Making a business successful used to be about one thing: doing what you did so well that people chose you first.
Running a deli? Have the best food, promptly served and made from fresh ingredients.
Driving a taxi? Get people where they wanted to go on time. Without breaking the speed limit, of course. It was simple, although not easy.
Success in business these days has become more complicated because there are so many layers. Defining success isn’t as easy as it once was, for one thing. But more than that, the business that does what it does well might not be the one that gets most business. You can be the best restaurant in a town, but more business might go to the one that markets itself better.
Even then, “better” is such a subjective term. Does it mean more aggressively? Smarter? In a more innovative way? Well, it can mean all of these.
A successful marketing strategy is like an onion. Because of all of the layers, obviously.
1. Find Your USP
The whole concept of a USP – Unique Selling Point – is not a new one. It’s been around since the 1940s. It is one that has remained central to marketing, though.
It’s what you or your business do better than anyone else. Get that front and center and it will pull more people in. This is the bit you get right first, to build a platform from which you diversify.
2. Get Online And Live There
A company cannot live by digital marketing alone, but it is the single most important field in which to sell your business.
People used to spend forever making calls, pounding the pavement and asking friends where to get the best product or service.
Now they pull their phone out and look online. If you’re not showing up when they do that, you’re toast.
3. Still There? Now Make Your Pitch!
Having a website, and even being prominent, will help you up to a point. Visibility is one layer of making your business profitable. But if people see a huge store front and it’s just selling piles of old garbage, they won’t buy it.
You need to make your products and services desirable. As soon as people are able to find you, make them find you irresistible.
4. Keep Reviewing Your Approach
A marketing strategy is only going to be effective if it is time-tested. Viral marketing can be effective on a short-term basis. Sadly the road to business success is littered with companies who started well and faded. You need to make sure that if you have initial popularity, you strike while the iron is hot and make that popularity pay. See what works and do more of it, but always evolve.
The other way in which your marketing strategy should be like an onion is that, if it’s really juicy, it will make your opponents cry. But focus on the layers thing first and foremost. It sounds a lot nicer and is more useful as a strategy!
Featured Photo by Pete Linforth