By: Helen Dowling
This week is part 2 of my guide on getting your marketing basics in place. Last week, we covered why it was important to know who your customers are; decide on what you actually do and know why your customers buy from you. But, there are three other things that you need to get in place before you’ll be sorted on the marketing basics. They are:
How are you different? Time and time again I hear small businesses being asked how they’re different from their competition and then responses of "we’re cheaper", "we give better service", "we’ve been established longer" and so on. To be honest with you, I would expect you to offer great service, to know what you’re doing and to offer me the best rate – that to me is a given. What I really want to know is why I should use your products or services as opposed to your competitors.
Have a really good think about your ‘niche’. It’s often difficult to come up with what this is so I’d advise you to think about an area of your business that you’re really passionate about and would happily get out of bed for without pay in a morning.
My passion for instance is working with small business owners and helping them to realise that they don’t have to spend a fortune on marketing. So, what’s your passion?
Getting your literature in place Another one of the marketing basics is having all your literature and website etc in place so that you can send it out immediately if potential customers ask for it. But, it’s really important that your business doesn’t stop while you’re putting this into place. I was speaking to a contact the other day who told me that she was just updating her website and that she would have to put the business on hold until that was done as she didn’t want any new customers being put off using her services by viewing her old website.
I thought this viewpoint was mad! Customers don’t make a decision to use you based on just looking at your website. I said to her that we’re also updating our website at the moment too, but the old one will stay up until the new one is ready to go and I certainly won’t stop promoting in the meantime. Getting your literature in place is a must, but please don’t let the world stop while this happens.
Finally, you must know what marketing works for you Before you can tick off getting the basics of marketing in place for your business, you must know how customers find out about your business – in other words what promotion and marketing is working for you at the moment. One of the easiest ways to find out is to write a list of your current and past customers and then write down how they found out about your business. Be specific too – in other words, if you got them from a networking event, which one? If someone referred them across to you, who referred them?
Once you’re getting customers and you know where they’re coming from, you’ll have this action point ticked off.
Having the marketing basics in place is about feeling comfortable and confident with who you’re targeting and knowing how to get new customers quickly and easily. It’s about knowing what you do and how you’re different and having all your marketing literature in place to give out to your customers at the drop of a hat. Once you are in this position, you start to move on mentally into how you can get more customers and to a different stage of your business. Perhaps I’ll write an article on that subject in the near future too!