There are certain organizations in the industry that we all know. Their name is everywhere, the company is huge, they seem to have an endless marketing budget…and they are your competitor. You have comparable services/offerings, but how can you even begin to take over some of that market share? How will you meet your sales goals?
Your future might seem grim, but you could be too quick to judge. At the end of the day, we are all people; so when you sell, you are selling to a person. The key is getting to the right person. If you are smart about how you spend your time and limited marketing budget, you can do just that and be a fierce competitor.
Use the chart below to determine the path you should take to best spend your precious time and marketing budget to get some of that coveted market share.
Step 1: Determine your marketing need. What is most important to you right now? For most that are trying to gain market share, the goal either relates to getting their name out there (Exposure) or to getting leads/contacts to follow up with (Leads).
Step 2: Once you pick the left or right path, determine your budget. There are plenty of free and lower price point options available that can help you fulfill your marketing need. And keep in mind that there is not one single solution that works for everyone; you need to figure out what works best for you.
Step 3: While this list is not all encompassing, it should be able to help you figure out where to focus your efforts and take that first step. Select one of the two suggested items, or come up with your own, and take action! (Further explanation below.)
Market Share –> Exposure –> Free
- Call for Content: If you know the publications that your prospects are reading and the conferences that they attend, look for ways to get involved by providing valuable content. At The iA Institute we are constantly asking our readers for content. For instance, just last month we did a call for presentations for ARM-U (a unique compliance and operations event that we are putting on in June). We were looking for speakers that could bring value to the event in exchange for exposure. We also recently launched the Compliance Professionals Forum (a membership organization that helps compliance professionals navigate the complex and fast changing world of regulatory oversight) and asked for thoughtful compliance articles that would be distributed to members. Opportunities like this constantly arise and are the perfect way to get exposure for your organization with no cost to you.
- Press Releases: While some services charge to run press releases, you might be surprised to know that there are certain publications that do not. Running a press release is the perfect way to get the right kind of exposure for your company because you are in control of the messaging. Promote your recent charity work, substantive hiring plans, association announcements, executive changes, etc. – all positive messages that get your company name out there in the right kind of way. If interested, ARM providers can publish certain press releases on insideARM.com at no cost.
Market Share –> Exposure –> Paid
- Directory: Adding your information to an industry directory is a great way to get exposure for very little cost. When someone comes to a directory they are looking for a product or service. Should that person be looking for your offering, you have a much greater shot at being contacted than if you weren’t listed and left the search up to the vast internet. And some directories even put all entries on equal playing fields. We do that at insideARM.com with our Vendor Directory. There is one flat fee of $1,000 for all listings, and all listings contain the same fields and are the same size so that one company does not visually outshine another.
- Advertising: Now that the first quarter is complete, it is a good time to take a stab at advertising because of the exposure that it can bring to your company and the reduced pricing that might be available (many sites/publications offer discounts as the year progresses to fill up the remainder of their advertising insertions). Advertising is a good option because you can control your spend (at insideARM.com we offer ad packages at all price points), and new advertisers tend to have higher click through rates as the industry becomes more aware of your services/offerings. That being said, keep in mind the Marketing Rule of 7 which states that a prospect must see your message at least seven times before they’ll take action to buy, so ensure that your advertising campaign is sufficient in order to see results.
Market Share –> Leads –> Free
- LinkedIn: If you aren’t on LinkedIn, set up a free profile to begin connecting with colleagues and clients. Once your profile is set up, start joining various industry groups like the Credit & Collections Executive Peer Group. These groups give you a way to connect with peers in the industry and offer your expertise. You can participate by promoting a relevant article that you read or wrote, by commenting on an article, by answering a question that someone asked, etc. The more you participate the more connections you will make. LinkedIn offers a great way to build relationships with people in the industry; people that could very well be the perfect client for you.
- Events: Industry events come in all shapes and sizes. If you are schedule to attend an event, make sure that you bring your business cards and build in time for networking because you never know who you will meet. You can network during the opening reception, at lunch, when choosing where to sit for a session, during a roundtable discussion, etc. And some events like the Regional Peer Meetings offered by the Compliance Professionals Forum are highly focused on the networking concept. Long story short, if you are attending an event this year, be prepared to get the most out of it by networking and finding your next lead.
Market Share –> Leads –> Paid
- Targeted Sponsor: Many events have sponsors or supporters. If you think an event’s content is in line with your offerings, you might want to consider becoming a supporter. Doing so associates your company with the content, and as a part of the agreement you are often allowed to send employees to the event. Those employees are able to connect with attendees, learn about their true needs, and do so in an environment that doesn’t feel like a complete sales pitch. They can then identify highly qualified leads that should be followed up with at a later point.
- Asset Hosting & Lead Capture: If you have an asset (whitepaper, case study, info brief, fact sheet, infographic) that is developed and valuable to prospects, or if you have someone on your team that could develop this asset for you, this is the perfect way to get many leads without much effort after the initial setup. Upon completion of the asset you would have your web developer build out a rapid conversion landing page on your site. This landing page would have a form that a prospect could fill out in exchange for downloading the asset. Once their information is submitted they get a copy of the asset and you get their information so that you can follow up. At insideARM.com we have a similar program. For $2,000 you can get four months of asset hosting and an unlimited number of leads.
So, are you ready to gain valuable market share? Determine the path that works best for you and start off by implementing one of the action items. If it doesn’t work, try something else until you determine what works best for you and is worth your effort. While you may not have the same marketing budget as your competitor, you can make an impact.