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What does marketing my business involve?

Marketing is one of the most important aspects of your business. Without marketing, potential clients can't find you. Marketing consists of four elements often called the "four P's": Product - the item or service you sell. Price - the amount you charge for your product or service. Promotion - the ways you inform your potential clients about who, what and where you are. Provision - the channels you use to get your product or service to the customer.

Marketing encompasses much more than just advertising or selling. A major part of marketing involves researching your customers: Who are they? Where are they located? How do you reach them? What do they want? (Great product? Great customer service? Follow-up support?) What can they afford? What do they think? Your understanding and application of the answers to such questions plays a major role in the success or failure of your business. For assistance in creating a marketing plan, contact your nearest Idaho Small Business Development Center.

What kind of market research can you help me with?

SBDC advisors have access to SBDCNet, which is a national clearinghouse of market research data such as ring studies, industry reports, articles and archives. Our advisors also have access to university databases and federal databases like the US Census Bureau and IBISWorld. Advisors do not write your marketing plan for you.

How do I obtain a domain name for my business?

Start by going to any online directory of domain names such as googledomains,, or another directory. If the name you’ve chosen is not already registered, you can pay the online directory an annual fee for the right to use the domain name. You may also be able to buy an existing name from its owner at a typically higher cost.

How can I find profiles on typical industry customers?

There are a few places you might try to locate these kinds of statistics. Trade and industry associations and groups often conduct extensive market research and make this research available to members. While they often focus on national or statewide trends, you might find local statistics through a group’s local chapter. You may also get valuable information from local chambers of commerce, economic development centers and business sales tools like IBISWorld, an online database. The SBDC can also recommend relevant, up-to-date sources of information on your industry.

How do I find suppliers for my business?

Besides using online search engines to find specific suppliers, SBDC consultants may have information concerning international, governmental, and private suppliers for your specific business activity. Another option is to attend industry trade shows. Trade shows are a great place to meet suppliers and wholesalers. Trade Show News Network is a way to find those shows and the suppliers who attend them.

What are some resources to help with marketing research?

Free: SBDCnet Industry Links – resources by industry (click on “Industry Links”). County Business Patterns – provides Census data on establishments, payroll and employee size for all U.S. counties by SIC.

Paid: IbisWorld Industry Reports – guide to industry information, research, and analysis for many industries. Northern Light Market Strategic Research Portals – market and competitive intelligence. BizMiner – reports on industry, market and financial trends by size of business. To access Zapdata or IBISWorld, contact an SBDC consultant. Both databases search U.S. markets by SIC code. – offers both free and paid databases of market research reports.

What is a Sales Pipeline?

A sales pipeline is a visual snapshot of where customer prospects are in your sales process. Sales pipelines show you how many deals a business is expected to close in a given week, month or year. Typically a sales pipeline is a plan viewed or maintained in a customer relationship management (CRM) system.

What is Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business?)

Google Business Profile is a free service Google provides to help your business claim and manage its free Google listing. The listing contains details about your business. Your listing appears on the right side of the search screen whenever a user searches for your business by name. The Boise SBDC office has an employee who is a certified Google Partner and business consultant. She is happy to meet with you in person or via Zoom to help you establish your Google Business Profile listing.

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