Yes, I know – if you could answer that, marketing your business would be a doddle. You’d be able to second guess precisely what they want, provide it for them and keep them happy forever.

That’s a nice dream but it will never be a reality.

The dilemma is that your products and services have to fit the needs of your customers – if they don’t, they won’t sell.

One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is to believe that their customers want what they want.

Let’s think about that for a second. I enjoy going to the gym, watching F1 and going out to dinner. So does that mean all my clients and indeed my friends like those things too? Probably not.

Your customers aren’t like you

However you market your business – through social media, website, brochures, networking etc. – if you base your activities on your beliefs rather than what your customers want, you could be in trouble.

To make your business a success you have to do some serious leg work and that means researching your market.

You have to find out:

  • What they want
  • What they’re willing to pay
  • Where they hang out (to find the optimum marketing avenue)

When thinking about your social media marketing strategy research is vital to work out where your customers are and what platform they use the most.

Common marketing mistakes

Let’s start by looking at B2B companies. It is often perceived that their customers don’t ‘hang out’ on social media platforms. Well if you think about, the vast majority of companies are using social media these days so, yes, they are there – you’ve just got to find them.

Do you use Facebook? If you do, when do you update your status? Many companies add stuff during the day but the problem is most fans won’t log in until the evening. So if you want to generate a buzz and get some participation going on your page, you must update when your fans are about.

One more think about using Facebook, if someone ‘likes’ your page that’s not the same as opting in for your marketing emails. If you start bombarding them with unsolicited emails you’re going to lose them as fans very quickly.

Research, research, research

It doesn’t matter what business you are in – IT, retail, telecoms, copywriting etc., you have to research your market to make sure your products and services match the needs of your target audience.

Don’t use guesswork – ask them or survey them and find out what they really want. Only then will your marketing hit the spot every time.