We hear them on the radio.
We meet someone at an event or hear them speak and we are hooked.
What has happened?Their marketing efforts have made the ordinary sound extraordinary.
They have been successful at essentially creating something out of nothing!This is marketing at its best! How can we, as entrepreneurial women, market ourselves and our businesses most effectively?First we need to clarify what we want to gain as a result of our marketing efforts.
Once we have identified those goals, then we can go back and put our plan together which will tell us HOW to market ourselves most effectively.
What we want to gain as a result of our marketing might be: -To increase the number of potential clients who know about us.
-To increase the number of potential clients who not only have heard of us, but who understand why they need our products.
(explain the ways that your products or services will benefit them) -To increase the number of potential clients to take action and contact us to buy our products or services.
Some entrepreneurs still think it works exactly like that.
However, they are mistaken.
Yes, we want our prospects to hear about us, know that we have the perfect product or solution for them which will entice them to come to us to buy.
But it doesn't necessarily happen so easily today.
The business landscape has changed due to two very specific changes in our current marketplace.
1- The number of competitor entrepreneurs is constantly rising (consumers have more choices in just about every industry) and2- The abundance of information (due to the internet and similar venues) bombarding people with everything they've always (or even never) wanted to know about tends to be overwhelming and confusing.
Because of these changes, successful businesspeople have to be aware of the newest ways to thrive, not just survive in today's marketplace.
To thrive in today's marketplace, no matter your industry, you must make every effort to position yourself and your company to be "top of mind" with as many potential AND current clients as possible.
The onus is on you to ensure that when your potential or current client is ready to buy your product or service they think of YOU first.
Do you see how that is a different mindset from the "old days" where the focus was on putting a good product or service out there, knowing that you would essentially have clients come to you for them?Today it just doesn't work that way.
Put simply, our potential clients are being bombarded with LOTS of information and offers.
In order to secure them as clients, they need YOU to come out as the preferred vendor or the person they will choose to hire or buy from.
This happens only after you have "proven" yourself in it for the long haul.
With so many choices, the average person needs time to sort through the information and decide who is "for real" and who has the best product or service.
It is up to you to market and position yourself as the most credible, trustworthy expert in your industry.
The responsibility for keeping your name in front of them until the time they are ready to move forward, remains totally with you as business owner.
The latest research shows that the average person will not act on something until they see or hear it a minimum of 7-9 times, even if they need or want it.
How can you make sure that you are the one who the client chooses to do business with? 1- Focus on building relationships This brings us to the next important change to the way successful entrepreneurs market themselves for the purpose of securing business.
We need to be focusing on the relationships we are creating with both our current and potential clients to ensure long term success.
We have all heard of the importance of CRM or customer relationship marketing, right?This is where we, as business owners, focus on how we interact with each customer in an effort to solidify our long term relationship with them.
We know that people do business with people they like.
So it behooves us to take the extra step to show that we truly care about our clients by asking them questions about themselves, their families, their businesses.
And from that information send birthday and anniversary cards, surprise them by sharing an article pertinent to one of their interests, touch base with them regularly via phone, notes, email, newsletter, and an in-person meeting regularly.
Does this take work?You bet!But, the rewards of loyal, repeat clients will be more than worth your effort.
Relationships are forged one opportunity at a time.
They can be solidified in person most effectively, but certainly can also be done via notes, emails, and phone calls when your clients are across the continent or around the globe.
Get out and meet new people on a regular basis.
Get to know them by showing genuine interest in them and ask questions.
Then proudly and confidently share with them what you do (your solution).
Then follow up with them and thank them for their time.
Send them your newsletter each month.
Spend time nurturing your relationships.
2- Focus on a niche DIFFERENTIATING yourself is key in this area!Most business owners think that the more products or services, they offer, the higher their chances of being successful, when actually the opposite is true.
Those who specialize in a niche market-- zeroing in on the needs of a certain niche in the marketplace end up being most successful.
The goal is to find your niche (identify a group of people whom share similar characteristics that you would like to serve with your products or services), narrow it down as far as possible and then hit it with all you've got.
The narrower your market the broader your chances of success in this hypercompetitive, over-communicated to society.
In short, specialization or niche marketing implies superiority.
Niche marketing is the wave of the future!The greater the competition, the greater the need for specialists.
What will YOUR specialization or niche be?Where are they?Make sure you show up there.
What do they read?Be sure to write an article for that publication.
Become so entrenched in serving your niche, that you are clearly seen as the expert and thus, the person your prospects trust and do business with.
3-Become an expert! Consumers (whether businesses or personal) want to minimize any mistakes.
So they will trust and eventually do business with those professionals who are seen as the expert in their chosen field.
You should make it your main purpose to position yourself and be an expert.
You do this by reading, researching and investigating various aspects of your industry.
This work will give you the valuable information you need to take your new found expert status to the next level.
Once you have enough foundational information related to your product or service, you need to be writing articles, speaking at events attended by your niche, and continually getting your name out there in the marketplace as an expert.
Ask yourself, "What free report(s) could I create and make available to my prospects?""What information related to your product or service are your prospects wondering about?""What could you research and provide to them that they would appreciate?"Share your industry knowledge and expertise with others.
It is probably one of the most successful ways to be seen as an expert and inevitably be the one chosen to do business with.
Can all of this be done overnight? Certainly not.
However, taking small steps on a daily basis will get you closer to your marketing yourself to a thriving business full of clients who are all too happy to tell others about you.
You can do it! If you would like help moving your business to thriving, contact Janice to schedule your complimentary consultation.