If you caught last weeks’ Courier newspaper, you may well have come eye to eye with Ditto’s very first printed article in the business section. I’m more than a little excited, can you tell? I’m not crazy about the headline they chose for us (I’ll do my own next time) – but never mind. Yes, it may be a week late, but here it is: my first newspaper column (put on my blog at the request of our wonderful friend and mentor, Sam Ithell):
“Before I started writing this article, I asked my clients what their biggest challenge is when it comes to marketing their business. It’s no surprise that cost is a big factor for the majority of small business owners. With the various obstacles that surround navigating a business through a recession, it’s more important than ever to communicate your message effectively without breaking the bank.
Before you can get started, you need to know what you’re promoting. This might sound like beginners stuff, but without a key differential which separates you from everyone else, you’re lost. First off, find your niche in the market. What do you do that makes you so much more brilliant than everyone else – why is it that people buy from you rather than your competitors? There’s no point trying to compete directly with another company; there’ll always be someone who’s offering the same product or service for less money and you certainly don’t want to get into a price war. Now is a great time to examine your business critically and explore new ways to diversify and stay ahead of the curve – how can you find an avenue to specialise in that sets you apart from everyone else? Whether it’s the expert advice that you offer or the widget which saves your customers time and money, there’ll be something that makes you special. Your first job is to find out what that is! Mull it over, jot down some ideas and refine them until you’re happy that you’ve found your niche. Once we know what that is, we can get started on communicating it effectively and establishing your voice in the market. That’s where marketing gets really interesting!”