Growing Your Audience to Grow Your Business

An e-commerce expert shares some key techniques for expanding your online reach.

Whether you have an established online marketplace or are just beginning to use digital tools to grow your business, here are tips from Christina Throndson, director of business development, VGM Forbin.

Know your audience. There are many digital tools to use, such as online advertising and social media, that let you target specific groups of people. But this won’t help unless you know your target market. You might not want to talk to everyone in the United States about buying CPAP products because the tools let you target exactly who’s interested and who’s already been researching CPAPs. People with sleep apnea are more likely to be clients of yours than someone who doesn’t have related issues. Or maybe you sell mastectomy products. You don’t need to advertise to every woman — just those with the need. So spend your target dollars carefully by knowing your audience behavior and reaching only those who need your services.

Live inside your customers’ shoes. This sounds easy but it can be very difficult to walk your customers’ walk. First, get an idea of how comfortable your customers are with technology. Then, create your own online goals: Do you want to drive business to your brick and mortar? Do you want customers to call you when they see something on your website or instantly purchase it? Oftentimes you may assume you know what your customers are doing. Take the time to see their perspective of the experience. You also have to know what is top of mind so you can capture interest using social media content. This can be product news or something talked about in a newspaper editorial. For example, let’s say that there’s a trending topic on something that’s related to one of your products. Maybe people are caught up doing something trendy that is causing back pain. In response, you should be supplying them helpful information that draws them into your store or onto your website to view products that can help.

Use your data. What data are you collecting that can help you market to new and established customers? How can you use what you know to help your customers? For example, are you creating a FAQ that helps them better understand your products? Educating your customers is a sure way to be known as an expert in your marketplace. But don’t forget to track that content to see what works and what doesn’t.

Be mobile friendly. Whether researching product information or finding your store hours, customers are reaching for their mobile phones as part of the sales process. If the information they seek isn’t easily found, they will go elsewhere. Soon, Google’s algorithm for organic search will be weighted more heavily on whether your website is mobile friendly.

This article originally appeared in the November 2017 issue of HME Business.

About the Author

Joseph Duffy is a freelance writer and marketing consultant, and a regular contributor to HME Business and DME Pharmacy. He can be reached via e-mail at

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