Marketing Value in a Competitive World
If you are a natural health practitioner you are also a business owner and I am going to suggest to you that, in essence, you are also a marketer. After all, you can help more people if you’re able to connect with more people. Now what, some might ask, is a marketer? In very simple terms, a marketer is anyone who promotes their offers for products or services for sale in a marketplace. Next question might be, how does one promote their offers for products or services in a marketplace? Boiled down to it’s simplest terms or at it’s most basic level, one promotes offers for their products or services by offering value. Value might be defined in terms of the expertise or the quality of the services you bring to the marketplace. A physical product may have value by virtue of it’s ability to satisfy wants and needs. The value of the products and services you offer in the marketplace at a particular price point may be perceived by your potential customer base as your reputation for superior service, honesty, integrity and expertise. And your perceived value in a marketplace will attract potential customers/patients to you. People invest their money where they perceive that they are getting the most value for the amount of their investment. At the end of the day, people buy from people or do business with people who they know, like and trust. In most, if not all professions, it will be common knowledge that it takes a lot of time to build a reputation for good service, honesty and integrity but that reputation can be lost in a heartbeat.
But this is becoming an increasingly competitive world especially in larger centres. It may be very difficult, despite your professional and personal qualifications, to attract people to your business especially if you are just starting out. The traditional forms of advertising, television and radio advertising, flyers, brochures are expensive and, increasingly, not very effective. But today we have the internet.
I have practiced law for over 37 years. When I first started out, I offered my services at a very low hourly rate to attract new clients. There will always be people in a marketplace who will purchase products or services based upon the lowest price available for those products or services. But for those purchasers, it is not always guaranteed that they will be getting the most, or even good, value for their investment. In the beginning, lowering the hourly rate for my services was one way I offered value and one way I attracted new clients to my shop. But that strategy meant that I had to work very hard to cover all of my expenses. I am sure most of you will agree that lowering the price of your product or service is not an ideal way to attract new business. One can easily argue that the price is lower for the purchaser because the value of the product or service is lower. That is not the reputation you want to have. For the past few years, when I ask people how they got my name and phone number, most people said they ‘googled’ family law lawyer. Again, today we have the internet. Which brings me to my next point. In a very competitive world seemingly dominated by the internet, how do you market/promote your product or service?
There are two internet marketing strategies that I have employed with success. One method is email marketing. Everyone will have noticed that retailers, when you’re at the check-out, always ask if you want your receipt forwarded to you by email. Once a business has the email addresses of it’s customers, it can communicate with those customers regularly. In so doing, the business can make customers aware of new products, promotions, discounts, special offers and so on. It is a way for a business to offer it’s customers value. I daresay that, if a business in today’s world is not using email marketing as a marketing strategy, that business is missing out on a very effective revenue-generating technique. It is important for a business in today’s world to at least maintain market share. It is natural for other business owners to want to expand and if a business is not at least maintaining it’s share of the market, the market share for that business will be deteriorating via attrition. And that bring me to the question of blogging.
I have been blogging for about ten years now and I can say this. A blog post can be understood as a billboard out there on the internet, a billboard that never goes away, a billboard that advertises the products and services that your business offers. If effective keywords are sprinkled throughout the blog post you create, the search engines will pick up on those keywords and, accordingly, that internet billboard can be a very powerful way to attract new customers. Your internet billboard can be effectively promoting your enterprise 24/7, day after day, week after week, for many years to come. And the best part is that there is no expense involved. You can recycle the content on your blog post if you wish to reflect current circumstances. And, in my view, it is the valuable content that you have in your posts that can dramatically set you apart and give you a tremendous advantage over your competition. In my own business, I post regularly on new developments in the law. I know this gives me an advantage over those who are not doing the same.
To put a wrap on this topic, I will suggest to you that blogging or vlogging (video posts) can set you apart from the competition. Employing this technique you communicate your value to potential customers in the marketplace. Remember the basic principle mentioned at the outset. People purchase goods or services when they perceive that they are getting good value from people whom they know, like and trust. Yes blogging can be a bit of work. You might have to do a bit of research on the right keywords to use but remember those billboards. Once posted they never go away or cost you any money, they are easily edited to reflect new circumstances and they keep promoting you and your business 24/7.
Grant Edward Rayner B.Comm., LL.B.