As a business owner, your greatest achievement lies in trumping the competition to increase market share and expand sales. Here’s how:
- Know your enemy. If you don’t already have copies of your competitors’ advertising and brochures, and you aren’t familiar with their key selling points, how can you successfully position against them?
- Market your specialty. Once you know about your main competitors, identify what your company offers its customers or clients that’s unique. If necessary, change your product or service, add features or deliver the same core product or service in a way that uniquely meets prospects’ needs. Then, build your marketing campaigns around this central theme.
- Tackle new audiences. If you’ve reached the maximum market share in a particular niche, try a new one. You may be able to add variations of your product that will stimulate sales from new customers. Or, you can launch a new media campaign targeting a different audience who may embrace your product or service with minimum changes.
- Offer more value. Some product and service providers traditionally compete based on discount pricing, but for other businesses, cutting prices is detrimental. If you charge the same rates as your competitors, cutting your prices may make you look suspicious and make customers wonder what’s “wrong”. Rather offer something of additional value that your customers will find tempting.
- Add a sales channel. Are you presently selling via one channel alone, such as by catalogue only? Adding another channel, like online sales, gives your customers more choices. It’s likely that most of your competitors offer sales through multiple channels. Studies show that customers who use more than one channel tend to
- Tune in to your customers. To remain competitive, know what your customers want. Their needs can change on a whim, so have systems in place to regularly solicit their feedback. A hands-on business owner is closer to customers than big-business competitors. Make a point of knowing your regular customers by name and contact them periodically. Also, initiate regular surveys and ongoing feedback via your website.
- Ask for the business. Don’t be complacent. If you’re not continually asking your best prospects and customers for their business, you can be sure your competitors are. Set up an ongoing marketing programme that targets past customers and new prospects year-round. The key to success is to have a consistent marketing message and select a mix of media and tactics that “touch” customers.