Awards & Engraving

February '19

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A&E FEBRUARY 2019 • a-e-mag.com 19 Laser Engraving CUSTOMER TYPES Let's talk about types of customers. There are a variety of target customers and product lines you can laser engrave for. Different customers can be reached using different methods. Here's a brief list of potential customers for your laser engraving business: • Personal gift buyers • Business individuals buying business gifts • Small, local businesses • Larger or corporate businesses • Government agencies such as cities, counties, state, police, fire, local U.S. government offices, etc. • Non-profits helping individuals such as the Salvation Army, American Cancer Society, and United Way • Industry organizations • K-12 education including public, charter, and private schools • Colleges and universities • Sports leagues run by volunteers • Sports leagues run by employees for profit • Sports schools and gyms • Professional or semi-professional sports organizations MARKETING METHODS All of these customer bases respond to different marketing methods. For instance, reaching out to the small, local business client or business gift customer can be accomplished through introducing your business at network groups such as your Chamber of Commerce or BNI. A personal gift customer can be reached through social media or other forms of general advertising. What's key is understanding who your targeted customer is, then you can ask where and how you can reach them. So how do you identify and reach a target customer? Here is a non-exhaustive marketing list: • Networking events • Volunteering • Social media • Your business website • Cold calling by phone • Cold calling by foot • Email marketing • Print media advertising • Online news • Online marketing • Business directories • Direct mail • Door-to-door delivery — busi- nesses and homes • Opt-in newsletters • Training/classes for your cus- tomer base • Partnering with small product makers • (I saved the best for last) Customer referrals Here's an example of how to utilize some of these methods for your awards shop. Say I want to sell expensive custom awards to mid-size and large corporations. Do I mail a "who it may concern" letter to the company? It will likely get tossed. The best chance I have to reach the buyer is to call the corporation and ask the operator or receptionist to put me in touch with whomever manages awards (it is likely in their human resources department). I will want to match the product with the buyer, decision maker, or at least the influencer so I then have an effective mailing campaign to them later. OUR COMPANY AS AN EXAMPLE Our shop's target customer base is the small business and local big businesses, regional non-profits, regional government agencies, and a few products and services for national specialty niche markets. I do not target kids' sports, nor the personal gift market. I will service these walk-in customers if I am able to based on their need and timeframe. I have developed a base of loyal, My business's Yelp listing.

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