As a small business owner you most likely spend a fair amount of time focused on effectively marketing your products. From price lists to promotions to marketing materials and more, much of your small business management activities are centered on describing your products and encouraging customers to buy them.
But if all you do is market your products you are missing out on a huge opportunity to make your business more successful. If you want to maximize the potential of your small business then you need to learn how to market your service as well as your products.
Your products and the competition
It doesn’t matter what kind of products you sell in your small business; from auto parts to furniture to books to candles, your products are probably not entirely unique. There are competitors out there selling the exact same (or nearly the same) products as well, and their number one goal is to convince customers to buy from them rather than from you.
And when the products are virtually the same, the next area where you of course attempt to compete is on price. The problem then becomes what happens if your competitor offers the same or similar products at lower prices? Maybe they cut a better deal with their suppliers, or perhaps they have lower overhead and administrative costs; regardless of the reason, if they sell the same thing at a lower price it’s going to cut into your business and reduce the amount of money you make.
So what are you supposed to do?
Using service to differentiate your business from the rest
The answer lies in successfully marketing your service as well as your products. The term “your service” refers to everything you do surrounding the product itself and related to how you interact with your customers. Examples of service might include:
- Free or discounted delivery
- Expert advice and consultation
- Expanded access to customer service specialists
- Personalized order taking and attention
So as you’re looking for ways to differentiate your business from the competition and create effective online marketing strategies, paying attention to service can be a huge winner in terms of creating greater small business success.
A really good example of this comes from the world of retail, where giant retailers have gone in to communities and many smaller businesses in those communities have gone out of business due to the substantially lower prices the larger companies charge for the same or similar items. Small business simply can’t compete directly on price in these situations.
But some small businesses have managed to succeed and even thrive in areas where larger companies are in place because they have smartly found ways to market their service as something of value beyond the value of the products themselves. Perhaps it’s a small grocer who takes phone orders, makes home deliveries, or insists that a courtesy clerk helps each customer carry their groceries out to their car. Whatever it is that sets them apart from their much larger competitors and is viewed as having value by their customers is a terrific tool for marketing their business in terms of service as well as in terms of products.
You can put this concept to work for your small business as well. Think about the service you provide and how it contributes to the value your business offers to customers. Once you have identified these things you can incorporate them into your marketing efforts and chances are you’re going to see positive results.