Build Your Reputation then Grow Your Reach.
Letting more people know about your business today than yesterday is part and parcel of being in business, growing a business and ultimately making a success of business. Without a continued drive to reach more targeted clients with an attractive and relevant proposition, customer acquisition will grind to a halt.
But what if the product and service that you are driving people’s attention back to is below par? Are you wasting your advertising money? Are you simply glossing over the bigger problem?
In Forresters Customer Experience Index 2013*, top ten customer experience leaders have a three year growth pattern better than twice that of the top ten U.S. advertisers. So does it not make sense that rather than working hard to get a million people to know about your business, would it not be better to focus on the product and service to:
- make a product that is worth shouting about!
- provide an experience that is second to none!
- build a brand that is synonymous with excellence!
In an age where the customer has so much buying power thanks to the internet, businesses are no longer competing with the 1 or maybe 2 other firms in the same location. They are dealing with every firm across the country and beyond, many of whom share similar if not the same advertising messages.
The internet means that barriers to entry in some niches are greatly reduced, companies like Amazon and Google shopping mean that you can have a virtual shop open in a matter of hours, trade from your back bedroom and have next day delivery to clients.
Look at the legal sector, a market that was for so long dominated by long time established local firms who would quite literally handle all legal matters; family, business, wills and probate for an entire family is now challenged by internet companies that can offer the advice online for a fraction of the cost. Even Google has got into the legal game by backing Rocket Lawyer in the UK which will closely be followed by Legal Zoom who are partnering with the Quality Solicitors franchise to offer traditional legal services via the internet.
The main thing that happens through increased competition is commoditisation, lowering of costs and ultimately reduced profits. However, if your reputation is second to none, if you are associated with delivering great service, on time and on budget then why should you lower your cost? Your USP is the fact that you are great at what you do, you are experienced, you are trustworthy and more importantly other people think so and publically endorse you too.
When firms go after increasing brand awareness and targeting greater numbers this can be a complete waste of time if you don’t have that USP in the first place. All the advertising investment in the world cannot make up for the fact that when people search for your business in Google, once they have seen your advert they are met with a torrent of negative comments and testimonials from past clients of your business. The vast majority of those clients will NOT deal with you, they WILL find the next service provider who has a good reputation and choose them, even if it costs a little more because they will have more confidence in the fact that they can deliver over you.
So, before you go and invest thousands on your online marketing take a long look at what people are saying about you online and ask yourself honestly if you were a potential customer would you work with yourself?
If the answer is yes then put together a campaign based around your offer and get it out in front of targeted potential clients and track the results. If the answer is No, then forget advertising until you can honestly and truthfully answer, “Yes I would work with this firm”.