Before you place an ad, create and hand out flyers, promote your products or services on social media, design or redesign a website, you need a good understanding of who will buy what you sell, and what will get them to make a purchase.
Researching your market will help you determine how best to reach potential customers, and where to spend you advertising and promotional dollars to get the best results.
Whether you are starting a new business, launching a new product, or just looking for ways to grow your existing business, this market research worksheet will help you gather the information you need to plan your marketing strategy.
As you fill in answers on the marketing worksheet, be sure that you aren’t guessing at answers. Talk to real potential customers whenever possible, and use available industry research. The more factual data you can gather, the better you’ll do at marketing your business. Products or Services you offer (or list new services you could offer if you are already in business)
Describe the general types of individuals or businesses you expect to use what you sell.
Where are these potential customers located? Indicate why and when they need your products or services.
If you aren’t sure, ask potential clients to tell you under what circumstances they might consider using a service like yours.
How often will customers need to buy what you sell? Describe the benefits your product or service offers customers. What specific problems do they solve? What pain do they take away? What need or strong desire do they fill? How do potential customers solve those problems or fill those needs now?
List your known competitors – local, national, and online. How will your service differ from your competitors? What is your unique selling proposition? How are you planning to find customers? (Check all that apply) Email marketing and email newsletter In-person sales calls Paid social media advertising Paid display advertising in newspapers or magazines An ad in the Yellow pages Formal leads group Window signs to attract walk-in trade By bidding on jobs (ie, answering RFPs) Conventional mail (letters, postcards, etc.) Website Free social media posts Handing out flyers Classified ads (print) Word-of-mouth advertising & referrals Network at business meetings Ads on radio and TV Search engine advertising (ex: AdWords) Trade shows Other (specify): How do people learn about this type of service now? (Don’t guess! Go out and ask potential customers) Conventional mail (letters, postcards, etc.)
Email Searching the web In-person sales calls Through social media Paid social media advertising Referrals from friends & associates Paid display advertising in newspapers or magazines Classified ads (print) An ad in the Yellow pages Networking groups Formal leads group Radio and TV ads Window signs to attract walk-in trade In-store displays to sell add-on services Issuing bid notices Search engine ads (ex: AdWords) Online newsletters Other (specify): Market Research Worksheet
Make a wish list of specific individuals or businesses who would be interested in what you sell Who makes the buying decisions–the actual user, purchasing department, department head, other? Company Name/Title Phone number Email Address How much money do you have available for advertising each month? $ How much will you spend on each of these marketing methods. (Keep in mind that “free publicity and social media posts take time, and time is money.) Mailings (include cost of postage, mailing lists, if they will be rented, and printed $ In-person sales calls
Organization memberships and meeting fees Classified ads Cost of time spent on social media Print display advertising Search engine pay-per-click ads Paid social media ads Window signs and in-store placards Website creation and maintenance Cost of time spent preparing bids Press release services Other (specify)
Compare your expected methods of finding customers and costs with the ways potential customers have indicated they are most like to look for this type of service. Then decide what steps you need to take to get customers to buy from you. List them below and set target dates for accomplishing each. Action item Start Date Estimated Cost Actual cost Follow-up date Result