All posts by Nicky Claydon

Hi there. My name is Nicky Claydon and I'm a mum to 2 lovely boys, wife and business owner who loves to blog. I really enjoy helping businesses who want to grow a larger customer base, improve customer retention and get more referrals through Appreciation and Referral Marketing.

Identifying your target market

Have you thought about what you need to do to identify your target market?  This is so crucial for any business but something that is often overlooked, especially when starting out.

Target Market
What are you prospects needs?

The one thing that business owners often forget to do is put themselves in the shoes of their target customers. You need to do this on a regular basis. You need to find out if your prospects/customers understand the benefits your product/service offers as well as you do and if your brand message is clear.

There are a number of ways you can do this but one of the best ways is by using a customer feedback survey. Survey Monkey is a FREE online resource that you can use for this purpose.

There are lots of advantages for obtaining feedback, here are a few:

Repeat business. You can’t assume that if you don’t hear from your customers they are happy with you. You need to check this on a regular basis. Happy customers will buy from you again and again.

Loyalty. If your customers never hear from you how will they know you are still in business? If you don’t keep in touch and check that they are happy you will find they will defect to the first person who comes along. You need to keep in touch and by gaining their feedback this is a great way.

Reputation. It is really important that your customers let you know how they feel about your product/service before they tell their friends. If there are problems it gives you a chance to rectify things and the way they feel about you. If they are happy this becomes a great testimonial for you which you could ask to use, if they are happy to give their permission, and it also lets you know that this is the message they are passing on to their friends.

Referrals. You don’t want a customer to have any reason not to recommend you or your service wholeheartedly. This is why is it is really important to check regularly that they don’t have any issues/problems.   Remember, word of mouth referrals bring new customers into your business for FREE and the more referrals you get the more your business benefits.

Morale. If a customer praises your product/service, this is a huge morale boost and will give you, and also any staff who work for you, masses of confidence that your business is on the right track. It also gives peace of mind that your customer will be loyal to you over the coming years and will refer you often.

By seeking feedback you will see the product/service you provide through new eyes which will enable you to spot potential weaknesses, areas of misunderstanding and possibly things that your prospects/customers may object to, find difficult to use or simply not like.

Once you have this information to hand you can then set to work and hone your marketing message specifically to fit the needs of the people you are attempting to market to, which should result in an upturn in future sales. Taking this course of action also arms you with the information in order to enhance your 60s pitch, marketing messages/campaigns and working practices so that they will fully cover the needs of the people ideally suited to buy from you.

If identifying your target market is something you have not put in place for your business then make sure you do, as soon as possible.  You will be encouraged by the huge impact it has on your business.

Until next time

Nicky Claydon @NickyClaydon












Target Marketing Criteria

Deciding on your target marketing criteria lays a critical foundation for your business. Ideally this is something that should be considered when drawing-up a business plan for your new business, but if this has passed you by, it is never too late!  The better you know your customer the faster your business will grow.

target marketing criteria

It is really important to determine a criteria you intend to use to identity the people you most wish to reach who will become your perfect customer.

Your audience is unique to you and your brand, so you must identify the factors that can be used to create a better relationship between their potential needs and what your company can offer to provide a solution to their needs.

Ideally you need to eliminate the people for whom an attractive offer from you won’t be relevant or important. By excluding these people, you can then focus your marketing messages to reach the remaining people who will be most interested and receptive to the call to action within your marketing message.  The more you define it the better – this is what’s known as your ‘niche’ market.

If you are new in business look at who your competition are marketing to and this can be easily done, these days, via Social Media. If you have an established business and have an existing customer base, ascertain the common traits and interests of your current customers and why they buy from you. Who are your top customers (your VIPs)? If you determine the common denominator of your VIPs, it will then make it easier for you to target people, very similar to them, who could also benefit from your product/service.

Analyse not only who has a need for your product or service but also who is most likely to buy it. Use some or all of the following factors:

  • Age
  • Education
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Family
  • Income Level
  • Marital Status
  • Location
  • Occupation

You could also use the more personal characteristics to segment your target audience:

  • Attitudes
  • Interests/Hobbies
  • Lifestyle
  • Personality

ValuesHowever, take care not to whittle it down too far!I hope this post has got you thinking. Is this something you’ve overlooked doing? If so, as mentioned previously, is never too late. You will be surprised at the difference it will make to the take-up rate of your prospects.

Until next time

Nicky @NickyClaydon



Defining your target market

One of the biggest hurdles small business owners face is getting their message out to the right people who are most likely to become their customers. This is where defining your target market comes into play and ensuring you put a Target Marketing strategy in place for your business.

target marketing
Define Your Market

When starting a small business, people all too often (especially during the first year of their business) set-off randomly marketing to all and everyone until they suddenly realise that this way of operating really isn’t working for them. Prior to setting-up a business is an ideal time to take stock and really ‘drill down’ as to who are the most likely demographic to buy your products/service(s). However, even if your business is established, is it is never too late to carry out this exercise.

If you haven’t thought of this before, perhaps now is the time!

It is important to realise that your products/service(s) have a target audience that can be defined. One of the primary goals of your business should be to think of ways of identifying who these people are so that you can promote your business so that your marketing speaks directly to them.

It is no good assuming that your products will appeal to all and sundry. It would be great if this could be believed but, generally, it is not the case that everyone will like and want to buy from you.

For example:

  • If you want people to sell products on your behalf, say, on a party plan basis then you need to be marketing your business in places where young parents will notice this opportunity to earn extra money as these are the type of people who are more likely to need an income which will fit around childcare so that they don’t have to return to work. Alternatively, the older generation who are retired could also be interested in this type of work in order to top-up their retirement income.
  • If your product is a phone app, it is more likely that the younger generation will buy/promote an app like yours as they are more proficient in using their handheld devices so you need to be marketing where the younger generation will see it and be attracted to it.

If you have an existing customer base, look for common characteristics and interests which can give you an indication as to why these customers buy from you? What type of customer brings in the most business? Once you find a common denominator it is then easier to market your product/service to other people like them who will be more likely to buy.

This may seem obvious but often considerations like these are often overlooked.  If this is something you’ve overlooked doing for your business, it’s not too late.  Set to now and put the time aside to define who your perfect target audience is.

Until next time

Nicky @NickyClaydon.

Thanking and rewarding client referrals

Have you ever thought about the consequence of not thanking your business contacts for any referrals they may give you? Whether you thank them simply by sending a card or by also sending a gift, this is something you must implement into your relationship marketing strategy.   If you are not doing this you are doing UNTOLD DAMAGE TO YOUR REPUTATION & THAT OF YOUR BUSINESS!

thanking referrals
Reward Your Clients For Referrals

It is extremely important, therefore, to be sure to give every business contact that passes a referral to you a hearty and gracious ‘thank you’ immediately. A handwritten personal note is perfect as it provides that ‘feel good’ factor upon receipt but also serves as a reminder of a good deed done which other methods lack.

DOs & DON’Ts

Do remember to send a physical thank you in the post, even if you have seen the person and mentioned it personally as a verbal ‘thank-you’ is often forgotten. E-mail and telephone thanks are also no substitute for the personal touch that a card/gift can bring.

Don’t assume you deserve the referral just because you told them at the beginning of the sales process that you expect referrals from happy customers. If, for example, one of your customers writes some business with you and then refers, say, three of their contacts, who also write business with you, what do you think will happen if you don’t say thank you to your customer for those referrals especially if the three pieces of business written are for a considerable amount? There isn’t any doubt that you wouldn’t have been referred unless they were happy with the way you carry out your business, but if they refer people to you and you don’t tell them you are grateful or show any other form of appreciation for those referrals what do you think will happen? Over a very short period of time your client could, very well, become apathetic towards you and feel that you have taken their referrals for granted. This will result in them referring someone else, and NOT YOU, in the future.

Don’t use your company’s letterhead if sending a letter of thanks. High quality paper with your name and address, simply at the top of the paper, or a high quality greeting card are ideal to use.  You don’t need it to be lengthy, just a few thoughtful lines expressing gratitude for the referral, informing them when you will next be in touch and a further thanks to close.

Don’t send branded items as a referral thank you such as t-shirts, umbrellas or paperweights . Any item such as these will be a complete ‘turn-off’ upon receipt as it smacks of insincerity. Any referral thank you gift given should be something personal to them for their use NOT something to help you promote your business.

Give Careful Consideration to What You Are Offering

It is really important you give careful consideration to any gift you will be offering as a referral reward. If you only have a small budget it is perfectly acceptable to send a ‘thank you for the referral’ greeting card. It is better to send a card on its own rather than accompanying it with a small insignificant gift. Bear in mind that any gift given needs to be something that someone wouldn’t mind receiving more than once as this will incentivise them into referring more people to you in the future. The value of the gift also needs to be something that makes it worth their while to refer people to you, such as a £25/$30 gift voucher from a high-end store, money-off coupon to use for your product/service or a bottle of champagne.

If your competition sends an e-mail or text and YOU send a handwritten card and include a gift, which of you is more likely to get a future referral? Yes – YOU!   It is extremely important that you make this part of your Relationship Marketing Strategy. By formally sending thanks for referrals it will differentiate you from your competition.

Referees who feel appreciated will generate even more repeat business and referrals for you in the future.   They will consistently send their friends, family and business contacts to you and, most importantly, referrals cost you nothing!

I hope you found this post useful. Please comment below on your thoughts with regard to referral thanks/rewards.

Until next time

Nicky @NickyClaydon.

Using Feedback & Referrals for Building Relationships

When it comes to relationship marketing you have several options that can help you perform this task. One way to do this is by building a relationship with your customers by asking for feedback and then when you know they are happy to ask them for referrals. This method works very well and can help you attract new business daily.  By asking your customers for feedback you can gain some insightful information into the workings of your business.

obtaining referrals
Feedback for Referrals

While you may not always like what you hear, it is important to take actions and rectify any major problems that your customer may have experienced. You may be unaware of certain problems, because you aren’t your own customer.   Being open to listening to the insights of your customers is very powerful in allowing you to see things ‘through their eyes’. These people have actually bought and used your product or service so they are qualified to make judgement.

You don’t have to ask every customer for feedback. From time to time you should ask for feedback or even create a survey for this purpose. You could even offer a discount or coupon to those who take the time to complete the survey, as an incentive to reply to your request.

Pay attention to the feedback and follow up by asking further questions, if necessary. You may notice a common theme amongst all the feedback, this can help you identify any weak areas of your business and enable you to rectify any problems which may deter people doing business with you in the future.

Next on to the important subject of referrals and how they can help you build your business. How many times have you found yourself recommending a product or service to someone? Word of mouth referrals is a great tool to utilise for your business.  Now you have ascertained that your customer is happy with you, after obtaining their feedback, it is the perfect time to ask for a referral.

Most people have some type of network and it only takes one person to recommend a product to another person for your network to grow. Take a look at Facebook for example, how many friends do you have? At least 100 or more?  You don’t think twice about sharing something with all of your friends, when it is something you really like. This is the type of concept you want to have in place for your business as it doesn’t cost you anything – IT IS FREE!

If you can develop a good relationship with just one customer, you can gain access to their network of friends. Of course all of these people they know aren’t going to become customers or clients, but you might find one or two will and really that is all you need. You simply work on building a relationship with these and then ‘rinse and repeat’ the process.

Don’t delay, start working on asking for feedback and referrals for your business . Both of these are fantastic tools that can help you quickly grow your business exponentially.

Until next time

Nicky @NickyClaydon.