Following your passion is always a good idea. If you have turned it into a business even better. But, what do you do if the hard work and passion that you’ve put into your business are not getting noticed? If you’re having trouble making your voice heard by your target audience then there are certain key questions that you can revisit before starting your next marketing campaign. By clarifying these five simple questions from the start your marketing messages are much more likely to reach their intended audience.

1) Know Yourself

If your marketing efforts are not as successful as you’d like them to be the best thing to do is to take a step back and do a little soul searching. Who are you? What is your vision? How are you improving lives? What do you want to accomplish? A lot of deep and broad questions, but if you can clarify these questions then building a marketing plan becomes much easier.

2) Know Your Audience. Analysis is Key.

Many businesses make the mistake of trying to sell their product or service to the wrong population. To have a successful marketing campaign you also need to get to know your audience. You can start by creating one or more marketing personas. Marketing personas are fictional profiles of your ideal customers. What would the specific needs of this fictional client be? The client’s needs would then become the basis of all of your marketing efforts.

Based on this, and on the particular demographic of your target audience, you can then select the most appropriate marketing channels. For example, if your persona is a millennial then it is very likely that she or he has a more casual approach to interacting with potential clients. They are also more likely to be communicating through Instagram than with Facebook. So depending on your persona, the tone of your marketing content, and the particular social platform that you choose to broadcast this content changes . . . and, so does the success of your marketing campaign.

3) Observe and Re-observe the Environment

As a business person, change is the one thing that you can be sure to expect. Every few years new customer trends and technologies make their appearance. To remain competitive you need to be aware of these new trends, and, to some extent, make use of the new technologies. With an open mind, and a flexible marketing strategy, you can eventually develop an ability to foresee the next trends, and to play around with value propositions and branding as needed.

4) Be Creative With Your Branding . . . to a Point

A common thread in the midst of these marketing changes is that people generally place more of their immediate attention on things that stand out from the norm. On the other hand, if your next ad campaign or website redesign is vastly different from current industry expectations then you run the risk of confusing your potential customers.

The ideal would be to hone your skills in thinking outside of the box, while participating in the shared vision of the box as the standard place of reference. In the majority of cases you’ll probably want to avoid approaching your next marketing plan by throwing away the box, and thinking outside of the dodecahedron, simply because most people will not have the time or interest to figure out what a dodecahedron is! It may not happen overnight, but if you can develop this skill of being somewhat different, yet somewhat familiar, then your chances of developing a strong following will be much greater.

5) The 80/20 Relationship

A basic marketing rule is that 80 percent of your revenue comes from 20 percent of your customers. It’s important to develop authentic client relationships. This results in greater customer loyalty. Based on this principle, the time and money that you invest on existing customers will be more profitable than the same time and money spent in trying gain new customers. Keeping a loyal customer is way easier and less costly than trying to gain a new one. The best business owners will work hard to make their customers feel special, and wanted. The more you genuinely try to understand and serve them, the more they will connect with you, and your product or service.

Some food for thought…

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