Our partner Michelle Hamilton, a fellow marketing specialist focused on overall marketing strategy, recently blogged about four key considerations that impact your ability as a small business to attract and retain clients. We’re sharing this here because these key points are also vital to your success online. If you don’t have clear understanding of your value, your niche target market, what makes them tick, and how to position your offering, there’s a high likelihood that you won’t succeed on-line or off. Thanks Michelle for sharing!
1. Not having a clear understanding of the value you provide
Knowing what business are you actually in is essential. (Hint: you are not in the business of selling your product or service.)
Example: If you are a financial planner, you are NOT in the financial planning business. You are in the people business. Once you clearly understand what business you are actuallyin, this will change everything! It will change how you talk about yourself to your potential client, and allow you to connect with your audience in a meaningful way. And connection is crucial if you want to be successful in sales and marketing. Reminder: people buy from people, not companies.
Ask yourself what business you are actually in and see how many creative ways you can come up with to describe what you do.
2. Not specializing in a niche market
Who are your potential clients? And don’t say “everyone”! (Hint: being all things to all people never works.) It’s like being a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. Yes, this concept is counterintuitive, but in a marketing context in order to stand out from the crowd you have to be different. In order to be different, you have to know what makesyou different from everyone else, and leverage that difference as much as you can.BE the expert in your chosen niche. (Stat: a Google search for ‘financial planner in Vancouver’ yielded 5,450,000 results!)
Q: How are you going to stand out from your competition? A: Eliminate your competition and specialize in being your unique self!
3. Not understanding your client’s mindset
People buy from people. So, in order to understand how to sell your product or service, you need to understand your potential client’s mindset. When you truly understand your customer inside and out you will know how to genuinely talk to them in a way that makes them leap out of their seat and say, “Yes! You understand my challenge, I believe in what you stand for. I want to buy from YOU!” (Hint: identify your target customer’s pain point and talk about your product or service as a solution to their pain.)
Example: the financial planner who is in the people business specializes in working with divorced and widowed women. The Planner uncovers that their potential client is looking for guidance and support during this difficult time (perhaps their husband took care of all the finances and they are now completely in the dark), it is important for them to find a trusted financial partner to help them plan for their future based on their new lifestyle, they need a Planner who is empathetic and compassionate – a real people-person, and also professional and knowledgeable in matters of finance.
Q. If you understood this level of detail about your ideal customer, do you think it would make it easier or harder to market to them effectively?
4. Not knowing how to package and position your service for the sale
You can overcome the first three barriers to attracting ideal clients but if your service is not packaged and positioned to sell, you will NOT get customers.
Now that you know the Value you provide, your Niche Market, and your ideal client Mindset, you are well-poised to market yourself better by packaging and positioning your service to attract quality clients and sell more. The rest is semantics.
Hint: it’s all about effective communication. How you say something (and what it looks and feels like) is the secret that will make this really work, or not.
Speak in a language that resonates with people from a place of knowing what they emotionally connect with, and provide a genuine solution to their problems and challenges.
Take Action: Assess your marketing communications message on your website or brochure. Put yourself in the mindset of your ideal customer. If you were him or her, would you buy from YOU? Be honest.