One of the most important things for any business to know is where their customers are coming from. This is especially important for smaller, local businesses with limited marketing budgets.
Truthfully, it should not be that hard to get this information, but sometimes you would think we are asking our clients to perform surgery without anesthetic on their customers. Now, isn’t that a comforting image?
Of course you don’t want to barrage your customers by asking them for lots and lots of personal information or hound them. We all want to be respected when we are doing our shopping. And certainly not everyone is going to be forthcoming with personal details–and why should they?
The simplest way to find out how people found you is to ask. Ask when you are ringing them up as part of the conversation. Even if they aren’t buying anything right now they may come back later. See if you can begin to build a relationship with them so they know you and your business. Make your place a fun place (or serious place if that’s your style…just make it THE place they want to come to for your product or service.)
I have clients who want me to advise them on the merits of X or Y or Z advertising media, but they have no data to provide me. I cannot honestly tell someone if that vehicle is worth the money if they cannot tell me if they have had any results from it. Guessing just doesn’t help anyone.
You have to know your own business and your customers. I love it when a client tells me they know some general information about their customers. At least that is a start!
As the business owner you must consider where your business is located when deciding how to spend your marketing budget. Pretty much across the board it is safe to say that you want to be found on the internet…but does that mean spending a lot of money on a website? Does it mean you have to make big online ad purchases? Maybe…or maybe not.
Is the phonebook dead? Are newspaper ads valuable? These are questions we get all the time. The answer is: maybe…maybe not.
Even if you never liked taking tests, sometimes we have to test the waters to figure out what works. With some basic information on how your current customers are finding you we can help advise on what makes sense…but there will still be some trial and error.
Don’t ignore what has worked in the past!
Have you used mailings in the past with success? Is your business downtown where an old fashioned sandwich board sign or colorful balloons have drawn in passers-by? Have you built connections through your Chamber of Commerce? These are all traditional methods that are great as long as they work for you.
Bottom line–you want your phone to ring or people to walk in the door, right? Then do what works for YOU and YOUR business even if it isn’t the what all the “experts” are telling you works today.