Businesses open every day with a major two-part goal in sight: To keep the current customer happy and to attract new customers. No matter what industry you are in, you are competing with someone who wants to serve the same customers.
Since many businesses offer similar services or products, it is important that you work consistently on standing out. You probably have already done some strategic thinking about your marketing for 2014. How will you stand out in your customers’ minds this year? Here are a few tips to help you:
- Buck the data and automation trends
- Offer a new product or service that makes sense
- Simply say thank you
- Look excellent while being an excellent business
Buck the automation trend
Over the past few years, many businesses, large and small, have found ways to automate a lot of their day-to-day tasks with e-mail systems, phone systems and software applications.
In many cases, this has meant replacing people with technology for every conceivable function. There is nothing wrong with this. It can increase margins and ensure that a small, time strapped team can service more customers. However, it can also create challenges for customers. How many commercials have we all seen that make fun of those annoying automated customer service representatives? Anyone who has had the experience of yelling “yes” to the rosy but computerized lady’s voice on the phone knows exactly what the joke is about.
Make your business stand out in a sea of automated business by simply answering the phone.
Offer a new product or service that makes sense
Have your customers been asking you about a product or service for years that you haven’t been interested in offering? If so, go back to that idea and re-consider with a fresh, innovative perspective. Maybe you can offer something new by simply collaborating and cross-marketing with another company that already has it ready to go. They get more business and you get a percentage of sales. This is one way you can please customers and increase profits for two businesses. It’s a win, win, win!
Look excellent while being an excellent business
People love uniformity. Think about how crowds are so intrigued by military color guards, synchronized swimmers, and dancers who are in harmony. Something about things that look neat, orderly, and consistent are soothing to the mind. You can make your business stand out this year by tapping into this principle with branded shirts, jackets, hats, and other custom corporate apparel that will give your team a look that is in sync. At your store, at events, during delivery and any other way that your team can be seen, this branded and consistent look will make your business stand out as a company that has its act together!
Simply say thank you
Customers expect good service and to get what they paid for. Why not knock their socks off this year by delivering more than they expect. A day or so after their purchase, call to say, “Thank you for being a customer of our business. Did you enjoy whatever you bought?” Getting rote customer service calls from a call center is one thing, but getting a personal ‘thank you’ call from the owner or an employee can really make people feel special. Think about the word-of-mouth referrals that could be generated because people appreciate this special effort and attention.
Standing out doesn’t have to be a massive and difficult initiative. It’s a matter of small investments with big consistency throughout the year!