Securing Market Share - No Matter What Your Business Size
Often companies believe that they can only dominate their market if they are the biggest players around, having the most money to invest or having the most customers - this is a myth. Most definitely being a big player with a lot of money to invest with a large sales team can be an advantage, and certainly a powerful positive, however it doesn't guarantee that you'll be the dominant player in any market. In this article I am going to look at several things you can do which will help you to dominate your market regardless of your company size.
Clarity is more important than size, and if you can be absolutely clear about who your customers are and where your target market is, then this will give you a great boost over most of your competitors. It's often tempting to try meet every market demand for as many different people as possible so that you don't miss out on any business opportunities, but my experience is that this almost always does more harm than good. You will often get on far better being absolutely clear about who your customers are, and what you're offering your target clientèle.
Decide on Your Niche
The best way to achieve clarity is by deciding on a specific niche for your business, and when you've finally decided on this niche, a number of things then often happen, such as:
1. It makes it very easy to know specifically who to focus your marketing on.
2. It will also make it easy to identify where you will find the majority of your customers.
Once you've completed this it becomes a a lot simpler for you to achieve expert status in your marketplace - because your customers are all the same, you're providing everyone with the same service or product, and therefore you will undoubtedly become better and better at what you do.
Become an Expert
As you become an expert in your chosen niche you'll find that you will get more and more referrals, for the simple reason that as you begin to be seen as an expert, people will be more confident talking to others about you and your services, and most importantly of all - referring business to you.
Another advantage to achieving expert status is that your charges or prices can go up; people are willing to pay far more for an expert in any subject or niche than they otherwise would for a generalist.
There are many ways to position yourself as an expert, and one of the best and most cost effective ways these days is to become an author. This doesn't mean that you have to write books and deal with publishers - you can self-publish online, write articles, have a blog, or actually anything at all that allows people to see for themselves that you're a highly knowledgeable "expert" in your field. Being seen as an expert will increase your sales - guaranteed, as people will, as a result of this, have confidence in you and what you're selling. Look into as many ways as possible to get yourself readily known online for writing about the topics and the services that you provide. If this is not something that you feel comfortable doing, then you can get other people to write these articles for you.
Focus on Your Most Profitable Customers
I'm sure most of you have heard of the Pareto Principle. This Principle states that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers, and generally in most industries - this is a proven fact, therefore it's important that you're able to identify which customers are bringing in most of your profit. Once you have identified these customers, you should focus your time, attention and investment on this specific group of 20%, these people which bring in 80% of your business.
Concentrating on this segment allows you to be able to focus on dominating your chosen market, as by dominating this market you'll become more and more well-known. As a result, you'll find that your sales will increase as referral and word of mouth drives an ever increasing number of people to your door.
A high awareness of you and your products or services is vitally important. If people aren't aware of who you are or what you do, then it doesn't matter how good you or your products are, because they're not going to use you or buy your products unless they're highly aware of you.
In order to have the greatest level of awareness possible, you'll have to make your product and your company as high-profile as you possibly can. A big part of this is, as we discussed earlier, is in positioning yourself as an expert in your field. In order to be perceived as an expert, you need to explain to people why it is that you deserve to be seen as such an authority.
Is it because you have extensive experience, or is it that you have been working in your field for a long while, or maybe you've got the widest range of products - whatever it is, you have find a way of justifying this claim of being a real expert in your specific field or niche.
PR, Press Releases, Article Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation are all specific areas that can heighten awareness of you and your business.
Customer service is vitally important. If your customer service leaves a lot to be desired, then you'll probably find that people only buy from you once. If a customer has a problem, make sure that it's dealt with efficiently and effectively to ensure that they'll come back for more. It is amazing how often a well-handled customer complaint becomes a long term, loyal customer.
Sell Benefits, Not Features
Make sure you sell the benefits of your product or your service - not just the features, as people buy something because they imagine what this product or service will do for them in terms of meeting their needs. Just listing what features a product has doesn't necessarily mean that it's something that a customer will buy. A customer has to understand what it is that your product or service will do for them personally.
If you focus on all of these steps in a consistent fashion, you will start to find that you become an increasingly dominant player in the specific niche that you have chosen for yourself. This change certainly won't happen overnight, but given the right focus, attention and perseverance - it will happen.
Copyright (c) 2009 Alan Gillies
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