses Find Their Ideal Customers?

If you are a small business without the budget of Facebook, Google, or Netflix, can you still find your target audience? Absolutely.

Facebook Ads is a great place to start learning how digital marketing and data trends work. With organic, or unpaid posts, fewer than 5% of your followers will see it. You can pay to boost your post, but this still only reaches about 15-20% of your followers. That’s why we recommend building ads in Facebook Manager.

We also recommend creating customer personas, or avatars, to address clusters of interests. One of the most effective ways to identify your ideal customer is to give them a name so you can visualize and effectively communicate with them.

Below we’ve included seven marketing automation tools for small businesses to help you find and communicate with your Goldilocks audience.

Tool #1: Facebook Audience Insights

With Facebook Audience Insights, you access Facebook’s user data to find people interested in a business like yours. For example, let’s say a woman owns a business catering to dogs. She’s narrowed down her ideal customer to owners of Chihuahuas or Rottweilers. 

Using Facebook Insights, she finds that 1-1.5 million people like Chihuahuas and tend to be 45-years-old or older. She also finds an adorable small dog influencer named Norbert. Looking at that same data, she finds that 3.5-4 million people like Rottweilers and tend to be 34-years-old or younger. She also finds an influencer for this audience named Psychotic, who is the complete opposite of Norbert.

So you can see how the same kind of business can target two very different sets of dog owner customers who will need two very different types of messaging. 

Google Trends compares relative search volumes. In the dog business case, Google Trends can show that “Chihuahua” is a more searched term than “Rottweiler.”  But there’s more than meets the eye here. Since Chihuahua owners tend to be older, they are not as engaged on Facebook as their younger Rottweiler counterparts. 

Google Trends results can show that the overall population of Chihuahua lovers is larger than Rottweiler lovers based on search history. In contrast, Facebook Insights will show that more Rottweiler lovers are active on Facebook and all their social media platforms.

That’s why we recommend using Google Trends in the following ways:

  1. Measure popularity of specific influencers. 
  2. Get a sense of the relative size of your market.
  3. Communicate using the language of your customers. 
  4. Track trends and seasonality.
  5. Add trends data to client proposals.

Tool #3: Google Keyword Planner

With a Google Ads Manager account, you’ll have access to the Google Keyword Planner tool, which allows you to view similarly searched keywords. It also shows the ways keyword terms are used. Using this tool provides you with the specific search terms that your ideal customer tends to use.

Google Related Search gives you related searches when you type a term into the Google search bar. You can also find a “searches related to” box at the bottom of your search results. This provides you with both positive keywords you should include in your messaging as well as the negative keywords you should leave out. It will also give you insight into people’s search behavior. 

Tool #5: Answer the Public 

Answer the Public allows you to find keywords searched and questions asked by your target audience.

Tool #6: Ubersuggest 

Ubersuggest provides data about specific keywords used in search engine optimization (SEO), cost per click on the keyword, and demographics on people searching those specific keywords. They also show articles that use that specific keyword.

Tool #7: Facebook Custom Audiences 

Facebook Custom Audiences allows you to retarget people who have interacted with your business online but did not fully engage. We highly recommend retargeting customers in your marketing campaigns. Since only 4% of the people who visit your Facebook or website are ready to become customers, retargeting keeps your business on their minds when they are ready to buy.

Amazon does retargeting exceptionally well. When you search for something on Amazon, ads for those items start appearing all over the internet. You don’t have to be obnoxious in these campaigns, but you can re-engage with potential customers who have already shown interest in your business.

Want more tips? On Wednesdays, join BizHack Academy for our FREE #BizHackLive Webinars and hear experts discuss the latest and best small business marketing strategies. For a list of upcoming events, click here.