No matter the size of your business, finding your audience is key to your business’s success.
We sat down with Chamber member Mike Black, founder of Inciting Marketing Solutions, to learn how digital marketing can connect businesses with their audience.
TCB: Tell me about the work of Inciting Marketing Solutions and how the company got started.
Mike Black: I founded the company in late 2013. I had been working as supervisor for a team of therapists for the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado’s School of Medicine when my wife started a small business teaching Chinese to adults in 2008 and asked me to learn how to do the marketing for her business. I found that I really enjoyed it and that it used the same psychology of change that I used at work every day. I started Inciting Marketing and haven’t looked back.
TCB: Digital marketing has transformed the way businesses can connect with their audience over the last decade. What advice do you give to clients who aren’t sure how to navigate digital marketing?
MB: Marketing and business start with people who have a problem. First, spend time learning about two things: the people and businesses who have problems you can solve and the abilities of the different marketing platforms. When you understand your audience, you’ll learn where to market your small business. Second, develop a strategy to grow awareness, develop and nurture business relationships, close business and earn referrals from current customers.
TCB: If a client doesn’t have a big marketing budget, how can companies reach their customers?
MB: Find networking groups, like the Chamber, where your best clients are spending time. Start by developing a network of trusted connections and explaining the kinds of problems they can solve. Be very strategic – focus on building awareness and staying in front of potential clients in a way that is helpful, not salesy.
TCB: Why is it crucial for businesses of any size to understand their audience before they use digital marketing?
MB: The best businesses start with an idea that solves a problem. However, this is only a start. These ideas and the business itself both need to evolve based on feedback, and one of the best ways to get feedback is having a close connection with an audience.
TCB: What marketing trends should we pay attention to in 2017?
MB: Mobile marketing will continue to grow. If your website is not mobile friendly and fast, you need to fix that now. If you aren’t sure about your website, use this free tool from Google. You’ll get a nice report with pointers on where to start.
We were recently selected for a special program by Google; we now work with a team at Google that provides both sales and technical support. It’s pretty nice to have someone from Google on a sales call, but the real value has been for our customers.
TCB: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in business?
MB: That I can’t do it all today. I love building my business and improving the services and results we provide customers. I have to force myself to slow down, develop a strategic plan, schedule each step and then start implementing. Getting it right always takes more time than I think it will.
TCB: Why do you love doing business in Colorado?
MB: What’s not to love? Colorado has a diverse population of interesting people, great outdoor activities (that I should participate in far more often!) and a wonderful business environment. Because the state draws in young, talented people, we get the opportunity to hire great employees.
Laura James is the marketing and communications coordinator for the Denver Metro Chamber.