Market Research: Creating Listening Posts – Part 1

Can you describe your ideal customer? Do you know what they want from you? Have you ever asked? If not, you’re not alone. Many small business owners feel market research is beyond their budget or skill set. However, there are some free and low cost tools you can use to help you with this important task. Gaining information from a variety of viewpoints is best, “but starting small is better than not starting at all”, says Dr. Ursula Saqui of Saqui Research in Crown Point. Saqui recommends the following strategic methods of listening purposefully and strategically with your listening. Researching market trends Provides a snapshot of customers’ landscape Alerts you to changes in industry that may effect your customers Gives you a baseline for comparing your customers’ data against the larger industry trends Tip: try trade associations, Bureau of Labor Statistics, university research departments, non-profit research entities such as the Pew Research Center. Listening to your employees (coming soon!) Listening to your customers (coming soon!) Start with market trend research and add the other two once you’ve got step one set up. Once you begin listening in these multiple ways, look for patterns where there is alignment. To listen to the full podcast with Dr. Ursula Saqui, click here: Like this:Like...

Social Media Success Formula: Brainstorming, Video, Scheduling in Advance

I spoke to Paul Simkins, Chief Discovery Catalyst at Ah-Ha! Moments Living, about the process he uses for creating his very consistent social media posts, and has been for a number of years. As a Leadership and Personal Growth Trainer and Coach, Paul holds integrity as one of his core values and feels following through on his marketing is necessary for fulfilling his commitment to followers. Here’s a summary of the steps Paul uses in his process. You can listen to our full interview here: Planning. Paul keeps a rolling calendar with six months worth of topics planned in advance. He uses just one word to denote his intended topic for the week. Brainstorming. Paul is a certified Brainstorm Facilitator and uses brainstorming as a tool for developing his topic idea list. It’s important to set a time limit (15-20 minutes is usually plenty) and not to judge the results. Filter. Once the brainstorming is done, decide on which topics are too outside the scope of your business focus and get rid of them or put them in a “parking lot” file you can revisit later if you wish. He also looks for holidays and other seasonal events that would be a good fit for the chosen topics and plugs them into his rolling calendar. Create a Repository of Back Up Info. Paul keeps his eyes and ears open for quotes, notes and ideas that support his upcoming topics and stores them on Evernote. He uses tags with appropriate keywords for later retrieval. Create Original Content. Paul uses video to get things started. Other options are to write a blog post,...
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