Getting to the Customer
Market research is vital to succeeding in business. Who will need your product or service? Is there a demand for it? Once you've answered these questions, you need to establish how you're going to distribute, what price to charge and how you're going to promote your service or product. Marketing begins with customers' needs and you should design a strategy to fulfill those needs.
It takes money to make money. Setting funds aside for marketing is an essential part of running a business, but how can you best put this money to use?
Keeping up on your target market can be time consuming. It may be more cost effective for you to hire someone to research the changing needs of your customers and watch what your competition is doing, allowing you to concentrate on running the business. If you don't keep up with current trends and keep your prices competitive, you may find yourself losing customers.
Advertising and Promotion
You need to decide how you will advertise and promote your product or service. What medium will you use to advertise? There are dozens of ways to inform potential customers about your business; you need to decide which is the most cost effective for you. Whether it's a local flyer mail-out or a national television ad, the important thing to ask your self is whether you will generate enough profit from this campaign to more than cover the costs. Some forms of advertising are free, like something as simple as a sign on the sidewalk in front of your business or on the side of your vehicle.
Advertising isn't the only way to reach your market. You can promote your business in other ways: sponsor charity events, hold a contest, speak on the radio or at seminars. You can even keep a mailing list, and send your customers Christmas cards.
There are a lot of agencies that specialize in advertising and promoting businesses. They have the expertise in this area, but they do not have the intimate knowledge of your business. If you do decide that outsourcing is right for your business, make sure that you find an agent that will meet all your needs.