Our features writer, Claire Burdett, is a qualified NLP coach and experienced businesswoman. Claire has hands on experience in all aspects of setting up a business and marketing it successfully and has agreed to share her expertise with Wikizine's readers.
Promoting, selling, marketing the product, even if, or maybe, especially if, it is just YOU and what you do, may be daunting. However, neglecting it does not lead to security, only to a lack of clients! And in a recession, if you are the only voice making that effort, then yours will be the only one your potential clients will hear – or buy from!
If you are selling online, then your website, your profile, your pitch, your brand is the first time people meet you. The first time you get a chance to say hello - or in the case of most websites, goodbye. The average time a visitor stays on an unfamiliar web page is 20 seconds or so, and that brief skim is maybe the only chance you will get to say or sell anything to that potential client.
Well, forget corporate and ad-land speak for a moment, and remember that people are people and companies are families of people.
Your brand and website are your business's face. In raw terms that means your brand is your smile, your hand shake, the way you walk, your tone of voice, and the way you present yourself. In business terms, that means it's the way you do business, your promise, and the fulfilment of that promise.
And since the decision about whether you like someone or not is made in the first microseconds of the first meeting (back to that 20 second average), it’s obvious that getting your company's brand, the 'virtual' you, right the very first time is essential. And every first time after that.
Wanna be in my gang?
Because if you like someone, you want to play with them, don't you? You want to talk to them and spend time with them, have some fun, share some good times, have a laugh. And if not, you just won't, right? Just like at school.
Let's relate that to business, then, because however grown up we feel, we aren't really that grown up, especially in the way we interact with each other, so just like when choosing who to play with, people prefer to buy from people they like. People they know and trust, people they judge are 'like them' ie people who are in their gang. And if you are to have a successful business, paying attention to your niche, that is, the people you are trying to sell to, and working out how to communicate with them effectively means they are more likely to choose YOU rather than anyone else.
And that's the essence of good marketing, which means that marketing as a concept is really pretty basic and can be broken down into a simple list (I was going to say formula, but that sounded scientific and scary! We'll stick with list...
1. Know your niche - who are they, where do they gather, who are their friends, what do they like and dislike, what is their particular pain (so you can solve it).
2. Service that niche - give them what they want in the way they want to receive it. Do not assume!
3. Pay attention to your brand - more precisely, how it is perceived by your niche because no one else really matters so ignore them
4. Join it all together - ie create a plan that most effectively spreads the word, idea and concept of your brand to the people who would benefit from it ie your niche.
5. Wash and repeat.
Pretty simple, yes, but also time consuming, hard work and challenging at times, However, it's ultimately very rewarding because if you get it right then that's the first step to gaining more clients and so increasing the chance of making more sales. And that really is the key to ultimate success.
© Claire Burdett
Claire Burdett is a qualified and experienced business coach, a home business expert and a serial entrepreneur. She runs www.businessmidwife.co.uk and www.thefunkyagency.com and is the founder of www.funkyangel.co.uk, which is the site for people combining home and business and where this article first appeared.
She is also divorced and a solo mum.