Once you have established your image you can then begin marketing yourself effectively. Eg: “Exceptional Quality at Competitive Prices” or ‘The Absolute Cheapest Prices in Town!”
Marketing involves all areas of advertising your business. Why should customers use you? Do you give customer incentives? Are your sales people brief but informative? Marketing is selling your total business package in every way.
You must get across to your potential customers a better understanding of what you do and how it will benefit them if they deal with you. Your main aim is to attract new customers and then turn these into repeat customers. When you make a sale or have an enquiry you can obtain personal information for your own records.
Keeping a database of customers is essential. You can send them information on new services or special deals that you are offering, thank you letters for using your services etc. Those names can earn you big money without spending extra trying to attract new custom. Your existing customers are the most lucrative to you.
You can begin compiling a customer list by offering a newsletter and then informing those customers of new offers and relevant information every month.
Can you offer your existing customers a gift voucher that their extended families and friends can also use?
Everyone likes to be treated as an individual so keep your database in software that will give your customers personal recognition.
You can then take a look at your yearly advertising costs and see where you are getting good and poor responses.
Shifting funds around will cost you nothing yet the results might yield you bigger profits!
How does your current advertising look against your competitions?
Photocopy or cut out every ad you see from your competitors and jot down any specials or extra things they are offering. This is your starting point for your advertising campaign. How do all your existing ads and specials compare to your competitions? Compare them side by side. How can you improve yours? Keep a folder which contains these items and also any other ads which caught your eye or ideas that can be adapted to your business.
When you’re going to head to head with your competition it is necessary to persuade the customers to purchase from you. Directly compare your products and price with the opposition and inform your customers why you are the better deal.
Can people who need to replace or update a product or use your service be persuaded by your business to do so? Can you offer trade ins or discounts? Investigate all avenues to come up with innovative and profitable ideas.
Remember products have a life cycle over which time you need to promote accordingly;
1. Introduction of a new product
2. The growth of sales of this product
3. The maturity of sales
4. Finally the drop off or decline in sales
There are four stages in the product life cycle.
1. Market introduction stage
- costs are high
- slow sales volumes to start
- little or no competition
- demand has to be created
- customers have to be prompted to try the product
- makes no money at this stage
2. Growth stage
- costs reduced due to economies of scale
- sales volume increases significantly
- profitability begins to rise
- public awareness increases
- competition begins to increase with a few new players in establishing market
- increased competition leads to price decreases
3. Maturity stage
- costs are lowered as a result of production volumes increasing and experience curve effects
- sales volume peaks and market saturation is reached
- increase in competitors entering the market
- prices tend to drop due to the proliferation of competing products
- brand differentiation and feature diversification is emphasized to maintain or increase market share
- Industrial profits go down
4. Saturation and decline stage
- costs become counter-optimal
- sales volume decline or stabilize
- prices, profitability diminish
- profit becomes more a challenge of production/distribution efficiency than increased sales
You can start off with a higher price in number one and then begin to meet the competitions prices in numbers two or three and then offer deals or do price cutting in stage four.
Always keep track of what your competitors are doing. Make this a weekly effort and use the information wisely. Have staff ring to find out about prices and service and also look for advertisements and deals they have on offer.