A successful business owner will tell you, one of the most important things to learn early on in any business is to identify your target market and then figure out how to find them. Once you have found them, how do you get their attention? That’s where marketing comes in, but not just any marketing “Target Marketing”.
You need to know everything about your target market, their likes, their dislikes, their expectations and where to find them. You also need to complete a competitive analysis. Simply put, who are your indirect competitors (those who offer the same product or services as part of their business) and direct competitors (those offering the exact same product or service as your business).
Once you learn as much as you can about these groups, you can start making informed decisions about your marketing. For example; if I were a company offering lawn maintenance services with a geographic region of North Bay and I wanted to do a direct mail piece, I could mass mail to the entire city (approximately 32,000 households) or I could be smart about it and cut out all the apartments and businesses who for the most part don’t have lawn maintenance and I would mail only to households. If I wanted to direct my marketing efforts even further, I would narrow down the streets and neighborhoods I thought would be good targets and mail by letter carrier routes to only those streets. This approach cuts down on printing costs of the mailer as well as postage and unnecessary mailouts to people outside the target market with no use for the service.
Just like saving money and time by knowing your target market, ROI (Return on Investment) can be a tricky thing in business as well. If you are not measuring your ROI, don’t assume you know where your customers are coming from or why they are selecting your product or service.
If you are using online marketing there are many ways to electronically track almost all aspects of your marketing efforts. For traditional marketing efforts however, you can utilize things like offer codes printed on mailouts to track the response or get people to go online and sign up or register for the special offer or service.
When it comes to ROI, proper planning is crucial as tracking needs to be put in place before a campaign is started and proper training of staff can be crucial as well. Simply asking a new prospect who calls in “how did you hear about us” can be vital information for your marketing team.