Micro Business Marketing: Stand Out FROM the Competition and Stand Out FOR Your Customers!
Remember the Four Ps of Marketing?
(If not, simply head over to my previous blog post for a reminder!)
In summary, effective marketing means reaching the right people, in the right place and at the right time, with the right product, at the right price.
But who exactly are these people you’re trying to reach?
And what about those other people – the ones who do what you do, and who you’re competing with for business? The competition. How do you make sure you stand out from the crowd?
To ensure your marketing activity hits the right mark, you’re going to have to get to know both of these groups of people a little better.
Who Are Your Customers?
In my recent series of blogs covering the topic of BRAND I drilled down into the process of identifying your target customer.
As an experienced micro business mentor, the best possible advice I can give when it comes to creating your customer profile is this: be as specific as you can.
The reason for this is simple. “Who are your customers?” is one of the most important questions in business.
Your entire marketing strategy should be based around your answer, because the better you understand the people who buy from you, the easier it will be to communicate with them.
So don’t hold back.
Picture an ideal customer, then imagine you’re walking in their shoes. Where do they live, how old are they, what do they do, and what is their life generally like?
Bear in mind that if you offer different products or services, your ideal customers may have different demographics, lifestyles or personality traits to consider.
(I’m afraid you don’t get out of doing this exercise if you’re selling directly into businesses! Nine times out of ten, you will be dealing with people inside these businesses, so who are they?)
Once you have created your customer profile (or ‘avatar’ as it is sometimes known), you will be able to market your products or services in a way that speaks to their specific needs.
You will be answering that important question, posed by potential customers the world over:
“Why your business, and not somebody else’s?”
Which brings me on to our next important group of people.
Who Is Your Competition?
Are you one of those (many) micro business owners who likes to stick their head in the sand when it comes to keeping track of their competition?
If you are, you’re missing a trick.
It can be hard to think about other people offering the same services as you, and competing for the same business.
However, when we consider that 80% of businesses in the UK are micro businesses and that 4 in 10 employees have a side-hustle business, it’s easy to understand why no truly unique products or services exist any more.
Can you think of any?
What this means is that there are a lot of fish swimming in the same pond trying to eat the same fish food, or, as I overheard on a recent training course, “lots of hungry sharks in a blood-infested ocean!”
Online connections have also given us unparalleled access to global markets, so customers now have more choice over who they want to do business with than at any other time in history.
This may sound daunting. But it’s also a great opportunity for you to differentiate your business through the one thing that is totally unique YOU! Something you can communicate through your brand values and your marketing strategy.
To really help set your business apart, you will need to keep track of what your competition is doing – so it’s time to be brave and keep yourself updated!
There’s just one caveat. Don’t track your competitors’ activity so much that you compare your business negatively to theirs, or you find yourself starting to copy them.
Negative comparisons will sap your confidence, while copying someone else’s exact approach won’t work, because you are not them (which is a very good thing!)
Instead,take inspiration. Concentrate on developing a set of unique, you-centric benefits that come with using your products or services. Benefits that answer the question, “why choose my business over another?”
This is an update of the age-old USP approach – that every business needs a Unique Selling Point. Since it’s impossible (almost impossible – do you know any?) to find a genuinely unique business any more, we have to concentrate on making what we offer speak to our customers in a unique way, instead.
My approach to this is the process of developing UPBs – Unique Perceived Benefits. If you haven’t carried out a features and benefits exercise on your products and services, we should have a Discovery Call.
A good example of the use of UPB over USP is the famous Domino’s Pizza tagline, which stated “red hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less…or it’s FREE”.
Another example is the John Lewis “Never knowingly undersold” where they promise to refund the difference if you can find a product they sell at a lower standard price.
In a world saturated with pizza delivery companies and high street department stores, Domino’s and John Lewis found a way to stand out from the competition – and their UPBs are very clear.
The easiest way for you to come up with your own UPBs is to revisit your brand values, then match them with the needs of your customers for a truly irresistible offering!