Competitive Management: Getting more for less
02/01/2013

As a business owner or leader, you always need to make sure you’re perceived as the expert in your industry and that you’re getting your marketing messages out in the right way. With so much hype and conflicting advice these days about the best way to market your product, services or company, it’s difficult for any business owner to know the best marketing path to take.

However, implementing the following marketing tips today potentially can help your profits soar.

  • Know what makes you unique. Yes, your company rents or sells certain products or services, and you probably have years of expertise in what your company offers, but if you’re going to market and brand yourself as an expert, you have to know what makes you unique. Sit down and write out all the things that make you different, unique, special, and one-of-a-kind.

Chances are there are many experts, just like you, in your niche or industry. You’re not the only expert, so why should someone buy or rent from you over your competitors? What do you offer that no one else does? What are your credentials? For example:

l Did you grow a large business from nothing?

l Did you turnaround a well-known organization?

l Were you a leader or manager of a high-profile company?

l Did you develop a system that consistently gets great results?

l Have you personally used your system to lose weight, build a business, solve a major business or societal problem?

Whatever you identify as your unique element, you need to promote that fact in all you do. Even if you’ve been in business for years, you need to do this exercise. too. There always are newcomers coming into your field, so you have to continually differentiate yourself as the best in order for your company to stay on top.

  • Identify your markets. No businesses can successfully market themselves to every sector of the population. Look at what makes you unique and choose the key segment or demographic that make sense for you to market to.

Next, see if you can expand that market, so you can have two distinct demographics to target — the first is a niche industry or sector and the second is broader. Look at what’s a natural extension of your main demographic and target that additional segment. You’ll find that focusing on two key demographics will make your marketing efforts easier and more effective.

  • Promote the bottom line results you deliver. When marketing their companies, many business owners fall into the trap of constantly touting why their company, products or services are so great. They say and write things like, “We’ve been around for 20 years,” “We sell the best solutions in the industry” and “We’ve won numerous awards.” In truth, no one cares about accolades like that.

Instead of talking about how great you and your company are, talk about the results you’ll deliver to customers. Use phrases such as, “Increase your bottom line” or “Get the highest earnings with the lowest risk.” Just as you analyze the bottom line results of any investment you make, your customers do the same thing — only they’re looking at the bottom line results for them and their families. The only way to know what matters most to your customers is to ask them. So send a survey or personally ask your long-term clients what’s important to them and what kind of results they get by using your products or services. Then, talk about those things in your marketing messages.

  • Don’t forget direct mail. Let’s not forget that direct mail pieces — sales letters and postcards — are still a great way to market your business. Key elements of your direct mail piece are:

l A strong headline that stresses how you’re going to help them — the benefit your products or services offer. Depending on what you rent or sell, you might talk about having a cleaner home, feeling healthier, increasing productivity or saving time and money.

l Testimonials from satisfied customers.

l A breakdown of the problems your target audience is facing and your solution for each one.

l A list of any articles you’ve had published in an industry or association magazine, or any local media appearances.

l A call to action. Clearly state the next step you want people to take: “Call me today,” “Visit my website” or “Request more information.”

Show people that you’re “in the know” when it comes to their issues and that you’re the best person to help them solve those challenges.

Being a business owner is one of the most rewarding professions. In what other career can you share your expertise, control your professional future, meet lots of interesting people and make a difference in the lives of others? To do all this well, you have to continually market your company, products and services. By using the strategies outlined here, you’ll be better able to stand out from the competition and market your business to new levels of success.

Pam Lontos is president of Pam Lontos Consulting, Orlando, Fla. She consults and coaches with businesses and experts in the areas of sales, marketing and publicity. She also founded PR/PR Public Relations and is a past vice president of sales for Disney’s Shamrock Broadcasting. She is the author of “I See Your Name Everywhere: Leverage the Power of the Media to Grow your Fame, Wealth and Success.” For more information, call 407-522-8630, email pamlontos@gmail.com or visit pamlontos.com.