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I’ve written a lot in the past about how to engage with and market to your audience across different channels: email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. But in order to have this audience to market to, your business needs to get found by the people interested in it. That’s why understanding the places your audience is searching for and finding your business is so important. Once you’re able to identify these places, you can optimize your marketing efforts and content to funnel those prospects into those marketing channels (your email list, Facebook Page, Twitter) to create a connection and have the opportunity to continue the conversation. It also helps identify new opportunities, so that you can put a plan together to reach customers on platforms you might not be using already.
Here are five ways to find out how customers are finding you:
1. Ask them
Most customers, especially happy ones, are willing to let you know how they ended up on your website or at your front door.
Ask for this information in the following ways:
- Encourage employees to ask when interacting with customers face-to-face.
- Give people the option to tell you where they found out about your business when making a purchase or registering for an event online.
- Create an online survey; send it to new email subscribers or share it with your social media audience.
Related: How to Use Surveys and Polls to Grow Your Business
2. Search for your business the way a prospective customer would
Start by searching for your business name on a search engine like Google or Bing to see where information about your business is already available online. Chances are the first page of results looks something like this:
- Your website/blog
- Facebook Page
- Other social networks
- Review sites like Yelp or Trip Advisor
- Online listing platforms like YellowPages, Google, Yahoo, and Urbanspoon
Next, try search terms you think could drive people to your business. For example, for a florist your search terms could look like this:
- Florists in [your town]
- Flower shop in [your town]
- Where to get flowers in [your town]
- Where to get [particular type of flowers/occasion flowers] in [your town]
Make a list of all the places your business is showing up. Also make sure to take note of places where your business isn’t currently listed but you think should be. Then you can make plans to have your business information published on those sites.
3. Set up Google Analytics
With Google Analytics, you can not only see which pages on your website are generating the most traffic, but can also see a breakdown of where the traffic is coming from. Are people finding you through search engines like Google? Are sites like Facebook or Twitter driving visits to your site? You can also see which devices your audience is using to access your site. This is a good way to see the impact of mobile on visitors to your site. In addition to insight into how people are getting to your website, Google Analytics also shows you the length of time people are spending on each page. This is all valuable information for helping you figure out how people are finding you and which resources they are using when researching your business.
4. Keep tabs on your social media audience
While not everyone who visits your Facebook Page or sees you on Twitter will become a fan or followers, keeping tabs on how these audiences are growing can provide insight into what platforms offer the biggest opportunity for your business. Look at how changes in your audience relate to your activity. If a particular piece of content is getting shared and resulting in a spike of new fans, you can incorporate similar content into our posting strategy in the future. Also, look to see how your interactions with different members of your network are impacting your fan and follower counts.
Related: Social Media Marketing Best Practices
5. Track your email list growth
If you’re using sign-up tools to grow your email list, you can easily track where people are signing up within your account. This allows you track your email list growth online. You can also see how people are joining your list offline as well. It’s important to make it as easy as possible for people to sign up to accelerate your email list growth and take you a step closer to attracting your next great customer.
Editor's note: Not using email marketing yet? Or not happy with your provider? BusinessknowHow.com uses and recommends Constant Contact. Try it free today.
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Ellen Williams, Constant Contact Regional Development Director, New York and Southern Connecticut
Ellen has over 20 years of technology and marketing experience and has presented to over 4,000 small businesses, nonprofits, and associations. Her advice on best practices help organizations understand how to build great customer relationships that inevitable grow their businesses.