There’s a question on Yahoo Answers from a man starting a web development business and he was asking how can he market his new business within his locality. So far, he’s thinking of creating a flyer and giving the flyer door to door in his neighborhood. He was also thinking of inserting the flyers in cars in the malls.
There’s just so many wrong things with this shotgun approach, foremost of which is the assumption that everyone and anyone is a potential client. Nothing is farther from the truth: most of my neighbors, for example, are not thinking of creating a web presence and will never be interested in the services of a web development firm. Distributing flyers to these uninterested parties will be a waste of resources.
Whether you are starting a web design or a cleaning business, the first step is to determine exactly who will need the products or services you offer. Never make the assumption that the whole world is your target audience (wouldn’t it be lovely, though).
Going back to the web development firm, if he wants to reach potential clients in his area then the first step is to research and segment his target market:
- Businesses with existing websites that are well developed and excellent both in tems of design and functionality
- Businesses with existing websites but are poorly presented and executed
- Businesses that do not have a website but should definitely have one
- businesses that do not have a website and may or may not benefit from a website
Doing the research can be time consuming, but understanding the needs of potential customers allow you to create a more effective sales presentation and approach. Marketing to each of them will be different: those with excellent looking websites may need a different type of service to those with a poor looking website. Take your time to research and selling could be easier
Another thing is the question of whether you’d really like to limit yourself to your geographic area. A cleaning business may have no choice but to work within their locality, but a web development firm can have a huge market around the world. Take a look at sites such as Guru.com or elance.com and try to find projects outside of your current geographic area. Demand is plenty, but the downside is that you will be competing with Indians and Russians who quote bargain basement prices.