Business is much like the weather. It can be hot or cold or maybe just mild. To keep business as steady as possible throughout the year, small businesses need to execute a smart and tactical marketing plan to rake in the customers when things are hot and draw in others when business starts to cool off. Knowing how and when to target niche customers can make all the difference in weathering the highs and lows of your business.
The best bang for the buck
If, for example, you’re a small family owned hardware store in a community that just so happens to have two (or maybe seven) other hardware stores, how do you compete? How do you sift through the consumer base to find the right type of customer for that particular special offer during a particular time of the year? Advertising is a costly business, where you have to spend money to make money, and small businesses usually have a tight budget. There’s little room for error. For a hardware store, trying to stand out among a crowded market is not about getting your brand out there to everyone, it’s about reaching the right kind of customers looking for your brand.
Any business must reach the right kind of customers and reaching them at the right time. For hardware stores, honing in on new homeowners is a great strategy, as any consumer who is making a lifestyle change has proven he or she is looking to stock up on materials and equipment from a hardware store. Roughly 17 percent of a population is made up of new residents. And some of those new residents are new homeowners who will spend between $10,000 to $12,000 on average during the first year to spruce up and stock their new homes.
Physical and digital strategies
To reach just those particular customers, direct marketing, specifically direct mailing, can be very effective. With help from a database business like Acxiom, you can collect a list of specific customers who are new homeowners under the age 40 and who own trucks, for example. With this information, a direct mail system can advertise to each of those customers their particular wants or needs, attracting the right kind of customer to your business at the right time. With direct mail, you know your message is getting to the right customer. It also gives you valuable statistical data on how much direct mail you sent out and how much feedback you get.
Where insurance companies can hire others to do their underwriting, they need to be a little savvy when marketing to new customers. Getting your business listed on search engine local directories is one good and popular strategy, but to really stand out, really get in touch with your customers and get them involved in your online marketing scheme. Online sites like Quote Wizard can help you gather leads on the specific customers your business would like to target. This lead aggregation strategy can cut out the fat, avoiding potential customers who most likely would ignore any marketing campaign you present them, and hone in on the right kind of customers actually looking for the type of products you offer. Much like direct mail works, online agencies like Quote Wizard can extract the kind of customer you’re looking for from their living status, health status, all the way down to their sex and weight. This definitely helps when business is slow and you are looking to appeal to a new customer base.
Getting your clientele to actually advertise for you seems like a pipe dream, but it is another unique strategy. On top of keeping in touch with customers through social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, videotaping live testimonials from a group of your most loyal customers and featuring them on your website is a great way to get your customers involved. It can not only strengthen your business relationship with them, but they can also be used as advocates for your business. Potential customers will see your business is trusted by people they may know or can relate to and that you’re a business that promotes community people and not just business.