When someone starts a business, they do research to shape their marketing approach. Who will need their products? What is their target audience? What are their customers’ behaviors? How will they best attract them?
Then the business doors open. Hopefully the customers respond and the business succeeds. The years go by as they tend to the day-to-day operations of the company until one day, they realize their customers’ needs have evolved and they no longer know who they’re servicing. That begs the question … when was the last time you checked in with your prospects? Do you even know who your ideal customer is anymore?
Whether you’ve been in business for five years, 50 years or 100 years, it’s important to review your customer base every three to five years (and the good news is you don’t need a fancy research firm.)
Use these simple tips to make new discoveries about your target audience:
Talk with Your Employees
If your business has multiple locations, schedule an annual tour to visit all the locations. Talk to the local employees and ask them about their customer interactions, the feedback they receive, note any observations they make and get their recommendations. Your own employees may be your biggest research asset.
Use FREE Resources
Check in with local chamber organizations, school districts, visitor and convention bureaus and tourism groups. These groups utilize a vast amount of resources compiling relevant data. Use this to your advantage and tap into area demographics, economic trends, housing growth reports, new business goals and more.
Analyze the Competition
Compare your offers, products and services to your competitors. Are your offers on par with those around you? If not, do you have good reasoning for the differentiation?
Review your business’ online reputation. What responses are you receiving on review sites, social media and your website? Are you noticing a reoccurring theme that you need to address?
Reassess Your Goals
Review your sales growth or decline. Is this meeting or exceeding expectations? If not, you’re likely missing something in which case you need to go back and review tips 1-4 above.
There’s no such thing as too much research. Continuing to do the work will help you make sure you’re effectively reaching the right target audience—you’ll see the results in your bottom line.
Have more questions about researching your customer base? Contact our experts!