This month on the blog we’ll be dipping our toes into the topic of paid promotion for your small business. A popular marketing strategy for many established businesses, paid promotion seems to daunt entrepreneurs who may feel that they can’t afford it, don’t understand it, or aren’t ready for it.

That’s why we’re going to break it down and take it step by step over the next few weeks to help you get more comfortable with all the various avenues of paid promotion.

The first step? Identifying the audience you want to target with your efforts. There are certainly some situations in marketing when it’s a good idea to cast a wide net, however paid promotion is not one of them. When you’re working with your limited resources, you want to be as focused as possible on the audience that is most likely to return your investment.

I talked about this process of finding your target market last year in an article I wrote over on the Webs small business blog:

First, let’s think about who these people are. What kind of lifestyle do they live? Once you figure that out, it will be easy to think about what is important and valuable to them…and hopefully it’s something that your product or service can provide better than anyone else.

Next, ask yourself where you can find them. Attitudes can vary greatly across specific demographics, depending on the value that your product addresses. Does it appeal to women of all ages? Or to teenagers of any gender? Age, gender, geographic location, marital status, income, and level of education are all important factors to consider.

Finally, figure out what they need. Once you know who your audience is in general, think about their day-to-day life and what they need. What could make their lives easier, or more enjoyable? Talk to them on those terms.

Once you’ve done these three things, sit down and write a customer profile, or several profiles if your product appeals to a number of groups. It might seem like an unnecessary step, but having a hypothetical person to market to can give you some powerful insights that a nebulous group of ideas might not.

Feeling empowered yet? Okay maybe not right now, but once you get your customer profiles down on paper, you’ll be surprised how ready to feel to get your message out to them! Give it a go and let us know how you do in the comments below.

About the Author: Sarah Matista is the Online Content Specialist and resident blogger at Pagemodo. Loves social media, branding, whales. Get more from Sarah on Pagemodo’s Blog and Google+.

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