In order to make your business stand out these days you need more than a website. You just do, even if it’s a beautiful one, and here’s the reason why: there are many of you out there, I’m sorry to say. There are many of me out there as well, if it makes you feel any better. So, what, in this new world of information/media blasting overload and intense competition, will make you and your business stand apart and get noticed? The number of small business websites have more than quadrupled in the last 6 years. Getting noticed as the clear choice is getting harder and harder, unless you are in an industry with no competition. So what sets you apart? Your reputation-hopefully a good one- for sure, the quality of your work or products, yes, your great customer service, for sure. But guess what? Your competition also has a great reputation, gets referrals and has great customer service. And they give full refunds, no questions asked. So. Back you are at square 1.
The businesses that are really successful these days are the ones who are under promising and over delivering, giving extraordinary service and are being generous with their “stuff”. What “stuff”? Well lets make a list, and this is just a sampling:
- Grocery and food specialty stores offering free samples (see last weeks blog)
- Service websites offering free/e-book/consultations/an analysis
- Service professionals offering free tutorials either through articles, blogs or video’s
- Companies offering discount coupons through services such as Groupon or Living Social
- Doctors offering free screenings or medical resources and health education on their websites
- Realtors offering a really professional (free) Comparitive Market Analysis
- Attorneys offering a free consultation
- Online Book publishers or marketers offering a free chapter of their book
And on, and on. One of the best examples of great content marketing I’ve seen in a while is Success Magazines practice of including a free CD jam packed with experts speaking on whichever business growth niche the magazine is targeting that month, video’s and a blog (in the online version). What magazine does this??? It’s pretty unprecedented, but this company sees the value in giving away a piece of the farm.
These companies are offering exceptional value, generously, and (hopefully) with no strings attached except for the sometime obligation, when online, for you to “opt-in” to their subscription list. Even then, you always are given the option to “opt out”, at any time. Think of how you would feel about picking up a magazine that offers a free CD of additional expert advice, tips and strategies on the very subject that you’re interested in, that you can listen to on the way to the grocery store. After all, there are many small business growth magazines out there that you could have chosen, all vying for your attention, all trying to stay alive in this tough publishers economy.
Smart, smart marketing, and guess what? It worked for me. I now subscribe to Success and look forward to that CD arriving, tucked into that magazine in the mail each month. It is the giving of content, generously, the standing apart from the crowd, that makes the difference today in customer’s minds when they are thinking of who they are going to choose to give their money to. So it is worth your while to be that business person, even if you are giving up some of your potential profit. The gaining of a new loyal customer, hopefully for life, so outweighs the small amount you have let slide that truly it’s a no brainer. Don’t you think?