With the various ways of reaching out to consumers it is crucial now more then ever for small businesses to maximize the power of marketing investments. Doing this effectively requires dedication to research, interest in community trends and patience for trial and error. Determining your target demographic isn’t just an advantage, it’s a sure-fire way to increase the efficiency of your bottom line.

Do Your Research
Whatever it is you’re selling, whether it’s gourmet sandwiches or computer parts, you need to ask yourself who your customers are. Here are some helpful initial questions to ask:

  • How old are they?
  • Are they from a certain area of town or industry?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • Where do they get their news?
  • Does my product lean (or bend) toward a particular gender?

Once you know a little about your consumers not only do you find out who you are reaching, but you find out who you aren’t reaching (but should be).

Get Involved
Once you find out some general lifestyle habits of some of your customers, do your best to get involved in them to seek out more consumers and ensure loyalty from your current ones. Reach out at community events (festivals or sporting events) and sponsor or advertise.

Be Curious
Start asking questions about where customers found out about your business. Whether it’s a formal survey you hand out or just an casual conversation, find out whether they saw your advertisements in print, online or by word of mouth. Begin thinking about enhancing the more common methods in attempts to attract more customers and re-directing funds from unseen marketing. If you invest in print advertising, but none of your customers ever see them, then it’s time to re-asses the situation.

Make Changes
Once you find out which marketing avenues are working and which ones are not, be open to change and modify your marketing plan. Here is where trial-and-error come into play because you have to try various techniques to see whether you can increase your market share. If not many people found you on Google, spend some resources on enhancing your page-rank with SEO techniques. Many of your customers young professionals? Try being active with social media and offer specials and discounts to spread the word. Think outside of the box and really try to understand how you can reach more people.