Spending thousands of dollars on thoughtful advertising and promotional tools could prove fruitless for your business if you don’t target the right audience. Unfortunately, many small companies take an overly simplistic approach to their digital marketing efforts. “If you build it, they will come” is a nice movie quote, but it has next to no relevance for online marketers. Instead of spinning your metaphorical wheels trying to gain traction on the web with no results, use the following keys to effectively reach your target audience.

Meet Consumers Where They Gather

Before spending countless hours building a thoughtful social presence for your business, take the time to research consumer trends online. For example, are you aware that 53% of adults aged 18-29 use Instagram? On the other hand, Pinterest is overwhelmingly dominated by female users.

Just like different social groups find their own meeting spots in the real world, digital users congregate in a wide assortment of destinations. Spend some time learning where your target audience interacts on the web, and join the conversation to maximize your marketing efforts.

Spark the Right Discussion

Engaging with users is a buzzword for marketing experts because it represents one of the most powerful tools available for modern businesses. Consumers who interact with brands online are more likely to make a purchase, but it’s important to start the right discussion. Blogging and content creation is one accessible means of sparking a conversation with your audience members, but you need to think thoughtfully about what your audience wants to read.

If you’re feeling stumped, use a tool like Google Keyword Planner to find relevant keywords. You can also search the web for the most influential blogs in your niche. If possible, consider building partnerships with these entities, who can send traffic and readers your direction. Organize a giveaway, cross promote, or author a guest blog to reach those elusive readers.

Choose Targeted Ads

If you’re ready to take your marketing prowess to the next level, consider using targeted digital ads to increase your footprint on the web. Most web-based advertising publishers allow you to carefully outline which consumers you want to target. Google is perhaps the best-known advertising channel on the internet, with its trailblazing AdWords product, but don’t overlook smaller networks. You can also consider advertising on social platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Connecting with the right audience is no simple feat, but don’t be discouraged by a lack of progress. Just like building a social circle takes time when you move to a new city, you’ll need to spend some time cultivating your business following on the web. With diligent, continual effort on your part, you should manage to reach your target audience and grow your business over time.