Conduct Market Research
Market research is an absolute must for any company, and you should start as early as possible. This process will determine if there’s a market for your product or service, who your customers are and how to appeal to them. There are four main components of market research:
Collect Customer Feedback
Nobody can tell you more about what your customers want than your customers themselves. There are several ways to collect customer feedback, but they boil down to two distinct types:
Since you’ll want to collect customer feedback as early as possible, you may not even have social media accounts or other marketing tools set up yet. To hear from your target audience, you can hold focus groups, send out surveys or arrange interviews with potential or current customers. As you grow your business, regularly read and respond to customer reviews, and share the best ones on your website and social media accounts – reviews from friends and real customers can influence other shoppers’ decisions. There are even ways to encourage more customer reviews, such as sending automated feedback surveys after a purchase.
Create a Customer Loyalty Program
While acquiring new customers is always great, smart business owners know that they get more traction out of returning customers. A large part of marketing should be focused on retaining customers and encouraging repeat purchases (as opposed to converting non-customers to customers). A loyalty program can create an incentive for a customer to buy from you over and over, and it may even encourage the customer to spread word about how great your brand is.
Setting up and maintaining a customer loyalty program takes a lot of work. If it’s too confusing or if the incentives aren’t tempting enough, you won’t get anywhere. Here’s what you should keep in mind:
Devin prides himself on being a jack of all trades; his career trajectory is more a zigzag than an obvious trend, just the way he likes it. He pops up across the Pacific Northwest, though never in one place for long. You can follow him more reliably on Twitter.