Make your product easier to buy than your competition, or you will find customers buying from them, not you.” Mark Cuban
You’ve spend hours building your new business, researching ideas, looking at what makes you different and you’ve developed the best, game changing, revolutionary product or service in the market – but no one is buying it…So where are all your customers?
So what we need to do is make sure customers are thinking of you and not your competition, easy right?… Well don’t worry too much – Here’s some tips that’ll increase your visibility and help bring lots of new customers your way.
1. Your Brand – Who you are and what you mean
This is one of the most important things that needs to be thought about and developed. A brand is a mental shortcut for consumers and customers so they can recognise and understand what your company is, does and stands for – a clear identity. Once you know what your company represents, you need a name, a logo and imagery that convey this effectively. In theory, if you know this this shouldn’t be too difficult to accomplish, right? Get hold of a designer, tell them your name and what you do and hey presto – New Brand X!…
Sadly this isn’t the case, if it was then big brands wouldn’t invest so much time and money developing their core brand messages, let alone defending them. A true brand is at the heart of everything the company does – how it acts, what it says, even to how it manufactures and sells its products.
Your Brand is a shortcut for consumers to recognise you
Don’t let this put you off though as there are different options for how to do this. This kind of work can be expensive, but it’s money well spent. Think about how huge companies like Nike, Apple or Tesla are defined by their brands, logos and colors. – to the point that you can just see the logo and instantly recognise and know what it stands for. A good brand does not even need its logo for consumers to know them, by reading the 3 companies above, I bet you instantly knew generally what they do and represent.
Once you have established your brand it should go on EVERYTHING! Mail drops, advertising, livery, business cards, envelopes, email signatures etc as this will all increase your visibility and build awareness. This is more than just logo placement, this is attaching your brand in the mind of the consumer to your product or service.
2. Know yourself and your customers
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
Sun Tzu – Art of war
Without trying to hark back to the 80’s and a Gordon Gecko type persona, there is merit in the above statement that can be taken into developing your business. How do you fill a need for your customer effectively if you don’t know anything about them or how you can help them achieve their desired outcome?
There is no one-size-fits-all marketing strategy with step by step instructions for success that you can follow and expect great results, whatever your business. Some very successful companies take similar routes to market and have similar marketing strategies as their competitors to reach their desired audience, but that is through design – every company and brand has their own unique challenges to overcome.
Big brands spend a lot of money defining their customer demographics – with even more being spent on reaching them. Not everyone has the spending power of Diageo, but there are a elements you should now to make your marketing more effective:
What is your customer demographic?
How old are they?
Where do they live?
How much expendable income do you think they have
What online services do they use?
How do they look for your product?
Where do they shop?
What need does you product or service fill?
The above is not exhaustive, but understanding your customers allows you to develop a targeted and more effective strategy that focuses on reaching your customers in a way that will more likely be effective for you.
You’ve done all the hard work – defined your audience, developed a really great looking brand and spend time, effort and money in a campaign to drive potential customers to your website – for them to land on a page that looks like every font, colour and message has been sneezed onto the screen, or for it to be difficult to find out information about your brand or product.
Your website is a key element to your brand and sales – you have the customer interested in what your selling – they’re there! If they have seen your ad and left another site or search engine to reach you, don’t let the sale be lost because they find the site user-unfriendly, hard to navigate, not logically laid out or difficult to use.
Recently I went onto a site to purchase some playing cards. The site literally only sells different types of cards, but because they know their audience, have set out their site logically and have made purchase very very easy (Apple Pay destroys my wallet), I keep coming back.
4. Use Social Media Ads
Love it or hate it – it’s not going anywhere.
Whilst there’s been some bad press recently, (looking at you Facebook), it’s still the case that it is a hugely effective medium to reach your potential customers. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linked-in Ads are some of the best ways to target a specific group. As an example, using Facebook (particularly for a B2C campaign) means you can get your well constructed, Cannes Lion winning advert to a really well defined audience using parameters such as age, sex, location, interests, online habits, income, job etc.
Broadly it’s quite easy to use and is relatively inexpensive, meaning you can reach the maximum number of potential customers in a short time. If the content is good, it may grow organically as well.
Yes, I chose this as its got a big SEO in the corner…
Building your SEO presence can lead to an increase in sales and interactions for your business, there are many companies out there that can do this for you, but there are also a number of ways you can do this for a lot less – with a little thought.
Google My Business is a good place to start, as it allows you to put your exact location into Google – literally putting you on the map and list your business – it’s free, why would you not do it? 30% of customers see reviews as key when judging a business, so making sure your review representation is positive is also key. This means listening to your customers and actioning any improvements. Also, take the time to reply to your reviews, positive or negative, as this really shows that you care about your customers and how they interact with your brand.
Having your site show up on the first page of search results hugely increases your chances of getting the click, so do everything you can to make sure that’s where you are.
To maximise your chance of being found on search engines and raise your ranking, you should build up a database of relevant keywords that relate to your business and brand to use in your marketing. A keyword research site can help you find high-volume words and phrases that your audience are typing into search engines. Using these throughout your website copy will help you rank in search engine results – This is not something that you just do once, you still need to ensure that you optimise keywords used to make sure you rank highly on searches.
While Google Adwords is more expensive than many other marketing options available, you should still consider it – because when done well, it can be a very powerful marketing tool.
Remember, the key is for people to find you when they search on Google, and by using Adwords, you can greatly increase your chances of people seeing your name.
Email has many advantages – It’s easy to do, easy to automate, allows instantaneous communication, costs very little and can reach a large number of potential customers with the highest open rates.
There are great tools out there (MailChimp, etc). meaning you can now personalise emails by dividing up your contact lists by demographic, ensuring you can send those groups much more relevant content and messages.
Your subscribers have trusted you and went through the hassle of providing their email and permission, so by only delivering them relevant content they actually want means they are much likely to respond favourably to you. Don’t “Spam” – you may end up becoming annoying and this can do more harm than good to your brand.
The other thing to remember – when you collect consumer details you need to adhere to the GDPR regulations on how to handle data.
7. Local Advertising
Digital and social media again come into play. Most of the platforms allow you to target at much more of a local level with paid for ads, with a myriad of community and local business groups that are free to join and connect with.
With so much being done online nowadays, sometimes people forget the more traditional ways of gaining visibility. For local businesses, advertising done in the area that your business is in is still a great way to raise awareness of your company. Local papers, Theatres, business pages, local markets, fayres, team sponsorship – even transport and print adverts at a local level can be effective and have a great ROI on driving awareness of your brand.
Remember – reputation at a local level is key. Reviews and customer feedback is hugely important to utilise and manage.
8. Experiential and sampling
If you want to build awareness of your brand and knowledge of your product, letting people experience and interact with you directly is a really effective way of doing this.
Even large brands find a huge value on doing this as it can reconnect on a personal level. RPM delivered a great example of this. Nescafe wanted to get consumers to rediscover its taste and help drive a change of perception for the brand. Branded pop up sampling events were set up in high traffic areas where a high proportion of their customer was likely to be.
The strategy worked even for an established well known brands. Over the course of the campaign, hundreds of thousands of samples were given out, driving increased sales, brand recognition and awareness.
So, what did you do when you started out? What worked and what didn’t? Let us know your tips below.