One of the long standing arguments in business is whether to use the shotgun or rifle approach in marketing.
Shotgun approach typically involves reaching as many people as you can, such as mass marketing through TV, Cable and radio. On the Web, it means doing a lot of advertising from banners to text ads in as many websites as you can, even using high traffic portals such as Yahoo, in order to get enough eyeballs that will hopefully turn into sales.
On the other hand, rifle marketing involves targeting your audience more closely. Instead of mass advertising, you identify the publications that attract the demographics that are likely to be interested in your products. You do direct mail where you can better pinpoint your market.
Both approaches have their benefits. However, in my opinion, rifle marketing is better suited for resource-challenged small and home-based businesses. Carefully targeting your market is a better use of your limited resources so you get more bang for your buck. Small businesses cannot always afford to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in marketing expenses that yield no immediate results.
Take for example a web design business.
You can definitely stand in the middle of the mall (or in the parking lot) and hand out flyers and coupons. The problem is that out of 500 flyers you’ve printed, how many of the recipients of these flyers are actually looking for a web designer? Chances are you may have wasted your money making all those flyers if majority of them, if not all of them, end up in the trash.
You need to adopt a rifle approach so you can target precisely those who are most likely to be interested in getting your services. To do this, you first need to identify who your target audiences are, and then and only then should you start figuring out how to market to them.
TARGET AUDIENCE: Small and home-based business owners
- Get a list of small businesses in your locality and then contact them through direct mail or call them
- Put up a website and get your site visible to sites that attract small and home-based business owners. You can write articles on how important it is to have a good website, how you can create a great website, how sales is dependent on having a website that works.
- Network, network and network. Attend chamber of commerce meetings, or even Meetup.com’s small business owners and home business owners groups — these places are filled with your target market. Get to know them, introduce yourself to them and let them know that you are available to create their websites.
Do the same exercise for other target audiences you have in mind.
The goal is to find the best approach that will help you stretch your marketing dollars while maximizing the results of your marketing campaign.