When your child comes home from school with the latest fundraiser, who do they approach first to make a sale? You; followed by family, friends and neighbors. Why do they do this? Because they know that they are more likely to get money from someone who already knows them and likes them.
While they will have some success knocking on doors, the success they have among their “warm” market is going to be much higher.
The same types of rules apply to small business marketing. You have a warm market and a cold market. The warm market consists of current customers, friends, and family and community members. These people already know you and they likely trust you already.
Your cold market is people who’ve never heard of you and they don’t have a reason to trust you yet. Your warm market will nearly always be you main source of sales. Although this group may seem small, it’s actually quite extensive and here’s why:
Joe Blow down the street may never have heard of your business nor talked to you in person. But Joe Blow plays poker with your best friend on Thursday nights and your best friend loves utilizing your business. When Joe Blow needs a referral for something you offer who do you think your friend will send him to?
Your cold market can actually be a little warmer than you think because word of mouth plays a large role in marketing. More than one survey shows that customers are much more willing to try a new product or frequent a new business based on the opinion of someone they know.
As a small business owner you have a very distinct benefit over larger companies in this regard. Whereas a major company might have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to market to people, even their target audience, you don’t have to spend nearly as much. One-on-one contact is much more manageable in smaller companies. Which means, that your warm market it likely to feel more personal and your warm market, if satisfied with your services, is more likely to recommend your business to someone else out of loyalty.
If you want to target your warm market do these three things:
- Create a list. This can be family, friends, business associates, businesses your frequent, networked individuals etc. Sit down and write down anyone you can think of. If you know their name and they are probably going to recognize you, consider them warm market.
- Offer a deal to your warm market for referrals. In some industries (particularly the life insurance industry) you’ll need to be careful that you aren’t paying for sales. This is unethical and you can lose your license. But, offering rewards cards or discounts when a friend of your warm contact your business isn’t only ethical, it’s nearly essential.
- Reach out to your warm market more often: Because you have a more comfortable relationship with people in your warm market, it’s going to be easier to get honest feedback from them. Though be warned, some warm market friends will be hesitant to give you negative news. Encourage honesty and refrain from getting offended as much as possible.
Recognizing your warm market and utilizing this group more will not only increase sales it will increase your level of marketing saturation. In other words: get your warm market to spread the word and you’ll be moving along quite nicely before you know it.
photo by: lordfaggot