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Growing to the level of sales your business needs to be successful is a goal shared among new business owners. What differs for each business is how and where to market your product or service.

Shea Eddins, who founded and ran the successful public relations firm, Dynamic Communications Corporation, (shea.eddins@yahoo.com) recommends developing a clear definition of your target market as your first step.

Who is your customer?

Develop a profile that considers the demographic, psychographic, and behavioristic traits of your target market.

  1. Demographic: If your product is intended for consumers, what is the age, gender, profession, education level, income level, and marital status your product or service targets. If your product is intended for corporate customers, what is the number of employees, location of headquarters, types of products and services they provide, annual revenue, number, size, and location of branches, and the year founded of your target customer.
  2. Psychographic: For consumer products or services, what is the family size, hobbies and/or sports, lifestyle, types of entertainment, publications they read, how else they enjoy spending their free time? For business products or services, what growth stage is the company in, type of workforce do they employ, who in the business you’re selling do, department they represent, management level, trade associations they belong to, publications they subscribe to?
  3. Behavioristic: These are the factors that describe the motivation for buying your product or service and influence the decision such as price, quality, brand name recognition, customer service, array of services, staff attitude, discounts and sales, attractiveness of packaging, convenience of location, convenience of product/service use, guarantees, warranties, technical assistance, flexible payment terms.

What triggers your customer’s ‘buy’ decision? Does your product or service satisfy a need or a want? Does your customer go searching for your product or do they buy it because they see it? When and where would someone expect to buy your product or service? Do people typically buy the product because it’s being demonstrated or because it’s available on a shelf?

Once you have a clear picture of your target market and what goes into their decision to buy your product, refine your marketing strategy:

  1. Target Local Media: Members of the media have a job to do and a market to please. Identify members of the local media who are targeting the same market you’re targeting and contact them. Be prepared to tell them how your product or service has value for their market and what the content of an interview or article could contain. Aim to develop long term relationships with them by becoming their ‘go to expert’ in a specialty related to your business. This can seem daunting and you may consider hiring someone like Shea who already has those relationships and who is an expert in marketing businesses.  You can EMAIL her directly at shea.eddins@yahoo.com.
  2. Hold or participate in events that target your market: Your local paper is a great source to find events where companies like yours market their products and services. Look for events that target your market and attend first to learn what works and what doesn’t, before you make the investment. It’s not always intuitively obvious. Shea did just that and learned that craft fairs were not the best place to show the custom jewelry she designs. (www.joydesignerjewelry.com)
  3. Read the magazines that target that market. How does your product or service relate to the interests of your target market? What are the trends? Could you contribute an article about a topic the readers would find interesting?
  4. Find companies that share the same target market and collaborate with them. Are there opportunities to sell your products through their storefront r website? Are there reciprocal opportunities?

If you’d like to read more about marketing your business, $1,000 Start-Ups contains marketing plans for 60 businesses, a tutorial on developing a marketing plan, and hundreds of resources where you can learn more.