Okay, we’re into the New Year, ready or not. If you don’t have a complete marketing/media plan for 2015, it’s not too late to develop one to begin the 2nd quarter of this year. As I’ve said numerous times, your plan should consist of a combination of what worked in 2014 (after evaluation) and brand new marketing ideas to test. There are so many options for advertising and marketing today you’ll never run out of choices.
In order to select the best new options for your business in 2015, always think about the market you want to reach. Take a look at your own customer list to determine who your customers are. You should be able to create a profile just by understanding certain demographic and lifestyle characteristics. Try to identify the following:
- Geographic draw (local zip codes/neighborhoods, tourists)
- Age Group
- Household income
- Ethnic group
- Homeowner versus renter
- Lifestyle characteristics (travelers, gourmet food/wine, gardeners, donors — any number of traits)
So here’s the big question: Do you have a customer database? Are you keeping it up to date? It is the single most important asset of your business. And if you don’t use it to do your marketing, you are wasting time and money that you have already invested.
If you do NOTHING else this year, start a customer list and communicate to it. These are folks who have already been to or inquired about your businessop a relationship with them. In lean times, these are folks you can count on. Without it you are reinventing the wheel with each expenditure of advertising and marketing dollars.
Your customer database is your #1 asset while you’re in business and can be
used to increase the value of your business if you decide to sell your business. You should have a list of your customers with contact information in a separate database so that you can easily access it for an email or postal promotion. Make sure your promotion is relevant —- have something to say, whether it’s a business announcement about a new product or expansion, new hours; a thank you offer; in the case of restaurants, a menu change or new feature.
You can use it as a survey tool to find out about changes within a household; personal preferences; and customized information that will help you sell more products/services to your customers and prospects.
Note: If you also acquire names of prospects (non-customers), you have a better chance of converting them to regular customers by communicating with them frequently. Your customer and prospect databases are truly your gold and will prove to be your most important tool to help your business grow.
CONCLUSION: The more you know about your customers and prospects the more you can increase your business. The key is to communicate consistently. Your customer list is your primary tool for communications between your business and a steady customer. In some businesses, a database of customers and prospects is the best way to promote as well as the least expensive. Several clients have cut back on the dollars spent for advertising and marketing because they know how to capitalize on database marketing.