Our blog on April 27, 2015 – Key questions to consider when planning your
business – introduced four specific questions that an entrepreneur can ask to help get a head start on a business plan. This week’s post will focus on key question number two – “How will you reach your customer?”
How you reach your customer depends largely on who your customer is and what the product or service is that you are offering. Once you determine who you are targeting you will need to determine a realistic budget then decide on a schedule. When starting out, it is typically easier to manage your marketing if you concentrate on a couple of marketing channels. Select a few marketing tactics that fit your audience and your budget and focus on making them the best that they can be.
Track your progress – make sure you are measuring the results of each tactic and continue to use the ones that are giving you the best results. Reaching your customer really is all about having the right product, in the right place, at the right time for the right price.
To help get you started, here are a few ways to reach out to potential customers:
- Networking – Attending the right events can create visibility for you and your business.
- Word of mouth – this works well but you have no control over what is being said.
- Social media – There are several different venues (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube) and it has the potential to reach a large audience. Like word of mouth, it can be difficult to control what is being said and to properly run a social media account can be very time consuming.
- Signage –This can be a good marketing tool. You see a lot of vehicles that are wrapped and in some cases it looks very appealing. Posting temporary signs at jobs sites is also a way to help create visibility. (Please check into what the rules and regulations are for your town or city before purchasing or using signage).
- Yellow pages – Can be costly but in some instances very affective. Depending on your target market a lot of customers still like to physically look up information.
- Newspaper advertising – They can be costly but affective. If you see your competition advertising in the paper then maybe you should as well.
- Digital Advertising – Online marketing can be a great way to target your consumers directly. To successful use this strategy it is important to have a strong web presence and to have a website that you can direct potential customers to. Again, this tactic can be expensive but most online advertising (e.g. Google) you can control the timing and the budget.
To reach your market you need to know who your target market is and you need a good marketing plan. The Halton Region Small Business Centre has templates of marketing plans that can help you focus and be clear about your next steps. One of the goals of the Centre is to empower small and medium-sized enterprises and give you the tools to achieve success. For more information about resources, services, business events and seminars, contact us by dialing 311, 1-866-442-5866, online at halton.ca/smallbusiness, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or