Minggu, 12 Oktober 2014

Business-to-Business Marketing Strategies: Free Information for Assessing Your Market

If your target market includes other businesses, direct mail sites such as InfoUSA and MelissaData are great places to turn when you need to purchase a targeted list. But, it's a little-known fact that these sites (and others like them) are also a great free resource for obtaining other information about your potential market to help you make smart business decisions. Direct mail sites allow you to input all kinds of search parameters for your target demographic, whether business or consumer, and use that information to access their database in order to create a targeted list to help you define your market. Additionally, in order to sell you that list, direct mail sites have to tell you how many leads are on it, which means these sites can essentially serve as a free online resource for savvy entrepreneurs looking to assess their target market in various ways. There are other resources on the Web for accessing business-to-business marketing--at Dunn & Bradstreet, for example. But, the advantage of direct mail sites is that they are actually set up for market research purposes. This means that it's easier to access key information such as how many restaurants spend more than a $1000 a year on office supplies, or how many architecture firms are located within a certain zip code. So what good is it to know all this information? Let's look at a few business-to-business examples. Let's say you're a graphic designer, and you've worked out a deal with a local print shop aimed specifically at serving healthcare practitioners with coordinated business cards, letterhead, appointment reminders and follow-up postcards for new patients. You've done a few of these packages for clients who are doctors and chiropractors, and you know this is a service almost any healthcare professional in private practice could use. But how big, exactly, is your potential market? InfoUSA and MelissaData are just two of the many direct mail sites that can help you get a basic count within your target market. By accessing their Business Lists, you'll be able to find out the number of doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists and naturopaths located in your area. This will give you a sense for not only how much business this specialty package could generate, but what kind of advertising budget you'll need to reach your target market. Serving a business market can also help you reach a potential consumer market. Say, for example, you're a distributor for a new air-filtration device. Sure, your potential market is anyone who cares about their health and makes enough money to afford your device--and it would certainly make sense to find out how many people in your region fit that consumer demographic. But, targeting those businesses that have a special need for healthy indoor air--such as doctor's offices, senior centers and nursing homes, health clubs, and yoga studios, to name just a few--might be a better place to start in terms of marketing. If you offer a discount to such businesses that might be willing to carry your brochures and marketing materials, it might be the best way to reach your consumer market, as well. Start by using a direct mail site to find out how many businesses in your target demographic are located within your region. You'll not only get a sense for the size of your market, you'll also save yourself time and effort by finding out which group of businesses composes the largest segment of that market, thereby tailoring your pitch (and sales letters) accordingly. As another example, let's say you're considering a new location for your mail shipping business. You've got two possible storefront locations, with comparative rents, visibility, traffic, etc. If these two potential locations exist in different zip codes, it might make sense to use a direct mail site to find out how many other mail shipping businesses exist within those same areas, thereby using the database tool to assess your competition. After all, with a business serving such a basic need, convenience is key: you're more likely to get business if your location is one of the only businesses serving that niche within a given area. These are just a few examples of the ways you can use direct mail searches to determine features about your potential business market. Get familiar with search parameters on each direct mail site, and put them to work in whatever way works best, given your particular business and circumstances. If the time comes when you want to move forward with direct marketing to your target demographic through a mail campaign, thank them by purchasing that list from the direct mail site of your choice. And, as an added appreciation for these direct mail houses to thank you for your business, a few of them will even offer 100 more free leads fitting the parameters of your list. So, make sure you do some research on these sites as part of your ongoing marketing plan. The benefits to using their services could prove beneficial in market assessment and communication.

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