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7 Steps to Sowing the Seeds of Successful Marketing

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7 Steps to Sowing the Seeds of Successful Marketing

By Rieva Lesonsky, Guest Blogger
Published: May 26, 2011

 

Spring is here in full force. It’s one of my favorite seasons, because it symbolizes change and growth. One of the best ways to keep your small business growing is to make sure you keep up with any changes in your target market. So in harmony with the season, why not sow the seeds for new business growth by doing some market research to make sure you're still in tune with your target customers?

Even if you did some research when you started your business, now’s the time for a refresher. Here are 7 key steps to help:

  1. Research how your target customers have changed since your business began.If they’re consumers, consider factors such as their age, income, discretionary spending power, marital status, sex and location. If they’re businesses, consider factors such as their sales, number of employees, industry and location.
  2. Find out who is buying your product or service.Assess the customers who buy from you and you may be surprised at how the demographics of your target customer base have slowly changed over time. Maybe a product that used to sell to moms is now a hit with teens, or something that big businesses used to buy is now selling well to small companies.
  3. Assess how customers prefer to buy.Are your in-house salespeople seeing slumping sales because customers would rather buy online? Are retail accounts suffering as customers turn to the Web? It’s important for your distribution channels to keep pace with customers’ preferred purchasing methods.
  4. Find out who is engaging, but not buying.It’s also important to assess the customers who are coming into contact with your business, but not buying. Use website analytics to track visits to your site and how many convert to leads or buyers. Do people call, email, click or request more from you, or do they just click away without doing anything? Ask your salespeople to be honest about what kinds of prospects are, and aren’t, paying off. The answers can help you hone in on the most profitable markets, and adjust your marketing to reach them.
  5. Go to the source.It’s easier than ever to contact potential customers directly with online surveys, social media tools and more. Use quick surveys on Facebook or ask questions on Twitter to get feedback about your products and services and how they are meeting your market’s needs (or failing to do so).
  6. Get the research.There are many sources of secondary market research, including the government, trade publications and websites, industry associations and academic institutions. Census dataout this year is a treasure trove of information. The Internet has made it easier than ever to find the data you’re looking for, but if you’re struggling online, check out a research library to get one-on-one tips from a librarian.
  7. Get help.There are many sources of free assistance that can help you do market research and pull out the key data. Contact SCOREto get matched with a Mentor or get one-on-one counseling online 24/7. I also recommend a visit to your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), where you’ll get free advice and assistance from business experts. Visit the SBA websiteto learn more about SBDCs and find one near you.

Once you’ve done your market research, you’ll be able to tailor your marketing methods to match the needs of your target customers. Who knows? You may even see an opportunity to capture a whole new market. That’s the kind of growth that doesn’t require a green thumb…but can bring in a whole lot of “green” to your business.

About the Author:

Rieva Lesonsky

Guest Blogger

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and President of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at Twitter.com/Rieva and visit SmallBizDaily.com to sign up for her free TrendCast reports. She's been covering small business and entrepreneurial issues for more than 30 years, is the author of several books about entrepreneurship and was the editorial director of Entrepreneur magazine for over two decades

Comments:

Can you give as a list of tools that can be helpful for making research that is mentioned in Step #1 ?
Thanks for the article, I appreciate sharing such useful info! BTW, can you please give any suggestions regarding the best way to make researches that are mentioned in #6? Thanks in advance! Patrick
Researching your customer in depth is vital to the success of your copy. It’s not only an important component of targeting and qualifying the best prospect for your offer, but also an effective way to discover new ideas, different angles, captivating storylines, unsought benefits, and appropriate length and language of your copy that will convert more.
This is very true. Effective marketing can make or break your business and in an ever expanding global marketplace, you must clearly know your target market
I strongly agree, business must be "flexible" in changes on its target market for it to keep on growing just like a vine without a surface to crawl it wouldn't grow more. Those given 7 key steps are really essential in keeping your business on track. First to mentioned is market research, the word 'research' stands multi-purpose in business, proper research helps you determine the appropriate approach and product to introduce at the same time understanding what your customer's demand. Philippine real estate
However, as BdBdirect says above, market research is critical. My problem is a very liuyers for their product and services, we like to move and look ahead, who's their competition, what they sell http://www.dynastyantique.com/
Hi, g2mtlabs.com, if you study your competition behavior, such as what products they sell and most important who’s buying their products and why. I think you will be able to identify and have a better idea of the behave of your target market. I help small businesses to find the right buyers for their product and services, we like to move and look ahead, who's their competition, what they sell and how my clients will be able to compete. Hope these tips might help your business, if you have any question that you might feel I can help, you can contact me at anytime at ymanzueta@b2bdirect.net   Best regards,Yuliana ManzuetaPresident & Founder of B2bdirect.net  
Hi, g2mtlabs.com, if you study your competition behavior, such as what products they sell and most important who’s buying their products and why. I think you will be able to identify and have a better idea of the behave of your target market. I help small businesses to find the right buyers for their product and services, we like to move and look ahead, who's their competition, what they sell and how my clients will be able to compete. Hope these tips might help your business, if you have any question that you might feel I can help, you can contact me at anytime at ymanzueta@b2bdirect.net   Best regards,Yuliana ManzuetaPresident & Founder of B2bdirect.net  
Very informative and helpful tips for improving marketing skills. I appreciate your thoughtful writes about 7 steps to sowing the seeds of successful marketing. Regards, mark @ Android Spy
Thanks, I really enjoyed this refresher. However, as BdBdirect says above, market research is critical. My problem is a very limited amount of research is available in our small niche of metallurgical testing. Any ideas on where to find better research?

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