If you are a small business owner you can’t really afford to make a lot of mistakes. Every new mistake can become the last one, if not properly managed. You might have already tried advertising, networking and still come up short. Traditional techniques and strategies like networking and mailings will do the job, but they won’t do the best job especially when time and money is a very limited resource.
First of all Don’t give up!. For more than 15 years I have been helping companies to create products customers love all over the world and never yet saw unresolvable situations. There is always a solution, the main task is to pick the right one.
Getting new customers is about trust, customers must trust you enough to do business with you, and sign of trust is exchange of customer money on your goods and services. When a customer trusts you he will not look at the quality of your product or even a price, do not believe in this? Look at Starbucks, do they have the most quality coffee – no. Do they have the lowest prices - no. Then why when we say coffee one third of the population will say - Starbucks. That’s called a trust.
True, it is way easier to grow a bigger brand because your risk budget is also bigger and failures of course are affecting you but effect can be mitigated and still there are resources to keep trying and what to do when we are just starting and marketing budgets are really slim?
First of all: Trust can be build. Question is how?
You can start building trust and it will require time which is a very limited resource especially with new products and slim budgets or you can borrow it.
Borrow by partnering with the company that has a related set of products or services. Interesting here is that sometimes you can partner with a company that isn’t even related to what you do, but has an audience similar to yours. I was the owner of a hotel and my partners had a coffee company. We install in every room their products and QR code to subscribe and get yearly supply to customer doors and refill when is needed. Every 5th customer subscribed and continued doing so. Alternatively every customer in hotel has a chance to enjoy always fresh and best coffee for free what made us stand out and be not like other hotels. The same we did in coffee company, when customer was buying a coffee he/she was getting information where to drink this coffee with a nice view(my hotel with panoramic view). Same approach was used to promote women’s clothing in BMW, more than 600 women responded picking up $100 kimonos that cost the store just $16 apiece. Those 600 women spent an average of $400 on other merchandise during the initial visit.
Steps to make this happen:
Before making such a partnership you need to know who your audience is. And this is not about age, country or income. Everyone knows the example of Prince Charles and Ozzy Osborn. Demographic data is not really on what you should focus while defining your audience, personas. Focus on pains, problems they are trying to solve, gains they will receive and group them by these parameters. Only then make the next step.
Having the data from the previous step identify local businesses that serve the same market segments. Do not also forget about non-commercial organizations.
Come up with an easy and clear offer for each partner. Easy means can be applied without additional efforts on the partner's side. Clear means it should not take hours for partners to get information on how to apply it and it definitely must have value for both partner and customer. For example when I was part of Forbes Coaches Council I was receiving unique offers and the brand presented them as something that you can not get outside, as an exclusive offer only for members or with special deals. This was fantastic partnership and also value for members.
Prepare pitch for potential partners, Emphasize that it's a way for the established business to reward their customers at no expense and with virtually no effort. As I like to say, if Forbes is doing it why can’t we? 😊
Get ready to retain returning customers.
Remember you are the greatest force to move your business forward. Good luck and let’s meet in Forbes 😊
Vlad, Volodymyr Trush