5 Branding Strategies to Beat the Competition

Make it impossible for your target customers to choose anyone but you. Adopt these five behaviors and put them into practice at your small business.
DIYMarketing Expert, Marketing Strategist and Small Business Marketing Advisor, DIY Marketers
November 16, 2012

The one true purpose of marketing is to get your target customer to choose you every time regardless of price. It’s the only reason to do any marketing activity. Now, you may not have considered customer service as a marketing activity, let alone a marketing activity that makes the difference between getting and keeping a customer, but you should.

Here are five behaviors you should adopt if you want customers to choose your small business, along with some suggestions of how to put them into practice.

1. Focus on getting chosen.  This goes along with the rule of quantum physics that if you’re looking for a wave, you’ll see a wave and if you’re looking for a particle, you’ll see a particle. You get what you’re looking for. And if you look at every element of your customer service as an opportunity for your customer to choose you, then you will create a customer experience that makes you irresistible. 

2. Stake your claim.  Be clear about your brand promise.  My three favorite branding questions are: Who are you being? What are you committed to?  What can people count on you for?  Here are a few examples that will get you started in answering these three powerful questions:

Who I’m being is accessible.
I’m committed to giving my customers the time to do other things.
My customers can count on getting their order completed in less than 24 hours.

Given this example, you can create a variety of customer service strategies, policies and practices that bring this brand message to life. For example, you can have a policy of making sure that your customers’ transactions and questions are taken care of as quickly as possible so that they don’t have to think about it any more.  This might mean empowering customer service folks or employees to resolve customer issues that are below a certain dollar amount, for example.

3. Choose your ideal customer carefully.  The biggest cause of dissatisfied customers is your tendency to try to sell to everyone.  Not every customer values or appreciates your product or service and the way it’s delivered.  In fact, you’ll find that your most dissatisfied customers are those customers that actually cost you the most in time and effort.

Believe it or not, one of the best ways to identify your ideal customer is to run a profitability report.  Work with your accountant to generate a report that lists your customers and the products and services they buy in descending order of profit margin.  This might take some doing, you’ll need to have accurate records of your products and services and their corresponding costs.  If you don’t have this information, you’ll want to read a book I love called Found Money by Steve Wilkingoff.  He makes this process ridiculously easy – even for someone like me, who isn’t good at finance and accounting.

4. Discover what’s important and deliver.  Are you currently more focused on putting all kinds of tools and policies in place because you think you’re supposed to or are you focusing on what matters to your ideal customer? You might be considering investing a significant amount of money into a specific customer service tool or process that YOU think your customers will like, but that they don’t care about. Find out what matters most to your ideal customer and throw all your effort into making that element of your business hum.

A simple way to find out matters to your customers is to run a quick online survey.  Ask simple questions like the following:

  • How likely are you to refer (your company name) to a friend or family member? (Scale of 1-10)
  • What is the one thing we can do to improve your experience with us (open-ended text)

5. Make it easy to buy.  No matter how easy you think it is to buy from you – it can be easier and your ideal customers will love you for it. Here is a quick list of items that you can look at and insert throughout your business that will make it easy for your customer to choose you.

  • Contact information. Put phone numbers, email, physical address and contact names on every piece of printed material – and on every page of your materials, every page on your web site, in your email signature – everywhere you can think of.  There is no such thing as too much contact information.
  • Buy buttons.  You’re going to get chosen if you’re within arm’s reach of your customer. If this is online – then have buy buttons everywhere, in multiple places.  Make that purchasing process happen in the fewest clicks possible. If you have a physical location, give your ideal customers arm’s reach access to products and check outs.  If they have to wait in a long line they will go someplace else.

There are many more ideas that you can come up with.  These are just a head start.  Your customers want to choose you, but they may be passing you buy because you aren’t focusing your marketing efforts on helping them choose you.

When you put these five choose-me elements into place for your business, you’ll be working with customers and clients that you love that love working with you.  

Read more posts about branding your small business.  

Photo: Thinkstock 

DIYMarketing Expert, Marketing Strategist and Small Business Marketing Advisor, DIY Marketers