One of the barriers you will face when you start a new business is a lack of reputation. You’ll find many consumers will stick to the large, well-known retailers and providers who they are familiar with and therefore trust. If you’ve been buying books from Amazon, why would you switch to a new online bookshop, unless there is a compelling reason to do so? Price cutting is not going to work, as you are unlikely to be able to compete with the prices offered by the dominant suppliers, so how do you find an edge, a draw for customers that will make them think about giving you a try?
Your unique selling proposition
Having a USP is vital for a small business, as it is the embodiment of what makes your service special. Many businesses find it hard to select a USP, and fall back on pricing, or simply talk about how great their company is. Pricing is a dead-end: if you reduce your prices to compete, you’ll make no profits and find you are working for nothing. Information about your company is interesting as added value on your “About us” website page, but it’s not going to encourage people to buy from you as a sales technique. You need to be able to say you are the ONLY business who can do whatever it is you do. For instance, you’re the only supplier of handbags made from recycled seatbelts, or you’re the only coffee shop in the town that uses Fair Trade coffee beans.
Trying to compete directly with another business is a difficult way of achieving success. It’s far better to make your business stand out for its USP and any other differences you can promote. One way of accomplishing this is to offer a reward or loyalty scheme to repeat customers. Keep it simple and appealing, and check that the costs involved won’t exceed the benefits of offering such a scheme. For instance, you could use gift vouchers to reward clients who spend over a certain amount. For something with an added edge, you can buy vouchers for stocks and shares for as little as $25. Your customer receives a gift that could well increase in value, while it costs you very little interms of Stockpile fees to give something extra special.
Instant payment methods
If you sell products on your website, what payment methods do you accept? Credit and debit cards are a given, but what about PayPal or other forms of instant payment? Customers find this a very convenient way to pay and consider it a secure method, so you could be missing a trick if you don’t offer it as an alternative. It also sends out a message that your business is at the cutting edge of innovation and technology, which gives weight to your marketing message.
Preparing a marketing strategy is a complex undertaking with many interconnected elements involved. However, at the core of your plans, you need the combined power of being able to promote your business as being at the forefront of the field and offering something that no-one else can match.
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