January 19, 2016
In the reader survey I posted in December, many of you commented that you’d like to see more marketing articles that you can use as you grow your business. Sounds good – so let’s get started with the first marketing article for 2016. Can you answer this question: How are your customers finding you?
Before you can decide how to spend your time and money when it comes to marketing, you need to have a very clear understanding of how your customers today are finding you. If/when you interact directly with your customers, do you ask them how they found you and how they choose to keep in touch with you? If you have a website (which hopefully you all do even if you’re not selling products online), when was the last time you looked at your web traffic to see what sites were referring visitors to you? The answer may surprise you!
Too often, food entrepreneurs put their time and energy towards the marketing channels that interest them personally the most. You love being on Facebook so you put all your business energy towards maintaining your business’ Facebook page as well. That makes sense from a psychology standpoint – we humans like to believe that how we act is indicative of how everyone acts so if you love Facebook then so too should your customers, right? Not to mention that you’re probably drawn most to those marketing channels/social media tools that you’re most comfortable using.
But if your customers aren’t on those channels then everything you’re doing is for naught. I was personally really surprised to look at my web stats recently and realize how much traffic Pinterest drives to my site. It’s one of the top referrers of unique viewers. It was interesting because while I do love to spend time on Pinterest from a personal standpoint, I haven’t invested too much business energy on the site for a variety of reasons. After seeing these stats, I’ve changed my tune and reallocated my focus.
Over the course of this year we’re going to spend more time talking about marketing and it can be incredibly tempting to try and do ‘everything.’ But as a small food entrepreneur, the hard reality is that you don’t have the bandwidth, the time, or the capital to do everything well. Instead, your homework this week is to do the research to understand where your customers are coming from and then commit to really building out that channel in 2016. That may mean you have to miss some other marketing opportunities elsewhere, but it is far better – in both the long and short term – to narrow your focus to one main channel and devote your time to doing everything you can to build a loyal customer base there.
Postscript: I want to thank everyone who took the time to share their thoughts/ideas/feedback via the anonymous survey. Without a doubt, your insight will help guide this site in the coming year through the types (and topics) of posts & podcasts we share and the continued upgrades we plan to make to the this site. I can’t thank you enough.