“I love to compete. To me, business is the ultimate sport. It’s always on. There is always someone trying to beat me.” -Mark Cuban
No matter what industry you are in, you will always have competitors. You should be taking notice of different marketing methods they are using, and what kind of tactics they utilize to keep customers coming to them. However, there are things you can do to beat the competition. You should be the local business in your industry that your competitors are watching and worrying about. We’re going to give you 5 tips that you can incorporate today, that will help you stay at the top of your game:
Effective Marketing Methods
The definition of marketing is: the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising. The definition itself makes it plain and simple. Marketing is what help you promote and sell your products and services. Without it, that’s pretty unachievable. Especially when your competitors are marketing their businesses effectively!
The truth is, if your marketing efforts aren’t working, your business likely isn’t either. There’s no way around it and if you are noticing your competitors are busier than you are, bringing in more money than you are, and more well-known around the community than you, marketing is likely the culprit. It’s necessary for businesses to be utilizing effective marketing methods, and following up on them. Knowing what is working and what isn’t is your key to successful marketing. If you aren’t already marketing your business, start by creating online profiles for yourself, get more involved in community events and functions, and engage with your past, present and future customers! If you are already marketing your business, but you’re not reaping the benefits, take a closer look and find out where your customers are coming from and how they’re finding your business. This is a quick and effective way to find out what’s working for you.
Strong Online Presence
Over 80% of adults in the United States have at least one social media profile (statista.com). If you think that is high, Google estimates that over 95% of people turn to them when looking for a product or service! That is an enormous amount of people, and it’s crazy to not be one of them (especially if you are running a business)! Your business should be on Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and anywhere else your customer base might be looking online. People turn to these platforms when they need a product or service, and if you’re not there, they have no choice but to go to your competition. Having a strong online presence it’s key to finding success, and here are some quick tips to building just that:
- Have an SEO optimized website.
- Have multiple social media profiles.
- Keep your branding (logo & colors) the same across each platform.
- Post on social media frequently.
- Engage back with customers who are commenting & tweeting to you.
- Keep track of where you are most popular online, and where you are lacking.
A recent study from IBM suggests that companies who gather data after each transaction have 40% higher revenue than those who don’t. What does this mean for business owners? There is a direct correlation between data collection and revenue. If you’re not already collection data, do yourself a favor and start now! The word “data” can be daunting. This doesn’t mean that you need to sit behind your computer after each transaction, doing research and creating charts. However, it does mean more than just jotting down some basic information on a napkin or piece of scrap paper. Ideally, you would have an online platform where you can store all of the necessary data from each transaction. This makes it much more accessible and usable, and less likely to get lost. The most important pieces of information to collect would be: customer name and information, what work was completed, what was the revenue brought it, and how the customer found your business.
This data can be used to help you know which marketing tactics are working, what are your most popular and profitable services, revenue over time, who are your most frequent customers, and it conveniently gives you the information you need for future customer engagement!
Quality Service & Fair Pricing
Don’t sell yourself short and offer the cheapest of pricing just to compete. Your expertise, experience and quality of work should be worth the price of your services. However, if you are charging a significant amount more than your competitors for the same job, people will likely lean toward them. It’s a good idea to keep your pricing competitive and fair. Your service should always be of the highest quality so your customers want to recommend you, and want to come back.
Utilize the fact that you’re an expert in your field with each and every job, and leave your customers feeling grateful that they chose to use you and your business. This is a sure way to keep them coming back to you, regardless of your competitors. It’s a good idea to read your competitor’s online reviews so you can see what they are doing right, and where they are lacking. When you find out why their customers like them or what they are unsatisfied with, it will help you to understand what might be causing consumers to choose them over you.
Exceptional Customer Service
Entrepreneur.com says that good customer service is your most important metric. They also have noted that the chances of gaining a new customer can be in the range of 5-20%, whereas selling to an existing customer resides in the range of 60-70%. Customer engagement is talked about a lot, but that’s because, without out, that 60-70% of repeat business is being lost. Customer engagement is a big part of exceptional customer service, along with knowledge, friendliness, and availability. Consumers don’t want to spend time and energy searching for your business card that you left with them last time you completed a service. Instead, make it easy for them by engaging and being available when they do call. It’s a common complaint in the service industry that consumers have a hard time getting a hold of businesses. You are busy, and not always able to answer your phone and that is understandable. However, make it a point to set aside time everyday to return all of your missed calls. When you do complete a service for someone, follow up by thanking them and making sure everything is working well. And of course, be friendly and helpful and you’ll go far!
For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, subscribe to the FreshLime Newsletter here. Connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter. And last of all, if any of these tips have helped you or if you have anything to add please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!