75% of all small business will fail in the first year, that’s a pretty scary statistic for an entrepreneur. You have a great idea, you have the drive and ambition, the economy is doing well but still businesses fail. Often the failure is blamed on the lack of capital, the competition and while those can be both valid reasons that is not why most businesses fail. The sad truth is that most businesses fail because of marketing, or lack thereof. No matter what line of business you get into you’re going to be going into the marketing business as well. Marketing though is more than just buying some advertising or being first in the Yellow Pages. Where do you begin a successful marketing campaign?
What is marketing?
Isn’t advertising marketing? Well…sorta
What about sales? That’s definitely part of it
What about logos, letterhead and the sign on the door? That’s part of it too.
Marketing and the reason for it is to get your message in front of potential clients and customers. You want future customers to get to know you, like you and ultimately trust you enough to do business with you. Marketing is how you level the playing field with competition who is much large than you. Before the brands you recognize like Best Buy and Starbucks were giants they were just like you, they didn’t have a ton of cash to spend on advertising and market research.
How do You do this?
You know how you order your coffee at Starbucks and they always spell your name wrong? They do that on purpose, most baristas are college kids that are fully capable of spelling “Bob”. Bear in mind the hundreds of pictures on Instagram and other social media sites that show pictures of misspelled names. All of that is marketing for Starbucks…and it didn’t cost them a dime. Think of all the gimmicks like that that companies and celebrities use to get your attention.
You don’t have to be a creative genius to employ this tactic you just have to set yourself apart from the others in your industry. If you don’t find a way to set yourself apart then price will be the only tool left to use. Never compete by price alone, it will kill you every time. Nothing here is new or revolutionary in fact it is often referred to as guerilla marketing or growth hacking. It really doesn’t matter what you call it what is important is that it works.
So here are 7 things to do right now so you can dominate your industry:
- Get yourself noticed, now is not the time to be an introvert. Go out into your community and network, participate in events. Contribute to local or industry trade journals.
- Use incentives to encourage referrals. Incentives along with exceptional service can carry your business for years.
- Encourage repeat business where you can, things like coffee cards might seem cliché to you but they do work.
- Upsells are your friend. McDonalds is probably the most famous for doing this and they do it because it has worked for them for more than 50 years.
- Ask your customers why they came to you instead of your competition, now take that message and tell the rest of the world.
- Work with someone who has the same customer base as you and do a cross promotion.
- Give something for free. Everybody loves to feel like they are getting a bargain so give them one. Companies that do SEO often give away free website in exchange for signing on to 6 months of SEO service, if you have potential for back end profit give this a try.
Every single company out there started out exactly the way you have. Limited budgets, terrible economies and desperately needing that next customer to pay the bills. They all had to figure out how to get in front of the people who needed their product or service. Take these tips and make them work for you.