1. Sell the benefit, not a comparison
How you market yourself is all about highlighting what makes you different. There are three major ways to do that.
- Cost (you know how to price a product better than the competition)
- Quality (you’re better)
- A combination thereof (you offer the better value)
But how you sell yourself is different than how you market yourself. You can tell someone that you provide a product or service that is cheaper or more effective than that of another business, but that doesn’t say how much better you are going to make the customer’s life.
Selling is about the benefit. A comparison may highlight the feature you offer,but you are always selling benefit.
2. Listen to your customer
Sam Walton, WalMart’s famed mass retail titan, started his empire in rural America. This was despite the prevailing business logic saying a mass retailer anywhere but in a city with a concentrated population would fail. The logic was, if you wanted to move mass quantities of goods, you needed mass quantities of people.
But Walton knew his customers because he would frequently listen to them firsthand. He was aware that people who lived in rural and suburban areas often bought in larger quantities because they had larger families or needed more goods to keep their own small businesses stocked and running. Walton listened to his customers, and the result is the largest, most powerful brick and mortar retailer in the world. The customer may at times defy logic, but they are always right.
3. Market your product before it’s ready
Some businesses wait until their product is perfect before they do any marketing or awareness campaigning. That can be a costly mistake. Many businesses expect to sell their product as soon as it’s ready. But if no one knows about it, then demand will start at zero until you undergo a marketing campaign to build brand awareness for potential customers.
It’s better to do preemptive awareness campaigning, even if it’s minimal, to let potential customers know your product is coming. You can sell the benefit before the product has arrived. This way, when the product is ready, so are customers!
4. Think outside the box
The marketing landscape has dramatically changed since I started my first business more than 30 years ago. Back then, there were no search engines or social media platforms. There was no internet as we know it. Now, startups can utilize a bevy of free, online marketing techniques that are both creative and effective. For example, you can use online video marketing, social media, blog influencers, crowdsourcing, competitions, content marketing, thought leadership and more.
5. Advertise from multiple angles
As mentioned above, it’s good to test multiple marketing channels and ideas to see what works best. Often, it’s not any one thing but a combination of all of the above. When your customer hears you on the radio, sees you in a search engine result, and then finds you mentioned in a blog they like (content marketing), they start to accept your brand as a solid, dependable, known entity. They may not have the need for your product or service immediately, but when they do, it will be your name that comes to mind instead of a competitor’s.
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