Dude, Our Market Isn’t Online, uh oh.

My partner and I have been working hard on ways to grow our customer base at FreshySites. We have done very well and surpassed expectation for our first 4-5 months in business but of course, we are looking to grow even more. We had a heart-to-heart the other day when we were looking over our, to be completely honest, haphazard marketing program. For these first few months we have done the following:

  • Used our current “real life” networks to spread the message about our new company
  • Used social media to spread the message about our new company to current friends
  • Posted 3-5 articles per week to our web design blog
  • Did some solid on-page Search Engine Optimization work on our site

Really that’s pretty much all we have done and it has not been what I would call “systematic.” This is netting us around 8-10 new leads per month which is translating into about 4-5 new website projects per month. Like I said, not too bad, but also not a rate we are satisfied with.

Where is our market?

It seems almost silly for us to have to remember to do this, but we decided to talk about who are market is and where they hang out. Being very web-centric kind of dudes we spend most of our time online, doing work, reading articles, following “tweeps” (lol?).

But about 1-2 minutes into the conversation Vince and I realized that our target market does like… none, of these things. Our target market is 35+ yr old small business owners who are too busy to spend time trying to build their own website but also don’t want (or need) to pay a company thousands of dollars to do it for them. Our target market needs something simple and turn-key, something reliable and that won’t set them back in terms of time or money. Our target market reads paper books and might even read the real physical paper version of the newspaper. Our target market is for sure not on twitter and might have a facebook page but isn’t quite sure how to use it or why they should. Maybe the best realization we came to is that our target market is absolutely HUGE.

Turn this ship around captain

So once we we’re totally honest about who our target market is, where they hang out and what they look like it was very obvious to us that the majority of time we were spending on the above “marketing activities” was focused in the wrong direction. Our target market is certainly not reading our company’s blog, they are def not following us on twitter and they are most likely not seeing our updates on facebook.

Insert huge sigh here

Our problem is that these are the areas that we know how to market in. These are the exact types of marketing that we consult on. To remove the idea of blogging as a central piece of a marketing program completely blows my mind.

So what now?

Now we have to go back to learning. Learning how to execute a marketing program in the brick and mortar world that our potential customers live in. Learning what that kind of a marketing program even looks like. Here are some ideas we have come up with so far:

  • Networking our faces off. Meeting new people as much as we can, whenever we can
  • Brick and mortar advertising – newspapers, billboards, etc
  • Getting an office space in a high traffic area
  • Getting a company car and wrapping it with our brand and marketing message
  • Meeting with advisors and other professionals who have succeeded in this marketing space

It’s very exciting in it’s own (mad men kind of) way. I’m excited to think that one of the major pieces of the new marketing program will be networking and getting to know more people in the local community. This has always been a really fun part of the job for me, sure you run into some people who aren’t so nice and aren’t good customers, but there are also ones who are amazing and you become really good friends with. I will keep you updated as our marketing program unfolds and takes shape, hopefully there are some online-schooled marketers out there who can learn a thing or two about real-world marketing as I do the same.

Ben Giordano

By Ben Giordano, co-founder of FreshySites. Ben also blogs at bengiordano.com and you can follow him on Google+ and Twitter.

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2 responses to “Dude, Our Market Isn’t Online, uh oh.”

  1. Brian Yang

    Hey Ben, not only is this case analysis good for yourself, but its good when you are consulting for other companies. Sometimes their market just isn’t going to be searching for their products or services on search engines. Sometimes they’ll need social media, other times not.

    Anyways, networking will always be key, in all situations. Good ol’ fashion handshaking and building real relationships.

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