As small business owners face stiff odds and ever-increasing competition, seeking effective strategies for ensuring their business success can become a frantic search. Many businesses don’t make it past the four-year mark — in fact, according to SmallBizTrends.com, more than 50% of all businesses fail in their first four years of existence.
How, as a business owner or entrepreneur, do you surmount these chilling odds and work to secure the best chance of success for your endeavor?
All other factors aside, at the heart of every successful business venture is a happy customer base. To develop a healthy and engaged customer base, you must start by engaging an audience of prospective customers. The trail to business success is littered with business ventures that failed to capture their audience’s attention and thus never converted bystanders into paying consumers.
So how can you effectively engage with your target audience and convert them into life-long customers? Read on to find out.
Study What Your Competition Isn’t Doing
A first step to beating any competitor is knowing its game plan. Entrepreneur.com suggests studying competitors’ methods of customer engagement and acquisition. Explore their social media offerings, look at how their websites work, observe how their locations look and function, and talk to their customers.
Understanding their customer engagement methods will not only give you a market-tested set of strategies that you can employ but will also enable you to identify the channels and communities those efforts are currently missing.
Find out where your competition doesn’t yet have a strong presence. Have they missed neighborhoods, community figures, online communities, geographical regions, or engagement methods where new potential customers exist? Pursue those uncanvassed audiences with a passion.
Communicate Via Social Media
Today’s hyper-connected world allows for businesses to engage their target audiences like never before. Historically, communication with anyone who wasn’t in your immediate vicinity and thus accessible face-to-face was difficult, slow, or impossible. However, today’s technology has completely changed the communication landscape.
One of the leading communications institutions has noted that the landscape has turned almost entirely digital, saying, “Today, a large portion of interpersonal communication occurs instantaneously online through emails or multimedia content hosted online.”
Because audiences in virtually every industry are increasing their use of social media and online communication at steady rates, businesses that want to engage their target audiences must develop effective online communication strategies.
Study Data & Refine
Don’t be a business owner that assumes his or her marketing efforts are reaching the right audiences. Making data-driven improvements is a critical part of any successful business strategy. Find ways to measure your performance. Continually make adjustments and experiment until you’ve found the right approach and can be confident in your audience engagement efforts.
A strong method of measuring the effectiveness of your audience connection strategies is to monitor engagement levels with your social media channels. Many social media platforms provide helpful tools to pull back the curtain and see exactly who you are engaging with your marketing messages.
You may be able to explore the demographics of your social media audiences, uncover statistics about which of your posts and messages gained the most traction or produced the most new followers, and even send targeted surveys or messages to key audience members just by exploring the tools available to you.
Have Engaged Employees
It’s important to prioritize effective engagement with your consumers. However, many businesses forget that their employees ultimately determine their success or failure. If your employees are engaged and excited about their work, their passion will shine through to your target audience.
As a business owner, the steps you take to provide a supportive and developmental environment for your employees will result in better performance, a higher adherence to your organization’s goals, and a lower turnover rate. If you prioritize investing in your employees, not only will your business benefit immensely over time, but your audience will perceive the vitality of your business and respond accordingly.
Employing these strategies will help your business more effectively identify and engage your target audience. Finding the right customer base and effectively engaging them could arguably be the most critical component of any successful business. As a small business owner, prioritizing effective connection with your target audience will boost your chances of lasting success.
George Washington University
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