Almost any business faces constantly increasing competition, which makes it vital for entrepreneurs to effectively target your customers, know where they live and know how best to reach them by direct mail or other methods. One effective way of doing this is by using marketing maps, which help you effectively decide where your best customers are.
Here are some tips on setting up a system:
- Figure out what information you need to track to make your business more effective — is it the ZIP codes of your prime customer base? The demographics of your region? The drive times from your targeted customer bases to your store locations?
- Do some intelligence gathering, perhaps through joining a trade association, to determine what, if any, maps others in your niche are using.
- Determine whether you can meet your needs using pre-made general-use maps, whether you can make what you need using marketing map software, or whether you are best served by ordering custom-made maps.
ZIP code maps are essential to many marketing effortsOne effective way to target customers is to keep track of their ZIP codes, perhaps at the register or through your mailing list. Using a ZIP code map, you can effectively target direct mailings, other advertising and special events.
Consider alternative ZIP code mapsIf you want to track postal regions slightly larger than ZIP codes, consider three-digit ZIP code maps or Postal Service "Sectional Center Facilities" (SCF) maps. Three-digit maps group ZIP codes by their first three digits and track slightly larger regions than the five-digit maps.
Drive-time and directional maps help customers find your locationConsider developing custom drive-time maps that show you how long it takes to drive to each of your store locations from a specific ZIP code or neighborhood.
Territory maps help you assign sales repsSales territory maps can help you divide your market area into balanced and logical sales or franchise territories.
Do-it-yourself maps let you customize for your own needsUse specialized software to create your own maps
Invent your own map-related marketingGoogle, Yahoo and MapQuest all offer some nifty mapping solutions for business.
- When ordering a carrier-route map, ask how often the company updates its carrier-route information. Carrier routes are always changing, so a company that updates yearly probably won't offer useful data.
- Maps can also be used for direct customer outreach. For example, consider developing a map of your delivery area that you can hand out to customers. You might end up with more delivery customers that way.
- Put your competitor's locations and distribution centers on a map. It may help you select the locations for your next stores or distribution centers.