Your profits: Finding the sweet spot
The other day, I asked a glass company owner how he had grown his business. I was surprised when he said simply, “marketing.”
While there is no magic marketing solution for glass retailers, there is a pattern for success: define the “sweet spots” within your customer base, target them and measure the results.
Defining your target audience
First, you have to determine the types of customers your marketing should target. Start with your sweet spots. Perhaps local builders make up the largest chunk of your business. Or, maybe you cater specifically to homeowners. You know who your customers are and where your sweet spots lay, so focus your marketing efforts there. Don’t try to get customer-types that don’t already buy from you, to buy from you. Concentrate on a customer-type that is already a fit.
Reaching potential customers
The days of brand building as a marketing goal are over, and simply getting your name out there isn’t enough. Instead, your marketing program should specifically target your core customer base and provide potential customers with a way to immediately respond by either coming into or calling your business.
So, how should you reach out to potential customers? This depends on who you are targeting. If you are targeting builders, networking and very specific direct-mail pieces might be the best way to go.
If you are targeting homeowners, your marketing can be broader but should still focus on direct response. So whether you use radio, email, direct mail, local coupons, fliers, sponsorships or partnerships, ensure that you include a call to action in your marketing materials. Give potential customers a phone number to call or a specific reason to walk into your store.
One final note: 97 percent of Internet users use Google to research a product or business before they call, visit or buy, according to Google officials. Yes, you read that correctly, 97 percent. This means that you absolutely must claim your free Google Places listing. It takes about five minutes and it is free. Simply visit www.google.com/places. If your business doesn’t have a Google Places listing, your business doesn’t exist. If you remember nothing else from this article, remember this: claim your Google Places listing!
Measuring the results
Too many small and medium-sized businesses assume that because customers are walking in the door and calling them on the phone, their marketing efforts are working. But do you know which elements of your marketing strategy are most effective? Do you know if people are calling your business because they heard your advertisement on the radio, or because you sent them a piece of direct mail or a coupon?
For years, companies have relied on employees asking “How did you hear about us?” But that method doesn’t generally work. Employees don’t always ask the question, and even if they do, they don’t necessarily track the answers.
Consider investing in a call-tracking application that will tell you how many calls your marketing is generating. Today, tools like LogMyCalls can show you precisely how a customer found your company. You’ll know if a customer called because of a radio ad, a direct mailer, your website, your Facebook page, a flier, a business card, a bill or a Google search. You can track all of it. More importantly, you can track whether each call ended in a sale, an appointment or a missed opportunity.
Secondly, track your web traffic via a free account on Google Analytics, which will tell you how many people visit your site each day. You can get started by visiting www.google.com/analytics.
Whatever you use, use something! You have to know what works and what doesn’t. And, you can always adjust your marketing if your approach isn’t generating the results you want.