Marketing and advertising are two critical business functions that can significantly help to increase your company’s bottom line. The purpose of advertising is to grow the customer base of a business and therefore it is important to spend your advertising budget wisely. Getting to know your audience is a very important step in the marketing process. Market research is the process that advertising companies use to help you determine the right target audiences for your campaigns. Here are six ways to get to know your audience.
Look at your Competitors
It may seem counter-intuitive to pay attention to what your competition is doing, however this is an inexpensive method for gathering market research information. Subscribe to the mailing lists and newsletters provided by your competitors. Use this information to find out about industry trends and read the information to determine the audience to whom these pieces are speaking.
Read About your Industry
As you were developing your business initially, it is likely that you took the time to read about trends and developing technology. These things often get overlooked when business picks up. You must stay current in order to attract new customers. If customers in your industry prefer online access to accounts, tracking, or documentation, you may need to invest some of your budget into the development of these tools.
Attend Community Events
One of the best ways to find out what people want is to ask them, face-to-face. It is simple to find people in your community who will give you their thoughts. Watch for community-wide events where you can participate or attend. Let people know about the services you provide and talk to them in order to determine if there are additional services you could provide to make their lives easier.
Depending on your business, you may be able to assemble groups of current and former customers in order to discuss your business and to find out if there are additional needs going unmet. This is an inexpensive way to find out more about your customers as individuals.
Hire Professional Researchers
You can always hire researchers to do your legwork for you if you prefer. There are many firms specializing in advertising directives, from research and campaign development to even mailing. Full service firms provide design, printing, and mailing services. This type of firm is ideal for a busy business owner who needs more information about the right type of targeting and may not have the time to assemble and mail individual packages because of their already full schedule.
Do a Survey
Surveys have lost their place as the most common method to gather information about customers, but they can be very effective tools. There are many survey companies out there that lead you through the process. Carefully analyze your results, as they can provide valuable insights about your customers. For surveys you send to regular customers, you can offer a deal or discount for your services in exchange for the survey to incentivize their response and possibly pick up customers at the same time.
If you do not already have a website or social media presence, now is the time. Setting up a social networking community around your business and using it to gather information and stay in contact with customers is one of the most inexpensive methods to build your customer base and to increase customer retention. Show them that you are interested in their feedback and ask them to give you information about their wants and needs.
If you use these six approaches to find out more about your customers, you will be prepared to construct your advertising themes and deliver your ads to the proper people. Knowing your audience is absolutely essential to both saving money and increasing revenue, as you are not wasting your efforts on those unlikely to buy your product. Good luck on your campaigns!