5 Ways to Interact with Your Ideal Client

Social Media

Digital ads

Email marketing

Paid ads – print and broadcast

Direct mail

Return on Investment

You gotta have a plan

We’ve talked a lot about research, planning and identifying your ideal client and building their persona, a fictionalized version of a person who fits all your criteria, so you can keep this in mind for planning your marketing communications.

During your research phase, we recommend you speak with some of your current and past clients to learn more about why they choose you, and why they choose you again. We also suggest you ask them how they learned about your company, and which communications channels work best for them.

Now it’s time to plan out how you will interact with your ideal client. In our Small Business Marketing Survey earlier this year, you told us that your top choices for marketing in 2021 were social media, digital ads and email marketing, with paid advertising in print and broadcast, and direct mail as a distant finalist.

We think these are great choices, but there are so many platforms and so many decisions to make! We’ll break them down for you here.

Social Media

Do a quick Google search for how many social media platforms there are, and it will send you down a rabbit hole. One article talks about the “103+ social media sites you need to know in 2021” (and we’ll admit we spent far too much time reading about them!).

Research shows social media platforms are gaining 16 new users per second. And the list of social media platforms is huge.

Here’s the deal – you don’t need to be on every platform – it would be impossible! Pick the best ones for your ideal client, and your service area. If you’re a big, national company, you’ll think differently about social media platforms than a local Main Street type business. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Facebook: Facebook by far has the greatest reach, with 2.6 billion (with a B) monthly users. Facebook’s audience skews older, so if you’re selling your products or services to Gen Z and Millennials, you won’t find them on Facebook so much. Facebook is great for B2C (business to consumer) advertising and is great for having dialog with your audience.
  • Instagram: the fastest moving for growth, and the place where Gen Z and Millennials hang out. Also good for search by use of hashtags. Instagram has 1.16 billion monthly users, and really works well with visually appealing content.
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn is great for B2B (business to business) interaction. LinkedIn is great for content marketing as it allows you to post longform content to your page, as well as join relevant groups where you can establish expertise with your content and conversational engagement.
  • YouTube: 2 billion monthly users, often called the second largest search engine after Google. Video content on YouTube should be high quality and engaging.
  • Pinterest: Pinterest is unique in that content on the platform has already been vetted by users since it’s users who upload much of the content. Brands can create direct links for sales on the platform which is pretty cool. This is also a highly visual platform, and users spend a lot of time gathering information into themed digital bulletin boards.
  • Twitter: Twitter is all about trending topics and conversations. You really have to participate on Twitter for it to pan out. It has fewer users than other platforms (330 million monthly users) but they are highly engaged.
  • WhatsApp: WhatsApp has a wide audience – 2 billion people use it regularly as a personal communication platform that businesses can use to direct message customers, handle customer service issues or answer product questions. It’s changing more traditional promotional messaging to conversational commerce.
  • Tik Tok: Totally fun, totally young audience. It’s a newish platform, so the jury is still out on brand success stories, especially for local brands.

Digital ads

Digital marketing encompasses a lot of things – social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), email marketing, digital advertising and content marketing. For simplicity’s sake, we’re going to talk about digital ads, because to talk about digital marketing as a whole would take us forever. It’s a career path, not something you can pick up overnight.

The best bang for your buck as a small business owner is most likely Facebook and Instagram ads. You’ll need to set up a Facebook Business Manager account and build your ads in your Ads Manager, and you can already see it’s a bit complex. But it works, so it’s worth spending some time going through Facebook’s many tutorials on the process to place your ads.

Also – you can boost events and posts, which is adding a dollar amount you want to spend, choose your target audience, and voila! you have an ad. You may want to start there and see how it goes.

You can also look at Google ads and Google Display Ads. Google offers free training for how to do this, and like all things digital, it can be complicated. Don’t give up!

Digital ads are great because if you set them up correctly, you can track your return on investment.

If you’ve got some money to spend, you can hire an agency to manage your digital ads. You’ll spend less of your time and probably get better results by letting the experts handle it, while you go do what you do best – run your business. (See why our client, Feeding Pets of the Homeless, decided to go agency vs. in-house with their marketing.)

Email marketing

Email marketing is considered part of digital marketing, and the best email marketing campaigns should be a tactic in your larger overall marketing strategy, which includes content from your website or blog, digital advertising, and social media. Done well, email marketing can net $40 to every single dollar you spend.

Here’s the caveat though – without a strategic plan, you’ll end up spamming people with email and turning them off. Be thoughtful in your approach and you’ll do well!

P.S. – Here’s a pro tip to optimize your emails we learned from our friends at Constant Contact, an email marketing platform. Use photos in your emails and link the photos to whatever product it is you’re selling. People are accustomed to clicking on images, so give them another chance to click on your product link!

Paid ads – print and broadcast

Rumor has it that print ads are ineffective. We find that to be untrue, especially in local markets. If you’re selling to the 40 and up crowd, many of them will still read the newspaper. Those 55 and up will most likely read the local paper because they tend to be less digitally savvy and often don’t use social media.

Broadcast ads are also good for local businesses who want to reach a broad swipe of the population. Broadcast ads are expensive, and they are harder to track for return on investment, so you’re kind of going on a wing and a prayer that it’ll work. Broadcast ads can be inconsistent in when they run, so let your ad rep help you choose the best timing and programming for your target audience.

Direct mail

Direct mail is NOT dead. There. We said it. Some products and services do really well with the direct mail crowd, especially when it’s not an election year when people’s mailboxes are stuffed with campaign material.

Your local print shop can help you with mailing lists and designing your mailers. Use a coupon or a code people have to redeem so you can track your return on investment.

Return on Investment

No matter what you choose to do, it will take you a while to see a return on your investment. If you’re just starting out with any of these options, give yourself three months or so to start seeing patterns in your marketing reach. If you have access to your website’s Google Analytics and you can find your way around Facebook and the other platforms’ insights pages, you’ll be able to see what works and what doesn’t as far as the kind of content you’re using.

We’ve laid out some great tips on the kinds of things you’ll want to measure to ensure your success. Read The 3 KPIs to Measure Business Strategy and 5 Digital Analytics that Matter Most to Your Business in 2021 to get a feel for what you should be looking at to gauge your marketing performance.

You gotta have a plan to interact with your ideal client

We’ve given you a lot to think about. We strongly encourage you to think through all of the research you did in coming up with your ideal client profile and customer personas, and then lay out a strategy for how to build and use content across all of these platforms.

Need some help? Visit us at the Adams Hub in Carson City for Monday Marketing Mentors, Mondays from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Call for an appointment at 775-222-0001.

Or talk to us about our Marketing Manager Certification course coming soon. We’ll teach you the ways of small business marketing so that you or your team can learn to be marketing pros.

And, if you just don’t have the bandwidth to do it all yourself, we’re here for you.