Small business owners should be constantly searching for marketing methods to find new customers and offer new services to existing customers. Conducting regular market research can help you determine your target market, their buying habits and what they may be looking for next. If you aren’t the business offering what they’re buying, they will end up elsewhere, one of the big reasons that most small businesses fail in the first five years.
What Is Market Research?
Market research is often conducted by a small business owner or a third-party company. Conducting market research can offer insight into your target market’s demographics such as location, occupation and even income level. This information can help you choose new products or services for sale, optimal times for offering them and even set a price point.
Market research should be performed on a regular, ongoing basis, but especially prior to opening or moving your business, in times of slow or stagnant growth, and when you plan on offering a new product or service. Few business owners have all the customers they want and should be searching for ways to breathe new life into their marketing activities for better results.
Learning About Your Target Customers
As a business owner selling a service or product, do you have good idea of your target customer ?Are you selling to other business owners? Do you want to reach stay-at-home moms, or corporate employees? Does your service/product cater to a niche interest group? These are questions you should be able to answer in detail at any stage of business ownership.
Less Expensive Research Methods
- One of the easiest ways to conduct a quick market survey is to perform a public records search. This will offer information about the potential customers living in your market area, enabling you to hone your marketing advertisements to target them directly. These marketing activities may include sending out brochures, posting online ads and social media ads, or simply including SEO marketing text strategically on your website.
- Another option is to post questions on your business’s social media pages to get opinions from your followers on the products and services they want. For example, would they rather you are open early morning or late evening hours? Do they wish you had more regular sales or a rewards program?
- Don’t forget to turn to the Internet on market research that’s already been done and free to read. There are plenty of companies that have conducted the expensive research on buying habits of different generations, how customers prefer to interact with companies they purchase from, and what they wish a business would offer for sale.
- Many business owners know that 80% of their business comes from the top 20% of their customer base. Polling these customers once a business is established can offer insight into how product offerings, specials and more to attract customers just like them. Don’t be afraid to ask your customers for feedback after purchases or offer an incentive for completing a survey. This could be vital market research that gives you the edge you need to meet your latest goals.
Once you’ve nailed down target customer demographics, visit the SmartBiz Small Business Blog for great information about increasing sales, customer engagement and how to strengthen your bottom line.
About the Author
Emily Andrews is the marketing communications specialist at RecordsFinder, an online public records search company. Communications specialist by day and community volunteer at night, she believes in compassion and defending the defenseless.