Understanding your customer base and what print materials you will need to reach them is a difficult task for anyone. The small business owner is often the one challenged the most. A tight budget or a very small understanding of marketing are two of your biggest obstacles. A lot of us know our product and know that there are customers for it, but how do I reach them? That is the question many a day.
You can go down several streets to find the answer. Hire a consulting firm, pound on doors, use old advertising standbys or pray. All of these have a chance of succeeding, but none of them gives you the power and control that will ease your mind. Consulting firms will cost at least half of your budget to hire and will take several weeks to get any results. Many times all you will get are generalizations and headaches. The other alternatives only offer a local, narrow market, and while prayer is good, I doubt that sales will rain from above.
Your best, least expensive answer is the Internet. You are reading this blog right now. I am glad of that, but, while you are reading this blog, how many people are out there are posting on forums and blogs about their need for a certain product? No matter what your product is, there is a forum on the topic out there. By researching them you will get a general understanding of the customer base. I am assuming that you have a website, most people do. By optimizing that site and joining some of those forums, you will drive traffic towards yourself. Offer a free tidbit or product in exchange for their personal info (address, etc.) and start building your database. Once they are there you will be better able to understand what they are thinking and needing. Analyze that and you will be able to direct a print campaign to a broader customer base, while micro-campaigning to the customers you already have. These mailing lists are some of the most prized possessions of a company.
With a mailing list you will be able to understand your customer base a lot better and get the right product in the right customers' mind. Do you approach this in a different manner?