If you’ve been in business for any length of time or are even contemplating starting a small business venture, then you already know the truth of the popular saying that you aren’t IN business until you HAVE some business coming in. This why the biggest challenge that most small business owners face is finding enough customers to make the business profitable.
To do this you must ask and answer three important questions: who, what and where?
Who are your customers? Be specific about the ideal customer for each product line or service category you offer. You can’t design an effective message until you know exactly who you’re talking to. There’s practically no end to the demographic information that’s available for any target market. You could define your customers’ age, gender, marital status, education level, occupations, income or other basics. But this information doesn’t give a complete picture of who they are.
You also need to understand the lifestyle factors that influence them. What kinds of clubs and organizations do they belong to? Do they have common beliefs, interests or activities? What publications do they read and what kinds of websites do they visit? By answering these questions you begin to get a more specific picture of your customers and the kinds of people they are.
The second question is what. What do your customers want and need? What are their concerns and problems? What emotions are they feeling when they think about your business industry? When you know the answers to these questions you can then market your products and services as solutions and benefits. Customers don’t really care about features. They want to know if and how you can help. They want to know what’s in it for them. You have to understand what they want before you can tell them.
The final question is where. Where are your prospects and customers right now? What are they doing? There are almost as many possible answers to this question as there are businesses. But you must find the answer because you can’t reach them if you can’t find them. And it’s not as difficult as it may seem. After all, your customers are people just like you and you already know a great deal about them.
For example: some of my clients are moms in their thirties or forties with younger children. They are looking for ways to start or grow a home business so they can make money and still spend time with their families. They volunteer in schools, their churches and community organizations, and they like to visit business networking and resource websites. They want ways to find balance between making money by operating a business they enjoy while still having time for themselves and their families.
There are several ways to use this information. Depending on the day and the time of the day, I know that I can find prospects by conducting seminars to civic groups or by volunteering in local schools. I can ask people I meet for names of people who are in this category. And I can join and participate in online forums and networking groups.
These are just a few examples of how to find and meet more prospects. Once you know who your prospects are, what they want and where they are, you are then able to go out and talk with them. You know how to target your message and where to deliver it. And you can bring those customers in.
Vanessa Shelton is a web designer, marketing consultant and copywriter with over 20 years experience. She uses “The Right Words – The Right Way” to bring your ideas and vision to the world. With newsletters, article marketing, the website refresh, and more in her arsenal, Vanessa is ready to help small business owners and independent professionals get attention, and get results. Visit http://vanessasdesk.com to see how Vanessa can help you.