Dallas Business Consultant Elijah ClarkDallas Business Consultant Elijah Clark

Setting Your Price

Setting and presenting your price may be the single most important thing to get right in your business. When determining the value of your product or service, keep in mind that pricing low will lower your revenue, introduce a new lower quality customer, and could damage the growth of your business. Low pricing also creates low motivation from you or your team and will often prevent you from going the extra mile for the customer. However, pricing high may give your competition the upper-hand with customers looking to spend less.

How to Price. You should set your price based on the true value of the product or service, which, in addition to the cost of producing any tangible product, includes the cost to cover the tools, software, electricity, employees, etc. In addition, the cost should easily allow you to reach your break-even point. The goal of your price should be to generate sales in excess of 50% above the break-even mark. Never make it a habit of charging your customers based on your lack of knowledge or technology. Your customer should never pay because you don’t know how to do your job properly or efficiently. However, if the customer has a unique problem that involves research and no easy solution, which may include a system hack, training, or simply writing a document or tutorial, you should charge based on the time it takes you to research and resolve the issue. Your customers should not be concerned with the time it takes for you to complete their request. They care about the value you bring. If they believe that you are the best, then your price may not be relevant. If you have tough competition and the customer doesn’t care about the quality you bring, then the price is very important and you will need to also consider the competition and brand reputation when setting prices.

Real vs. Perceived Value. Value pricing attracts value conscious customers. The actual cost of product production determines the real value. In addition, the real value is dependent on the usefulness of the product to the customer as well as the value of the product components. Ultimately, the perceived value is based on how much money the customer believes the product is worth.

For example, in the context of higher education, the perceived value of a college or university among individuals looking to invest in higher education tremendously affects the institution’s price. Students and their families perceive the value of the institution to be within the quality of the education. Consequently, the higher the perceived value of quality, the higher the cost of tuition. Research, however, has not proven correlation between institutional cost and actual quality. Additionally, it was found that perceived value of an institution did correlate with a student’s likelihood of enrollment. Perceived value of an education has three main factors which include, quality, cost, and emotional attachment. Failing to satisfy either of these could jeopardize the student’s enrollment potential as it will affect the student’s perceived value. In marketing, generating excitement can also generate a sale and loyal customers. If a customer is excited about a product, they may ignore the cost and quality factor. If an individual truly believes in the quality and value of a product or service, then the perceived value becomes more valuable than the real value.

 

Internet marketing is key

Internet Marketing

Internet marketing is key when making sure that customers find your website. Without marketing, your website may randomly be found once everyone couple of months, but it will not generate high revenue for your business. You need to create as much exposure as possible to gain more clients. Just like a great job resume, it’s no good if you don’t send it out to employers. The same goes with creating a great website and not marketing it. If you can’t be found, you will not gain the customer. That is how simple it works.

Internet marketing is relatively inexpensive. Your business can reach a wide audience at a fraction of traditional advertising budgets. The nature of the media allows for consumers to research and buy your products and services at their convenience. Internet marketing gives your business the advantage of appealing to consumers in a medium that can deliver results quickly.

Relationship Benefits

Building relationships with your customers is a must when looking to start and grow your business. Some of the substantial benefits of building a quality relationship with customers are explained below.

Customer Satisfaction: Customer satisfaction is an important measurement of how a product or service meets or surpasses the customer’s needs. It is a reliable indication of the potential for repeat business and brand loyalty. Customer satisfaction can be attained only if your customer has an overall good relationship with your business and you consistently meet or exceed their expectations. In today’s competitive marketplace, customer satisfaction is an important performance factor and a basic differentiator of business strategies. Hence, the more satisfied the customer, the stronger the bond they have with your business.

Customer Retention: Customer retention is a strategic process to keep or retain your existing customers and deter them from using other suppliers or organizations. This is only possible when there is a quality relationship between your business and the customer. Usually, a customer will remain loyal to a particular brand or product as their needs grow and only if those needs are properly fulfilled.

Referrals: The most cost effective approach to grow your customer base is through referrals. When customers feel satisfied, they are encouraged to become brand advocates for your business. These referrals are beneficial for your business considering there is little to no cost associated with this process. Referrals are an optimal form of marketing and profit generation.

Revenue Growth: When your business maintains a healthy relationship with customers, revenue will always increase considering current happy customers tend to purchase more. There is also the potential for a satisfied customer to purchase additional products or services when offered the option to bundle those products and services. For instance, if a satisfied loyal customer has home insurance from an insurance company that they trust, there is a high probability that the customer will also purchase property and auto insurance from that same company.

Retention Cost: The cost to service existing satisfied customers is substantially less expensive than that of acquiring new customers considering there is no acquisition cost, your business should already know the needs and wants of existing customers, and active customers will have fewer queries and complaints as they are already aware of your business’s processes, products, and checkout flow.

The Follow-Up

Providing the customer with a price isn’t the final step – obviously. You still need the potential customer to make the purchase. Because many businesses don’t like to think outside of an immediate sale, they often fail to implement follow-up procedures that pay off after an estimate. They give up after a few emails or calls. Remember: Persistence is key. If you understand your customers’ journey, you know that this is all a part of the decision-making process. Now, you just need to give potential customers the information they need to make the final leap.

To help with your follow-up, create a process for your typical sales cycle armed with information on average close rates and the time it takes to complete a deal. With a customer relationship management program (CRM), you can define these stages and easily keep track of progress. Map out what information you will send at each part in the process. Consider creating an email series that checks in on the customer every few weeks and reiterates how your business can help. Send the proposal with an invitation for an in-person meeting, visit, or phone call the following week to continue the momentum of the conversations. Tweak the messaging of your emails to determine what resonates with prospects. You’ve gotten this far. Don’t fail at the follow-up.

Building Trust. Trust takes time. When you are sending marketing material to a potential customer, there just isn’t always time to create a trusting relationship. But there are things you can do to prove you are credible, which is a step in the right direction. Credibility starts with a good reputation and a good design which inspires confidence in the viewer. When designing, follow modern design standards and practices to create a clean, easy-to-read campaign. In addition, marketing content full of misspellings and poor grammar can be a red flag for customers. It says little for your business’s ability to pay attention to detail and reduces your credibility as a professional organization. Finally, you need compelling testimonials or case studies that showcase the results you can deliver, the type of working relationships you have, and how you solved problems for previous customers.

 

Impact of Reviews on Marketing Objective

Customer engagement is critical when working to develop brand awareness and increase sales. Negative customer reviews affect small businesses significantly more than larger businesses. Consequently, depending upon your business size, customer reviews may not always have a significant influence on your profitability. Additionally, reviews, whether positive or negative, do not have a significant influence on customers familiar with your business. Similar to a tree in the forest, a review alone is not going to gain or lose new business for a client, but can help to sway a potential customer to make a decision either way. Engaging with customers is a strategy recommended by marketing agencies to create a competitive advantage by building relationships with customers. If the objective of your business is customer acquisition, retention, or brand awareness, then customer reviews can affect your marketing strategy development.

Because of social media, customer feedback and reviews can quickly reach a broad audience and have an immediate effect on the success of your business’s marketing efforts. Due to the popularity of the internet, you can analyze and predict customer behaviors by using social networks and review-based websites. Your business should spend marketing dollars wisely, so gaining more reviews is not always as important as generating brand awareness through other reliable methods of marketing. Your marketing strategies should focus on relationship building with customers to better develop successful strategies for increasing customer loyalty and sales. However, you are likely not effectively accomplishing your marketing objective if you are receiving a significant amount of negative reviews.

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.

E-Commerce

E-commerce and online transactions account for billions of dollars in sales activity. While e-commerce is a good opportunity for your business to expand online, it could be overwhelming if your business is not prepared for online growth. Initiating your online store is like opening a second location, so you will need to hire new employees and a new technology team to help manage the new location. Additionally, your online store will require top-notch security measures, privacy resolutions, and excellent customer support. You will need to define and understand your new online customer group which will be very different from those ordering by phone or shopping in-store. If your customers are within an older demographic group, you could find yourself having to create and market your new business service to a new user group from scratch considering disruptive technology is often influenced and adopted by younger demographics.

The benefits of e-commerce are based on the efficiency of the automated system. Benefits include a decrease in overall production and transaction costs if implemented properly which can help resolve business concerns regarding the budget. Ample stock inventories, proper notifications, timely delivery dates, and excellent customer support is key to achieving e-commerce success.

A drawback of e-commerce versus brick-and-mortar businesses is that with e-commerce sites it is difficult to generate a sale through user interaction with the business. To partially resolve this issue, you can implement a chat system and monitor the effects of your e-commerce strategies by using activity and traffic tools that monitor users visiting the website.

Customer Marketing

Purpose of Marketing

Without marketing, your business is taking the risk of losing customers and revenue. Think of your brand, website, or artwork as a resume. You spend hours or days writing, designing, and editing it to perfection, not to mention the years of enhancing and refining your background with experience and education. After you’ve culminated and perfected your resume, what next? What’s the next step to ensuring that you land that dream job? The appropriate response is to send your resume to employers. In the context of business, that’s called marketing. You must market yourself to win the job. A terribly unattractive resume sent to potential employers has a higher probability of landing a job over a superb resume sitting in a drawer. Without marketing, you will waste time and money creating a great brand that never gets noticed.

Customer Marketing

If your marketing strategy is not structured on the purchasing needs and wants of your desired customer, you are missing the mark in marketing. An effective campaign is one that influences customers to make a purchase. The secret is to build trust and positive brand awareness through attractive and targeted marketing. Additionally, the campaign should aim at solving the customer’s hesitation to purchase. As customers make purchases, a trend will develop, outlining likes and dislikes based on what sells and what doesn’t.

A Hesitant Customer. All customers experience some hesitancy before making purchases. They don’t simply walk into a store or view a website and make a purchase without thinking about it. How long they hesitate is where you should focus your marketing. For example, a product discounted with a “One day only” stamp will make the customer spend less time debating the purchase because of the urgency of the deadline. If you want a today purchase, you should try marketing your product or service so that it positively influences the customer to decide and act quickly.

As a business owner, you have the responsibility to provide customers with the information they need to make a purchase. If presented effectively, the information you provide customers can persuade them to believe they need what your business is selling, even if the product is outside of their immediate desires or needs. In this sense, information used within your marketing efforts are responsible for shaping the needs and wants of your customers. The implication is that, through marketing, you can capitalize on your customers’ internal weakness and persuade them to make a purchase.

A customer purchase is often based on one of three factors; (1) whether the product or service will help the customer be more productive; (2) whether the product or service can satisfy the things or people the customer cares most about; or (3) whether it fulfills a desire or need.

When marketing, you should understand how your product can solve your customers’ problem or situation. If you know your customers’ habits, likes, or dislikes you can market based on how your product will fit into their lifestyles. From there, the customer will be less hesitant to make the purchase and will have a solid answer as to why they need your product.

Reviews and Reputation Management

Monitoring social networks for customer reviews enables your business to develop customer relationships, which can enhance your business’s reputation and value. Customer reviews require an immediate need to respond, particularly when working toward preventing negative reviews from influencing potential customers.

To monitor and identify customer reviews, the use of a review monitoring tool that enables you to acknowledge positive reviewers and perform conflict resolution for negative reviews is a worthwhile expenditure. When a customer posts a review, that review has the potential to spread to a larger audience. There are services including Bazaar Voice and Yelp that help with monitoring customer reviews. You should use these review monitoring tools for proactive crisis management and conflict resolution for negative reviews, and to acknowledge and share positive reviews.

Reputation Management

Reputation management is an essential aspect of marketing, and the posted opinions of your customers on social media, and how your business connects with those customers, aids in generating brand awareness and marketing success. You cannot control customer reviews. Consequently, it is imperative that you continually monitor and manage social networks. To help maintain the reputation of your business, an automated system can be used to e-mail noted positive reviewers and request that they post reviews on multiple social media networks to increase the exposure of these positive reviews. You should also consider offering special status, VIP sales, unique merchandising promos, or other perks to these select individuals to retain their interest in championing your business within their social sphere.

In response to determining the management of customer reviews, you should not ignore the opinions of customers. Reviews are free pathways for gaining insights into customers’ perspectives compared to incentives, surveys, and focus groups. Unlike positive reviews, negative reviews have a greater likelihood of generating negative emotions and business perceptions. Reputation managers should have crisis management training for comprehending the proper steps for knowing how to de-escalate emotional situations that drive to the heart of the customer’s issues without the manager being emotionally invested. No matter the ranking or quality of the review, you should listen to the concerns of the reviewer, address the issues, and prevent customer dissatisfaction from happening in the future. When customers write reviews, particularly negative reviews, they expect a response from your business. Acknowledging customer reviews could benefit your marketing strategy by gaining insights into unforeseen problems within your business.

Pricing and Expectations

Framing Your Price. You need confidence to make a sale – and you need that same confidence in the product or service that you are selling. Most business strategies are designed so that customers are given the bare-bones option first, and then the business reveals what it can do for its Super Special, Super-Charged Retainer or its “Everything you ever dreamed of” package. By giving your lowest price first and then the higher price, you are cautiously approaching the customer with the idea that they should spend more for a complete service, but not convincing them which package is right for them or their business.

Consider this: which of the following statements is most impactful? You’ll save $1,000 if you buy marketing automation software. Or; You’ll lose 100 customers if you don’t buy marketing automation software. People feel much stronger about the thought of losing something. When you set up your business strategy, emphasize the possible loses if the customer does not take action now. In addition, set up your marketing so that the right package is presented first. Then, if necessary, outline what a stripped-down version of this would cost. Also, emphasize how much more difficult, time consuming, or unattainable achieving the customer’s goals will be if they choose the cheaper version. You’re not really changing anything about what you do. You’re just reframing the conversation.

Outline The Process. Every customer’s goals and challenges are unique, but that doesn’t mean you need to start from scratch when building a sales strategy. If you have a keen understanding of what you do, how to sell it, and how to package it, you should be able to create or customize an existing sales strategy to fit the needs of, and attract, any type of customer. However, this relies on your business having a repeatable and defined selling process. When questioning your customers, you should know:

  • The goals, plans, and challenges of the customer
  • Current customer metrics and key company information
  • The cost to the customer of not doing anything to meet their goals

When building a sales strategy to target your desired customer, the strategy should include:

  • Campaign goals
  • Scope of services and benefits
  • Reporting
  • Success Metrics
  • Timeline
  • Budget

With this framework in place and a defined process for gathering information, it will be much easier to put together a winning sales and marketing strategy.

Set Expectations. Once you have confirmed that the customer is a good fit for your business and the customer has requested more information and an estimate, you need to detail what the purchasing or contract phase looks like. The price estimate or sales collateral is the next step in the commitment process on the part of the customer. It should confirm everything you have already spoken about and solidify the deal.

There is no magic trick to selling. There shouldn’t be some big reveal. There is no tool for convincing and impressing. The price estimate or contract proposal is a confirmation, in writing, of what your business can do, how it will do it, when it will be completed, and why the customer specifically needs your product or services. It should be the final step prior to a contract being signed, and your business and the customer should both be confident that the deal will close – and soon.

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