As consumers we are continually bombarded by ads, emails, mailers, and phone calls about the latest and greatest. How do we decide which ones to pay attention to and which ones to ignore?
In the same vein, how can the small business owner expect his/her marketing message and value proposition to stand out amongst the masses? The answer lies in using effective marketing techniques and differentiators in order to be as unique as possible. The higher the competition of a particular industry, the more difficult this becomes. One would be hard pressed to find many industries that are not saturated these days, unless it is a very unique and highly targeted business.
In addition to using creative and innovative messaging, small business owners should keep in mind the value of the relationships they build. The Internet and the use of social media have created a totally transparent society in that what one does and says is more often than not, broadcasted across the World Wide Web – especially if it is something negative. As the old adage states: “Bad news travels fast”. Reputation management has become an increasingly important area of concern for business owners – as it should be.
It is pretty much accepted by all that people like to do business with people they know. Think about it. How often do you ask people you know to refer you to a doctor, hair dresser, painter, or landscaper? How often do you hire someone to perform a service you need because you either know that person or know someone else who knows that person?
So, in the end, who gets the business? The person you know – either directly or through someone else. If you ask many self-employed folk how they found their first customers, you will find that most of them are from people they know.
Even in a world where technology is advancing at a rate close to the speed of light, basic principles of human nature and business prevail. Reputation and relationships matter.