We all have to work smarter these days to ensure our businesses are as visible as possible. Retail isn’t confined to a physical or virtual store. For sure, one of the smartest things you can do for your business and its growth is to be easier to be found to do business with. This has been my mantra for a long time and I am increasingly surprised how few business owners actually plan for visibility or are proactive in taking control of what they can take control of, reputation and memorability being two key facets of visibility.
A marketing mindset is a skill that can be learned and developed
Notwithstanding that not everyone has a marketing mindset; but this is a business skill that can be developed! Many people prefer to outsource the marketing & PR functions to achieve business objectives yet not everyone has a budget for these types of outsourced services and we should never outsource our reputation and memorability – these are marketing skills even though they don’t appear in a marketing manual toolkit.
Whatever your retail niche is, here are 5 surefire tips for increasing the reputation & visibility of your business
1. Consider your marketing mindset as a muscle that needs a regular workout.
- Keep abreast of your industry trade press and review what your competitors are doing, offering and communicating.
- James Caan often says “Observe the masses and do the opposite.” When it comes to creating visibility for your business, be sure to develop confidence to innovate and stand out from the crowd
- If you have a marketing mindset block, switch your thinking to ‘conversation marketing’ which is the new buzz term for the era we are in now. If it’s true that people buy people, then creating conversations in social media will get you noticed and exponentially increase the opportunities of more customers buying from you
- Use social media to share pithy expertise to enable you to be regarded as a highly credible and engaging expert in your field. It take practice to say what you mean to say in under 140 characters (the maximum length of a ‘tweet’) but it’s worth the effort
- In short, just get started. Being bold and maverick doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Everyone knows marketing efforts need to be reviewed. Don’t get despondent if some initiatives don’t work, just review and keep innovating!
2. Don’t be embarrassed to self promote what you do well
- Communication has taken a different shape because of technology and now it’s even easier to put content you can control onto the internet to work smart for you even whilst you sleep
- Blog and tweet about your business successes and leverage opportunities to showcase what you do and are involved with (as appropriate) using these instant mediums
- If you’re good at what you do ensure you differentiate your service with great customer service – raise the bar where you can because you can – clients and customers will love to sing your praises to their networks. There has never been a more powerful time for people to market each other. Be a trend setter and use your social capital to share things you rate – you will find reciprocity follows. You can’t expect people to promote you if you don’t do you share of promoting them after all
- Have you been featured in your trade press? Make sure you know the media you want to be in. Take out a subscription or buy specialist press on a regular basis. Do you have something newsworthy to shout about? Create a News Press Release, get your ducks in a row and place a call to the News Editor on your leading trade press title
- Keep your online profiles and bios up to date and 100% relevant.
3. The aim should be that everyone in your business has a profound positive effect on your customers
- Being visible for the right reasons is also about the experience we give our clients and customers. Now, if you take some time to audit your customer experience, are you happy with what you view and experience? Everything we do affects how people perceive us as individuals and organisations and will affect our business success
- People who are skilled and practised at helping people feel welcome and understood are more attractive to buy from than people who don’t create this feeling in others. To be successful in business you need consistent sales and to get consistent sales there has to be a compelling reason why people should buy from YOU
- Consider the people–element of your business who are, after all, architects of your visibility to your customers. Are they on message with your company brand? Or are they distracting? Consider this: “Character is not made in a crisis – it is only exhibited.” (Robert Freeman). How do your staff respond under pressure and does this make you attractive as a company to continue to buy from?
- Character vs Personality: our character is the sum of our qualities, that which distinguishes us from others; our strength, our mind and our emotion. Personality is how we come across and how we relate to others
4. Remember that everyone is a journalist
- Give people fantastic reasons to buzz about you to their networks!
- Produce great blogs that people want to share!
- Refuse to settle for anything mediocre – build your reputation on core values and principles and others will promote you
- Be on your guard and monitor Google and your social media to see what people are writing about you
- If you have a customer complaint, don’t respond in a way that you’d cringe if you saw your response ‘splashed’ across the internet
5. Manage Expectations
- Under-promise and over deliver
- Differentiate or die
- Become a role model of what you are selling
- Make it impossibly attractive for people not to buy from you
- Foster pride in what you sell and continually raise the bar
- Make it easy for people to buy from you
- Always have a positive comeback for those who doubt or criticise you – don’t be defensive
- “If you put a small value on yourself, rest assured that the world will not raise your price.” (Anonymous quote)
- “Sometimes something worth doing is worth overdoing.” (David Letterman)
This blog was written by Sue Blake. Sue is a Profile & Publicity Development & Management Specialist. She is the PR Expert for the Entrepreneurs’ Business Academy, the joint venture with Bev James and James Caan.
For more information about Sue and to find out how she helps business owners to raise their profile, stand out from the crowd and get noticed then visit www.SueBlake.com