What is the one thing each of us wishes we had more of? Time. Because we all have way more to get done each day then we actually have time to accomplish, we start looking for shortcuts that will make things easier. Online banking? Check. Delivery service for everything from dry cleaning to dinner? Check. If we want to spend our money, we want to make sure its giving us something in return, not causing us more work.
Which is why simple messages always work. Look at your favorite products and services. Do you have to think before you buy? Or do they convince you before hand that you will be making the right purchase from someone you can believe in and trust?
Makes sense, right? Yet its amazing how many entrepreneurs manage to confuse what should be a simple process.
1. Problem: Too Many Areas Of Expertise
Having more than one niche you can focus your energy on may seem like a good thing up front. And it does offer you the ability to pick and choose what you want to do each day.
Yet the problem with being good at everything is no one will understand the one thing you are really great at. Instead of being the go-to person for one area of focus, you will be the catch all person that picks up things when no one else comes to mind.
Solution: Niche and segment
Its okay to have more than one love. But if you combine them and try and get your clients to understand your two different niches, it may be a chore. Consider a photographer that loves weddings and product work for catalogs and magazines. Both are photography related and can showcase your creative side. Yet weddings may be considered a bit “frilly” for commercial work. Some executives that would happily hire a seasoned commercial photographer may have a bit of reluctance when they see you compete for weddings on the side. Different mentality. Different areas of expertise. And sometimes the image of what it takes doesn’t cross over from industry to industry.
I would suggest creating more than one website if necessary, allowing each of them to focus on the area you are promoting to each set of clientele. Don’t hide the fact you cater to different industries. Just don’t focus on it where a potential client can spend a lot of time reading about the other niches you cater to.
2. Problem: Offering Distant Products and Services On The Same Site
What is the number one reason people abandon their purchases? Confusion sets in and they simply don’t know what to do next. They are all set ready to buy something, and then change their minds because they are led to another product or service that makes confusion set in.
If you can’t get a clear picture of what a business does, its hard to trust them with your money. Will you really get what you are hoping for? Or will it be a generic, confusing product that offers things you don’t really want or need?
Solution: Keep the sales process simple
There is no problem if you have a few products or services that are completely related and build on each other from the beginning. For example, you have one basic package that all must purchase. Then you offer add-ons that complement your basic package.
Yet when little separates them (like adding an additional 8×10 and an hour of time), or you showcase niches that aren’t related (commercial and wedding), its best if you build the two sites.
Juggling your time between two “businesses” may seem to be counterproductive. Yet it allows you to focus your time and energy in such a way that it helps grow your bottom line. When you spend time in one niche, you focus all of your energy there, relating to the clients that will love you most.
3. Problem: Failing To Personalize Your Business
People want to do business with people. Not companies. Not businesses. Not websites. And not technology.
Technology has made it possible to automate just about everything. Yet at the same time, in has removed the personal touch we used to shower onto our small businesses.
When small businesses existed dozens of years ago, they built their businesses by getting to know the people in their neighborhood. They could say hello by name, remember personal likes and dislikes, and even contact people with special ideas when they had them.
How do you do that with Facebook and Twitter when you’re simply “slamming” information, trying to gain traction in the online world? It can’t be done if you are thinking from a traditional marketing viewpoint.
Which is why you are just as important, if not more important, to the livelihood of your business.
Solution: Let your personality shine
A boring newsletter from your business that shares a little of “we did this” and “we did that” isn’t very exciting. But when you have an entire article on your trip to Italy, writing about what you did and what you saw, including photographs of your family, what could be more personal? And a few images of your latest client are great – it shows what you can do – yet it doesn’t show how fun you are to work with. A story about your time together, and even a picture of you and your clients enjoying lunch together, builds your personality.
The same holds true no matter how you market your business. From Facebook to Twitter to a traditional brochure, what you do is important; who you are is even more important.
When you show your personality, it creates the “small talk” that people use to formulate opinions about whether they can work with you. People love seeing who you are and how you have similar interests to themselves. If they know they can come in and share more than just “business”, they will be more willing to part with their money.