May 10, 2013
Market research is crucial to any successful business. But a lot of small business owners avoid it because they think it’s complicated or outrageously expensive. I have great news! It doesn’t have to cost a fortune and you don’t have to hire some big fancy advertising agency to do it for you! There are actually some things you can do yourself to research your customers’ behavior, your competition, and your business that can improve your ROI (Return on Investment) and make you more money!
Here are the 3 Critical Questions you should be asking every single customer:
1. “How did you find us? If you don’t know how your customers are finding you, how will you know where to advertise? Let’s say you’re spending thousands of dollars on the radio, assuming that most of prospective clients hear the commercials and come to you. Then you actually ASK them and find out that they found you through an organic Google search, wouldn’t that be worth knowing? Without knowing how your actual customers find you you’re probably wasting a lot of money advertising in all the wrong places!
2. “Why did you choose us over the other choices you had?” This is a gold mine. The answers you get will tell you what your competition is lacking, where they let customers down, or how their marketing is perceived. This is your answer to “How are we different?” And you need to grab hold and run with it! This is what makes you stand out from the crowd and tells the world, “THIS is why you should buy from us and NOT them!”! How valuable is that? You can use this information in your marketing to set yourself apart from all the other businesses out there who say they do what you do and start attracting more customers immediately!
3. “What made you decide to make this purchase today (not last week or next month)?” This is called a “Timing Trigger” and knowing this can save you a ton of time, money, energy, and resources chasing people before they’re ready to buy. Understanding what makes them move this purchase up the priority ladder will help figure out where you need to be to reach them. Let’s say you’re a contractor who does high-end remodels, or a travel agent who specializes in luxurious vacations abroad, a timing trigger for you target market might be the last kid is out of college, so now you have the money to spend on yourself. That tells you it’s probably not cost effective to concentrate your marketing on 20 somethings, and that clubs and organizations and publications geared toward people over 50 might be great places to advertise! How cool is that? So understanding what makes people buy when they do is a huge market research data point that is critical to improving your ROI!
There you go, 3 very easy and do-able Market Research questions that you can implement today and start improving your marketing tomorrow!
Do you ask every one of your customers these questions? Do you have any others you ask? Share them with us; we’d love to hear them!
So what do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
By the way, if you liked this post, I’d really appreciate your Retweet!!! Thank you.
January 14, 2013
(This article is a reprint from 2013′s “Forget Resolutions 7 Things Business Owners Don’t Have to Do in 2012)
Call me a rebel… or a Scrooge… or a Grinch if you must, but I am so happy all this holiday nonsense is finally over. And as I sit here trying to come up with a blog for the new year, the word “resolution” keeps popping into my head and I absolutely REFUSE to give you marketing or business resolutions for the new year. You’re under enough pressure, I’m not going to give you a long list of more things you already know you should do.
So… no resolution talk here, I promise. Instead, for the new year, let’s vow to not make a single resolution; no diets, exercise programs (ok, I’ll admit this one is self-serving – hoping to ward off the “New Year Resolutioners” who invade my gym for a few weeks this time every year), no vows to spend more time with the kids, or call our mother more often, no promising to read, write, or volunteer more or spend less… Forget all that!
Resolutions are all about feeling bad for what we didn’t do last year, making more unrealistic goals for ourselves (“I’m going to lose 20 lbs this month”) and then feeling like total losers and failures – AGAIN, when we don’t live up to them. I say “No more pressure, we have enough!” So instead of giving you a bunch of Marketing Resolutions and telling you what you should do, I’m going give you a list of things you don’t have to do! There! How’s that for rebellion? Bet you’re thinking I’m not such a Scrooge now are you?
So here is my list of 7 things you don’t have to do in 2013
- You don’t have to do everything yourself anymore. That’s right. 2013is the year you bite the bullet and hire help. Hire an accountant, a bookkeeper, a salesperson, an assistant, or whatever it is you need that will allow you more time to focus on the things you really want to focus on!
- You don’t have to work with anybody and everybody with a checkbook. You have a successful business; you’ve made it this far because you provide a valuable product or service. You are too good to work with people who don’t value you and who try to nickel and dime you at every turn. So the next time you are tempted by someone you know is going to be a big ole pain in the butt, politely refer them to your competition, explaining that you feel they’d be a better fit.
- You don’t have to be everything to everybody. Your business is special. You provide something unique to a select group of people that no one else can deliver in quite the same way. Your job is to find that niche. And when you find it you will become confident enough to say “no” when asked to do something outside of your scope, capabilities or comfort zone. You do what you do better than anyone else and you don’t need to pretend to be more than what you are. Stay true to your mission.
- You don’t have to work every single night and weekend. I realized this sometime in the past couple of months, taking time off is key to my mental well being and sanity – and it makes me more productive. Really, you don’t have to work so many hours. All the work will get done (see #1 again), I promise!
- You don’t have to follow the crowd. Just because all your friends are on Facebook, doesn’t mean it’s right for your business. Just because your competitors do things a certain way, doesn’t mean you have to. It’s your business – your baby, your dream. Do it however the hell you want! Dare to be bold. Dare to stand out. Dare to be unique!
- You don’t have to make excuses for where you are in your life or your business. As human beings we all grew at different rates, the same is true of your business. Don’t compare yourself to others. If you know you are doing everything in your power and using every tool and resource available to you, there is no need to feel bad about where you are. We grow at different rates and as long as you are on track toward achieving your goals you are just fine.
- You don’t have to take advice from anyone you don’t want to! Everybody has advice, have you noticed that? I was in the gym recently and a guy who I’ve never seen lift a single weight was telling me how I should be lifting weights. When advice is given consider the source: is it someone you respect? Is their business the type of business you’d like to emulate? If not, ignore them and look for people you do respect!
So, how does that feel? A whole list of things you DON’T have to do in 2013! What a relief, right? Running a business is hard work, don’t be too hard on yourself, have fun with it and have the best year ever!!!
Have something to add? I’d love to hear from you! Please click here to leave your comments.
By the way, if you liked this post, I’d really appreciate your Retweet!!! Thank you.
November 15, 2012
Just a little over 3 years ago I lost the best job I ever had. I was making great money, liked the company and the people I worked with (mostly), and even the commute wasn’t bad. But then the Great Recession hit and tough decisions had to be made. I was in the 3rd and final round of layoffs.
I’m not one of those people who always knew I’d be a business owner: I didn’t have the most successful lemonade stand on the block, nor did I find clever ways to outsource my babysitting jobs to younger cheaper labor. Nope, from the age of 12 with my first paper route I always worked for someone else and thought that was just the way it was supposed to be.
Well, getting laid off got me thinking– why NOT start my own business? (Actually I started thinking about it a couple years before I got laid off – but I never thought I’d actually do it ) I had years very valuable and diverse marketing and sales experience, I understood the needs of growing businesses, and although I liked the jobs I’d had, I was never truly satisfied sitting in a cubicle or out selling other people’s stuff that honestly, I was never fully, 100% enthusiastic about. So, thanks to the Great Recession, I had the opportunity to take the plunge- and I’ve never looked back.
I love being my own boss. It has opened up a whole new world to me, in so many different ways, that I could write a book about it (oh wait, I am!). It has given me the excuse and the flexibility to do the things I’ve always wanted to do; give back to my community, volunteer my time…..oh yeah, and take a 3 week trip to Europe!
For me building a business has meant getting out into the community and meeting people, networking, getting involved, offering my expertise, experience, and skills whenever I can to causes and charities I care deeply about (click here to see a list of those in our newsletter ). And for me, this has been the most rewarding part of being a business owner.
Here are 5 Ways Fortune Marketing Company gives back to the community and you can to!
- Raise Money for a non –profit: Non profits are ALWAYS looking for ways to raise money. Devote a day or a week or a month to your favorite charity and donate a portion of sales, or ask customers to make a donation (rounding up a check is a really easy way to do this) and match it!
- Give your company the afternoon off to do volunteer work – Ok, not only is this great for the community, but it’s great team-building for your company. Let your employees decide what cause to support and give them a couple of hours off to go help out – maybe it’s painting a building, or doing landscaping, or cleaning up a park, or stuffing envelopes, or waving signs for a car wash! You can choose a different one each year, or agree as a company to support a specific one .
- Donate to silent auctions- Do a local search of events in your area and you’ll find tons of events by non-profits trying to raise money. Call them and ask if you can donate auction items or even raffle items.
- Do a food, toy, or coat drive – These are very popular around the holidays, but hungry people need food all year round and children’s organizations need supplies all year round. Most people and companies think of giving back around the holidays, find ways to support them during the off-season too when they aren’t getting as many donations!
- Get on a Board of Directors – Talk about rewarding! I am able to offer my marketing skills and expertise to help with the strategic planning and direction of my favorite nonprofit, helping them raise more money now – and well into the future! What skills, experience, or expertise do you have to offer? Find a board that could benefit from those and apply!
And I almost hate to bring it up, but I am a Marketer after all and would be doing you – my loyal readers – a disservice if I didn’t mention this: don’t forget the press releases!!! Although promotion is not our main motivation for giving back, it doesn’t hurt you – or the charity you are helping – to get a little publicity.
These are just a few ways to give back. There are countless others. What cause do you care deeply about? How do you give back? Please tell us by leaving your comments below.
If you aren’t sure how to get started, contact a local charity and find out how you and your company can help.