It has always been the case that, in order to survive in business, companies must get their name out there in front of customers. While “word of mouth” referrals are a welcome bonus for any business, it would be rare indeed for a business to prosper relying on this method alone. The internet is now seen by most entrepeneurs as an essential place for their business to be.
However not all of your customers may be internet savvy. Depending upon the profile of your typical customer, other more traditional methods of marketing should be considered equally.
A great start to improving your marketing would be to understand just what it is your competitors are doing to win. Are they using a form of marketing that you’re not currently using? If so, there’s a strong possibility you might be losing out on winning customers over to you because you’re not seen by these people and businesses.
You may already have decided that you are going to market your products with pricing that undercuts the competition. That is a strategy that has been successful for some businesses, especially those with low overheads. Can you afford to do this?
If lowering your price is not an option or you’d prefer not to get into a race to the bottom, then you should consider the following two things:
• First, what are you offering your customers that your competitors are not? What is your unique selling point? Do you offer better products or better customer service?
• Second, how are you going to promote that unique selling point to as many prospective buyers as possible?
Think carefully about your unique selling point. Maybe it might not actually be unique to you but none of your competitors have so far chosen to lead on it when advertising themselves.
This is not a new idea. Over fifty years ago, the way in which milk was treated for human consumption was changed by law. All milk had to be boiled to eradicate the spread of T.B. from cows to humans.
What does have to do with you, you might ask? One entrepreneurial milk man decided to advertise on the side of his cart that his milk was pasteurised and therefore safe. The point is all milk had to pasteurised but he was the first to advertise it. The business went from strength to strength, and the rest as they say is history.
Now that you have thought about the USP that your business has or a factor that is common but under promoted, you’re ready to go.
Next, you should consider the many marketing outlets available to you.
There are currently five main types of off-line marketing you can select:
• trade/niche, and
Direct marketing allows you to choose who will receive your promotional material and in what format. You could consider email, post and telephone marketing.
If you are targeting a specific trade, you could purchasing contact information on them from list owners or list brokers. These companies will help you narrow your search by type, size and location.
A word of caution - please make sure that your list broker can guarantee that their lists are GDPR complaint. Also if you are tele-marketing businesses, ensure that they are not on the Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS) opt-out list.
This entails you attending get- togethers with other business owners. You can introduce yourself, share information and seek out new contacts. These events are often attended by large numbers of business people from a variety of backgrounds.
Before attending, it’s always worth checking with the organisers how many people from your target audience will be attending. You can then decide whether attendance at the event offers value for money.
Trade fairs and expos are great places to win business, especially if you operate in a niche sector. If you’re in the food sector, you might gain some valuable new contacts and orders by attending a local hotel suppliers exhibition.
The cost of trade fairs can quickly add up when you factor in purchasing banner stands and promotional literature. Try your best to keep cost under control and stick within the tightest possible budget you can.
This could involve advertising on newsletters and websites linked specifically to your target market. Thinking back to our food supplier, s/he could advertise on hotel news, pub news, or even education news website so that they’re seen by the decision makers responsible for purchasing food and drink for their organisation.
This method is used to target thousands of potential customers all at once. Local and national areas can be covered. With some blanket marketing method, specific customers can be targeted by gender, income bracket, interests, profession and so on. Blanket advertising is the cheapest form of advertising and can include, newspapers, leaflets, buying space on Google, Facebook, television, radio and so on.
Although blanket advertising is often the cheapest form of marketing per person it is also the least precise. For example, if you distributed thousands of leaflets, only a handful of people might need your services or products at that moment in time.
Reading this article may have increased your drive to use marketing to promote and grow your business, the burning questions are - what does it cost and can I afford it?
Help is at hand. Speak to us about any ideas you have or any suggestions on marketing you have and we can see if those ideas sit comfortably within your budget. Being the best in business is all keeping costs where under control and we’d love to help you grow your business at a pace that is sensible and affordable.
To find out more, please call 01235 768 561 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.