Do you need help marketing your small business to customers? You have spent several hours choosing the product/service you are going to sell, found all your suppliers and distributor's and set up your business operations. Now let's work on expanding your customer base.
There are many ways to expand your customer base. The first key to creating demand to your product or service is to see what the current demand is like in the market. How are current companies distributing the product, servicing customers and following up with customers. The latter part may be the most important part to developing your business.
1. Analyzing the Market
Start by doing some research in your local area or where you are going to sell your product/service. How many other people are selling your product or service. If your product/service is new, then what other product/services fill the same need. Who is the biggest provider in the market, how many providers are there? What makes your product/service different?
2. Determining Where Your Business Fits In
It is important to understand the market because the market will determine whether you succeed or fail. More importantly how you respond to the market will also determine your success. If you know that your provide a product/service in an area that no one else does that may be a benefit, but you must ensure that there is a demand/need in that area. Also you may be able to provide a similar product/service in a similar location but you may have to differentiate yourself. It could be service, it could be price, delivery, even how you package or promote your product/service. Try different ways and see what works best, what do your customers tell you?
3. Choosing an advertising Medium
In the final phase you need to determine how you are going to attract customers. Is it your location, is it your signage, is it your advertising? You must choose some time of advertising, whether it is word-of-mouth, radio, TV, print, billboard signage. You also must determine the cost of this and how it is going to pay off, how many customers is it going to get you. Use past statistics in readership and find out as much as you can about average response rates by specific industry using each type of advertising. Use what works for you, it may take some time but will be worth it in the end.
Most importantly, how are you going to attract more customers? What are you going to offer that is better than currently offered? Answering this question may be the single most important question. Good luck in 2009.