Know Your Home Business Customers

So you know your new start up business product inside out, but can you say the same of your customers?  Part of the excitement of running a home business is being able to break free from the grind of always being told what to do by your boss.

Now you are your own boss! But however good the product or service you are selling, it won't matter if you don't really understand who your customers are.

Rosalind Brookman offers some tips on the benefits of good customer knowledge. 

So you know your new start up business product inside out, but can you say the same of your customers?

Research 

Having decorated your home office, got all your admin in order and turned your computer on, it’s really tempting to launch straight in and start promoting yourself left, right and centre. But you can save yourself time and money by doing a bit of research beforehand, to find out who exactly you are going to be selling to.

It’s no good spending a fortune on marketing yourself to everybody, when in reality it’s only a certain slice of the population who will make up your customer base.

Finding customers for your new start up business is one of your most important priorities and a first start up business task.

So before you start, ask yourself a few questions.

Business Start Up Products

Does my product appeal to everybody, or is there a particular age, gender or social group that would appreciate it more?

This way you can tailor your marketing to the specific groups who will be buying it, thus keeping your costs down.

Business Buying Habits

What are the buying habits of my customers?

Is yours a product that people can use all year round, or is there a certain season when it sells better? Focusing in on details like that will make it easier (and cheaper!) to streamline your marketing; maybe a big promotional campaign at a particular time of year followed by smaller follow ups the rest of the time.

Identifying this means that you can also look at the times when your product doesn’t sell as well, and find ways to improve on this, or diversify what you are doing. 

Engage With Customers

Nowadays there are a plethora of ways that allow you to connect with your customers, whether it’s through Facebook, Twitter, email, or good old fashioned telephone conversations!

Depending on the size of your business, a personal email from you on receipt of their order is a great way to engage your customer and make them feel that they are receiving a truly unique service.

Replying quickly, even if it’s just to say that you’ve received their enquiry and will provide them with an answer within two working days is better than not replying until you are ready to send out their order.

If you are sending them something physical through the post then again, the personal touch will always win favour. Pop a note in with it to thank them so they realise that by taking the time to do that for them it shows they are important to you.

Keep in touch with your customers so they don’t forget about you.  One baby product website that we came across keeps track of your orders and sends out an email around about the time it thinks you will need to stock up again. It keeps a friendly tone, along the lines of ‘Hey, if you’re running low on those baby wipes you bought from us, we’re offering a great deal on them this week.’

It’s a great idea, as it will often prompt people who had forgotten where they bought them from to order again, and if you don’t need any you can just delete the email without feeling hassled. 

We’ll look at customer feedback below, but you can use this to discover how often your customers feel happy about you contacting them. You don’t want them to buy from other people because you haven’t kept in touch, but you certainly don’t want them sighing with irritation every time they receive yet another correspondence from you!

Listening To Customers

Your customers know what they want, so who better to ask how you’re doing?

Customer feedback is the best, and quickest way to make sure you’re doing everything as best as you can, and for you to quickly alter anything that isn’t working so well.

Using email, Facebook, Twitter or online surveys, ask your customers for their opinions on your home business, and listen to what they tell you. Things that it’s good to ask regularly include:

  • Did I respond to your initial enquiry quickly enough?
  • How pleased were you with the finished product/service?
  • How did you feel about my communication with you throughout your order? Was there not enough, too much or the right amount?

You can also use this to find out more about your products – if you ask your customers why they bought it then you can tailor your marketing even more.

For example, if it seems your product is mainly being given as a gift then you can market it this way, or offer special promotions, such as a free gift wrapping service from your home office to make it even more appealing! 

Browse around our How To business advice centre to find stacks more helpful advice for starting your new business.