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EASY SMALL BIZ MARKETING – #4 Knowing Your Customers

January 8th, 2013

To increase the chances of success for your business you’ll need to find out about your existing and potential customers – also known as your Target Market. Of course you’ll need to know how to find and reach these customers. But also think about whether they need or want what you’re selling? What influences their buying decisions and what prices they are prepared to pay?

So have a think about who is likely to be interested in buying your product or service. You could start by thinking about your ideal customers and jotting down the answers to these questions:

What do you know about them?
Where can they be found?
What sort of thing matters to them?
What are they concerned about?
What do they need?
 

 

The answers to these questions will help you word any promotional messages more personally and effectively. Using our fictional luxury pet items online business, POSH PETS as an example, I might say:

My ideal customers are pet owners with significant income
Or pet owners with a special bond with their pet
Or someone looking for a special gift for a pet owner
They can be found at pet retailers and vets
They could be found at retailers of high quality or designer gifts & goods
They have internet access and shop online
Their relationship with their animal matters to them
Having high quality, fashionable and / or unique items are important to them
They are concerned that the item is good enough for the pet
They need the items to reflect well on them and not to look cheap or common.

 

The more specific you are, the better. I cannot say this loud enough: THE MORE SPECIFIC YOU ARE THE BETTER :-) Targeting your efforts at the “general public” is too vague and unlikely to gain success

Different customers have different needs, behave differently and obtain and respond to information in different ways. Knowing your specific audience allows you to give them a message that is relevant to them, using a method that is appropriate. For example, we now know that POSH PETS customers are more likely to respond to our products in a smart-looking, well designed, online retail environment. They are also more likely to respond to promotional messages about the items being unique and good quality rather than messages about getting the best deal or saving money. The goods can be reasonably priced but that needn’t be a promotional message.

So how to carry out the research? If you already have contacts or customers you can ask them their views either by talking to them or phoning or emailing them. You can also use your Facebook or Twitter accounts for immediate feedback. There is a fantastic article on this subject here: http://bit.ly/w9aK1W

Or you can write a more formal questionnaire which could be distributed to your identified target market either by hand, by direct mail or online using something like Survey Monkey or Google Forms. You could encourage participation by offering incentives such as discount vouchers. There is more information on writing & conducting surveys here : http://bit.ly/WqG58h

What for you, are the quickest and best ways of finding out about your customers?

You may be interested in the other articles in our EASY SMALL BIZ MARKETING series:

Intro – MARKETING CHECKLIST

#1 – MARKETING BASICS

#2 – SETTING GOALS

#3 – WHY BOTHER WITH MARKET RESEARCH

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