Marketing a small business in Houston (or anywhere for that matter) can be a difficult and daunting task. One of the first steps in getting marketing right is to know your customer.

As a small business owner, you probably have limited time and money to spend on marketing so you must ensure every ounce of energy you puts into marketing yields an increase in business and revenue. To do this, you’ve got to know your customer and tailor your marketing and advertising efforts to ensure that they reach the customers you want more of. Small business marketing can be difficult but with careful planning and attention to detail, any business owner can improve their small business marketing and grow their business.

What do you need to know about your customer? As much as possible, of course, but you should especially focus on anything relevant to your market/niche/region/location/value… Where do they shop? Why do they — or do they not — purchase your product or service? Are they shopping for your product, or do they even know the product exists? What do they read? What radio station do they listen to? What websites and blogs are popular with them? It may sound cliche, but in small business marketing, knowledge is power, and small business marketing is all about asking the right questions to learn about the business’s customers. The business owner must know everything about their current customers.

Fortunately, most small business owners (that’s you, remember?) already have a customer base from which they can learn about their current customers. The owner and employees needs to look for trends such as similar ages, genders, nationalities, economic statuses, etc in their customers, and they must tailor their small business marketing efforts to reach similar consumers that haven’t yet purchased their product.

You could also just ask your customers. Don’t stress about overly complicated surveys. Just ASK the next time you see or talk to your clients. Example: “What newspapers or magazines do you read?” ¬†Tailor is based on your product or service. Grocery store managers might want to know what local newspapers customers read. Bike shop owners probably want to know which bike magazines or local event publications their customers read.

When you know your customers, you can create a plan to market to them. Where do the customers spend their time? What media interests them (magazine, radio, tv, internet, social media, etc)? Where can you place marketing materials so they will be seen by the most potential customers?

While small business marketing can be complicated, it can be the difference between a good small business and a great one — and between wasting money and getting a healthy return on it. It’s worth getting into the habit of getting to know your customers.

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