Where are Your Customers? No, Really…


Monday, 21 July 2014 12:40
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My very first blog post here talked about my puzzlement at seeing a billboard for an online-only business. When I parsed it out, however, I realized that it was a brilliant move on their part. Their target market drives past that billboard every day – not just the general run-of-the-mill commuters, in this case, but people researching their options for moving to a 55-and-over community. So let me ask you a question now: where are YOUR customers?

No, I’m not trying to imply that your shop is empty. I’m asking you to think about what your customers do when they aren’t spending time with you. Do they like to go hunting? Camping? Play video games? Hang out with cosplayers at science fiction conventions? Haunt bookstores? Get together in small groups to work on craft projects?

Whatever they do, there is probably a place online where they talk about what they’re doing. And I have news for you: it may not be Facebook. Or if it is, you may have to dig a bit to find them. Facebook has a Groups function, and while you can build a community around your business page on the social media behemoth, you might also want to see if there are any other active groups focused on interests relevant to your field.

When you search for these groups, don’t limit your search to Facebook. You may well discover a number of communities that cater to exactly the kind of people who want what you’re selling. For example, if you run a yarn shop, you’ll want to check out Pinterest and Ravelry, for starters, but there are lots of online communities run by and for crafters. Look carefully, and you will find groups online that cater to just about any interest you can name.

Once you find these groups, you don’t want to come off as a salesperson; you need to be a REAL person who shares their interests. You will want to do more listening than talking, at least at first. You might even learn a few things. Are these community members interested in learning new skills? Maybe you could offer a class at your store. Are several of them having the same problem? Maybe you have some kind of insight you can share. Do they have an opinion on certain products? Pay attention and take note, as this could be money in your bank.

Finding the right online communities and approaching them appropriately can be tricky – and yet, it’s just another instance of being in the right place at the right time with the right message. That’s not just good SEO; it’s good business. Good luck!

Written By: Terri Wells – SEO