Most business owners know they should probably be marketing their business, but what’s the real usefulness of marketing? And what does marketing look like in 2015?
How marketing helps a business
· 33% of traffic from Google searches goes to the first website listed.
· In 2013, 52% of all businesses that marketed themselves found at least one customer through Facebook and 43% found customers through LinkedIn.
· Business-to-Business companies that blog generate 2/3 more leads than those that don’t blog.
That means you don’t have to be a marketing expert to improve your bottom line because there are great ways to market your business--ways that don’t cost a lot of money or require a lot of expertise.
Let's start the discussion with a couple of questions:
- If you take the time to market your business, what can it do for you?
- How should you start the marketing process?
What Marketing Will Do For You
Marketing does a lot more than just let people know you want to sell them your services and “stuff”. It can:
- Define what you should be selling to your clients
- Help you discover who you should be selling to
- Let your customers know why your brand is the best
- Show you how you can outperform your competition.
How to Start Marketing Your Business
Ask yourself a few (not so simple) questions:
- What are you selling?
No, I mean what you’re really selling.
Most architects design buildings, but they don’t all design the same types of buildings for the same types of clients in the exact same way.
Will you offer value… service…quality…cutting-edge style…functionality?
Give some in-depth thought to what you want to sell.
- Who are you selling to?
Your answers to question #1 will have a huge impact on who you’re selling to. Your target market can be as narrow as you want it to be, but a smaller target group can make it more difficult to meet your sales goals. A well defined group is good—just don’t make it too small. There are many research sources out there, so make sure you take advantage of them to define your target market. It’s also a good time to learn what groups your competition is targeting.
- Why should people buy from you?
When someone buys a product or service they don’t look in a phone book. Usually, they’ll either get a recommendation from a friend/colleague/family member or they get it from some online source (like Google or Yelp).
The first thing they’ll do when they see your name is check out your website (more than 80% of the time), so you need to be prepared by having a good website and a basic philosophy of how and why you do business. After potential clients look at your business online, they’ll compare you to your competition. But remember: they want to have a reason to like you and they don’t want to keep searching the internet. They’re tired of searching for someone to do the job and they’re actually looking for reasons to like you--you need to give them those reasons.
· Make yourself likable.
· Make yourself the go-to expert on your profession.
· Make yourself sound so good, they don’t even want to look at your competition.
- How do you compare to “the other guys”?
Once you've determined “what”, “who” and “why” it’s time to start thinking about the goods and services you offer—compared to what the competition is offering. Identify your competitors (they may not even be local businesses), learn what their strengths and weaknesses are, and work out a strategy to make money by being better than they are.
If “pricing” is a big part of your sales pitch, but your competition has a lock on low prices that you just can’t beat, then you have a couple of options to consider:
· Change some of your “What” or “Who” decisions (maybe by choosing a different client or class of products)
· You’re going to have to outperform them in the “Why” arena (with a better website, by being more likable, marketing better, etc.
Once you've thought about these How To items, you should go through all of them a second time—always refining who, what, why, and how.
On March 25th (just before the Guild Happy Hour!), I’ll be presenting a 2-hour CGBG seminar that’s chock-full of great information about marketing your A/E/C business. It’ll be affordable, concise and help any sized company, so come and learn some great tips before networking.
Gnu 2 Marketing
Powerful Marketing & Branding