Marketing Value in a Competitive World
If you are a health practitioner you are also a business owner and I am going to suggest to you that you must also be 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 offers for the sale of products or services in a marketplace. Next question might be, how does one effectively promote their offers for the sale of products or services in a marketplace?
At a basic level, one promotes offers for their products or services by offering value. Value, at it’s core, is most certainly defined in terms of the expertise or the quality of the services you bring to the marketplace.
We all strive to continually hone our skills in order to be of the highest value to the community we serve. In so doing, our reputation for expertise and quality of service is enhanced. 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 may be perceived by your potential customer base as your reputation for superior service, honesty, integrity and expertise. Your perceived value from that standpoint will attract potential customers/patients to you.
Factored in to the equation will be what goods or services your business offers at specified price points. A physical product is usually offered at a fixed price. Services may be offered at fixed or variable rates. Many professionals offer their services at an hourly rate.
People invest their money where they perceive that they are getting the most value for the amount of their investment. People buy from those who they know, like and trust. For all professionals, it takes time to build a reputation for expertise, good service, honesty and integrity.
It is becoming an increasingly competitive world especially in larger centres. It may be difficult, notwithstanding your professional qualifications, to attract people to your business if you are just starting out. The traditional forms of advertising, television and radio advertising, flyers, brochures are expensive and, increasingly, not very effective.
I have practiced law for more than 38 years at the time of this writing. When I first started out, I offered free initial consultations. Then, if it came to my attention that a person in for a consultation earned a modest annual income, I would sometimes offer that prospect my services at a discounted hourly rate. 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.
Discounting the hourly rate for my services to selected clients was one way I tried to offer value. For people who are economically disadvantaged, I maintain that practice to this day. But, of course, expenses must be covered so that strategy cannot be maintained across the board
Offering your services at discounted rates can be seen as a marketing strategy that is not ideal and not only from a purely profit perspective. Potential customers, irrespective of that customer’s level of annual income, may not appreciate that they are getting a break. Yes, some will perceive that the price offered is lower 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 looked for a family law lawyer on Google. In a very competitive world dominated by the internet, how do you go about promoting your products or services?
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 engage with those customers on a regular basis. In so doing, the business can make it’s customer base aware of new products, promotions, discounts, special offers and so on. It is a way for a business to provide on-going value and maintain visibility.
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 marketing strategy. It is also leaving a lot of money on the table! Maintaining visibility is crucial for long-term success.
It is important for business owners to maintain market share. Your competitors want to expand and if your business is not maintaining it’s share of the market, your customer base may deteriorate through attrition.
A blog or video post can be understood as a billboard out there on the internet, a billboard that never goes away, a billboard that maintains the visibility of your business and 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.
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, perhaps, many years to come. No further expense is involved.
The link to a blog post can be placed on social media platforms further expanding it’s reach. An old post can, potentially, be re-posted again and again on social media.
You can edit the content on your blog post if necessary to reflect a change in circumstances. Valuable content that you have created in your posts can set you apart from 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.
By employing this technique you are able to communicate 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. See my post Blogging | The Art of Attraction Marketing.
In my view, a business must have an online presence in today’s world. Yes email marketing/blogging/vlogging is a lot of work. Many businesses hire someone qualified to perform these tasks. But, of course, you would have to communicate the desired content to the contractor.
For those starting out with limited capital, content creation will be a hands-on responsibility. You will want a well-crafted email series. You might have to do a bit of research on the right keywords. You must also do your best to create content of the highest quality. But remember the billboards analogy. Once posted they never go away, cost you any more money, they are easily edited to reflect new circumstances and they continue to promote you and your business 24/7.
Grant Edward Rayner B.Comm., LL.B.