Why should customers trust you?

When it comes to marketing a business, there are many different “proofs” that must be taken into account. Celebrity endorsements can work for brands with pockets deep enough to pay for celebrity endorsements. But for those smaller businesses that are operating on limited funds, there are similar proofs that can be done on a smaller scale. If you can prove why customers should trust you as opposed to your competition, then you stand to have a competitive edge.

Proof of the business concept

When answering the question why customers should trust you, you must have a business concept that is trusted. Often times we take for granted the underlying concepts that drive our business. For example, in running a coaching service, coaches will often times jump past the concept of coaching to selling their particular programs. When doing this, the coach has neglected the fact that the customer hasn’t necessarily bought in to the concept of coaching. Financial advisors can tout the fact that a single advisor to handle all of their customers needs, when the customer hasn’t been convinced that having a single advisor is necessary. It is important to make sure that the business concept is trusted before you can expect to gain trust for your business.

Proof of the relevance to the customer

And just because a customer accepts the fact that having a single financial advisor or a business coach is a valid and trusted concept doesn’t guarantee that the customer will think that the concepts are relevant to them. Essentially, customers need to be shown “what’s in it for me”. Putting the business concept into context for the customer will show exactly how the concept will work for the customer. The customer may accept that having a single financial advisor or a business coach would work for some people, but not necessarily for them. Proof of business concept is where it starts, but it needs to be tied to proof of relevance to the customer in order to answer the question of why should customers trust you.

Proof of the promise of how your solution will work

Once you have established proof of business concept and tied it in to proof of relevance to the customer, the next hurdle is to show how your solution will work in the context of the customer. You may have established proof concept and proof of relevance, but unless the customer can see some insight into how your solution will work to meet their needs, you won’t completely answer the question of why customers should trust you. And the best way to go about this is to show it and not just tell your customers about it. Testimonials can be a useful tool to build proof. Free trials are another way to prove this concept to your customers. Nothing works quite like having the customer experience the benefits of your product of service first hand.

Proof of your superiority

We all know that shopping around is the way that most people shop. You would never dream of buying the first car, the first house or the first high-ticket item without looking around at your other options. Shopping around is a natural part of any purchase decision. And knowing who your are competing with and what sets your business apart from the competition will be critical in showing how your business meets the needs of your customers better than that of the competition. We live in a consumer-focused world. Customers have many options at hand. And knowing how you are different, special, unique is a necessary part in answering the question why customers should trust you and your business.

A Picture May Be Worth 1,000 Words, But In Marketing It’s Stories That Sell

Small Business marketing strategy rule number one

Un_Standard presents small business marketing strategy rule number one. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but in marketing it’s stories that sell. How many times have you had to endure the trauma of sitting through a presentation of dull PowerPoint slides filled with data dumps or spreadsheets spreadsheets that make your eyes hurt.
If you’re like me, after ten minutes of putting on the front that you are actually paying attention, your mind starts to wander to all of the tasks at hand that need to be accomplished, how many tiles are on the ceiling, or any other distraction to ease the pain of boredom? People react to emotion, compelling stories to form an emotional connection between the presenter and the audience. After all, consumers are motivated by emotion and the best way to connect is by putting the message into context so that the audience grasps the message. Once upon a time…

When we trudge through dry factual arguments, we have our defenses up. When we are absorbed in a story, we drop that front and allow our emotions to take hold. And emotions are what connects us and drives us as consumers.

People relate to honest stories

Every business has an inspiration, and a story behind the way that the business came in to being. Essentia Mattresses is a company that was founded because a family member of the founder and CEO had cancer. The doctors said that the cancer could have likely come about from exposure to everyday toxins from household items…like mattresses. And with that experience, Essentia Mattresses was born. A heart-wrenching story and the motivating story behind the creation of their organic mattresses. Instead of using the small business marketing strategy to position themselves as the first company to offer a natural memory foam mattress, Essentia made the conscious decision to incorporate the story into their brand and marketing efforts. And in a short space of time, they went from being a small online business to generating millions in revenue and eventually opening brick-and-mortar stores with plans for expansion.

Even if you think you don’t have a compelling story to tell in your small business marketing strategy, chances are you have a story that will relate with the ones you’re trying to reach. A good story must be relatable, no matter how mundane it may seem at first. You probably aren’t the first person to have an idea. And you aren’t the last. We all have competition. And those people who will be purchasing your products or services want experiences. Experiences are made through connections, and told through stories. Be sure to use those stories as the foundation of your small business marketing strategy.

And they all lived happily ever after. The end.

Essential Sales Lead Tools For Small Businesses

Sales lead tools can be invaluable to a business. But many small businesses don’t have the money available to spend on these sorts of tools that larger businesses have. But that doesn’t mean that essential sales lead tools aren’t available for small businesses.
We’ll take a look at three tools that don’t cost an arm and a leg, and they aren’t LinkedIn or Facebook (not that there’s anything wrong with LinkedIn and Facebook. They’re both great resources for small and big businesses alike).

Jigsaw

Jigsaw is owned by salesforce.com and combines social media and lead generation. Businesses can earn points for adding contacts into the Jigsaw database. And those points work like frequent flyer miles, where they can be used to get free contacts. Subscriptions to this service start around $250 per year, but it’s free to earn contacts by sharing contacts.

ZoomInfo Community

ZoomInfo gives users access to a database of 60 million business contacts. That’s a whole lot of contacts to mine! The free edition asks for your contacts in exchange. There’s a plethora of plugins that link with Outlook or Google Apps, which makes this a very easy resource to use. You can even export the contacts that you get into a CRM system like Salesforce or Capsule.

Lead411

Lead411 offers users a simple searchable database of contacts at the reasonable rate of around $30 a month. You can gain access to more contact by upgrading your subscription.

From Catwalk to Sidewalk: Burberry’s Concept of Fast Fashion

From catwalk to sidewalk

Burberry goes the way of fast fashion, a la H&M? Fear not fashionistas! Burberry isn’t planning on competing with Primark any time soon, but they’ve cleverly upped their game in regards to getting their product into the hands of those that want to buy. Call it a “catwalk to sidewalk” strategy.

Burberry is to embrace its own concept of ‘”fast fashion” by allowing consumers to buy items from its next collection online and in-store ahead of traditional drop dates. For the first time, consumers will be able to purchase Burberry’s garments from the autumn-winter collection directly through a campaign gallery and short films on their website to instantly move their garments from catwalk to sidewalk. The campaign will also run across digital platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest.

Runway to reality

The news follows the launch of the brand’s catwalk to sidewalk strategy called ‘Runway to Reality’, which allows VIP consumers to buy items from its runway collections immediately, via an iPad app. The brilliance of this strategy is that it eliminates the lag time that fast fashion retailers such as Primark and H&M were able to exploit. Previously, a high end designer would show their collection in any of the fashion capitals well ahead of the date that any of the items would end up in retail stores. This lag time allowed the fast fashion bunch to copy the designs, put them into mass production and get them into their stores, often times in advance of the originals. Spanish retailers Mango and Zara were notorious for their extremely quick production times that allowed them to released their knocked off versions of the high end designers before the high end designers had a chance to release their designs to the public. Burberry is a very smart company, and was obviously aware that the  fast fashion retailers were copying their creations. So what better way to avoid that than to make the originals available for sale at the moment that they are revealed to the public?

Now, if Burberry can address the catwalk to sidewalk dilemma, then hopefully next on their agenda would be to address the issue of sustainability in the fashion world by reducing the amount of pollution that their industry generates during the production process.