One of the hardest areas of business for a smaller operation to get a handle on is basic direct marketing principles. After all, a small business is going to be focused on providing their core business, and marketing requires learning a entirely new skill set.
However, small business marketing is becoming increasingly important for any business. With online consumers regularly using the Internet to help them, even with local shopping, no business can afford to ignore their marketing and outreach.
So, let’s go back to basics and talk about what marketing means to a growing new concern.
Small Business Direct Marketing Principles Bridge You And Your Customers
A successful business is one that meets customer needs. Strictly speaking, it doesn’t matter if your products are great or terrible. If they’re meeting a consumer need, they’ll probably be a success.
Marketing, therefore, is focused on finding and communicating with the consumers who are most likely to find your products a match for their needs.
There are four basic steps that make up basic direct marketing principles:
1 – Market Research
What do consumers want? That’s the question posed by virtually any kind of market research. By using studies, interviews, satisfaction surveys, or simple in-person questions, a small business should always be looking to understand what consumers are looking for.
It’s vital your research be as objective as possible. You’re not making “push polls” aimed at selling services. You want to know what people honestly want, so that you can provide it.
2 – Identifying Market Advantages
Once you’ve got an idea what consumers in your area want, it’s time to start thinking about your own products. What features in your offerings are going to be the most appealing to people who want those features?
After all, I’ve seen some very nice-looking franchised McDonald’s restaurants in my day, but no one goes to McD’s for the decor. McDonald’s advertises burgers, rather than interior design, because their customers want fast food more than an intimate dining experience.
This is an obvious example, but it illustrates a basic point: There are nearly an infinite number of ways you could market aspects of your business. The best ways are those that promote solutions to your customer’s needs.
3 – Targeting Your Marketing
Now, it’s time to fine-tune things further. Most customer research tends to be very broad-based, looking at consumers as a whole. Targeted small business marketing means sub-dividing that audience further, which again, is aimed at bringing your message to the most receptive people.
Geographical targeting is a good example of this. Any town is going to have a number of distinct neighborhoods, with shared elements among those who live there. So, rather than blanketing an entire city in ads, you should target only those neighborhoods with people who are a good match for your product.
Further customer surveys can often help you identify key target markets.
4 – Define Your “Market Mix”
Once you know who your customers are, where they are, and what aspects of your product they’re going to like, you’re almost done. The last step is finding a balance that allows you to achieve these things while remaining profitable. Your market mix includes:
- Deciding which products and services to offer
- The prices they’ll be at
- The amount of promotion you’ll engage in
- How widely your products will be distributed
This mix is up to you, but you’ll get the best results when it’s informed and decided based on real-world data and customer preferences.
Combine these things, and you have a truly organic small business marketing plan. With ongoing refinements, you’ll be able to leverage this into more customers, and greater growth! Once you have your strategy in place, contact us for a free consultation to see how we can help.
When it’s time to review direct marketing principles to build a new campaign, make certain to look for direct mail experts as partners to create successful outcomes. One Stop Mail is a direct mail expert that offers diverse print options and can create a successful customized mailing list so you can reach your best customers. Reach out or call 602. 962.5104 today
Useful Resource: Fleet Matics