Getting The Word Out: A Guide To Marketing Your Business' New Product Or Service Small business owners should think of marketing as reputation building that attracts new clients.
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One of the most difficult challenges of being an entrepreneur and business owner is finding the time for marketing, especially when you're busy keeping your clients happy.
Marketing is not unlike physical exercise; we all know we should do it- but most of us rarely do.
So, what exactly is marketing? There are many definitions, however a simple yet effective one when you're an entrepreneur or small business owner is to think of marketing as reputation building for your business that attracts new clients.
The most difficult products and services to market are the newly created ones– those products or services that didn't previously exist. People have never heard of them before, and they have nothing to compare them to. Initially, they may have difficulty appreciating the value of the new product/service, and its potential benefit to them.
On the other side of the spectrum are the traditional services that are already widely known, and that usually are based on an exchange of time for money. These more traditional services are easier to market. People know what the service is, they are able to make comparisons with competing providers, and they usually have a basic understand of the benefits the service will offer them.
Have you ever heard a business owner say "Well, I don't really do any marketing," and wondered how they have so many clients?
I know I have, and I pondered on this question for a considerable time.
The more business owners I worked with and spoke to, the more clearly I saw the correlation between an absence of marketing and the provision of traditional services. Traditional service businesses continue to win new clients and grow their revenue, because they provide more widely known and accepted services that people are familiar with.
Most importantly though, traditional service businesses with lots of clients are very good at relationship building. Their relationships with satisfied clients and prospective clients create a word of mouth momentum that keeps new clients and revenue flowing in, even in the absence of marketing activities, like advertising, e-mail marketing, and social media.
If your business provides more traditional services (and there certainly is nothing wrong with that), relationship building is paramount. Building trust and rapport, keeping your commitments, and delivering above and beyond expectation all contribute to building strong client relationships that produce more clients and revenue.
If your business provides new products and services, a greater marketing effort will be necessary to educate people before reaching the relationship building phase. New product/service providers need to educate prospects and influencers about the benefits of their unique product and service, in order to generate a flow of leads or potential clients. If a strong foundation of education has been laid, the next relationship building phase can be effective and win new clients.
Of course, it must be noted here that there are both pros and cons to being a traditional or a new product/service provider.
More traditional product/service providers can find and win new clients relatively easier than new ones. However, they also must compete with a larger number of competitors.
Their fees and prices are often reduced in order to remain competitive, and sometimes their services can become commoditized where clients will choose simply based on price. Traditional providers who only provide services can also struggle with introducing products, limiting their ability to scale up.
New product/service provider businesses have a harder job marketing themselves and winning new clients. They have to invest significantly more time and effort educating people about their products/services, before even moving into the relationship building phase.
However, since their products and services are new, there isn't as much competition. They don't have to lower fees or prices in order to outbid a competitor, because of the unique value of their product/service.
They can also create products easier than traditional providers and scale up their business, without expensive capital outlays or having to hire additional team members.
If you're an entrepreneur with an innovative new product or service that people haven't necessarily heard of, you can still create marketing momentum to win new clients.
It may require some more time and effort than traditional services, however thanks to social media, it is possible to educate a relatively large audience for little cost, and generate a flow of high quality potential clients that are interested and willing to pay for your brand new shiny product or service (providing of course, that it delivers real value).
A great way to start is by writing down a 50-word "elevator pitch" that describes plainly and simply what your product or service is, and how it will benefit a potential client.
Test it out on some new potential clients and gauge their response. Fine tune your pitch, and when you see your prospects have "the light-bulb moment," where they can see the value of your product/service, then move into the relationship building phase, building trust and rapport so you can win them as a new client.