Do you know your customers?
When you joined your company, what was the first thing you did? Did you go out and start telling people about your new business? Create a Facebook page? Share your link on other pages?
Did you stop to think “Who do I want to focus on? Who are my customers?”
Do you even KNOW who your customers are?
Taking the time to do a little research can help you build your business and be more successful in the long run. Knowing who your customers are, where they are located, the best times to reach out to them, how much money they make and spend, and so on will help you develop a marketing plan that works for you AND your customers. Knowing details about the area’s demographics and your competition is important. How many companies are similar to your own? How active are they at marketing their business to the community? Who utilizes these services and what is their average cost?
Here are some ideas to help you conduct basic market research in your area.
Create a survey
There are many tools and services that allow you to create a survey through their website and post the link on your own. Survey Monkey is a popular website used for creation and tracking of surveys. Ask the questions you want answers to. Ex: Where do you typically buy <your products>? How much money on average do you spend on these products each month? (rather than a fill in the blank you may want to have general price categories). To encourage people to take your survey offer an incentive. (Ex: chance to win a prize, small gift for each person completing it, etc.)
Contests & Special Promotions
Offer a contest or special promotional deal through your blog or social media sites. This could be as simple as “When we hit 250 likes on my page I’ll do a giveaway! Watch for details on how to enter. Until then invite others so we can reach our goal!” Whatever promotion you run be sure you identify it as a consultant offer and not a Company promotion. You are responsible for awarding prizes, not the Company. Failing to award prizes will damage your personal reputation with those who entered your contest.
Join a few networking groups or forums. Become active. Don’t join and start advertising or you’ll find yourself blacklisted, damaging not only your credibility but that of other consultants (guilt by association). Be a member. Participate. And pay attention to what people are looking for, asking about, and spending on products and services.
Look over all of your previous customers and orders. Look for commonalities.Are they from a certain region? Are they buying the same types of items? Are they supporting specific causes? Data mining and analysis can be very important to future sales.
Ask your customers to provide feedback on their purchases. Find out what they thought of the products, the quality, the shipping time, the price.. Get a feel for what they want by what they say about things they previously bought.