In BOOKKEEPING MONEY-SAVING TIP #4: Analyze Your Business Location, I discussed the fact that many businesses make the mistake of choosing a bad retail location because they don’t analyze the location in relationship to their competitors. In actuality, proximity to competitors is merely one reason why a business location can fail. Another common reason is failure to identify the customers in that location’s area. If you don’t know who your customers are and where they are located, your business can go down in flames at any point of a business’s life.
In other words – if you know WHO your customers are and WHERE they live or work, you have a better chance of marketing directly to them, and thus attracting them to your business. Further, since a large majority of businesses attract customers from a 10-mile radius around their business, it helps to know who is in YOUR 10-mile radius. So, to figure out who your customers are, paint a target on them.
To Paint a Target on Your Customers:
Whenever I analyze a business’s location in relation to its customer base, I use MapPoint. It’s the perfect program for painting a target on your customers because its a Mapping Program merged with a demographic program. The demographics are so detailed, you can choose a single census tract and find out how many people and households are in that area, how old those people are, how much they spend on various products…even how many use the internet. It’s that defined.
Now before you look it up and see how expensive it is, I am NOT recommending that you buy the program, unless you find that it really helps your business. I’m involved in the Research Industry, so I buy every version each year that it comes out. In actuality, you can download the “Free Trial” and use it for free for 60 days, and then uninstall the program when you’re done with it. My recommendation is that you check it out and play with it – see what it can do for you – get the information you need to make your business more successful, and then stop using it. You can download the free trial here.
(By the way, I make NO MONEY on this link whatsoever. I just believe in the product, and I know what it can do, which is why I recommend it.)
Thus, while you’re checking it out, here is a list of things that MapPoint can do to help any business paint a target on their clients:
- MapPoint has an incredibly easy demographic feature. You can choose up to 16 different demographic points at once – like population, income, household size, and age – and then instantly have MapPoint map out those demographics by state, county, city, MSA, zip code, or even Census tract.
- You can create a shaded map that will show you the various areas by any single demographic you choose – like number of businesses per zip code, how many teenagers in a particular census tract, or household shopping patterns for any city in the United States.
- Once you have your demographics selected and mapped, you can create a radius of any number of miles around any address and then instantly export those demographic numbers to an Excel Sheet. With the numbers in Excel, you can manipulate your data to get a clearer snapshot of the type of customers you may have in or around your preselected location.
- You can readjust your chosen radii to another location, to encompass a larger area, or even create a second radius, and then re-export numbers for the new area into another Excel Sheet. By simply copying and pasting those new numbers into the first Excel sheet, and repeating for any other locations or radii, you can have an instant comparison of multiple locations and see which areas might have your ideal clientele.
- You can have MapPoint map out a wide variety of your competitors. That map will not only list out a fairly accurate number of competitors within a preselected distance from your business, but it will also give you the exact distance of that business from yours, as well as their address and phone number.
- You can IMPORT data from an Excel Sheet, and thus map out multiple addresses at once. This is an ideal tool for anyone who would like to see where the customers they have on their mailing lists are actually located.
- There is a feature in MapPoint that shows how much money households spend on various products like electronics, books, food, and so on. This information can also be narrowed down to a particular radius and census tract, thus allowing you to get a better picture of how much you money people in your area spend in a year on your products.
- Plus, on top of all that, MapPoint offers a GPS tool, and can create driving directions based on shortest distances, preselected locations, and fastest routes. It can also calculate the cost of gas it might take for you to visit those locations.
How to Make These Features Work for You:
While some of this may seem like a lot of technical jargon, the data described above can help you figure out the following for your business:
- Where is the largest concentration of your customers?
- Where are your more affluent customers located?
- This can help you narrow down your advertising campaign to particular areas that have the clients you want.
- This can show you what type of customer is actually located closest to your business, thus helping you redirect your marketing campaign to attract those customers instead of the customers you think you should have.
- This can help you determine what might be your ideal price points based on the income of the people in your area and how much they spend on particular items.
- It’s the perfect tool when shopping for a new business location since it will show you where the highest concentration of your ideal customers are actually located.
So again – check out the free trial, play with it, get the information you need, and then buy it only if you love it.
(If you do decide you like it, Newegg.com offers a $25 discount on the downloadable version of Microsoft MapPoint 2010.)