Whenever I’m about to buy something, I like to stop and think exactly how I ended up about to make this transaction. For example, yesterday I was downtown about to head into EMS when an attractive lady with a cool dog handed me a flyer for an eco-friendly active outerwear company with a pop-up store around the corner. The flyer and the pitch were interesting and the offer of free stumptown coffee sealed the deal. I walked over with a friend and we definitely liked the ambiance, the clothes were cool and the people were real friendly. Nau (www.nau.com) is designed in Portland and I walked out with a new fall jacket.
I asked the store clerks about their flyer strategy and they said they targeted EMS because they knew the typical customer there was interested in outdoor gear and if they handed out 100 fliers to people about to enter EMS they would get about 15-20 people into the pop-up and 3-4 buyers.
It’s important to think about who is going to buy your stuff because you can’t simply setup shop and hope for qualified leads to walk in the door.
Here are some questions to think about/answer when trying to define your customer:
1) Who is the target audience of your product (be it jewelry, clothing, software, travel, consulting services)?
2) What other products are they likely to buy (books, music, food, clothing)? At what price?
3) Where do they shop (retail outlets, malls, online)?
4) How do they learn about new products to try (blogs, reviews, expert opinions, newspapers, friends, magazines)?
Think of the last time you bought something on Amazon.com – if you purchased a book, Amazon most likely said something like “You might also like this other book, CD, video game, or DVD”. Amazon can tap into the purchasing habits of millions of people which makes it a lot easier to make cross-recommendations. Small business owners need to get more creative.
It is impossible to advertise to everyone and hope they self-select. You need to be like the pretty sales rep outside of EMS – narrow down a group of well-defined potential customers and then go after them!