“The most Beloved Brands are either different, better or cheaper. Or else, not around for very long.”
Branding your business is important. It helps customers and prospects identify with your business. Consistent use of your logo and presentation of materials is critical to building that recognition.
Also consider your business name. What message is that sending to customers and prospects about the type of work you can do for them?
The following six (6) simple tips can be easily implemented to make your business stand out in the marketplace:
- Signage: Your signage and the way your business looks is the first thing your prospects and customers see and relates to the image and positioning of your business as a whole. As such, it needs to be uniform in format, consistent with your decor and style as well as your logo and branding. If your signage can be seen from a prominent position such as a road or freeway, it should offer easy-to-read phone numbers or your web address.
- Office Entry: Is the entrance to your office clean and tidy? No faded or peeling paint?
- Reception: Is your reception sparkling clean at all times? Is it maintained? Avoid burnt-out light bulbs, stained carpets and dusty reception furniture. Create a great client experience at the onset by having your receptionist exude an air professionalism while being pleasant and accommodating to a client or prospect’s needs. Have them offer refreshments or validate their parking.
- Waiting Area Reading Material: Are your reception magazines current, or two years old with torn and tatty corners?
- Technology: Does your equipment look modern, or are you still running huge old monitors that are by now noisy and discolored with age?
- Internal Signage: Do you have signage inside your office that helps your customers and prospects understand what you do? For example, marketing posters, brochures, menu of services, business building articles and business growth newsletters? Do you have a multimedia presentation running in your reception that talks about the benefits to a customer of working with you?
Once again, step back and take an objective look at your business through fresh eyes. Does your business look like one that is at the leading edge, up-to-date, sharp and exciting? Or does it look a little tired, out of date and behind the times?
Like it or not, this is what will be going through the minds of your customers and prospects (whether they know it or not!) so what are you doing right now to ensure your business stands out from the crowd?
Build an online community to grow your small business
When Susan Blanchett was told she no longer had a job, she decided to start her own business making and selling macaroons from home. Requests from friends turned into orders, orders turned into an online business: Macaroons4U. Within six months, she was taking so many orders, she decided to open her first store with her partner, Neil.
Susan and Neil had limited funding. They could not afford an expensive professional marketing plan. They knew that social media and developing a loyal online community would be key to their success. Susan enthusiastically created a Facebook page and boosted some advertisements. Her efforts had limited success in terms of followers.
Neil and Susan discussed the issue with their Accountant during a regular check-in meeting. The Accountant outlined how they might be able to provide a solution. The Accountant introduced another of their clients, a marketing agency, to Susan and Neil. They got on well and engaged the agency. Macaroons4U’s business presence was refined with a brand and a logo. It was duplicated onto every social media channel. Susan started posting on a daily basis to keep regulars coming back and offer new customers something different. The agency clarified that the posts did not need to be business related. Posts needed to be entertaining. Slowly, they started to build their brand. The Accountant played their part by putting in place systems to measure the success of each campaign.
Benefits to the Client
The Macaroons4U social media pages are loaded with features. Instagram lets customers share their photos. Susan posts a regular YouTube video with baking tips. Facebook offers great access and interaction. Due to this, 30% of sales are online. Based on the Accountant’s calculations, Susan knows that she can expect a three-to-one return on investment on her marketing spend in sales.