Whether you’re new to business or you’re trying to grow your company, you should be aware of the importance of leaving the competition in your wake. For many business owners, there’s a fine line between success and failure, and being able to outperform your rivals is instrumental to keeping your business afloat. It may sound like a simple objective, but how can you make sure that you turn heads and catch your customer’s eye? If you’re keen to be the flamingo in a flock of pigeons, here are some handy hints to bear in mind.
Preparing for business events
Business events, exhibitions, and trade shows are a brilliant way to get your company noticed and generate interest in a new product or service. Before you start placing orders for merchandise or booking yourself into every event, think carefully about the events and trade shows you want to attend. There’s no point in paying pitch fees and covering transport costs to go to an event that isn’t relevant to your business. If you have developed a new gadget for mobile phones, for example, there’s little point in displaying your new product range at a home and garden exhibition. Look for events that complement your product and aim for those that will attract the kinds of customers you’re hoping to get on board.
Once you’ve selected events that are of interest, work on setting out your stall and choosing the best location. You don’t want to be on the periphery. You want to be at the heart of the action, as this is where footfall will be highest. Bear in mind that it’s often worth paying a little extra to get one of the best sites. The more people walk past your display, the higher the chance potential customers will stop and have a look, and hopefully place an order.
If you’ve ever been to a trade show before, you’ll know that they can be hectic events. There can be hundreds, even thousands of companies exhibiting their wares, so it’s really important that you can make your stall stand out. Think about what is going to appeal to the audience and how you can lure visitors in. First impressions count for everything, so plan the design in detail and consider your target market at every stage of the process. You want your stall to leap out and capture the imagination and leave potential clients wanting to know more. Nobody has got time to stop and chat to every stall holder, so you need to come up with ways that will ensure that you’re on the short list.
When you’re designing a website, you think mainly about the aesthetics and the visual appeal. It is estimated that it takes just one-fifth of a second to form an impression of a site, and over 90% of the matrix we use to form impressions is based on design alone. Apply the same level of care to your display as you would your website. For inspiration, take a look sites like www.eventdisplay.com.au/banners and have a look at what other firms have done in the past. See what you like and what you don’t like, and use feedback from customers and visitors at previous shows to determine what works. It’s a really useful exercise to go to a trade show as a consumer and use it to get an idea of how you can set up your stall to impress. What catches your eye when you’re walking around? What features set some businesses apart from others? You can use the information you gain to improve your booth when the next trade show comes around.
Working on your brand
When you go shopping, what influences the decisions you make? Do you buy the same products over and over again or are you more likely to give new brands a try? When you’re competing in a crowded marketplace, branding can play an important role. Building a brand is valuable for several reasons. Branding gives your business an identity, and it enables people to learn more about the company, as well as the product. It can also make you instantly recognizable. When you’re toying with ideas for branding concepts, think about what kind of impression you want to create, and focus on designing logos and straplines that will make you stand out. If you’ve got a bottle of cordial on a shelf, why are people going to choose your brand over others? Work on color, style, and theme and make sure the brand name is relevant and that it appeals to your target market. It’s really important to do some research before you launch products onto the market to see which ideas would work and which could fall flat. Use the information you gain from surveys, focus groups and consumer trials to strengthen your brand, produce packaging that is attractive to shoppers and learn more about the decision-making process that takes place when a shopper stands in front of a display.
When you’ve got a strong logo, brand name and strapline, do everything possible to promote it. Make sure every item of merchandise you produce and everything you use to carry out jobs, from vans to stationery and clothing, bears the name and logo. If you can send letters on headed paper or your workforce can turn up at a job in a branded van with a smart uniform bearing the logo, this creates a good impression and it helps people to remember who you are and what you do.
Attracting attention online
Physical sales are still incredibly important for many companies, but more and more businesses are prioritizing online sales. Most of us have a laptop or a tablet, but we’re relying on our phones more and more to access the Internet and shop online. If you’re developing your website or you’re in the early stages of formulating your online marketing strategy, don’t underestimate the importance of going mobile.
Website design is incredibly important for modern businesses. Think of your website as a shop window. If you were dressing a display in the window of a store at the mall, you’d pay a lot of attention to the aesthetics, so apply the same thought process when you’re drawing up plans for your website. People want instant results when they shop online, and the time they spend on each site can be very limited. If they don’t like the look of your website, they may simply decide to visit another, and you’ll lose a sale. For useful web design tips, take a look at https://www.inc.com/dan-scalco/5-website-design-tips-all-small-business-owners-should-consider.html.
Once you’ve got a fantastic site up and running, make sure it’s mobile-friendly and start thinking of ways you can use it to promote the business as well as to provide information and take orders. Search engine optimization is a really useful technique employed by many businesses today. The concept centers on improving your ranking when somebody uses a search engine, such as Google, to look for something that is related to your company. You can drive traffic to your website by setting up a blog, linking your social media accounts to your website and producing content that uses keywords, common search terms and carefully selected links. Developing an app is another great way to attract customers. When you have an app, it’s really easy for consumers to take advantage of your business and the services it offers, but it also gives you a visible presence on the phone home screen. Did you know that the average person checks their phone more than 85 times per day? If you’ve got an app, this means that the consumer is looking at your brand name and logo 85 times in a single day.
If somebody asked you how much time you spent on social media, what would you say? You may think that people only check their news feeds or home pages once in a while, but the average person will spend a total of more than 5 years on social media in their lifetime. Studies show that on average, people devote 40 minutes a day to YouTube, 35 minutes per day to Facebook, 25 minutes to Snapchat and 15 minutes to Instagram. Twitter occupies just 1 minute of our daily social media usage. If you’re not already connected to social media, you could be missing a trick. Social media is designed to connect us with others, but it can also be a very powerful marketing technique. You can use these platforms to market individual products and to drive traffic to your website. To generate interest in the first place if you’re a new user, it’s a good idea to run competitions and offer discounts to encourage people to share your links and to try and get your products featured by people or companies that already have a strong online presence. If you have an online clothing boutique, for example, getting a blogger to feature key pieces on Instagram could send your sales into the stratosphere.
Success in business lies in catching a customer’s eye and persuading consumers and buyers to choose your company over another. In a flock of pigeons, you want to be the flamingo. If you’re launching a new company or you’re trying to reach the next level with an existing venture, think about how you can stand out in the crowd. Using various techniques, you can rise to the top and leave other companies lagging behind if you know how to turn heads and you can deliver on your promises.