Introduction - Marketing Scents
The beginning stages of market analysis for your new business of Canine Water Therapy....
Congratulations! I salute you in your endeavors to combine a heartfelt avocation within the seemingly diametrically opposed worlds of healing, compassion, and bottomless love with the world of business, and even worse, sales.
"Sales" does not have to be the dreaded task we so often imagine it to be. Matter of fact, your best sales efforts are actually conducted when you are doing what you love to do, canine water therapy.
When your heart is into what you are doing, it shows. You are in tune with what is going on around you and as a result your techniques are inevitably enhanced. It is the effect of this focus and awareness that is received by your clients, both animal and human. When you are effective it is appreciated and shared.
When your satisfied clientele share their experience with others, you are, in essence, recruiting an active sales staff. However, when you are first starting out or branching into a new service you do not have the luxury of a dedicated sales staff working enthusiastically on your behalf.
Let's say you are at the beginning and you want to perform some market research to explore the viability of your endeavor to build a dog spa in your area....
There are resources available to you to research potential referral sites in your specific area. One of them just may be available in your own backyard, your local public library. If you are able to access your library they may have a database available on-line. This database is an amazing tool for both research and marketing.
Let's say you want to check out the number of veterinarians in your area and you happen to live in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
First, I would select the SMA (Statistical Metropolitan Area). This term is the cluster of zip codes that comprise a major community. In this case we are working with the Cedar Rapids SMA which contains the following zip codes: Alburnett: 52202, Center Point: 52213, Marion: 52302, Mt. Vernon: 52314, and Cedar Rapids: 52402, 52403, 52404, 52405.
Second I would establish the SIC (Standard Industry Classifications) code for veterinarians: 0742-01. This is a code established by the government in the early 20th century to identify the various industry groups and was later adopted by the advertising industry for direct marketing.
Third, I would access this database which allows me to search for all veterinarians within a designated zip code selection. In this case all veterinarians within the Cedar Rapids community. I logged onto my regional online library via the internet allowing me to access a database specializing in business information. Reference USA - This database is specifically designed for people like you and me who are interested in finding contact information and contains over 12 million business listings that are constantly being updated for the most current contact information.
When I tried this myself, my search found 27 individual business listings. There is a wealth of information contained with each listing. You will find complete contact information including phone, fax, and even a web site if available. You will find the key contact person along with their title. You will also find their credit rating, general income, number of employees, and any secondary business that each listing is also conducting. This includes activity such as pet cemeteries, pet supplies, boarding, washing, etc. You will even notice information that will have no use to us including: number of computers, square footage, foreign patents, and the number and sizes of yellow page ads they have previously purchased.
With an internet connection and a library card each of you can also do this yourself, if your library offers this online database. You would then be able to fatten up your own marketing database with pet stores, grooming shops and other supportive potential networking businesses.
The company that provides this reference data is InfoUSA. You can contact this company directly: Stephanie Erwin, Account Executive InfoUSA - 866-805-1691 ext. 3832, fax: 402-331-1505, email: email@example.com. Stephanie is available to assist you with the same research I conducted on the internet. She can help you find the proper SIC codes for the various groups you would want to contact. And, amazingly enough, the cost is quite affordable at approximately .35 cents a record you could not pay a support staff to provide to you the same information at this amazingly low rate.
This is one example of the resources available to you. Once you have established your database of contacts you can start developing communications tools to get your name out there.
In the next issue we will explore these tools and how to effectively "market" your unique and individual services to your client and prospect base.
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