Archive for August 2017

Differentiating Your Business from Competitors

Among the greatest marketing challenges for small businesses (all businesses, really) is finding ways to truly differentiate themselves from competitors. Being different is not enough: the factors that distinguish your company, products and services from others must also be relevant, and ideally compelling, to your audience.

Offering high quality products or services at competitive prices is not enough; that’s really just a baseline, the ante needed to just play the game. The trick is to find ways to help people understand why they should prefer you over the available alternatives.

This often is a daunting task. I’ve worked with many professional service organizations, including CPAs and law firms, that have struggled to contrast themselves with other businesses offering similar services and expertise. These were fine firms, staffed by extremely bright, well-educated professionals, and yet they often found it difficult to explain why they should be the preferred choice for prospective clients.

The challenge is not limited professional services. Businesses of all types — from florists, dry cleaners and auto mechanics to chiropractors, dentists and plumbers and more — should try to devise ways to stick out in an environment of seemingly limitless options.

There are a variety of areas in which companies can seek to differentiate themselves: products, service, distribution channels, relationships and even image or reputation. How you prioritize them depends on your industry and the needs of your customers

The alternative to effective differentiation is to compete on price. That is a losing proposition — especially in industries facing completion from overseas.

Understanding Customers

Your first step in this effort next step is to do everything you can to really understand your current or prospective customers. The better you know and appreciate the factors that influence their purchase decisions, the better you can tailor your offerings, or at least your messaging, to align with their needs and interests.

Once you identify your prospects’ ideal solution(s), you need to do an honest and candid self-assessment: how well does your business actually meet those needs? How do your products compare with your competitors’ offerings? Do you provide truly superior service? What kind of “customer experience” does your business provide?

Answering these questions can deliver benefits beyond a marketing analysis. It can help you identify areas where you can rectify weaknesses and improve your business overall. 

Competitor Analysis

Your next step is to gain a better understanding of your competitors. What do they do well? Poorly? How do they present themselves to the market? What messages do they emphasize in their communications? What weaknesses do you perceive? How salient are such weaknesses to the people you want to influence? What do people say about them on review sites such as Yelp?

These are but a few of the questions that might be considered. Here is a longer list of questions you can use during your research. Here are some information sources that may help you gather this information.

What Makes Your Different — and Preferable?

Now comes the hard part for most businesses: figuring out what really makes you different. What makes you the best choice in your particular category? Dave Avrin, a marketing consultant, author and public speaker, suggests asking yourself likes this fundamental query: “To what question are you the answer?”

A frank analysis may determine that you currently do not have relevant points of differentiation. In that case, your urgent task is to develop one.

In my next post, I’ll offer some suggestions for identifying a variety of distinctive qualities or attributes your customers might find attractive. Once you have an initial list, you’ll need to assess which of these attributes would be most compelling to your audience, what it will take for your business to demonstrate such attributes, and whether or not you can actually evince them without seriously straining your operations or significantly diminishing your profitability

E-Commerce is the Future of Retail, Or Is It?

Many believe that the world of brick-and-mortar is coming to an end. That the future is e-commerce, and e-commerce alone. Many feel the number of retail bankruptcies, store closings and liquidations support this argument, along with the rise of e-commerce giant Amazon. However, there are signs that stores, not e-commerce, are actually the future of retail.

Consider the following fivesigns physical stores are here to stay:

  1. The rise of e-commerce is a mix of – often misunderstood – factors

It’s true that giants like Amazon and eBay have transformed the way consumers shop. E-commerce has had a huge impact on traditional retail: from the increase in purchases online to pick up in-store perks. Despite the changes in shopping trends, consumers aren’t giving up on brick-and-mortar just yet.

Yes, there have been many store closings and retail bankruptcies, but consumers have also changed the way they shop in general. Many purchase fewer tangible things post Great Recession, and are placing more importance on experiences. It’s also important to note that, save for Amazon and eBay, few other e-commerce only retailers have gained huge influence.

  1. The top retailers in the U.S. are physical chains

According to the Top 100 Retailers list from STORES Magazine, a National Retail Federation publication, besides Amazon, the top U.S. retailers are brick-and-mortar stores. The top ten on this list include: Wal-Mart Stores, Kroger Co., Costco, The Home Depot, CVS, Walgreens, Amazon.com, Target, Lowe’s and Albertson’s. Another fact in support of physical chains, 55-year-old Wal-Mart grew 8 percent in 2016.

  1. Physical stores are more profitable than e-commerce

Yes, most of the top ten retailers also have e-commerce. However, the physical stores are where the real profits lie. Why? Unlike an in-store purchase, an e-commerce order involves factors like shipping and handling charges and the costs of returns, whichquickly chip away at margins.

  1. Millennials and Gen Z prefer physical stores

You would think that the generations that enjoyed the rise of Amazon, Facebook and Instagram (Millennials and Generation Z) would prefer shopping online. While they do spend a lot of their free time online, most actually prefer to in-store shopping to digital. According to CBRE, 70 percent of global millennials prefer brick-and-mortar retail stores. According to Accenture Research, in the U.S., over 77 percent of Gen Z (born after mid-1990s through the early 2000s) shared that brick-and-mortar was their first choice as well.

  1. The increase in the number of consumer financing programs

In recent years, the number of consumer financing programs has increased considerably. For brick-and-mortar businesses, the ability to offer a financing program, which guarantees most customers will be eligible and easily qualify for, is incredibly valuable. First American Merchant’s furniture consumer financing program, for example, gives furniture merchants the power to offer a complete payment solution to customers.

As a high-risk specialist, the “high risk” categorization of this industry is not a problem.FAM also understands the value of being able to offer financing to both good credit borrowers and borrowers with a subprime credit score. All in all, FAM’sfurniture consumer financing program ensures consumers have an affordable way to pay when they are unable to afford the full cost (costs are broken down into affordable monthly payments).

Comenzar a trabajar con Google Adwords

Para utilizar Google Adwords hay que tener en cuenta ciertas cosas que deben funcionar como una especie de guía al momento de que las personas comiencen a utilizar esta plataforma.

1.- Esta plataforma trabaja en base a una campaña que necesitará un objetivo, el cual será planteado por el mismo personal de la página a la hora de crear una cuenta en esta herramienta. Una vez que se haya fijado este objetivo se comenzará a trabajar la campaña la cual puede variar dependiendo del uso que se le quiera dar.

2.-Luego de crear el objetivo de esta campaña que funcionará por medio de descargas o anuncios, como ya se ha mencionado con anterioridad, se deberá crear un presupuesto para los anuncios que aparecerán en la campaña.Éste debe estar establecido por día o por mes dependiendo de cómo funcione mejor para el creador.

3.-Las palabras claves son parte necesarias e importantes para esta herramienta ya que por medio de estas aparecerán los anuncios, por lo tanto deben encontrase bien definidas además de que estas pueden llegar a ser tanto negativas como positivas por lo tanto hay que tener en cuenta las dos.

4.-Los anuncios son una de las partes más necesarias para que esta herramienta cumpla con su función. Estos no solo deben encontrase organizados sino que también han de estar optimizados tanto para ordenadores como para los Smartphone ya que estos cada vez va ganando más terreno. Para redactar los anuncios es importante el marketing de contenidos. Los anuncios además, juegan un papel importante ya que se trabaja por medio del pago por clic, es decir, que las personas pagaran una cierta cantidad de dinero por cada clic que se realicen sobre ellos. Además de que la posición que estos tengan es muy importante a la hora de la optimización de la misma página.

5.- Después de realizar todo este proceso es el momento de lanzar la campaña e ir viendo los resultados que nos pueden dar con el paso del tiempo, por lo que es necesario identificar y analizar los fallos que podamos llegar a tener.

Estas no son las únicas opciones con la que cuenta esta herramienta que desde el momento que comenzó a ser utilizada ha llegado a ayudar a aquellas personas que cuentan con pequeñas páginas webs en una de las más visibles.

Hay que tener en cuenta que Google no solo ofrece este oficio sino que también proporciona una serie de tutoriales para que sepa cómo manejarlo ya que en la actualidad es una de las herramientas más utilizadas por las personas.

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