Turning a great reputation into business
Whilst it’s great to obtain publicity, recommendations and opportunities to be ‘visible’ to your target market – if these don’t lead to new or repeat business, they won’t justify all the time and energy you’ve invested in your marketing.
The key to winning business from a great reputation is by being proactive and using the ‘publicity’ opportunities you get in your business development or sales approach. Think of the output of your reputation-generating activities (such as press cuttings, newsletters, blog updates, social network updates, tweets, presentations, guides etc) as the fuel you use in:
- Targeting and approaching new customers – convincing them to take your call and talk to you
- Keeping your business on a potential customer’s horizon when the decision-making process becomes long and drawn out
- Supporting your new business proposals – so potential customers feel they are getting a valuable, ‘safe’ supplier
- Reassuring your existing customers to stay loyal to you, repeat buy or perhaps try other products and services from you
- Keeping your network of contacts and possible referrers up to date with your latest thinking, which might prompt them to forward more leads your way
- Following up your networking efforts to keep yourself ‘front of mind’ with the new contacts you meet
- Securing more ‘publicity’ opportunities by reassuring those in charge of them, that you are a pro and a great contributor in this arena
Currency is key
The best reputations are built by focusing very carefully on the market or audience they want to attract and by articulating messages which that audience will be keen to hear. That means following the topics and issues that audience engages with.
Over the last few years businesses have seen things change fairly fast. For example, new buyer behaviour trends have emerged, political landscapes have quickly shifted and the economic environment altered. Each brings a host of new issues and topics your target audience then chooses to engage with. In some cases, it helps just to be mindful of these, in others, there are distinct promotional and new business opportunities to join in the discussion or give expert opinion and insight.
The main thing is to keep on the pulse of the latest issues grabbing your target audience’s attention. Adapt your approach, message and business offering to make the most of new opportunities. The faster you can adapt, the more potential opportunities you will convert. Similarly, keep abreast of what new questions, concerns and delays are occurring in your customers’ buying cycles with you. Can you create new content or approaches which address these and make the process of buying from you smoother?
Touchpoints to keep you in mind
Once you have started generating content, create plans to ensure you use it to best effect. Consider which contacts, customers, referrers and/or influencers you want to keep in touch with. Unless they object, plan a series of points when you will send or do something that keeps you very much in their mind.
It should be at a frequency they’d like and the content you use, from the bank you are building, should be very relevant to their interests/situation. Remember to select the medium, content and style that they are most likely to interact with – use contact with them to find out their preferences and build a dialogue.
If you are planning to do email communications, do ensure you have their approval as the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation changes will require you to be able to prove they actively opted into your communication.
Overall, you want to convey is that your business is active, it understands the market it supports and it is helping that market. This positive mindset will shine out and draw others to you.
Be visible by being active
Be sure then to encourage the advocates and happy customers of your business to rate, rank and endorse you. Acknowledge and make the most of these – feature them on your website, in your social media, case studies, sales proposals, sales collateral etc. Quite often it’s easier to grasp the strengths of a business from the way its customers describe them. So make sure your reputation is visible in:
- The words of your customers
- The experience people gain in dealing with you
- The help, support and knowledge you give to your target audience
Similarly, be seen to support others – respond quickly to comments on social media, be seen to be encouraging and helping people as this will encourage others to do the same for you.
Lots of business invest considerable resources into content marketing and activities to boost their reputation. This is money well spent when it supports the objectives of the business and in particular sales and customer retention. Do ensure then your reputation-building activities are clearly guided by:
- your target market and their interests, issues and needs
- your business objectives – growth, sales, customer and staff retention
- your strengths in relation to your competition
For more advice on marketing your business contact us or tel. 01483 429111.
A version of this article first appeared on the entrepreneur site, Women Unlimited . It has subsequently been updated to reflect current changes.