Know Your Market by Rich

If you need or want more new customers, just about the first thing you need to know is: who are my customers?

Usually, the easiest new customers to get are the people who are a lot like the ones you already have.

The reasons aren’t hard to find. If your customers are mainly 65-year-old tennis enthusiasts, well, chances are you are selling something that really works for 65-year-old tennis enthusiasts. You know, like a little robot that will gather up balls and bring them back to you.

Unless you’ve already sold to all the 65-year-old tennis enthusiasts, chances are there are many more potential buyers in that group, just waiting for you to find them.

As you have been selling to them, chances are you know how to appeal to them. You know, “Hate chasing after your balls?” “Never chase another ball.” Video showing tennis oldie with various solutions – tennis ball on a string, a big pile of hundreds of balls, a jet engine powered vacuum cleaner to suck balls back to him.

You also probably know where to find these potential prospects. They all read the newsletters in their “Active Senior” communities. And where not to find them, e.g., rap concerts.
You don’t go looking for freshwater fish in the ocean.

Survey

Now maybe you don’t know that much about your customers. You can find out. It is called surveying and there are lots of ways to do it. Here are just a few:

1. Look through testimonials to find out what people are saying about your product or service (Don’t have testimonials? THAT’S a problem).
2. Go through invoices or customer records to find out where geographically your customers are concentrated.
3. Do phone or email surveys of past customers to find out more about them. Survey Monkey is a useful tool for this.

The Toughest Problem

The most difficult problem is when you don’t have a track record of past customers. If you are a startup, and you’ve been working in the same industry and selling the same kind of product, you are probably going to know a lot anyway. But if it is a brand new type of product or service or you are new to it, you can be starting off blind.

A high percentage of businesses in this situation will fail. Look at all you have to solve: WHO will buy, what will appeal to them, HOW MUCH will they pay, WHERE do you find them, and more. In this situation, it is not unusual to make repeated efforts before finding a successful marketing formula. The more and smarter surveying you can do, the better chance you have of making your marketing work before your cash runs out. It’s a MUCH easier problem when you already have a record of sales and some marketing success.

The Best Survey

The best way to survey is an open secret amongst marketing people: Google AdWords. These are the paid search ads you see at the top and sometimes bottom of the page when you do a search. The thing is, Google feeds back to whoever is running the ad, a LOT of information. They want you to have a lot of information so you can make your ads work better – because that makes more money for Google.

What you learn that makes your AdWords successful can also be used to make ALL your marketing better. Used wisely, it will give you information about potential customer demographics, what their hot buttons are, and a whole lot more. All this can be done with a low budget campaign before you plow large amounts of cash into a failed marketing campaign.

It does take 2 or 3 months to get really good answers. So you’d better not need all the answers next week.

Patience

Making your marketing work is not an overnight thing. It takes time to gather information and run repeated tests. So in planning, make sure you allow for enough time.

The payoff is, if you are smart and do it right, you can go from 0 to 1000 miles per hour relatively quickly. Once you really know your market, you can ride that rocket a LONG ways.
Good luck.

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