What type of customer are you? I start with this question because often the way we like to receive information from a company is a starting point in thinking of ways to market to your own customers.
- Are you a customer that gives out your information to be on email lists and loves to internet shop from the announcements you receive?
- Are you a customer that most enjoys receiving bonuses, points or free gifts for shopping?
- Are you a customer that likes a personal call from a company associate informing you of a new product?
- Do you like getting text or tweet updates?
I have found that I’m one of those customers who is most loyal to a company that keeps me informed specifically with a personal touch and I tend to choose companies with excellent customer service over discounts. In fact, my local beauty product supplier knows that when they have their semiannual sale – that if they call me – I put in an order right there on the phone. Sure the discount is what first got me started, but the fact they know I prefer to buy during the sale and use that information to personally call me; they have my loyalty even when there isn’t a sale; and I usually spend much more with them and more often.
Though there is no single right way to market, it is important to keep your customers preferences in mind for your various approaches to be most effective. Often companies will ask a customer, “How did you hear about us?” However, another important question would be, “How would you like to be informed about our future events or offerings?” If you know the way your key customers and worthy new customers prefer to be notified, not only can you target market directly and effectively, you also find out which avenues are most successful and should be focused on.
Here are just a few ideas on how you can stay current with your customers:
- Email marketing blasts
- Tweets through Twitter, Facebook posts and other social media channels
- Direct Mail pieces
- Company news letters
- Phone calls
- Website updates
- Thank you cards
- Cross-sell or inform of additional product or offers
- Well timed rewards or discounts
- Referral bonuses
Staying current with your customers in an effective way can have immediate returns financially; there by helping your business achieve more success.
Target marketing, as defined by Wikipedia, is the group of customers that the business has decided to aim its marketing efforts to and ultimately sale merchandise. Effectively targeting the correct market for a company’s upcoming or current product generally will not only help increase sales, but will increase the number of potential customers communicating with each other about the product. Creating the correct target market takes resources from most departments, but how does a company choose which market is best for their product line and how to effectively drive the marketplace?
Recently, I have been involved in research around ProPay’s Social M-Payments platform ProPayLink (recently known as Zumogo). The company needed to define its target market for the new, upcoming product. What were the components we needed to search out? ProPayLink is an application for Smartphone users; therefore we needed to research who used Smartphones, the average income for Smartphone users, what type of Smartphones these consumers used, etc. Compiling this information helped in the decision factor for the target market and therefore we were able to create the marketing strategy for ProPayLink.
Once the target market has been decided, the next step is to effectively drive it to the marketplace. I have become a big fan of a few select initiatives to take the product to consumers; let me share them with you:
Create a social atmosphere. Social media has become integral in the buzz about any new product offering. Create multiple channels of social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Blogger); update regularly and respond to any questions/concerns in a timely fashion. “By monitoring online conversations about your brand, industry, product or related services, you can strengthen product development, customer service and a variety of other core business functions,” (Defining Social Media Engagement, Mashable.com).
Beta launches work wonders. Your product was made for success; place the product out in the field and test how the marketplace takes to it. This is the best environment to create positive feedback to take back to developers, marketers, product development, etc. and change/update what consumers are looking for.
Continually update. A product is never finished. It needs to be continually updated and refreshed to keep your target market interested.
Creating the most effective target market for your business’s products can and will be time consuming, but eventually bring consumers to the table. ProPay continually enhances its products for our merchants and offers them a variety of devices to allow their customers to pay.
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