I own a small business that I started from my college dorm room. The business revolves around an app that I built, and the target market is other college students and high school students who are about to start college. I started it for fun and to practice writing some code. However, the business has really taken off, and the app has gotten amazing feedback from my user base. What I am looking to do now is to expand outside of my university, but I don’t know much about marketing or advertising. How do you think I can promote an app that targets college students?
Congratulations on building a great business venture. You are an example to follow. Keep up the hard work and innovative spirit. Remember that small businesses are the backbone of the economy and that, according to the Small Business Administration, most of the jobs created in 2017 originate from small enterprises. Therefore, what you are doing is much bigger than your college dorm and has the potential to generate an impact. Now, let’s see how we can expand that market reach.
Understanding a Product’s Customer Base
The basic premise of marketing is to reach, maintain, and satisfy a customer. Many businesses wrongly focus on the aspect of reaching or obtaining a customer; however, marketing goes well beyond that. The reason is simple: if you reach a customer but cannot satisfy the demand or maintain the customer, then the transaction is either incomplete or non-existent. To market, a business needs to understand who their customer is. Otherwise, targeting a specific customer is more difficult and costlier. The more you know your customer, the easier it will be to fulfill the needs of the customer.
From what we’ve read, you have a relatively good understanding of your target audience. The idea now is to move from your immediate area and target the same type of customer–but in a different location. This is often easier than changing your customer niche, given that your niche has similar characteristics. The main difference will tend to be geographical location. However, understanding the characteristics of your niche market is critical to be successful. Mostly, the characteristics of your audience allow you to be specific in your targeting. When promoting items using Google AdWords, Facebook, and Instagram, such information will decrease the cost of ads as the audience will be smaller. However, this is not a bad thing. Your conversion rates will be higher because the audience relates to the message.
With the description of the customer well-defined, you are now ready to market. We would recommend starting campaigns with Facebook . This will immediately give you access to Instagram as well. Start the process by creating a Facebook page. Publish videos, pictures, and information about your product. Build a following using your existing customer base and your current Facebook friends. Afterward, you can push to expand your followers while also promoting your product to people with shared interests.
Once you are comfortable with Facebook and your business is starting to see results, you can get more creative and ad campaigns using Google AdWords. However, Facebook will provide a vast amount of resources where you will have the ability to focus on individuals who your message resonates with. For example, you can target college students within a certain geographical region with shared interests. Your ads will then be placed strategically to be seen by potential customers that fit the criteria that you selected. The best part is that the budget needed is lower than any other proven technique. We have seen budgets as low as $100.00 a month. As you see results, the budget can be expanded.
Once you have a decent following, you can expand your methods. In particular, you want to focus on your brand. One major way to market–and to retain clients–is through merchandising and promotional materials. A 2012 study indicated that 94% of consumers who received a promotional gift from a company do not forget the advertiser or the product being marketed. Start setting up a booth at local festivals or sponsor a local event and start handing out free stuff! Premier Glow sells novelty items and promotional gear that you can either use to build brand awareness by customizing items to include your logo and company information or by simply attracting customers to you. Even a non-logoed pair of flashing glasses or a light-up fidget spinners will draw customers to you and let you make your mark in a fun and unique way.
Small businesses are critical to the American economy. Organizations with less than 20 employees and revenues of less than one million dollars a year generate 60 to 80 percent of new jobs. Therefore, helping entrepreneurs like you is important. Seek assistance from the Small Business Administration and other organizations that specialize in small business. Lastly, keep up the excellent work, and continue the innovative spirit that makes this country great.
“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.” — Thomas Edison