This is a follow-up post regarding starting your small business marketing plan and defining your Target Audience, if you have not read that post, you may want to go back and start there. This exercise is also helpful if you feel a bit stuck in connecting with your customers.
Ok, so hopefully you have a clearer understanding of the customers you want to attract. If not, that is okay, this is an ongoing process, but the goal is to have one specific Target Audience to focus our marketing efforts.
This next exercise will help you pin-point if these are in fact the people you are meant to serve, and understand the needs and wants of your audience. PLEASE do not take for granted that you know your customers precisely. You may have no idea that your customer purchases one product/service from you, but then goes across the street to buy a complementary product, simply because they didn’t know you offered it. Maybe your customer would love if you provided additional services, and you are simply unaware.
So lets begin by asking them a few questions. (I’ll provide some easy ways to create a survey below.)
1. Pick 10 of your current customers, it helps if you have their email address, if not a phone call is your best bet. You can pick more than 10 clients; the goal here is to get a good set of people to provide valuable feedback. If you are new to business, adjust this survey to those individuals that fit your target market from the previous exercise (don’t send it to people who may not be good match), also look for 10 people ideally.
2. Send them a survey, explaining that you value their opinion are looking for some insight to better serve them.
3. Here are 10 Questions to ask to get some insight on your company, and feel free to adjust to what makes sense for your small business:
- Male or Female or choose to not answer option.
- Age range: 18 – 24, 25 – 34, 35 – 44, 45 – 54, 55+, or choose not to answer option.
- Education Level: High school, Some College, Bachelor’s Degree, Graduate Work (MBA, Ph.D, etc)
- Check all that apply, how would like to hear and receive updates from us? Options: E-mail; Facebook; Twitter; LinkedIn; Phone; Mail; Other (specify)
- What makes you buy from us?
- Did you consider any alternatives to [name of your company]? If so, how did you make your decision?
- What is the one thing none of your vendors do that you wish they would?
- What blogs, magazines, websites, or podcasts do you consume regularly? List as many as you as possible.
- What would you Google to find our goods and services?
- Is there a recent example where we have not met your expectations?
Now this is just a short list of questions. Certainly adjust as to what is appropriate to your company. There is no right or wrong here. The goal is to have a better understanding of our customers, their interests, and their buying-decision process. If you already have a very specific niche, you can forego the demographic questions, and go straight to asking behavioral questions and about your business/customer relationships.
How to create a survey
I recommend two options: the first is using SurveyMonkey. There is a free option that allows you 10 questions per survey with 100 respondents. SurveyMonkey is nice because they allow email, and Facebook integration for your survey. It is very easy to use.
The second option is creating the survey using Google Drive (formerly Google Docs). This is part of Google suite of products. If you have a Gmail account, you simply have to go to, open a Google Drive account, click on the “Create Button”, select “Form” from the dropdown, and you will be able to easily create a form of your liking.
This is a nice option because you can select themes, share via email and social networks. You have lots of flexibility with Google Drive. If you’re already using the Google Suite of products, this is the way to go.
What have your customers taught you?
Once you have enough responses, you should now have a good understanding how your clients view your company, some insights about the customer, and some areas where you can look to improve on your product, or start considering offering different products all together.
As an added bonus, you’ve also established some goodwill with your customers because it shows you really care about them and you value their insight. You simply don’t take their patronage for granted.
When was the last time any of the businesses you frequent ask you if you enjoy their services, or how they can improve? We see this in the hotel industry, but why not your small business? Really embrace this process. Next I will discuss other methods of learning about your target audience, like competitive research and keyword research. Remember, we’re looking to find ways and channels to reach your ideal customer. Consider this one brick of your growing empire.
I’ll be curious to hear what you have learned from this experience. Feel free to share below in the comments! And, as always, feel free to ask me any questions on Twitter @jasonmazier, I’ll love to hear from you.