Market Your Business Better, With Tips From a Hooker?
Marketing Your Small Business Like a Hooker
What? I hear you say. Why would I want to market my business like a hooker?
Let's take the example of a hooker named Evelyn. She doesn't know it but she is a whiz at business marketing. She knows where to find her clients, she knows how to attract them and how to ensure repeat business from them. Not only that, she also knows how to keep her business expenditures low. She has honed her skills and makes good use of her time. She is free to work or not work, the decision is hers. Can you say the same about your business?
How do you market your small business? Do you place ads in local newspapers, advertise on radio, place banners in your shop window? Perhaps you have a website and use the social networking sites. Depending on your business, some will be more appropriate than others.
If for example you only use banners in your shop windows and there is no foot traffic passing by, you have wasted your money. Targeting your customers is crucial to your business, get it wrong and you have wasted not just your money but also your time.
Identify Your Customers
Knowing who your potential customers are is crucial. This will not only save you time but your hard earned money as well.
Let's relate this to Evelyn our hard-working lady of the evening. She, more often than not, can be found on the corner of 3rd and Vine. She knows her customer's age range and what services they expect.
Realize you cannot be all things to all people and decide who you are most likely to sell to. If for example, you sell tools, your advertising should be aimed at men, more precisely men in a certain age bracket.
If you sell children's clothing, your customers most likely will be women in the 20-35 age group. Also, grandmothers who wish to buy something special for their grandchildren. Although men are now often caregivers, by and large, the group to attract will still be women.
If your business is selling skateboards, your advertising should be targeted to a younger age bracket. If you are unsure of who you are selling to, you need to reassess either what you are selling or do your research.
What is their age group, where do they shop, what magazines do they read, which are their favorite websites. If you don't know, there is a simple way to find out. Ask them!
Below is a simple sample questionnaire you could ask each customer. Tell them it will take less than a minute and is totally confidential, no names or personal information other than their age.
Favorite TV Show
16 and under
Target Your Customers
Now that you know who your customers are, it's necessary to find a niche market, without this your product will possibly never get seen. What makes your products different than everything else your potential customers have already seen? Do you provide a better service? Be specific. Begin with something you know and are passionate about. For me, I love the game of Scrabble. I have written several web pages with hints and tips. These pages have links to products that I have designed. It doesn't get much more specific than that.
Let's say for example you enjoy kayaking and are considering opening a shop or having a website selling kayaks and accessories. Which kayaking magazines do you like? Which websites do you read about kayaking? Do you participate in forums about kayaking on the internet? All of these are good places to advertise. If you were to put your ad in a general sports magazine, it would get lost amongst hundreds of other sports.
Be Specific~Be Terrific!
Keep Business Costs Down
It is easy to let business costs spiral out of control. Keeping your overheads low is crucial when you are just starting out. I hear you say,
"But I have to advertise or I won't have customers"
It is true but advertising can take on many forms. Can your product be sold online, do you need a store? Having premises is one of the highest expenses a company has.
Let's look at Evelyn again, she has no premises, she has business clothes, does minimal advertising and what she makes she keeps. Setting up an online presence will substantially reduce your overheads. If you still think you need a store, think about Amazon. They are purely online. They haven't done too badly for themselves.
Increasing Your Market Share
How do you increase your market share? Let's speak to Evelyn again, our favorite hard-working lady. How would she do it? Obviously her time has a certain value and there is a limit to the number of customers she can service. What can she do to increase her profitability? She could raise her prices, if her customers like and trust her, they will understand the increase.
The other way is to let people work for you. Like Evelyn you may have a successful business that could expand. Consider franchising your business, read the E-Myth Revisited. This book explains the difficulties in owning and successfully running a small business. It is a must read before you consider expanding your business. At times, everyone who is an employee thinks they can do the job better than their boss. This may be the case but this isn't the only part of running a business. As the owner of a business you have to wear many hats it isn't enough to just work well in your business.
© 2012 Mary Wickison