By Glenn Muske
Rural and Agribusiness Enterprise Development Specialist
North Dakota State University Extension Service – Center for Community Vitality
Today, small-business owners increasingly feel that they cannot effectively compete in marketing when facing huge marketing campaigns, thus hindering their chance at growth. Yet these small-business owners often forget the advantages they have.
|Glenn Muske from North Dakota
State University shares his
small business knowledge.
Small-business owners develop deep connections with their customers. Those connections arise from close interactions. In such an interaction, the owners can identify the specific problems the customer is trying to solve. They can find the unfilled niche and learn how to attract an audience.
The owner, in many ways, has developed his or her own focus group. Major companies will spend thousands of dollars to gather similar information.
The information gathered from existing customers probably represents a sample of a larger audience. This provides the business owner with an incredible resource for building an effective marketing campaign.
Information that owners could gather includes:
- What brought people into store today?
- Have they visited the store previously?
- Why did they buy something today?
- If they’ve been to the store before, why did they stop the first time?
Further questions might include:
- Do they remember seeing any advertising/marketing for the business?
- If so, what was it?
- Did it provide them with information on new products, services or other information?
- Did it entice them to take some type of action?
- What marketing tools do they find most effective?
- Do they shop for and compare products and services online?
- What online marketing is effective and why?
All of these questions focus on the key marketing elements of getting attention, interest and action from potential customers.
It is a lengthy list of questions. Owners need to pick out the most important. They will have, if they have done their job, future chances to ask more questions.
For more help with getting noticed, consider what is available at your local Extension Service office. Also visit North Dakota State University’s small-business support website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/smallbusiness and sign up for the monthly newsletter. Small businesses anywhere in the U.S. should check out www.eXtension.org/entrepreneurship.
Joining groups such as your local chamber of commerce can be helpful, too. The Small Business Administration and its related organizations, such as the Small Business Development Centers and Service Corps of Retired Executives, also can be valuable resources.
Glenn Muske is a true grass-roots expert on small business. I was impressed with him back when he worked in Oklahoma, and that carries on to his work in North Dakota. He shares articles like this with the county extension agents there, and he’s kindly granted us permission to share them here. Follow Glenn on Twitter for more small business info and links. –Becky
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