By Gina Blitstein
One of the most important aims of an effective advertising campaign is promoting your personal brand. You want to stress what elements make your business unique. It’s very important to distinguish your offerings from those of your competitors to give consumers more reasons to choose you over them.
If your business doesn’t have a strong and unique identity, it’s worth your while to discover what sets you apart from – and hopefully above – other businesses offering similar products and/or services. Even if you don’t presently consider your business to be one that stands out, it can – with some creative evaluation of what you offer and how you promote it.
Think of your clientele – or better yet, your “ideal” clientele. What values do they hold; what priorities do they possess that influence where they shop and what they buy? The answer to that question will help you determine what you can offer that will cause them to lean your way.
Consumers will seek out their own interests and passions in the marketplace, so it’s smart to offer things that reflect those. When your business stands for something more important than dollars and cents, customers take notice. Not only are you providing consumers with what they need and want; you’re gaining their goodwill by providing it. Many consumers don’t mind paying a premium for goods and services when they perceive the opportunity to buy in accordance with their values.
Values-based offerings that attract the attention of consumers include:
- Organic - Customers are increasingly concerned about food safety. Assuring them that yours is grown without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms or ionizing radiation, and that the animals that produce your meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products are not administered antibiotics or growth hormones is sure to win you some business.
- Grass-fed beef - Health-conscious consumers may seek out grass-fed beef, which they believe to be more nutritious than grain-fed cattle.
- Benefit to humanitarian efforts throughout the world - Offering merchandise with a purpose beyond generating a profit for your business will make a big difference to shoppers who like to feel that their purchase makes an impact in lives the world over.
- Free-trade - Many consumers want to be assured that the international goods they buy are produced by people working in good conditions who are paid and treated fairly.
- Union-made - Purchasing items produced by those working in unionized trades supports American laborers.
- Supports a cause, organization or charity - Knowing that part of the purchase price will support a cause is a big incentive for people to buy – and feel good about their purchase.
- Locally grown or manufactured - Supporting the residents of their own community is a strong incentive for many people. Knowing that local folks were paid to grow or manufacture items makes them highly attractive. Local food is often considered healthier and fresher, too.
- Sustainable / Eco-friendly / Made from recycled materials or up-cycled – Products produced or farmed with limited impact on the environment are said to be sustainable; eco-friendly products are considered “green” and conserve natural resources. Products that have found a second life through recycling or up-cycling are preferred by those who are passionate about limiting waste. These are attractive enticements to the environmentally conscious consumer.
- Shop local and small business initiatives - Though many services are now offered remotely, virtually or from huge, far-flung companies, many consumers feel it’s important to spend their dollars at smaller, locally-owned service providers like mechanics, electricians, plumbers, contractors, hair stylists, insurance brokers, bankers, attorneys, accountants, real estate agents and the like. These customers are passionate about keeping money building the economy of community where it’s made, so give them every opportunity.
- Personal service - Many consumers lament that the days of personal service and a relationship with the professional they’ve hired are long gone. There are plenty of customers who will actively seek out and appreciate that level of personalized service and attention that only a small company can provide.
- History (“roots") in the community - Your very longevity could be among your best selling points among your existing – as well as potential – customers. In a world of fast-paced and fly-by-night operations, your business can be a welcome exception. Perhaps your ability to brag that you did business with your customer’s grandmother, or that you’ve been serving the community from the same location since 1979 will garner some much-appreciated nostalgia with a company that’s deeply rooted in the community and its residents.
To grow your clientele, give people what they want. They’ll appreciate you for it and flock to your door to spend money with the business that shares their interests and values.
Gina Blitstein combines her insight as a fellow small business owner with her strong communication skills, exploring topics that enhance your business efforts. That first-hand knowledge, matched with an insatiable curiosity to know more about just about anything, makes her a well-rounded writer with a sincere desire to engage and inform.
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of ZB, N.A.