Oyindamola Olofinlua

Trying to Sell Something? Read This!

Recently, an employee of a health management firm, whose clients are mostly older folks, sought my opinion on placing an advert on a newly created website about love and relationships for teenagers. The primary audience of this website was obvious enough from its theme and content. My responses were in the negative. This experience is what, in fact, led me to write this.

Before you commence marketing, whether you want to extend your market share (the number of people using your product and/or service) or mind-share (the extent to which people are aware of your existence and what you do) or you want to do both, it is important that you do some findings so that you do not end up pouring water into a basket. Don’t be in a hurry to do something.

First, do some thinking. Some of the solutions to your challenges reside in answering some basic questions.

Clearly identify your objectives

At the end of the campaign, what, exactly, do you want to achieve? For instance, do you want to sell 10,000 products (of a particular brand) over a period of 6 months, or increase product inquiries by 25% within 12 weeks? You must know your current numbers. Note that it is not enough to know what you want to do, you should have a timeline within which you want to achieve it. Ensure your objectives are not ambiguous but are instead specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. In fact, I recommend that you spell them out in black and white. This would enable you to question your decisions even further.

Really, what do you have to offer?

Now that you know what you want to achieve, what are you offering? Why should anyone patronise you and not your competitors? Who are your competitors? What edge do you have over them? What are their weaknesses? What are yours? If it’s a new product or a re-launch, what are the minimum market expectations? Do you meet them? You should be able to answer these questions convincingly. In these questions lie some of the most cogent elements of your marketing efforts, including how you should position for the market.

Identify your target audience

Who is your product or service meant for? Students in senior secondary schools? Their parents? Farmers? Book lovers? Open market traders? All artisans or carpenters in particular? It is often recommended to drill down to the detail of who they are, so profile them. This will help you tailor your marketing to them. While it may sometimes be tough to break them down comprehensively, you could also consider distinguishing them based on the attribute they share. This would determine the kind of content you create. It is also almost impossible to speak to everyone convincingly at the same time, so you should consider grouping them into primary and secondary categories to help your focus. You can do a crash course in creating content to sell or engage a professional to help.

Speak to your target audience, not yourself

The lure to speak to one’s self is a trap that even professionals fall into. When creating content for your marketing purposes, the first thing you must do is to see yourself as those you target. Create content for them with that mind frame. Do not use terminologies, expressions, or scenarios your audience would find confusing or have to resort to Google to understand.  For instance, if want to sell to your audience in Oyingbo market, do not develop fliers full of long text in English. A recommendation by their market union might be more effective.

Go where they are

The biggest goof made in the scenario I gave, at the beginning of this article, is the inability to clearly know where their target audience is or the platform to explore to reach them. The only instance where you may consider placing your promotional content on a platform where your primary audience does not function is that a major bloc of influence will be played there. If the website earlier referenced was mainly visited by the grown-up children of these elderly people, it could have been an easy sell if the site attracts impressive traffic. While your audience might be in more than one place, you must identify the channel that would give you the most result with minimal spending and effort.

There must be a call to action

What do you want people to do when they come across your content? You should not just create content for the sake of doing so. Your marketing content has to deliberately make people do something – that is the call to action. Do you want them to buy immediately? Then tell them to do so. Do you want them to read more? Then lead then to a landing page where they can get all the details they need. Do you want them to call, text, or email you? Place your contact details there. Without this, your entire campaign might amount to a sheer waste of time.

These six points are the most essential for you as a small business owner or manager. Of course, there is yet a lot to learn. Start with a search online. If you are able to explore and implement these tips in your marketing efforts, you will be on your way to moving your business to the permanent site. Do you agree with me? Please share your thoughts.

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