The personal touch

Andy Vickery explains how newsletters can boost business

Published:  20 March, 2015

There's a little advertising and marketing ditty that I remember from way back, probably to at least the early 80s, that related to producing marketing material for clients - it went: 'If the client moans and sighs, make his logo twice the size; If he still should prove refractory, show a picture of his factory; But only in the direst case, should the client show his face!'

Over the ensuing years things have changed massively. The world is a different place and it's harder to find products, services and businesses that are truly different. There are so many 'me-too' businesses out there, and so much more competition in all sectors, all competing for, in many cases, diminishing market shares.

Be personal

An early exponent of marketing and someone we can all learn from is Jack Trout, the author of 'Differentiate or Die' and 'Positioning - The Battle for Your Mind'. He advocates that '...good story telling is good advertising - every successful brand has a story to tell as to why they should be bought as opposed to their competitor's offerings'. So talking about 'yourself' is now something every business should embrace and could benefit from.

People relate to stories, after all it's what we grew up with. Stories can make you more interesting or less boring, and show the human side of your business. As a small local business, this can also help differentiate you from the faceless chains and multiples, and give people more of a reason to choose to do business with you.

For example, I'm a strong advocate of newsletters. I believe they are a much underrated marketing medium. Newsletters are the perfect platform for showing your personality. You can tell personal stories, provide advice and display your expertise without being too salesy - which is something that people are more likely to respond to.

Introduce yourself

Last month Aftermarket talked about pricing versus quality. Another way to combat this particular issue is through consistent communication about why you are different and what makes you a better choice. There's nothing stopping you telling your customer success stories too. Again these must be real and authentic. But they are a powerful way of getting across certain messages that people will find more important than price.

However, this type of marketing can't be done with just one leaflet or advert. It has to be an on-going process that builds over time. But that is what marketing is really, an on-going process that warms up your prospective customers and brings them to the point of sale. Then it's down to you to come up with the goods, exceed expectations and ultimately delight your customer's so much they continue to use you.

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