Being Good Is Important…But So Is Being Seen
There’s certainly no substitute for offering your customers a quality product or service when you run a business. Long-term success depends on it. Here at Superior Business Solutions, we pay plenty of attention to that. Did you hear that we recently achieved ISO 9001:2008 certification?
But quality alone won’t be enough. Remember the old adage “build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door?” Well, it’s not true – at least not by itself. Because how would the world know you had a better mousetrap unless you told them?
No matter how proud you are of your business and your people, the long-term fortunes of both depend on one basic truth, you have to be noticed to be successful. These days, that can be trickier than ever. Sure, there are many more channels through which you can interact with your customers and prospects, but every other company is trying to do exactly the same thing, resulting in those people being bombarded with more messages in more places than ever.
No one has time to deal with them all, so customers are training themselves to shield themselves from the blizzard, noticing a very small percentage of the marketing messages that come their way, and actually reading and responding to even fewer. What can you do?
Well, here are five ideas that might help you put your business squarely on the radar of many more qualified prospects, and help turn those interactions into sales.
Send Out a Custom Direct Mail Piece
In the face of the electronic avalanche of emails, web, social media and instant messages, some still believe that direct mail is an outdated medium. But ask the people on the receiving end and you’ll find that they are simply buried by all these pieces of e-communication, and not too eager to receive more.
Contrary to the prevailing notion, adults (including those under 34) are very responsive to direct mail. Now that their electronic mailboxes and other online channels are clogged with undesired marketing messages, a compelling direct marketing piece that catches their attention has become a very effective way to connect with them.
The key word here is compelling. You can’t send something just to send something. Make it interesting, make it capture their attention at first glance, and include an offer that will move them to respond. You can find several more helpful suggestions here.
Your prospects are learning to tune out much of what they see on an electronic screen. An arresting or involving piece of direct mail they can hold in their hands, from a postcard to a 3-D package, will really stand out. Which is exactly what you want your business to do.
Wear It On Your Sleeve
To keep your business top-of-mind to more potential customers, why not encourage your employees, associates and loyal customers to show their support through branded apparel? A stylish, well-designed shirt, cap or other item helps keep your business in view with a clean, modern image. It can be a consistent and always-present look for your employees, an attractive premium offer for suppliers and partners or a very appealing reward for loyal customers.
The choices are almost endless and the process can be very simple and require little of your time and attention when accessed through our Corporate Kiosk and Promoplace technology. It’s an excellent way to make your company feel like a safe and comfortable choice when it comes time to do business, because the name has already become familiar.
Create A Custom Reusable Bag
Another way to make sure your company is noticed often and in a positive light, is by providing customers and prospects a reusable shopping or tote bag bearing your logo and simple sales message. Perfect for trade shows and events, but great for handing out in the normal course of business too. They’re available in many different sizes and materials, in a price range to fit your budget. They can be woven or unwoven, eco-friendly and designed to hold up under many different uses.
People are always searching for a convenient way to carry their stuff today. A bag with your identity on it can provide those people with up to 3-5 years of faithful service; and they’re walking billboards for your company the whole time. We don’t know what’s going to be in those bags, but what they’re really carrying is positive attention for your business. Find more information here.
Great-looking Promotional Materials
What about your current sales material? Is it looking a little tired or generic? Many companies today make the mistake of thinking that “everyone does their research on line today” so they don’t maintain their printed materials the way they should. Others are hesitant to print brochures since they feel the information will become dated quickly, or because it is generic, fail to address certain groups of prospects specifically enough. Neither is necessarily true.
A great many decision makers in many different categories still depend on brochures, sales sheets and other materials they can hold in their hands, or hang on to for consultation when making their decision. Just because your information is “available” on the web does not mean that customers will find you on a web search and successfully navigate to and through your website. If you don’t make the pile of “hard copies” on their desks, you just might remain invisible.
Your sales materials should always be creative and attention-getting, and updated to contain your latest graphics, products and offerings. They should also be customizable to better target prospect groups that may vary based on industry, size, geography or another variable.
The good news is that your sales literature can do both at a reasonable cost. Print-on-demand technology allows you print in smaller quantities, and update any product or technical information easily, so you never face the “lots of old brochures in a warehouse” situation some business owners worry about.
It also allows for the simple (and automated) replacement of certain sections of a printed piece with alternate information tailored to a particular group of prospects, based on what you know matters to them. The look (and the process) is seamless, and the impact can be incredible. You get the flexibility of a website presentation with the stature and confidence that only an impressive printed piece delivers.
For more information on what this technology can do, check it out here.
I’ve talked a lot about printed pieces, but you certainly can’t afford to ignore social media. There is simply no disputing the role that websites, email, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and all the other poplar social media channels play in most every business (and social) decision today. Users not only create content, but can impact the overall image of your company with their comments, reviews, “likes” and other tools. It’s hard for your business to be noticed by your prospects if you don’t play in the same sandbox.
You can’t control social media (which is part of its appeal). But you can participate in a way that can help your business. You could spend months reading all the available information about how to present your business in social media, and I encourage you to look around. But I do have a few tips for you from my experience.
- Choose which social media channels are most relevant, based on your industry, your targets, and your company. You don’t have to be in all of them all, but your presence grows geometrically if it spans several.
- Think carefully about who should handle social media for your company. It could be someone you hire or designate for the purpose. Some companies make it “everyone’s” responsibility, since most people today feel comfortable using it. To avoid missteps, make sure it’s in good hands. BUT….
- …make sure you don’t treat social media as something totally different from everything else you are doing. That “kid who knows social media” may well know the technical stuff, but may not understand what your brand is all about. Be sure that your image and “voice’ are consistent across all channels, traditional and digital. You can’t (for example) be warm and fuzzy in ads, but sassy in social media!
- DON’T SELL! (At least not directly.) Social media is about a relationship. If you use it as just another place to hawk your wares, you’ll make more enemies than friends. Bring some kind of value with your participation. Wisdom, entertainment, humor, or some other kind of reward. Once you are accepted as part of the conversation, it’s okay to make a special offer or something. Don’t be a bull in the china shop. Nothing good happens until they like you!
Sorry I got a bit long-winded today, but being noticed is so important to a business that it deserves a great deal of attention. I’m here and ready to help. Let me know if you need more information on any of these tactics, or just want to discuss how creativity can make each of them work better. Doesn’t your business deserve to be noticed?