|An Afghan man reads outside his market shop while waiting for customers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
In the early 2000's, I set up a small retail business selling delicatessen quality foods which I had imported from Italy and Greece, as well as from local producers. I set up a website (at great expense and which would now cost me a fraction of what it did then) and started to set up a stall in local food markets.
My online customers were quite different from the customers at the markets. Online customers were looking for gifts including hampers. They were mainly men. My offline customers were mainly well-to-do females who were buying for their families or gifts for friends. I was soon able to spot customers at the markets just by the way they dressed, by their age and their gender.
Getting out of my office and meeting people face to face is still the best way to know my customers or readers.
For instance, last week I was in Sweden for three days visiting a manufacturer's factory along with 12 of installers they were aiming to have join their partner scheme. The installers were were from all over the Midlands, North and North West of the UK. None of them had even heard of the magazine I edit, which is aimed at them.
At first, I found their lack of awareness unsettling. But, all of them said they would like to be added to the mailing list and email newsletter list. twelve new readers is good. But, thanks to social media, the 12 new installers are likely to share my articles with their contacts.
More importantly, last week I listened to my readers and realised how diverse they are with their solutions using the manufacturer's equipment which sparked a dozen ideas for new articles. It is too easy to get stuck behind my desk. But, getting out and meeting my readers is priceless.