Imagine finding it hard to talk about what a fantastic business you are when what you do is of a sensitive subject… tough gig eh?
Yesterday, I went to visit a new and exciting business that is in place to help millions of women in the UK take a few simple steps to resolving something that affects 2 in 3 ladies.
Tonicity, based in Marble Arch, exists to help women improve all those muscles that exist inside us to hold us upright and in order. As the old adage goes ‘prevention is better than cure’, and this vibrant and energised business aims to educate women young and old to look after themselves before it’s too late. In short, they bring order back to the core muscles in the pelvic area that have prevented thousands of women from leading an ordinary stress-free life. You’d be amazed how many people are affected, from sporting women such as gymnasts and dancers right through to your mother’s best friend who won’t go to keep-fit for fear of star jumps. Tonicity helps restore not only physical wellbeing but also give back the mental confidence women need to achieve a normal life.
When I arrived, the reception team warmly greeted me and the management team took me on a guided tour. As I walked through the rooms, I noticed the efforts they had gone through in order to ensure the facilities and treatments were extensive. As we sat down to discuss how business was going, I realised that this business was born from a passion to provide better care and treatment for subject that needs a positive change in women’s health care.
There is no other organisation in the country that provides the level of support that this company does and the team have spent the last year liaising with senior medical staff to ensure it offers superior care and support. It is an incredibly well thought out business underpinned by passion that would never have you doubting in their belief for what they do.
We got talking about how the company promotes itself; after all it’s a sensitive subject that requires a broad and focused approach. Whatever your business, your goal is to create a compelling reason for each potential client to approach you. How you message it will be different for each type of customer but the essence should be the same… what’s your essence?
For businesses like this, I would suggest the following, particularly if you are working to a restricted budget:
Before you even start shouting from the roof tops, articulate the types of customers you are looking to attract and work out how best to reach them. Remember it takes approximately ten different ‘touches’ to motivate someone to respond. As Seth Godin says ‘it’s a process, not an event’, never is it truer in this case when dealing with personal and private matters. Make sure that the information is clear and to the point so that you get instant buy in; you don’t want to make a prospect work for your relationship.
Look for ways to offset responsibilities efficiently if you are limited in terms of time, money, and resources. For example, it’s time consuming getting out in front of people, so look to your website or social networking as a right-hand-man. Interested prospects will always check out your website to find out more about you so ensure that it has everything you need it to say. Hopefully by the time you get back to the office, your website will have done enough to convince them to like you more.
Does your business say exactly what you want it to say on your website? Does it have the correct contact details and is your information up-to-date and relevant? What incentives are listed to encourage them to contact you?
Make your customers your advocates – find ways to reward (and therefore retain) your clients loyalty. Don’t give away something of value since you could come unstuck the next time they want to buy it. Offer an added service on their next purchase or give priority invitations to any special events you may hold.
Make your employees your advocates – is your own company doing everything possible to rave about what you are doing? Are they fanatical? How do you reward them? As a friend of mine says ‘empowering employees leads to remarkable service’ – what are you doing to encourage their goodwill? See how Zappos achieved this. NOTE: this is embedded in their website.
Online videos – we’d all love a day with each customer to tell them how great we are but in reality it’s simply not possible. Recording popular FAQs or case studies help those silent prospects too nervous to initially approach you in person, understand more about you. Make sure what you record is relevant and compelling enough that your prospects are encouraged to take that step closer to you.
Social media such as Twitter or FaceBook – connect with hundreds, if not thousands, of people who can do business with or find it for you. Don’t go signing up for everything though so keep it simple; that way it’s easier to manage and serve you as a business tool.
Do your staff understand what it is you are communicating and what ideas do they have to help? Does your voicemail during and outside office hours tell people what you are doing? Do your email signatures and out of office replies keep clients and prospects aware that you are actively developing your business?
Your potential to reach out to thousands of prospective clients using these low-cost ideas if done properly is an efficient use of your time and a fantastic way to gather feedback. Marketing collateral such as letters and leaflets should resonate the same messaging that you communicate throughout your business but again, ensure that it is relevant and effective… how many times have you seen someone take a leaflet on the High Street only to (hopefully) throw it in the next rubbish bin they see?
Don’t forget that ‘selling’ and ‘marketing’ go hand in hand no matter who and what your role is in the business. From the receptionist who answers the phone through to the way your invoices are presented.
If you have a message that isn’t getting you the traction you need, it’s time to see if what you are saying and what you are thinking are the same thing. If it isn’t then, grab a piece of paper and brainstorm… best of luck!
Susanne Dansey is the Managing Director of Purple Cow Ideas Management – an organisation that facilitates a paradigm shift in the collaborative nature of the ICT Industry. You can follow her on Twitter and join the conversation on Facebook.