As business owners, we all want to sell more of our products and services to new and existing customers. But before we can achieve this goal, it is imperative to understand a few basic marketing strategies for creating interest, trust and desire.
This article gives four important strategies for understanding your customers and building their trust and confidence.
Strategy #1: Your Customers Goals Come Before Yours
The only successful way to approach a potential customer is with the honest desire to understand their problems and needs. The days of the hard sell are over. Customers have the ability, via the Web, to control the information that comes to them.
To ensure your customers goals are met, you simply need to repurpose your main marketing message, also known as your Value Proposition. Instead of placing the focus on selling, explain how your product or service will make your customers lives better. Prove it through 3rd party testimonials, free downloadable product guides, tip sheets, and content-based newsletters.
Whats wrong with placing the focus on selling? Absolutely nothing! As a business owner, your ultimate goal is to sell. But you cant sell unless you first warm up the prospect by showing them directly how they will benefit from your offering.
Strategy #2: Define Your Buyer Personas
The best way to truly understand the wants and needs of your customers is to create your Buyer Personas. A Buyer Persona is a segment of customers or prospects that share similar demographics and interests.
Maybe you have heard of the Soccer Mom or the NASCAR Dad. While these well-known buyer personas may seem almost cartoonish, keep in mind that they were specifically marketed to by both the Republicans and the Democrats in past elections.
The key to defining your buyer personas is to look at your customer data and find ways to group common characteristics. Break your customers down into well defined buying categories as best you can. You don't have to be perfect here, just do the best job with the current data you have. Buyer persona profiles can contain age, gender, income level, occupation, education level, hobbies, and anything else that is meaningful to your business.
Strategy #3: Define Your Unique Value Proposition
Defining your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) is the first step in clearly identifying how your products and services are different from the competition. If you can't define some unique feature or benefit that makes you stand out, your customers may default to the only other option – price.
You might already have something that makes you stand apart, but if not, then it's time to discover, define, and create a value proposition from scratch. Be prepared to alter some of your products or services in order to support your vision for standing out.
The first step in creating a unique value proposition is to find out what your competitors do well and then find a way to either do it better, or offer a guarantee that puts you on a completely different level.
Here are a few ways to better understand your competition.
1. Buy from them. This is one of the best ways to determine how well your competition performs from start to finish.
2. Sign up for their newsletter. What types of information are they providing to their customers? Are they offering real value in their newsletter or are they simply pushing their products?
3. Request your competitors brochures and catalogs. Does your competitor offer a full year warranty? See if it makes sense for you to offer a 2-year warranty. Your competitor offers a 90-day money-back guarantee? Offer a double money-back guarantee.
Defining your Unique Value Proposition helps set you apart from the competition and communicates your compelling value to prospects and customers.
Strategy #4: Create a Marketing Communications Folder
When a prospect shows interest in your business, what do you give them in order to further develop trust and confidence?
You should be sending them a complete marketing communications folder. I recommend a basic two-pocket folder that has notches on one of the inside pockets for your business card.
Heres what I recommend you include in your folder.
1. The Compelling Story Every small business owner should be able to tell a compelling story about their passions and why they started their business. A great story about why you started your business can create instant trust. Try and craft your story so that it appeals to the emotions, is fun to read, and provides a sense of passion.
2. The Business Advantage – On this page, you will want to summarize all the advantages of doing business with your company. Communicate your unique approach, the value customers get when they do business with you, and why your products and services are the best in your field.
3. he Problem Solver – This page should summarize several specific problems and demonstrate how these problems are alleviated with your products and services.
4. The Product/Services Summary Page – Nothing difficult here simply summarize the various products, services, and package options you offer and list the benefits of each. Use bullet points to quickly summarize benefits.
5. The Testimonial Page – This is the page that summarizes your best customer testimonials. A testimonial is proof that you have a track record of delivering what you promise. Make sure each testimonial focuses on the specific result that was achieved to help the customer with their problem.
Feel free to add other things into your marketing communications folder, but the above items are mandatory.
Taken together, these four basic marketing strategies will help you create the trust and desire necessary to convert your prospects into paying customers!
Corte Swearingen has been a marketing professional for 20 years and is the creator of The SmallBiz Marketing Website and the SmallBiz Marketing Blog. In addition, he offers a 6-part Online Marketing Course at his website.