Here’s How Marketing Can Help You Get More Customers
Whether you own a CNC shop or are responsible for bringing in business for your employer, you’ll be more successful if you move beyond basic sales tactics to developing and implementing marketing strategies.
For many years a business publishing company ran an advertisement that featured a photo of a dour looking customer addressing a salesperson with words like these: “I don’t know who you are, I don’t know your company, I don’t know your company’s products, I don’t know your company’s reputation. Now what do you want to sell me?”
The point, of course, is that people are more inclined to do business with a known entity. The more they know about your company, the more likely they are to listen to you. That’s where marketing comes in: It forms the basis for a relationship that can lead to a sale.
There’s a lot to know about marketing, but here are a few fundamental facts:
- You need a marketing plan. The true value of a marketing plan is that it forces you to closely examine, understand and codify facts about your customers, offerings, supply chain, distribution channels and promotion, in light of your vision and goals. This information enables you to develop sound strategies and tactics. As you execute these tactics you can track results, modify your actions as necessary, and determine if your strategies are viable.
- Focus on the customer. What is it your customers want and need that match your company’s capabilities? Do they have unmet needs that you can satisfy? Or can you add new technology or people skills to broaden your appeal?
- Choose your targets. You can’t be all things to all people, and you can’t be everywhere at once. That’s why you must identify potential customers who represent your greatest opportunities for success. Learn all you can about them and use this information in all your communications. Start by defining what a perfect customer would be and then make a list of companies that match many of your criteria.
- Build relationships. Creating a strong relationship leads to initial, repeat and even additional orders, as well as testimonials and referrals. What often derails a good relationship is inconsistency. When customers have a good experience followed by a not so good experience, it shakes their faith in your company. They will be less likely to do business with you again and will tell others about their dissatisfaction. So set high standards for customer service and regularly gauge customer satisfaction.
- Choose communications channels wisely. No one has the resources to communicate with prospective and existing customers through all available channels. There’s inbound and outbound marketing, social media, personal sales, Web sites, email, text messaging, advertising, public relations and more. The best approach is to learn where your customers look for information on new suppliers, then prioritize your communication efforts accordingly. Hint: Start with strong content on your Web site.