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Tips For Creating a Market-Leading Business
In today's busy world, customers have more options— and resources— than ever before. Are you looking for the best antiviral software for your computer? There are dozens of options. Not sure which toaster to buy? Here is a 15-page guide on the top five most popular options, including a smart toaster that lets you start breakfast while still in bed.
All that information can be useful, but it can also be extremely overwhelming to consumers. Analysis paralysis can make buyers shut down or just choose the first option they see.
So, how do you cut through all the noise and ensure your brand stands apart as a market-leading business?
The days of Mad Men marketing are gone. Today, market-leading businesses know success requires building relationships with consumers by offering value and building connections with customers through social media and customer service.
Leading companies are using technology in the form of chatbots, live chat on websites, video, and apply some smart social media hacks to build relationships with their consumers. Ad spend is no longer the most effective path into consumers hearts.
What is the most significant pain points your customers face? How can you solve that problem? Can you provide training, ebooks, online videos, or even how-to guides? Solving problems for your customers creates trust and customers who trust you come back over and over again.
Consider online shoe retailer, Zappos. With hundreds of online stores where consumers can purchase shoes, Zappos remains a market leader.
Why? Their customer service is second to none. In fact, the shoe retailer is legendary for its dedication to customer service. One of the biggest pain points to buying shoes online is that they might not fit well.
Enter Zappo's free, 365-day return policy. Don't love the shoes you bought? You have a full year to return them in unworn condition. Zappos' focused on providing customers with value instead of pushing sales. Today, the company is valued at over 1.2 billion dollars.
Stay up to date on tech & marketing trends
Market leaders understand the importance of tech and digital marketing trends on their bottom line. Artificial intelligence, chatbots, even virtual reality are all emerging tech trends that can impact areas like customer service, new product lines, and even consumer behaviour.
For example, your business might not put much thought into the website host you choose. However, site speed can be impacted by your choice of host, which is a major ranking factor with Google. Before you lock yourself into a host, review all your hosting options and select a host that will grow with you and provide the services you need over time.
Here is another example: In the past, businesses could get away with only offering customer service during regular business hours in their home area code. Today, people expect to be able to reach a company in an hour or less. After that, they are likely to move on to a competitor. Consider outsourcing customer service in off-hours or create a chatbot that can answer most customer questions and direct them to resources.
Aim for slow and steady growth
Silicon Valley has a reputation for launching fast-growing businesses. The narrative usually goes something like this: college student starts a business in his dorm room, then sells it a few years later for billions of dollars.
The problem is, this storyline encourages other businesses to grow outside of their means. It also ignores the full story behind many of the largest tech-related companies. Instagram, for example, was founded back in 2010, however it did not add paid advertising (its main source of revenue) until 2013. That means they spent more than three years growing their user base, building new filters, and designing their infrastructure.
Today, nine years later, the company has more than 1 billion monthly users. Instagram was purchased by Facebook several years ago, so it is difficult to determine how much revenue they generate, but it is likely a large portion of Facebook's $16.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018 alone.
While Instagram might seem like it came out of nowhere, in reality, the platform took many years to become profitable. Don't risk overextending your brand for the sake of growth. Slow and steady is the best path for most brands.
Put your customers second
Customer service is critical to growing any business; that is very clear. However, market-leaders know something other brands don't.
The customer should come second.
Have you ever gone to a restaurant where the service team very, very clearly did not want to be there? As a customer, you can tell when a company does not treat their employees well. A poor company culture spills over into customer service, online interactions, and overall perception of your brand.
On the other hand, an employee who is invested in your company and happy with their job becomes a brand advocate who will tell their friends and family about your brand. They are dedicated to their role and are willing to go the extra mile for your customers--because they are truly invested in the long-term success of your brand.
Take, for example, Bain & Company, a management consulting firm that topped Glassdoor's 2018 Best Places To Worklist. According to associates, the company fosters a supportive and fun work environment, pays well, and is dedicated to investing in its employees.
Hire for the long-term
Hiring for the long term also means hiring people who have the right personality or outlook and the ability to learn the skills you need, versus hiring the candidate with the 'right' degree or who know the right people.
If you want to be a market leader, you must be willing to invest in the long-term growth of your company and your employees. Consider adding mentorship programs, tuition reimbursement, or similar programs designed to help your employees grow and learn. This increases their value to you as a business and increases employee satisfaction overall.
Today, customers can find solutions to their problems faster than ever. Which creates both challenges and opportunities for businesses. Something as simple as a website that loads to slow can funnel sales to your competitor.
So, how do you ensure your company stays competitive and becomes a market-leader? It starts with staying up-to-date on trends and changes in technology. Focus on providing customers with real value and taking care of your employees.
Technology is changing the way we bank, market, build, and even communicate. Yet, the core of the business remains the same — take care of your people, and they will take care of your business.
About the authorToni Allen is the General Manager of Quality Nonsense LTD and editor for WhoIsHostingThis.com, a leading publisher of web hosting reviews and buyer's guides. When she isn't working on websites for people who make websites she likes to escape to the forest and study mushrooms.
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