The blurred lines with sales are unavoidable and today’s marketing function in all business has a large ROI (return on investment) price tag attached to it. It is pointless creating a wonderful shop front if there is no incentive or even footfall to pass it by. As with most things, simple communication is often the most effective. The way you communicate with your customer from the first potential business conversation to the last chat you have with them about their friend who might need your services is all-important. It defines you and your service.
Defining the service you offer and communicating what that or those things are, as simply as possible, will affect the perception of you and how quickly your potential customer makes a decision. If you are trying to be ‘all things to all people’ you may catch a few different prospects and subsequent variation of work along with that. If you narrow your focus to catch a certain prospect who you know will be attracted by your methods and finished product, you will manage your time more effectively. Equally, there is no harm in defining your service to fit a few different prospect channels and spending quality time in each.
The key here is to communicate in a way that fits with the channel or prospect you are aiming at. And this means defining your service. If you are targeting businesses who require event photography, it is vital to speak the language they readily converse in. Fitting in with their brand values or ensuring you have the correct insurance are examples of aspects you will need to consider when communicating your services. These businesses will expect to communicate on a certain level, ticking various boxes of must-haves, prior to considering your service as a real investment.
These first forays into communicating your business will provide many lessons and will also have knock-on effects whether you like it or not. Word gets around in a small neighbourhood, more easily with digital communication, so it’s crucial to lay down markers. Referral business has already been mentioned and whilst it’s not the be-all-and-end-all at the beginning, particularly as mistakes are inevitable at any stage of a business, it’s important that lessons are learnt quickly and mistakes not repeated. Word of mouth is a key business driver, and a free source too.
There are many aspects to successful referral business but overall a focus on quality will ensure a lot of these aspects come naturally. People notice the small things, whether it’s not being too pushy or adding value to something they are already very happy with, and these small things will go a long way. Under promising and over delivering is a great way to deliver great customer service. Promoting your work in the right ways, and in a timely fashion, will also keep the momentum going and ensure your profile remains fresh.
Incentivising anyone, whether they are new to your service or an old client, will also keep a fresh outlook for yourself and them. Being alive to a prospect by giving them a reason to come back, as simple as a returning customer discount, makes them feel valued. Similarly, giving them a reason to promote your business in return for discounted services extends your network and drives the referred channel.