Dallas Business Consultant Elijah ClarkDallas Business Consultant Elijah Clark

Your Unique Value Proposition

You can overcome your competition by offering products or services that are unique to your industry. When attempting to set your business apart from the rest with a unique product or service, you may arrive at situations where your customer does not fully understand your unique benefits. You will need to educate your customers on why your product or service is better for their personal or business needs.

A potential setback of creating differentiators such as unique features, services, and benefits, is that you are open to imitation by your competition if your differentiators are not proprietary. In this sense, your uniqueness will last only as long as it takes your competition to mimic your approach. Additionally, by offering too many differentiators or products, your customers could become confused, overwhelmed, or feel that you’re trying to sell them something they don’t need. To resolve this, take precautions and carefully educate your customers on the offerings and the importance and relevancy of the additional products or services.

Value Proposition. Customers have more options at their disposal than ever before, with that in mind, a well-drafted value proposition should be at the core of your sales collateral to solidify your competitive advantage. A value proposition is a statement of promise in terms of overall value delivered to the customer, and is a major factor in increasing sales. A value proposition helps you define how your product is the better solution for your customers’ needs. A strong value proposition is persuasive and outlines why the customer should purchase your product or service over the competition.

Having an effective and unique value proposition (UVP) is of critical importance as it distinguishes your business from your competitors. A UVP should uniquely identify the value of your business and should resonate strongly with your customers. For example, if you offer a product or service for the price of $10, and your competitor offers the same product or service for $11, what stops your competitor from stealing your customer if they match or lower their price? While price is considered a UVP, unless it is tremendously lower than the competition, you need to offer better and more UVPs.

UVPs may include:

  • Better price point
  • Better product quality
  • Better location
  • Better customer service/ hours
  • Better warranty / guarantee

Your business can evaluate and enhance customer benefits through gaining feedback from reviews of current, previous, and potential customers. Through this method, flaws within your business can be identified and needed corrections made. Another valuable method is to monitor your competitors’ marketing efforts, as well as gain insight into your reputation, by reviewing forums, complaint boards, and competitor websites for credibility, design, and customer testimonials.

The Customer Trigger Point

While working on my bachelor degree, I was employed as a student recruiter for a local college in Dallas, Texas. During sales training, I learned lessons that remain current in all my customer relationships: Never ruin a hot lead and know the customer’s trigger point. Finding the trigger point is as simple as asking “Why are you calling or meeting with me today?” Every customer has a reason for the decision to do business with you, at your particular location, with your price, and on that singular day. In education, reasons adult students chose to go back to school included that they wanted to do it for their family or kids, they wanted to change the world, or they wanted to go to school to prove to someone who said or believed they couldn’t achieve a higher education.

In relationships, you wouldn’t marry someone you just met. You date for a short while and get to know their likes, dislikes, and interests. It’s the same with customers. When you have found the customer’s decision-making trigger, you can easily put together a strategy that helps you get to the next stage of satisfying them. The goal of sales is to find and finesse your customers’ trigger point. If a customer wants to purchase your product or service because it would make them more productive, it is your responsibility to continually integrate that productivity trigger in conversations by noting how your product or service could help with their productivity. Once the trigger point is outlined, the sale becomes much easier. Your customer has a reason for doing business with you, and it is your responsibility to figure out what that reason is and make that trigger point your key to developing a successful selling strategy.

Sell What Sells

The goal of any campaign is to generate sales. Therefore, the ideal campaign should build trust, influence sales, and generate brand awareness. The trick to selling is to give customers what they want or something better. As a business, you need to focus your marketing campaigns on the services or products which have proven to generate sales. Your business should target and adapt your marketing strategies to highlight what customers want and will purchase, not necessarily what you want to sell. For example, if Product A (the product you least like) sells more than Product B (the product you want to sell), then you need to adjust your business and focus on the product that is generating a profit and sustaining your business.

When I started as a consultant, I worked under the business name Tex Design Studio (TDS) where I worked directly with customers to sell web design, SEO, marketing, and other services which I outsourced to artists and developers. After a few years, I had discovered that my TDS brand was not growing as I would have liked. Customers were calling the business for me, and me only. They were also Googling my name and referring me any not my company to their family and friends. Considering this, I realized I had been trying to push a brand on customers that they did not want. I wanted so badly to grow the company, that I made it difficult for those customers who wanted something entirely different. As I realized this and adjusted to the customers, I stopped pushing TDS and gave the customers the personal brand that they wanted by renaming my consulting agency Elijah Clark and Associates which proved to be much more successful than TDS ever was or could have been.

The customer is the ultimate power broker within any organization. And as the power brokers, they will set your selling price, name (or rename) your business, help you decide which products to sell, and let you know when it’s time to hire or fire employees. Because of the authority in which customers have on the success of your business, you should structure your marketing efforts on identifying and meeting the customer’s individual needs. Those needs must be met within all aspects of your business including price, customer support, and overall value.

Gaining Attention

Cost leadership is a term used to describe a strategic concept that entails creating a competitive advantage in a business/sales market by producing a quality product or service at a better value compared to the competition. Although cost is in the name, value is the major factor in cost leadership. The quality of your product or service may influence your overall value and increase or lower the cost at which you sell your products or services. You don’t always have to sell at the lowest price or match prices, but you should offer competitive prices and value that is beneficial to both the business and the targeted consumer. Most industries are polluted with low-cost and cheap alternatives, so it may be difficult for customers to understand why you don’t lower your price. Your marketing materials and your staff will need to get across to your customers that you offer a better service than your competition. For example, relay to customers that your product is backed by services that add value to the product such as expert advice and dedicated personnel, bundling capabilities, frequent-buyer rewards programs, and education. Base your marketing on understanding the customer’s needs, and adapt and sell toward that point. For instance, a customer who wants to keep costs down is unlikely to select an expensive company to purchase from. For customers seeking quality results, you should focus your sales pitch on your strengths by providing examples, references, and knowledge.

Some methods for influencing customers to purchase include:

  • Persuade buyers they will achieve worthwhile results.
  • Minimize the perceptionof risk by demonstrating experience, building trust, and inspiring confidence.
  • Connect with customers by listening to, and addressing, their needs and desires from your business.

The difficulty of gaining the attention of customers is not whether you are competitive, but how well you know your customers. Trying to please everyone is a difficult task. Your prices will never be cheap enough, and your quality will never satisfy all customers. By focusing your attention on your key customer demographics, you can put together a competitive package at an affordable price for your desired customer group.

Articles and Press Releases

Another form of marketing includes article writing, press releases, guest posting, and video blogging. Consider attending local group events to link up with blog writers and journalists to see if there is an opportunity for you to work together. By attending these events and getting to know local writers, you can build a list of contacts for both writing and distributing your content. You can also find local groups using many resources including Meetup.com, BNI, conferences, trade shows, and by simply asking friends and colleagues for suggestions. In addition to local distribution methods, you should look to distribute your releases within e-mail newsletters, RSS feeds, and using social media networks. Your business should not only release news of big events and happenings within the company, but should also share stories of awards, conferences, products, and other unique marketplace events and activities.

Blogging Strategy

A blog or weblog covers a mixture of what is happening in the daily life of your business as well as new and upcoming events. A blogging strategy can be used to help determine how to engage with online users and generate website traffic. When designing your blog, be sure to create it so that it increases brand awareness and attracts readers.

Other benefits of blogging include:

  • Googleloves it! Blogs are great for increasing website indexed pages, and Google places value on websites with a high volume of indexed pages.
  • Customers can remain current with the status of your business events and updates. Additionally, a blog can define your brandas authoritative and help your business be seen as professional and knowledgeable.

Writing Meta Tags

Example Web Design Company:

Title: Dallas Web Design : Dallas Website Design : Texas Web Design

Description: We are a leading Web Design Company in Dallas Texas. We specialize in innovative website design, pay per click, search engine optimization, graphic design, and Internet marketing. Call Today 1-888-888-8888

_________

The reasons for choosing these tags came from the use of competitor’s sites title tags and descriptions. I also was able to use their keywords and a tool that Google has which compares keywords (Google keyword tool).

With the combination of these tools, I was able to come up with the best keywords for the main focus of my company, which is “Dallas Web Design.” The Google keyword tool helped with coming up with the best words for the title. The competitor’s sites also helped in confirming that they were the best. The method that I chose was to come up with three phrases for my site just as I had seen from most competitors sites. Their sites, instead of having one phrase such as “Dallas web design;” they had multiple phrases such as “Dallas Web Design: Dallas Web Design Company: Dallas Texas Website Designer.”

Google keywords tool showed Dallas website design, Dallas web design, and Dallas web site design as being the most popular searches for the term “Dallas web design.”

What I also did to make sure that the title would be affective, was that I looked at the text on the home page of my company site and made sure that I incorporated that text into the title and description meta tags as best I could.  My goal was to make everything match together rather than to have no keywords within the title or description.

I found the title being the most complex to come up with, as this is the most crucial factor for search results. The biggest determining factor for the title was using Google’s tools to see which were the best search terms and also making sure that those terms were somewhere within the text of the site.

The description was a little easier to come up with as I just made sure to add some keywords in there, but mainly use the company’s bio from the text on the site.

 

Credits

Google keyword tool. (n.d.) Retrieved December 5, 2009 from https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

The Internet and Marketing

With the internet changing and advancing to web 2.0 technologies, your business has the opportunity to be marketed on broad online networks including social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. To create success within the web 2.0 market, you need to join online social environments and create brand awareness in a positive way. With thousands of social networking sites, blogs, and forums across the internet, you have a great opportunity to build your brand. With the development of new website techniques and the growth of online networking, the internet has become the largest marketing tool to build and grow businesses. You can create success with the internet through a combination of online marketing, customer referrals, and through satisfied customers promoting your brand online through social media.

Internet marketing gives your business the advantage of appealing to customers in a medium that has the power to deliver results instantly. Internet marketing is the key to having your website found by customers. Without marketing, your website may randomly be found once everyone couple of days or months, but it will not generate high revenue. You need to create as much exposure as possible to gain more customers. Just like a great job resume, it’s no good if you don’t send it out to employers. The same goes for creating a great website and not marketing it. If you can’t be found, you will not gain new customers. Internet marketing is relatively inexpensive, and your business can reach a wide audience at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising budgets.

Website Marketing

While social media sites are great for blogging and news updates, you should also include the blog text and updates on your business website so that it creates more content and attracts attention from search engines. By utilizing blogs and newsgroups to attract website visitors, you can create an effective strategy which will help gain and increase website click-through rates and the length of time users spend on your website. This could ultimately help with increasing search engine credibility and domain authority. In addition, including keywords and descriptions in image ALT tags on your website will create an extremely effective strategy that is not only beneficial for improving content search results but will also boost your rank in image search directories.

You should additionally include an easy bookmark feature on your website. By including a bookmark widget, you can gain customer loyalty and rank better with search engines that index bookmark websites such as Del.icio.us and Google bookmarks.

To create a strategy that will encourage customer interactivity, you can also setup email marketing and newsletter campaigns along with creating polls and surveys to gain customer feedback and help enhance the experience of your customers. Newsletters could include information on upcoming specials, events, and changes in the business that could benefit the customer.

Links for allowing customers to opt out of receiving emails and referring a friend for discounts should also be included in each newsletter. Your business can benefit by tracking the results of email campaigns using newsletter and website tracking tools such as Google Analytics. By viewing monthly reports, you will be able to see which keywords, content, and paid campaigns are most effective. In addition, it will allow for you to see where visitors come from, how long they visit a certain web page, the last page they viewed before leaving your website, and how your stats compare to the industry benchmarks.

Analyzing the Context of Internet Marketing

Mobile vs. Traditional Internet Context

CompanyEC (CEC) currently does not have a mobile based website. While its current website does fit a normal touch screen mobile device, it is not built for mobile devices at all. The biggest concern from some mobile device users who have tried to view the CEC website, is that they are getting slow loading times for the website. What CEC should do to fix this issue is create a website made specifically for mobile devices (FairWinds Partners, 2007). What this mobile website should include is a link to the about us, testimonials, portfolio, contact us and make a payment. Each of these pages should also be optimized for mobile browsing to allow for faster speed, better graphics and a small amount of clicks to help navigate the user quickly. In addition to creating a mobile website for consumers mobile devices, creating a new marketing plan aimed at mobile devices could also benefit CEC’ mobile marketing (Fairchild, 2009).

Cultural Uniformity Within a Country vs. Cultural Variation within your country: 

I believe that the United States does have cultural differences. These differences include consumers locations, lifestyle, income and many other psychographics and demographics. Being that CEC is an online business located in Dallas, TX, we have to direct our marketing toward consumers within the area. These consumers are normally different form those within other parts of the country. Being that I have personally lived up north and now down south, I have seen many differences in the culture of these consumers. Our normal consumers from up north are normally focused more on design and price, while our consumers from the south are concerned about building a relationship and trust with our company. We have had to change the way that we did business once we moved locations. Nonetheless, being that we work with customers all throughout the country, we try to keep our business practices universal to all customers.

I believe that Internet Marketers target specific ethnic groups. While I believe this, I believe that sometimes, it is necessary based on the target market that the particular business would like to attract. For example, CEC has never had a Middle Eastern customer. Knowing that most of our consumers are African American, Hispanic or White, we target our marketing efforts toward these individuals and businesses because it has a better chance at success as it is proven. Nonetheless, being that we do want all customers and ethnics to purchase services from our company, we may need to look into our marketing strategy and find out a way to make it attractive toward all ethnicities.

Credits

Fairchild, T. (2009). Matching mobile ads to consumer intent. Retrieved May 28, 2010, from http://searchengineland.com/matching-mobile-ads-%20to-consumer-intent-24647

FairWinds Partners LLC. (2007). Mobile web: what is the mobile web? Retrieved May 28, 2010, from http://www.fairwindspartners.com/en/newsroom/perspectives/vol-2-issue-7/mobile-web

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