Tuesday, 26 August 2008

How To Find And Sell To Your Target Market

It is very surprising how often business owners have no idea who will buy from them, or assume that 'everyone' will. Such can leads to wrong decisions as well as strategy.

The most successful small businesses understand that only a limited number of people will buy from them. The task then becomes defining, as near as possible, exactly who those people are, and aiming their business's marketing toward them.

You, too, can build a better, stronger business, by identifying and serving a particular customer group – your target market.

One of the first things you need to do is to refine your product or service so that you are NOT trying to be a jack of all trades but to become a specialist. This will not only give you a niche but it could also expand your market in a way that competitors could not take advantage of.

People purchase products or services for three basic reasons, 1) to satisfy basic needs, 2) to solve problems, and 3) to improve an existing need. You can then assess which of these categories your skills are the solution to. Your service may fall into more than one category, of course.

Creating an effective marketing strategy is to focus on to your target market by using Market Segmentation.

First of all, is your product salable at local, national or international level? For example, if your primary market is local or national, and that you live in a community with a population of 25,000 people. You will first need to research the demographics' of that community by dividing it into market segments including, age, income, gender, and so on. The information should be available to you through your local council but the more detail you can get your hands on, the better.

Then you will need to segment the market. B2B companies will also need to consider the types of industries available, their number of employees, sales, location, and stability. In addition, you might want to find out how they purchase: seasonally, locally, by volume, plus who makes those decisions. Unlike consumers, businesses buy products or services for three reasons only: to increase revenue, to maintain equilibrium, or to decrease cost. If you fill one or more of these needs, you have found a target market!

At this point you should have an idea emerging of who you think your perfect customer is. Based on your research you may even know the number of these potential customers. It is possible that a percentage of them will be committed to a competitor but not all, especially if they have not even purchased your product or service even from a competitor yet.

Most of your potential customers would not even know of your company, nor would tell the difference between yours or a competitor. Once you know who your ideal customers are, target them even if you have competition. You may also decide that you would like to widen your target market to include others you may be successful in capturing a larger stake of the market.

Just remember, there is both a market and a target, for everything.

If you have any questions about our design processes please don’t hesitate to contact Art Division

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Boom or Doom?

Whilst the credit crunch continues to grip the purse strings of businesses all over the globe, it seems to be that those of us who own and manage small business have only one option: cut all expenses and ride the rough seasons out- however, has anyone considered what the alternatives are?

As suggested in July’s blog, businesses could actually BENEFIT from increasing their marketing and sales budgets: competitors and rivals have suddenly gone into remission so what better time to take advantage of the quiet market and increase awareness of your own services?

Consider reinventing your website or online references - this is often the first point of reference for new customers. Investing time, effort and a little money into producing a website that is professional, smart and easy to use will allow you to reap the rewards not only in the short term, but in years to come.

However whilst your expanding your net for new clients, don’t forget the old ones! Customers are MORE likely to return to companies they know than take a risk during times of financial difficulty. Maintain regular contact via inexpensive communication tools, such as email to keep them interested!

If you have any other tips or ideas that may be of help to small businesses during the credit crunch, please feel free to share them!

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