Do you know how to poke and pry with a purpose?
Of course you do. We’ve all done it before. Right? We’re talking about research.
You might know what it is, but have you conducted market research in the Hudson Valley cities where you do business?
Taking the time to understand potential customers closest to you is key. Often businesses are so eager to get going, they skip taking the time to learn about their audience.
What does your local service area look like?
Who are your competitors?
How can you connect and build better relationships?
By studying our community, you can identify untapped demand, opportunities for growth and what your audience values.
Conducting market research is the First Step to Building Your Digital Marketing Foundation. There are two key components to market research in our area.
But, don’t forget. Market research is an ongoing component of your marketing. Local demographics are constantly changing.
You need to know your community.
What is Market Research?
1st Step to Building Your Digital Marketing Foundation
You probably have an idea of what market research is. But, we want to make sure your local marketing foundation is strong.
So we need to be on the same page…
Entrepeneur.com defines market research as:
What is the Goal of Market Research?
The goal of market research is simple.
As a local service business, the goal of market research is to help you better understand the communities where you do business.
Then, and only then, can you deliver a memorable message and connect with your best customers.
Now that we got that out of the way, how do you start with market research?
It’s not that hard. You don’t have to be a economist or a mathematician to do it. Technology is amazing. There is endless data on the internet that is easy to use.
You don’t need to perform in depth statistical analysis at first. When you’re just getting started, it’s about learning about the community as a whole.
Then, you can zero in on your ideal customers. Your analysis can become more involved over time, if you want.
Or, you can stay higher level. The important part is that you get started.
To begin, you need to focus on two key components.
Key Components of Market Research
When researching the cities where you do business in Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess County, learn all you can.
Focusing on two these two areas will help guide you.
There are two key components to market research.
First, get your hands on as much data as you can. The data should tell you about potential customers and the community as a whole.
Next, identify who your competitors are. In the next step of Building Your Digital Marketing Foundation.
During your market research, just identify who your competition is. Then, you can dig into them more during your competitive analysis.
You might be asking yourself, why do I care? Well, if your like us, you hate to waste money. Every dollar counts when you’re running a local business. That’s especially true here in Westchester County.
Overhead is expensive.
So, why is it so important to do your market research before you make your digital marketing plan
The purpose is so that you can tell a story about your business that your target customer can relate to.
When they see your business, local homeowners should feel like you’re reading their mind. You can craft a message that connects with your best customer. Then, you can use online marketing to speak only to those that want to hear from you.
That saves you money, a lot of it.
Before you can speak to your customers, you have to understand your local market, and the make up of the people who live here.
Where should you start researching the Hudson Valley?
You’re research is only as good as the data you collect…
If your information is bad, your digital marketing foundation will crumble.
Think about it. What would happen to a house you worked on, if you used bad materials? It’s not going to withstand the test of time.
Find authoritative sources that you can trust.
Household income is a great starting point. It helps you figure out what pockets of the Hudson Valley you want to focus on.
Studying the income of the Hudson Valley also helps you define your target customer.
DataUSA.io is easy to use and reliable. Learn about your audience, then discover their pain points. Offer a solution that nobody else can.
Where else should you look?
In addition to DataUSA.io, search for other data that might be useful.
Make sure you think about what type of information will help you understand your potential customers. If you need so help, let us know.
You can also check with your local library.
We’re also in the middle of a new publication of the US Census Data. That’s exciting.
Well….at least to us it is.
The US Census should be exciting for you too as a home service business.
A lot of the important demographic data about Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties is being updated.
The last time we collected the Census data was in 2010. The numbers are adjusted based on estimates, but there is nothing like original data right from the source.
That mean’s you will be able to make better decisions, and understand your neighbors better. Better research, leads to a better target customer profile.
Then…that leads you to crafting the best message to deliver through your digital marketing. A great brand delivers a marketing message that resonates with your target audience.
We’ll talk more about your marketing message
Who Needs Your Local Business Services?
Determine the problem your product or service solves. For some local businesses like restaurants, your potential audience is broad.
Everyone gets hungry. For other local businesses, like residential contractors, your potential audience is narrower.
If you don’t own a home, you probably won’t be responsible for home renovations.
When doing your market research, define the potential audience broadly. Later, we’ll get more specific and build your target customer profile.
What Cities Does Your Small Business Service?
Think about what type of customer would benefit from your product or service, narrow based on location.
For most local businesses, your audience is in a specific geographic location. If you have a product or service you sell online, your location will likely be broader.
But, as a Hudson Valley home service company, chances are most of your sales will be local.
So, that means you should focus on researching the cities and counties where you do business.
Learn About Local Homeowners
Understanding the demographics of your local community is key to effective market research.
The message your home service company delivers will depend on who you are speaking to.
Researching your market is necessary if you want to identify your target customer. Learn about who makes up your local community.
Learning whatever you can helps you to spot opportunities.
One of the best places to start is DataUSA.io. Search the cities or counties where you do business. Then download local market data and learn the numbers.
During your market research, look closely at the different cities your home service business works in. Also look at your county as a whole.
People with different income levels, varying home values and employment have different values and needs.
Learn about the homeowners and their pain points. Then, you can solve them better than your competitors.
Survey the Local Market Demand
Maybe you think you know what your audience wants. But, have you ever taken the time to stop and ask your customers? Have you taken the time to conduct market research?
Digital marketing is all about creating connections and standing out from the crowd.
What better way to do that then ask your community what they want.
Use Online Surveys for the Local Market
Using a survey to conduct market research for your local business is easy.
The good thing for you is that surveys are usually overlooked by your competitors. That gives you the advantage.
We recommend using a tool to survey your community, but it’s not the only way. Ask your friends and family for feedback.
What’s on your customer’s wish list for businesses like yours?
If you need help running Survey Monkey is one of the best survey options out there.
Use Your Friends and Family as a Resources
If you think a survey sounds expensive, there are many options. Before you run any paid ads to try and get homeowners that would need home services like yours to respond, ask your friends and family.
Post your survey on Facebook and other social media. Ask everyone you know to do you a favor. Most of them will.
Research Survey Ideas
Lots of home service companies don’t think about running surveys. But, many do.
There are many surveys and templates you can draw from. Don’t just look to surveys other small business owners have run.
See what industry experts like Neil Patel have to say.
There is so much great information out there to help you market your small business.
Following these tips will help you create winning surveys that help you understand your local customers.
Identify Your Local Competition
Another step that is commonly overlooked by local business owners is competitive analysis. When entering a new market, your competition is a step ahead.
They’ve been marketing their business and building relationships in the community for years.
You need a way to stand out…
Before you do that, you need to come up with a list of the home service businesses in your industry that you are competing with.
Identifying Your Competitors Online
The easiest way to check out the competition is a simple google search.
Think about competitors in your industry, and run different searches you’d run if you were the homeowner.
Make a list of your competitors, whether they have good reviews, a professional website and an online presence.
Study the results…you’re going to need them.
In the 2nd Step to Building Your Digital Marketing Foundation in the Hudson Valley, you’ll be analyzing these competitors in more detail.
After you collect all the information you can about the areas you serve, take the time to digest the information you collect. If you need some help, just let us know.
Then, you can move on to a more thorough competitive analysis to wrap up your initial market research.
Are you ready to learn about conducting your competitive analysis?