- 91% of consumers are more likely to buy from brands that personalize their outreach
- 72% of consumers only engage with marketing that is geared toward their interests
When you take the time as a brand-new small online business to learn about your audience, you can offer that kind of appealing personalized content from the get-go.
Identify your audience
If you have customers already, you can use their data to create a preliminary audience profile. Useful data points include:
- Age range
- Family status
- Spending patterns
How you collect this information is up to you. Some new businesses like to go directly to their customers and survey them. For other companies, it makes more sense to draw from social media marketing and use the analytics tools on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Don’t have a customer base yet? No problem—you can learn a lot about your customers just by analyzing your product or service offering and your target market. If you’re launching a city bike-share startup, for example, you can safely assume that your audience includes physically fit urban dwellers. With this idea in mind, take a look within your network to find people who match that persona and ask them to participate in your market research.
Create your website
Especially for an online small business, building a website that’s visually pleasing and easy-to-navigate is crucial. Keep in mind the kind of customers you’re trying to attract and what they want in an online experience. Should the tone be more relatable or informational? Are they mostly doing research online or will they want to order products directly from your site? If you already have an existing e-commerce website, be sure to connect your store to Mailchimp to maximize your marketing.
Think about your customers’ needs while planning and designing your new site—this inherently leads to effective search engine optimization (SEO). When you know more about your audience, you can create the content they’re looking for, driving traffic and conversions. The first step is to use the right keywords to improve your site’s search engine rankings and get your brand in front of the right audience.
For example, if you're selling women's clothing, your customers might be looking for you by entering phrases like "fashion retail" or "women's blouses." Adding these keywords strategically to your content may improve your ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs) and broaden your audience. Google’s keyword planner will help you find the right words to use.
Choose a relevant domain name
For your customers to find you online, you first need a domain name. When you buy a domain name, you want it to be memorable for your customers. It should be as close to your company name as possible—an exact name if possible, or a logical approximation if your business name is already taken as a domain.
For example, you might be the only Rick’s Pizza in your town, but someone in another state has already registered rickspizza.com. Not to worry—you can pick something like rickspizzaboston.com or rickspizzarestaurant.com and customers will still be able to find you.
It’s also good to get some of your keywords into your URL. Using a keyword in the domain name can help a site to rank, but it’s not strictly necessary, so don’t force it if it doesn’t fit naturally.
Save money by building your own website
Web design can be expensive—up to $10,000 even for an online small business. You’ll save a lot by using a tool like Mailchimp's website builder that lets you customize and update your website. If you need to get your business and start selling online quickly, consider creating some shoppable landing pages so you can get started selling and building an audience while you're creating your website.
On all of your landing pages, including your home page, you’ll want to create engaging content that will help your site rank in SEO. Follow SEO best practices, such as hyperlinking to other landing pages on your home page. Remember to use Google’s keyword planner so your site will appear in front of the right audiences.
What to avoid
Avoid building your website and forgetting it. Your site is your online storefront, and it needs to be in good shape. Once a month, check on what pages are doing well—driving sales, getting email list sign ups, etc.—and which are causing people to bounce.
You can get a lot of this information using Mailchimp's data and analytics tools. On your personalized audience dashboard, you can find out who has engaged with your content, what they've seen, and whether they've bought. With that information, you can refine your pages so they resonate with audiences.
Avoid testing your website on desktop only. Your customers are more likely to find you on mobile, and 88% of them won’t come back if they have a bad experience. That means your site needs to be tested and optimized for mobile use.