How to Make Your Business Stand Out from the Competition

business men and women sitting and readingLearning how to set yourself apart from your competitors can help your business reach new heights and establish itself as a leader in your industry. Some simple changes to how you conduct your business can garner more positive attention from potential new customers and keep you operating longer. Here are some of the best ways to make your business stand out from the competition.

Study Your Competition

Knowing what your competitors are doing to run their businesses and market themselves can help you find ways to differentiate your business from theirs. You might find ways to improve on solving problems that these businesses try to solve. You may also be able to target a different demographic that’s often overlooked by competing companies. Other ways to learn about your competition so that you can make your business unique from theirs is to run analytics tests of their websites and speak to former employees who might be willing to give you additional information.

Keep Your Premises Tidy

Whether you run a store, a restaurant, or another type of business where customers frequently visit, you’ll want to keep your premises tidy at all times. Some businesses overlook this, and you can help your business earn a more positive reputation by making sure that no trash pileups or other filth buildups are anywhere on your property. Professional cleanings should be done regularly to keep your business looking its best. C and D Services a company that provides parking lot sweeping Dallas TX tells us that power sweeping keeps dust and dirt and trash from piling up on the property – keeping it more sanitary, improving the aesthetics, removing trip hazards, and ultimately increasing the value of the property.

Improve Your Customer Service

Customer service can make or break a business, and making the extra effort to ensure that each customer receives the best service possible can help set you apart from other companies. People who are dissatisfied with the service that they received from your competitors may also be more inclined to become new customers if your business has built a reputation for delivering outstanding service. You’ll want to make sure that all staff members who deal with the public receive thorough customer service training that includes how to deal with customer complaints effectively.  couple in flower shop

Feature Regular Promotions

Deals, free giveaways, and other promotions can get more people interested in your business. Promotions that save people money can be especially good for many of your customers who are likely on tight budgets. Another promotional idea is to start a customer loyalty program that offers freebies or other perks to your most loyal customers. You’ll definitely want to run promotions around holiday seasons when many of your competitors are likely doing the same to try to attract more customers.

Practice Corporate Social Responsibility

One of the best ways that your business can show corporate social responsibility is by supporting various charities, and this can also help differentiate your business from others. As Forbes.com explains, there are many corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs that can help give customers better mental impressions of your business and can also promote better goodwill and increase your profits. You might choose to support charities that feed the homeless, provide medical care to underprivileged people, or rescue animals.

Communicate on a More Personal Level

Some of your competitors may be treating their customers more like numbers than people, and you can garner more positive attention by finding ways to communicate with people on a more personal level. One of the best ways to go about this is to answer customer emails with customized replies instead of standard messages. Starting a newsletter and delivering new editions to customers’ email inboxes on a regular basis can also make your business seem more personable. Social media can additionally be used to communicate with customers directly so that they can feel as though they’re being treated more as respected individuals.

Go Green

Many people nowadays are more conscious about the environment, and taking measures to reduce your business’s negative impact on the planet can help increase your company’s profile. Using recyclable materials and finding ways to reduce your business’s output of harmful emissions can help you run a greener business that’s more environmentally responsible than your competition. Switching to solar power or another alternative energy source is another option to consider if you want to outdo your rivals.

Standing out from the competition doesn’t always have to be a difficult task. By implementing these methods for your business, you may yield great results along with bigger profits than your competitors.

Guest post by Samantha HigginsSamantha is a professional writer with a passion for research, observation, and innovation. She is nurturing a growing family of twin boys in Portland, Oregon with her husband. She loves kayaking and reading creative non-fiction.             

 

How Changes at Facebook Are Impacting Your Business (& What You Can Do About It)

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What’s With Facebook Business Pages?

If your business has a Facebook page, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that it’s not getting as much interaction as it used to. In fact, there has been a large change in they way that Facebook delivers your feed to your followers. How can you overcome those changes?

There are more than 1.4 Billion people logging on to Facebook every single day, so that’s a lot of potential business for you. Those users upload about 300 million pictures and watch 8 billion videos. Every day. closeup photo of a facebook business page

What Did Facebook do?

Back in August, Facebook changed its algorithm to put more personal posts in your feed, and fewer business posts. The idea was that this would make the user experience more personal. That change made boosting your posts and running ads even more important. Of course, your followers can choose to see more of your posts by adding them to their list of pages to “see first” in their news feed. In addition, Facebook Watch will keep track of business videos from business pages and Creators you follow. Facebook will even notify those followers when you post new video content.

How Can Your Business Grow on Facebook?

There are some things you can do to overcome the changes. Great, valuable content that people want to share with others is number 1, especially video. Don’t overlook Facebook Live, as it gets three times more engagement than other content. Facebook Stories, similar to what Instagram Stories does, is another good tactic to let followers know about testimonials, new product, etc. 

If you sell products, consider creating a Facebook Store if your customer base aligns with their demographics. The sheer volume of people on the social media site makes it a great supplement to your other online marketing efforts.

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Of course, Facebook ads are very valuable to promoting your company. According to a study by Sprout Social, about 3 million businesses are advertising on Facebook to the tune of nearly $30 billion a year. These ads allow to target specific people by gender, location, age and interests. It helps you narrow your focus and spend less to get the leads you want. There is also good tracking information you can use to improve your efforts.

Read On

I have a few articles I found helpful that I want to share. The first is on WordStream, an online marketing company that I use for managing advertising. The blog post reviews the changes made to Facebook and how it is impacting businesses. The second is on AdEspresso, a blog by Hootsuite, which is very useful for managing social media posts and measurement. The post is a deep dive into Facebook’s recent changes. Lastly, I recommend a post on Velocity that looks at the trends in Facebook marketing.

Got questions? Shoot me an Email or call me at 904.524.0170.

What Is Closed Loop Marketing? (And Why You Need To Know)

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Closing The Loop: Making Your Marketing More Efficient and Effective

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Did you ever go on Facebook or Twitter and see a whole bunch of ads for the item you were shopping for yesterday? There is a reason for that, of course, and without getting too technical about how it happens, it involves something called remarketing. When you start shopping for something, little pieces of data called “cookies” are deposited on your computer from the website you are viewing. Then, an advertiser can target anyone who has those particular cookies. 

It is not very difficult to do if you have money to advertise online with Google, Bing or other places. But what if you don’t have a big budget?  Targeting your market is just as important for the non-profit agency as it is to the Fortune 500. And, bringing a custom message to your target audiences is not only a more effective approach, it is more cost efficient, too.

Your company’s marketing efforts can and should be targeted to the people who are most interested in your service or product. By figuring out who they are, then creating a message specifically for them, you will improve your marketing results and save money.

Closed Loop Marketing is one way to understand the marketing process. While it is often applied most to websites, I believe the basics apply to any kind of marketing and for any kind of business or non-profit marketing.

Here are the steps:

The Planning Phase

Your planning should always be based on your business goals, so I recommend clarifying those first. After all, if you don’t know where you are going, then any road will get you there.

  • Figure out who your best customers are. This might be the people who buy your service most often – for example, a regular customer of a hair stylist. Or, it might be the people who purchase your most profitable product. It is important to understand which customers have the most impact on your business’ bottom line.
  • Create a list of customer segments. For example, you can segment customers by geographic locations, product choice, buying history, brand preference or even birthdays.
  • Decide which message to use for each customer segment. Wouldn’t you rather get an Email telling you when your favorite brand of shoes is on sale than a blast notice that everything in the store is 10% off? How about a notice from the grocery store telling you that your usual brand of laundry soap is on special this week – would that be worth something to you as a customer?

  • Learn how your customers want you to communicate with them. Do they read Email? Hint: most millennials and Generation Z’s do not. Texting and social media – especially videos – will probably work better for this group. On the other hand, if you want to find grandmothers who spoil their grandkids, get on Facebook. You can target direct mail using the postal service’s “every door direct” campaigns, which can be cost effective. But most importantly, ASK your customers how they like to communicate. It might just surprise you.
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The Execution Phase

Now that you know who you are going to talk to, and what you are going to say, now it is time to execute your strategy. 

  • Use as many communication media as possible. If your customers use both Email and Facebook, then put your message and money into both places. You will be increasing your brand awareness as well as the chances your target audience will see the message.

  • Communicate regularly. The old “one and done” is a waste of your time and money. It takes repetition to get your message across. There is something called “the marketing rule of 7” that says you must see a message 7 times before it really begins to sink in. That’s true of everything from billboards to phone numbers and TV commercials. Think about it this way – when you hear a song you like, you probably can’t sing along the first time or two. But after hearing it a few times, you will remember most of the words. Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself when you are marketing.

The Conversion Phase

This is the step where you develop leads and customers.

  • For some companies, getting a warm or hot lead is the goal, while for others it may be the actual sale of a service or product.

  • The important thing is to know how those leads or sales were generated and, in the case of leads, how many ultimately became customers.

The Analysis Phase

Measuring and analyzing your results is, to me, the most important part of the cycle. You will want to know:

  • How many sales or leads you generated for each message.

  • Which kinds of communication worked best and which did not work well.

  • How much you spent for each lead/sale by communication type. For example, did you spend $1.50 per customer on direct mail and $1.20 per customer on Facebook ads? Knowing your “cost per acquisition” will help you determine how best to invest your money next time.

  • Did you get the results you expected? Did you make the kinds of sales you predicted, or was another product or service more popular? These answers can help you with future cross-marketing efforts.

In the end, marketing at its best is a circular effort – you launch a campaign, measure it, analyze it, make changes, then launch it again. It might take a little effort to understand your customers and their preferences and buying history. You might have to do a little more record-keeping, but in the end you will be establishing a closer, more personal relationship with your customer.

Interested in knowing more about small business marketing? Call me to discuss your needs at 904.524-0170 or Email Kim@DeppeCommunications.com

 

 

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