The Internet is a truly amazing resource for finding anyone, anywhere, anytime -- so why isn't your business meeting up with more buyers on the "Information Superhighway?" The sheer glut of competing data can actually make it harder to flag down your target market online, unless you know how to play to their specific needs and interests as visibly as possible. Here are some steps you can take to find and connect with your clientele.
Develop Your Buyer Persona
Before you can find buyers online, you need to know who that ideal buyer is -- and to do that, you'll want to create a buyer persona. A buyer persona is a fictional ideal buyer laid out in detail, from job description and age group to specific work goals and challenges.
Gather as much data from your existing customer base as you can to form this composite character. You can automate this data-gathering process going forward by creating an information form for each new customer to fill out. The details they submit will enable you to continue refining your buyer persona over time.
Be Where That Buyer Is
Once you know you your buyers are, you can figure out where they're likely to spend most of their time online. If your target buyer is an ambitious urban professional, for instance, there's a good chance you'll find that person spending a certain amount of time on career-related social media channels such as LinkedIn, possibly participating in specific groups related to their interests and affiliations. That means you'll want to post insightful blog articles, compelling news items about your company and other relevant information through your LinkedIn profile and in those same group discussions. If you're going after the 18-to-24 crowd, you'll want to make your presence known on Snapchat, where that demographic makes up 45 percent of the channel's traffic.
Put Targeted Ads in Front of Your Buyer
Another powerful way to find buyers online is to make use of pay-per-click (PPC) ads that will pop up on their web pages in response to keywords and key phrases that reflect their interests and Internet usage. First create an ad that you know will grab your ideal buyer's attention, then bid on certain keywords that your prospect is likely to use. Each time an interested party clicks on the ad, you pay the bid price. (You can set a daily budget to keep this expense under control.) It's a highly targeted form of marketing that can get you noticed and help you pull a prospective buyer out of the crowd.
Reel The Buyer Into Your Sales Funnel
Whatever strategy you employ to find buyers online, you need to take them on a journey once you've got their attention -- a journey through your online sales funnel. The wide end of the funnel is the entry platform, and it includes all the different ads, blog posts, links and social media interactions you've set out to attract your target audience. At this point you're solving problems, sharing tips and generally building your reputation and authority in your industry or field. You're also getting them intrigued about how your organization might provide deeper solutions to their needs, at which point they begin exploring your company website -- the middle of the funnel.
Compel the Buyer to Volunteer Contact Data
As they drill down deeper and deeper through your website, getting more and more specific in their search for what they need from you, it's up to you to facilitate this movement by providing increasingly detailed and specific content presented in an intuitive, user-friendly layout. Eventually they arrive at the exact product or service they want -- the bottom of the sales funnel. This is where you make your sales pitch, in the form of a high-energy, easy-to-ready landing page that concludes with the offer of a free e-book, coupon or other tempting item in exchange for their contact information. If they're ready to actually buy your product or service outright at this stage, so much the better.
Follow Up With Your Buyer (Constantly)
There's on old saying in the world of sales: "The fortune is in the followup." This holds just as true for online sales as it does for transactions in brick-and-mortar retail shops. Now that you've sent your buyers through the sales funnel and received their contact information, you're at liberty to send them periodic email offers, electronic newsletters and other followup pieces to keep your business at the top of their minds until they're ready to buy from you (or buy from you again).
For more information on boosting your customer base online, check out a company like Marketing Samurai, LLC.