Products, markets, customers, and their needs change continuously. That is why you should often revisit these seven fundamentals to ensure that you are still on track with your business.
Let us now look at each of these elements of your marketing in more detail.
Your Product and Service
The best way to look at your offer is to look at it from your customer’s viewpoint.
Ask Yourself These Questions:
- Is my current product or service still what my market wants?
- Are my products and services the right ones for my customers today?
- Are there any products or services I am offering that no longer satisfy my customers’ needs?
- How can I improve my offering to be more in line with what my customers want today?
- Is it possible to upgrade my products or services or should I develop a new range?
- Is my offering still superior to that of my competitors?
Determine how you can improve your offer to still give your customer the best deal there is. It is the only way that you can keep on growing your business.
Your Price Point
Make a study of what is available to your customers in today’s marketplace. You not only have to compete with your local competitors but also with what they can get online.
The lockdown has forced your customers to look at alternative ways of finding what they need. Most now know just how easy it is to order something online and get it delivered to their home within a day or two.
Fortunately, you still have the advantage in that online shopping normally has a higher delivery cost and longer delivery time. However, you must consider also offering your customer the convenience of ordering online and getting it delivered either at home or to their workplace.
The main thing is that you should never try to compete only on the price of a product. You should always focus on what value your product or service gives to your customer. Always try to find ways in which you can increase the value for your customers so that they will keep on buying from you rather than your competition.
Sometimes you can even improve your sales by increasing your price if you can show that your products offer more value to your customer. The perceived value of a higher priced product can also allow you to make a larger profit. You may lose a few buyers but those are often the people that complain the most in any case.
This is not to say that you should push up your prices unrealistically, especially in a recession with high inflation. Be certain that you do make a comfortable profit from your sales. There is no benefit in selling without making a profit unless it is to get more long-term customers.
Ensure that you educate your customers to appreciate the value of your products and services and that they will always receive value for their money. Do not educate them by always expecting the lowest prices by offering discounts all the time. Find ways to add value to your offer by bundling complimentary products.
There are several ways in which you can price your offer to make it more acceptable to your buyers. One way is to let them buy expensive items with a down payment and then they can pay the rest over a few months with interest included.
You can also combine products which will increase the perceived value of your offer. A supermarket manager saw that the toothpaste sales went down. He decided to bundle it with a toilet bag, a washing cloth and a toothbrush and priced it at the total price of all the items plus R5.00.
He was pleasantly surprised when the bundled items flew faster from the shelves than they could supply it and that gave him a much higher profit.
Whenever you experience resistance or frustration in any part of your sales or marketing strategy, then investigate your pricing structure. See if you can make any adjustments before a continued drop in sales will harm your business.
Sometimes it is better to discontinue selling a product when it is not doing well and replace it with a better, even more expensive product with a higher perceived value.
Promotion should become a habit in your marketing and sales. It includes all the ways in which you tell your customers about your products and services and how you then market and sell to them.
Slight changes in the way you promote and sell your products can lead to dramatic changes in your results.
It is important that you collect all your customers’ contact details like their email address, cellphone number and birthday. You can tell them that you have a gift for them but that you need their contact details so that you can send it to them. It can be a discount coupon for their next purchase or an information video on how to best use the product that they just bought from you.
Sending a product guide via email to your customer with all the details of what you have to offer is a failsafe way in which you can make more sales more often. This can be done via email, or you can have QR codes posted in your business near your product ranges.
If your customers scan these codes, they will be taken to a page where they must supply their contact details before they get access to the relevant information on your website.
On these pages you can have a description of all the benefits it will give your buyers. It can also guide them to make the best choice of product for their specific need.
Another effective way of adding value to your offer is to supply a video in which it shows exactly how a product can be used for the best results. This is something that needs to be done only once and can bring long-term positive results for your business.
You should always do these promotions when you add new products or services or upgrade your products or services. Automation of your marketing can save you a lot of effort and time and will not cost you a lot to implement.
If you need help with setting up these features for your business, you are welcome to contact us through this link and we will contact you to set up an appointment.
You should always offer new products or services first to your current customers. It will make them feel special and that you care about them. This will improve your relationship of trust with them as well.
Remember to always ask them to refer you and your business to their friends. Ask them if they know anybody that could also benefit from your exclusive offer. Offer to send them coupons that they can give to their friends and that they will receive gifts when their friends buy with the coupons.
Tell them that the offer is not yet available to the public and that there is just a limited time while they can still get it at the reduced price. Give a firm cutoff date.
You should always experiment with diverse ways of advertising, promoting, and selling your products and services. It was found that changing a single word in your subject line or a single sentence in your email can result in a 500% increase in sales.
The rule is that whatever method of marketing you are using today, will not keep on giving you the desired results or even stop working. You must always look for new ways to satisfy the needs and wants of your customers.
You cannot move sideways, you can either grow or your business will stagnate or even die. That is what makes entrepreneurship interesting and exciting. There are always new things to explore.
We are planning to create a Master Mind Marketing Group for Cradock where we as business owners can stay informed about the latest strategies, technology, and resources to build your business.
If you are interested, then click the link below and put ‘Master Mind’ in the Message box when you fill in the form. We will contact you to make an appointment and will send you an example of the things that we will discuss in the Master Mind Group.
Place or Area of Service
Not only does the market change over time, but the area in which you are located might also change. You might find that your customers now gravitate to other places in town, and you may consider moving your business as well.
Since 2020 most of our customers have discovered that they can get anything they need online. It is now time for your business to focus more on how you can improve your online sales as well.
With new developments and innovative technology, it is much easier and less expensive to build your website. You can expand your service area exponentially in this way. Even small business enterprises can now compete worldwide if they have unique products or services.
Just last night my wife showed me some cashmere bed socks that a group of women in an Eastern Country are offering for sale online and the prices are even given in Rand!
One thing that I have seen a lot in Europe and Israel is how small business owners work together to sell each other’s products. In Southern Africa I have not seen much of it except in Zimbabwe and Botswana.
Related businesses can easily promote each other’s products and services. What really was a revelation was how people that sell the same items as leather goods or silver ware would promote each other’s products.
If a customer cannot find the exact item that he wants, then the salesperson would take the client to the adjacent shop to see if they have what the client wants. If a sale is made, then the shop owner gives some commission to the salesperson who brought the customer to his shop.
A straightforward way to collaborate with a fellow business owner would be to swap out coupons for exclusive offers. When a customer then presents you with such a coupon and makes a purchase, you know who has sent them and you can then work out what commission you owe the other business owner.
In the end you might not even have to pay each other, but in the process you will both make more sales.
As a business owner you should investigate where it will be the best place to offer your products and services, both offline and online. How can you supply your customers with the best information to enable them to make a buying decision? In what way should you change and where else could you make your offers?
During the lockdown period an American ice-cream wholesaler found that his sales dropped considerably. He then investigated and found that most service stations with convenient stores had spare freezing capacity.
He organized wholesale consignment deliveries that were made to these facilities of his ice-cream products. He also had a cellphone app developed with which customers could order some five-minute ice-cream.
The customer would place their order, pay with their credit card and the nearest local delivery service was informed about the order and the delivery address. They would send a driver to pick up the ice cream from the nearest service station and deliver it to the client before it can even start to melt. What a win-win-win situation!
The wholesale ice cream vendor made more sales than ever before. The service stations earned an extra income from their freezing facilities. The delivery services were paid for their services and the customer received ice cream delivered within minutes after they ordered it.
People buy with their eyes. If they like what they see, they will be more inclined to buy. Spar is a good example of this. The main requirement for the franchise owner is that the facility must be neat, super clean, well-lit and with wide aisles.
Customers like to buy their foodstuff from a visually clean environment. Today this has become the norm for all supermarkets.
The way in which your customers see your business will determine if they will be encouraged to buy from you or if they are being put off. Try to see your business through the eyes of your customers. See where you can make it better.
It should be a welcome sight for your customers when they approach your business and when they enter, everything should be neatly ordered. You must make it easy for your customers to find what they are looking for.
The payment process is also something that you ought to focus on so that it is easy for them to pay for their purchase. For your regular customers, you can even offer that they can pay you with direct internet payment when they get home.
It shows them that you trust them, and it will further improve your relationship with them. Just make certain that you also thank them when you have received their payment with a quick email in which you thank them for their purchase. Also tell them that they can always contact you if they have any problem at all. Reassure them that you will replace any faulty product as well.
Such after-sales service is part of the packaging of your customer service, and it is the way in which you get referrals from your most valued clients. Such advertising cannot be bought and is a priceless asset for any business.
Packaging refers to the way products or services appear from the outside. It also refers to your people and how they dress and speak to your customers. It refers to your offices, sales area, restrooms, brochures, correspondence, and every single visual element of your business.
Everything counts. Everything helps or hurts your business. It all affects your customer’s confidence about dealing with you.
When IBM started under the guidance of Thomas J. Watson Sr., he even had a mandatory dress code for his salespeople. Everyone should be seen as a professional dressed in a dark suit, dark tie, white shirt, conservative hairstyle, shined shoes with clean fingernails.
Their message was one of professionalism and competence.
Even if you can only supply your staff with prominent name tags with your logo, their function or rank in your business, then it can make an incredibly good impression on your customers. It will show them that you value the people that work for you and give them a certain identity.
The other day I was pleasantly surprised by the dress code of the staff of Mica in Upington. One could immediately see that their staff was well trained to look after the customer.
Even the shelf packers wore neat uniforms with nametags. They even stopped their work to help me find the items that I needed before I could ask for their help. They even asked me if I wanted to be served in English or Afrikaans!
How do people think and talk about you and your business?
What positioning do you have in your market?
How do people describe you and what you offer?
How you are seen and thought about by your customers is the critical determinant of your success in a competitive marketplace. If they think that you bring value and that you care about them, you cannot but have enormous success.
People think of you in terms of a single attribute. Is it honesty or service excellence or quality engineering like with Precision Steel?
How deeply this attribute is entrenched in the minds of your customers determines how readily they will buy your products or services and how much they will be willing to pay for it.
Develop the habit of thinking about how you could improve your positioning in your market. What would you like it to be?
What would you have to do in each interaction with your buyers to get them to think and talk about you in that way?
What changes must you make in the way you act towards your customers today to be seen as the absolute best choice for your prospective customers tomorrow?
Develop the habit of thinking in terms of the people inside and outside of your business who are responsible for every element of your sales, marketing strategies and activities.
Once you have decided on your marketing and sales strategies, it is especially important that the people who are responsible for carrying them out should know exactly how to do it.
Your ability to select, recruit, hire and retain the best people, with the skills and abilities to do the job you need done, is more important than anything else put together.
You need to get the right people on your bus and the wrong people off. The second thing is to get everyone in the correct seat.
In many cases the best marketing plans never get implemented because those in charge did not put in enough effort to find the best key people who could execute those plans effectively.
As one can see, your habits as an entrepreneur play a huge part in the success or failure of your business. Ensure that you form the right habits for your business to survive and grow.
On which of the following are you going to focus?
Take just one at a time and choose the one that will have the biggest impact on your business first. If you need any help, then you are welcome to Contact Us.
We have a free membership that you can join here to learn how to create your own online business.
While you are working on your own products, you can promote this easy to sell program and earn commission. Just follow the link below to see how it works at the 7-Figure Launch System.
(These are affiliate links above, and I might earn a commission if you buy something.)