That is a question that very few people ask, and it has two meanings. Both of them are important to you if you currently operate a business, or plan to.
There is truth in the saying that “You only ever sell yourself”. That is, building rapport with your client/customer is the first step to making an eventual sale. It follows that you have to be ‘saleable’. Your knowledge of your industry and product, your appearance, and your behaviors all contribute to the level of rapport you are able to build. Do you know what you are talking about, and can you explain that to your non-expert client? Are you dressed in an industry- and location-appropriate manner? Normally doctors don’t wear hi-vis clothing and work boots, whereas a building contractor probably should. (And would you trust a building contractor with a stethoscope around their neck the way you trust a doctor wearing one?)
Do you stand by your word? Does your market believe what you say? If not then you are giving them reasons to not buy from you.
Then of course there actually has to be a viable market that you can connect to and influence. That influence has to encourage them to buy from you instead of some other business, otherwise your business will slowly (or maybe not so slowly) just fade away.
What are your answers to these questions? Are you earning your market’s trust and influencing them to buy from you? And if not, why not?
There’s another question that is also important about now: Why should I care? The answer to that is relatively simple. You can build a long term, sustainable business and secure your future, or you can head for the ‘dark side’ and not always do what is best for your clients. The dark side leads to a ‘feast and famine’ cycle where you need to restart the business every so often, which eats into your profits, and eventually can cause the business to fail. The ethical approach, by comparison, maintains good relationships with the people making up your market, which maintains your profit level.
The ethical approach means that your income planning can sit on solid ground, the other way means that you always have to hope that people don’t find out your secret.
More on this topic later, and let me know you agree or not. I’m also interested in what you’d like covered in the next post.
If you think back to just about every business adviser since the flood they have all said “You need a niche” and then they leave it at that other than some general statements about it being good for business.
Here’s a link to an article I wrote on another site about what having a niche means for your business, and it also tells you why they say you need to identify your market. I hope you enjoy it, and that you get some profit from it.
Do you subscribe to the idea that you just have to advertise, even though the return is sometimes negative, and even though you don’t know whether one ad works better than any other?
I will write a series of posts about marketing, each building on the other, until you know exactly what to do and why you do it, and what return you will expect from your adverts. So let’s look at the very basics of advertising.
Basic statement #1: Advertising is supposed to encourage people to buy from you.
Now I know you think that’s d@#^ed obvious, but it isn’t as obvious to some as it should be. Let’s explore that a little.
Is the advert in the right place? What do your target market read (or what shows do they watch on TV etc)? You might have the perfect advert but have signed up to place it in the wrong place – meaning none of your market are likely to see it.
Have you ever bought something that is really “You” and so unusual – it is something that you just have to have because it captures “You” and you’ve never seen it before? Then you see a half dozen of them on the way home? That’s because your brain has a filter that makes sure your conscious mind isn’t overwhelmed with unnecessary ‘stuff’, and until you bought one that filter didn’t know to let you see them. It’s also why you hear your own name when somebody says it at normal conversation levels the other side of a crowded room. Everybody has this filter, and that means that many people don’t see your advert, even if it is in the right place. The message was wrong, and your target’s filter kicked in and they never became aware of your advert. (Search the internet for RAS if you want to know more about this, or later I’ll include a post about exactly this)
The relevance of this is: unless you can get past your target’s RAS then they will remain blissfully unaware of your advert, and that means they cannot be influenced by it. You just lost a potential sale.
The heading or the first couple of sentences in an audio or video need to connect with their RAS. The next couple of sentences need to make your message relevant to them. If you don’t then they will be aware of your attempt, and mostly what they will recall is the decision to ignore it.
This is the core of what is meant by “Write your advert from the client’s perspective”.
The next post will describe what goes into a successful advert.
“Everybody” knows that nearly all new businesses will fail. Some suggest that 80% of them will fail in the first year. Others say that a further 80% of them will fail in the second and then third year.
Whilst those statistics may not be correct, other more formal reviews note that 52% of new businesses fail in the first year. That’s still way too many, especially if you consider the fallout: stress and economic hardship for (ex)employees and families, maybe relationship breakdowns and I’m sure you know of more that could be included here.
The real question, the one that should be asked is why do businesses fail? What causes so many businesses, started with such good intent, to slowly (or maybe spectacularly) implode?
There are two things that nearly all business failures have in common. Some have one or the other, others have both.
The first is that the business must deliver something that a market actually wants to buy. It can be a new product, but there must be a demand of some sort, otherwise there is no business.
If offerings are not sold for a fair profit then there are only two possibilities:
Don’t misunderstand: hobbies and charities are very good to have – unless it is supposed to be a business.
So you have something that a market wants to buy. Now you need to have one more thing: your version needs to be better than every competitor’s. You must be able to point at something that you do that is better than the others – otherwise why would anyone want to buy from you? Have you ever gone shopping (where price was not a factor) and bought “second best”?
Neither has anyone else. So you need to be able to boast about something. That can be quality, speed of delivery, additional features, color range, taste – it just has to be something that you do better than anyone else. It is the reason people buy from you. You may have heard this being referred to as your “Point of Difference” or “Unique Selling Proposition”.
All of that is part one – you have something that is genuinely attractive to a market. Now you need to inform that market. You may well have the best but unless people know about it they cannot buy from you.
Think of ‘marketing’ as a means of educating your target market, of telling them that you can deliver what they want, that yours is better than the others and why, and how they can get in touch with you so they can buy one. You’re not trying to foist something on an unwilling population, you are doing them a good turn by supplying a better solution than the one they have now.
Being able to deliver a message to a market that tells them about a better solution means:
Having the right product or service is the skeleton. Without a strong skeleton the business is basically without form or shape. Educating your market is the rest of the picture: without a good message, well delivered, you may have strong support but it looks a bit ugly!
We’ll look at what makes a good marketing message in the next article, and it may not be what you think.