One of the most crucial steps to profitability and success for any business is to distinguish itself from the competition. By achieving a high level of visibility and maintaining it, a business can easily attract a lot of potential customers, which may then go on to become a part of their loyal customer base.
However, this can prove to be more difficult that it sounds, especially if the business or agency is in a very competitive field with not much room for service or product innovation. An agency in that situation can only lower their prices so much or offer extra services to a point before they start losing money, an expense that the influx of new customers may not be able to make up for.
Thankfully, there are legitimate ways that an agency can stand out from the crowd, and they don’t necessarily have to involve undercutting the competition or anything that could slowly drain its revenue in an attempt to attract more customers. Here are some of those ways.
Impress clients and potential customers with official and professional-looking paperwork.
While it may seem like something relatively minor, taking the time to have professional and customized paperwork is something that your customers will immediately take notice of and be impressed with. This makes your agency look detail-oriented, as well as one that’s professional enough to put careful thought about the image it presents to its customers—qualities that can easily distinguish you from the rest of the pack.
This doesn’t just involve business cards and receipts, mind. This also includes official paperwork such as memos, certificates, and bid proposals. The last one is especially important, as it could be that one piece of paperwork that can affect your chances of being chosen by a big-time client for a lucrative and involved project.
So take the time and expense to do your paperwork properly. Some tips here include hiring a professional printing agency to design and print your paperwork for you. Also, use a professional proposal template for all your bid proposals, and have them checked obsessively for errors of any kind like typos, grammar mistakes, and misquoted figures.
Build your personal brand as much as possible on social media.
Today, we live in an age where anyone can easily build their own brand without spending too much money or effort. This is by and large thanks to the phenomenon of social media, where even a single individual can briefly capture the world’s attention by putting themselves out there with their own self-created content.
Take advantage of this to really put your agency in the limelight and achieve the visibility it deserves. Besides organizing professional-looking social media accounts for your company, such as on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and so on, make sure those accounts feature unique and original content that shows you, your agency, and your employees in a positive light.
The content should also contain information that your viewers and followers can use in their everyday lives. For example, if you’re a catering agency, you can put out videos that talk about food preparation and plating. If you’re an agency that hires out public speakers and emcees to events, have your top performers hold regular podcasts to give out public speaking advice, such as how to get over stage fright and tips about proper voice projection.
By doing this, not only are you pushing your agency in the public eye with every content update you make, you also endear yourself and your employees to those that choose to follow you. This will easily translate to higher visibility and a lot more potential customers coming in through your doors to do business with you.
Provide excellent customer service.
Another sure-fire way of standing out amongst your competitors is to provide the best customer experience that you can, even if your main offering is not strictly service-related. No matter the business, all customers feel entitled to being treated like royalty, and as such expect quick service, little to no waiting time, and well-mannered attendants and staff.
However, let’s suppose that you’re a startup or a small company that has very little to spend on ensuring that your clients can have a premium customer experience. Long lines and waiting times due to being short on staff is a reality you and your customers have to face. What do you do then?
In this case, make their waiting as bearable as you can. Have comfortable chairs or seats in your office that customers can sit on while they wait. Install a water fountain near the waiting area, or have someone periodically offer cups of water to those waiting for their turn. Have some reading material or even a television set in the lounge so they can be distracted.
These economical little mercies show that you care for your customers and are sympathetic to their inconvenience. As long as they know this and can avail of the amenities you provide for them, they’ll put up with quite a lot. They may even recommend you to friends and family, further increasing your brand visibility.
Admit mistakes and take immediate steps to resolve them.
No matter how many safety measures or process checks you have in place, or how well-trained your staff are, there will be times in the future where your agency may be involved in a mistake or screw-up that casts it in a bad light. This could be anything from a customer having an altercation with a stressed-out staff member, or another customer being refused service in public. Thanks to social media, these events will spread like wildfire all over the internet, which will create a negative perception of you no matter whether your agency was in the right or in the wrong.
While this is a nightmare scenario for any business or agency, turning it around so that it benefits you is in fact quite easy. Instead of keeping quiet about this incident or simply ignoring the complaints about it entirely, take it head on and address it. Own up to the mistake, apologize where necessary, and take visible and actionable steps to ensure it never happens again.
Doing so humanizes you and makes you that much more trustworthy in the eyes of your customers. Sure, you’ll be receiving further complaints and bad press from the media, especially if they feel that they can milk more air time from highlighting you in your news reels, but viewers and potential customers will see that you had enough integrity and humility to own up to your mistakes. This sets you way above your competitors.
Look into corporate social responsibility efforts.
Let’s say that your agency is on the up and up, with revenue coming in regularly and growth is at a steady pace. Or perhaps you’re a startup with enough resources to spare. Whatever the case, as long as you can manage it within your budget, look into giving back in some shape or form to your local community.
It doesn’t have to be grand or require a star-studded media blitz campaign, just that it needs to be able to contribute to society in general. For example, you can donate to charity and feature it prominently in your social media pages. You can take a day off along with your employees to volunteer in the local soup kitchens or animal shelters. There are many ways to help without having to strain your budget, but the important thing is to actually help.
By taking up corporate social responsibilities, you further push the public image of your company as one that is humble enough and grateful enough to give back to the community that supports them.
Don’t let your agency get left behind or overshadowed by your bigger, more financially backed competitors. By utilizing the ways listed above, you can stand head above shoulders over the crowd and get the loyal customer base that you deserve.