There’s an empty retail premises near me. The previous occupier sold vapes, same as the hundreds of other vape shops in my city. Ironically, the ‘lease available’ sign is positioned just above the ‘vapes now open’ sign that relates to the previous business. I’m 99% sure the occupier before the one that just vacated was also a vape business.
My point is this. You cannot expect to open a ‘me too’ business and be automatically successful because you’re not adding any value to the marketplace.
In my experience there are four factors here, or ‘Pillars’, of successful customer acquisition.
- Market authority
- Competitive awareness
- Marketing strategy
I believe you need to excel in all four areas to be successful, and as you may have noticed, they’re all interlinked.
This post is just a starting point. Very soon I’ll be expanding on each of these pillars in great detail, providing actionable steps you can take to ramp up your business and win more customers. Keep checking back, and I’ll also announce these expansions in the usual Facebook groups.
1. Market authority
The measure of your reputation, experience and integrity. Clinics with a track record, decent portfolio and great reviews have a substantial advantage over those that don’t. These attributes are underpinned by good training, commitment to ongoing education, treating customers well and old fashioned hard work and dedication. There are no shortcuts.
2. Competitive awareness
Understanding where the benchmarks are, and consciously striving to meet or exceed those benchmarks. Supply and demand, a law that always rules, no matter what market you’re in and how you operate your business, is something you absolutely have to take into consideration.
Businesses can and do flourish in saturated markets, but an understanding of the environment in which your business is operating in is essential so you can remain competitive, and present a compelling sales story to your customers.
There is supply and demand at all ends of the market, hence why both Ford and Mercedes co-exist and both are successful, but you need to know what end of the market you occupy, which other clinics operate at the same end, and what their selling points are versus yours.
Flooded markets are only a problem when too many clinics operating at the same end of the market, have the same sales story, and there’s not enough customers at that end of the market to keep everyone fully booked.
What defines your business as different. What gives your business its personality? Why should customers buy from you? What will they get at your clinic that they won’t get elsewhere? What can you do to differentiate your service offering? What value-adds do you provide? How can you make the experience special?
This is all about putting the customer front and centre of your business and giving yourself tools to win their business from other providers they are talking to.
4. Marketing strategy
In reality, all three of the aforementioned factors are part of your marketing plan. Specifically here, I’m referring to how your business is presented, and how many of the right type of people you’re able to reach. This comes down to solid branding that correctly represents the position you want to hold in the market, and effective targeting to ensure the right message is reaching the right people at the right time.
In a broader sense, marketing is every interaction customers have with your business. How you answer the phone, how your clinic is decorated, your paperwork. All of this is marketing because they affect how customers perceive your business.
Don’t neglect industry marketing either. Posting your work in multiple Facebook groups for example might not win you any customers directly, but if your work and approach are sound, it enhances your reputation among your peers.
These relationships are valuable and often lead to friendships, partnerships and referrals. In fact, its one of the main reasons why people attend the Meeting Of Minds (www.meetingofminds.com), to build relationships with movers and shakers in the world of micropigmentation.