Understanding Your Marketplace
When I started writing this blog, I realized just how difficult it was to know what I should know when I did not know where to begin, and how to analyze the data that I was looking at.
Self-employed small business owners have a plethora of marketing information at their fingertips these days, but if you do not know how to decipher it, all is in vain.
I have put together a series of questions that you can ask yourself when you are dissecting the data you have, that will hopefully assist in the understanding process and give you a much better picture of your business.
I have broken it down into three categories.
- Your Target Market
- Competitive Assessment
- Your Web Strategy
Your Target Market.
To understand your target market, here are a few questions that need to be answered.
- Who are my current buyers?
- What customer types are the most profitable, and alternatively, what types are the least profitable to my business, currently?
- Am I going to try to expand into other markets this year? What markets are they?
- Is my marketplace too wide? Should I try “Niche Marketing?”
- Are my assumptions experienced based, or made from customer buying data?
- Where will I reach out to in order to find new customers? Could it be interest groups, small business associations and other social media channels?
- In my current marketing, can I broaden my Target Market or create several smaller offshoots.
Next you need to breakdown your target market and learn about future customers that fall into what we will call your ‘Avatar’ or perfect customer.
- Gender Type: How important is gender in your Avatar?
- Age range: 12-20, 20-30, 30-40, 40-50,50-60?
- Religion: Is religion relevant to your business?
- Culture: Do your products favour certain nationalities?
- Marital Status; Married/Single/Divorced/Widowed?
- Children: Do they have any? How old? Do they live at home?
- Education: Can they evaluate your products? Have they finished High School? College? Trade School?
- Disposable Income: Ability to afford your products.
- Social economical level: lower/middle/upper? What level do they think they live in?
- Occupation: Self-employed? Unemployed? Trade? Office? Executive? Full Time? Part time? Casual?
Asking these questions will help you to truly understand who your potential customers are and better still, for you, where to spend your marketing dollars.
Assessing your Competition
In today’s marketplace it is very important to understand who your competition is and what they are doing.
Here is a list of questions that you need to ask to develop a true picture of your competition.
- What are the company details: name/address/website etc.?
- What are they? A corporation/small business/self-employed?
- Are their products like your products? How are they different?
- What are their strengths/weaknesses?
- How do they fill the current wants and needs that their customers have?
- What vehicles do they use to reach their customers?
- What is their turn around time in responding to their customers?
- Do they have a Unique Selling Proposition? If so, what is it?
- What are their marketing methods?
- List their keywords. Are they the same as yours?
- Which of their customer types are organically obtained?
- Are they asking for referrals?
- Do they have a good or bad reputation?
- Do they use video/audio etc. to connect with their customers?
- Are they receiving social media likes? If so, ‘how?’
- Where do they fit in the industry? Can you fit in there as well? What steps do you need to take to do this?
The answers to these questions should give you a great understanding of your competitors and how you can benefit from their performances.
Web Marketing Strategy
And finally, let’s take a close look at the questions you need to ask in order to evaluate your Web Marketing Strategy.
- What are your numbers regarding Daily visitors/Weekly visitors and Monthly visitors to your web pages?
- How many of these can be counted as returning visitors daily/weekly/monthly?
- Look at the web stats and see what pages are being viewed the most. How many views?
- Assess your high traffic pages for the topic/layouts/pictures/ etc.
- Where does your web traffic originate? Google, Yahoo, Bing?
- What is your Bounce rate (the rate of people who come to your site and leave immediately)?
- Find out the rate of conversion from visitor to a lead and from a lead to a sale
- Look at your call to action on your pages and analyze which ones convert the best and which ones convert the least.
- Are your emails converting? Analyze the number sent/clicks per email/sales per email/average dollar per sale?
- Are you using videos and if so, how are they converting?
Well, there you have it. By asking these questions, you now should know exactly what you need to know to fully understand your business marketplace.
Read more about marketing your business in the Self-Employed Business Manifesto