How do I reach customers on a shoestring budget?
I'm am launching a new business specializing in mystery shopping (undercover shopper) service with the aim of helping businesses improve their customer service and increase profits, particularly in retail stores, fast food outlets, health services and hospitality (hotels, motels, etc.). My service includes a thorough competitor analysis. We present the non-biased results that guides the business direction and highlights areas of improvement. How do I access this market without spending much on marketing, as the company is new and we don't have much capital?
If I was doing this in the UK I would Contact the security firms who provide store security (my background is 20 years in private security), they may well be able to take you into loss prevention managers and store owners as a "bolt on" service that also becomes a differentiater for them. Whilst this may mean some profit share, it will potentially give you a foot print, case studies and other referrals, key things for a start up.
Activate your Digital Marketing tools such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. There are various of apps such as Facebook Insight, Twitter Analytics, which mostly for Free. Plus if you have a website, that would be better, or have a blog. Goodluck :)
Congratulations on the launch of your new business.
A few ideas to help your company get noticed are:
-First to get very clear on what your USP is - ie, unique selling proposition. Why are you better than the competition? What is your unique about your company over others? Get your story down so that it is always compelling and consistent throughout your company, website, marketing materials, social media etc.
Secondly, I would say you have a lot of options on potential customers. I would pick just a couple of industries to start that you believe will be your niche - where you have an edge and can own the industry, outshine the competition and know all the nuances about those industries there is to know. Go in and focus on those and OWN them! :D
Next, identify the key decision makers in those few industries. Get networked into these industries. Go to the key events where the decision makers will be and network. If there is money, sponsor the events. Get into social media and engage the decision makers in conversations. Use Linkedin to identify people who may be interested in your company's offerings. Use online and social ads with strategic key words to find your audience. Include a compelling headline or offer in the ad.
Write compelling (not selling) content marketing that talks about the customer experience...how has it changed? How will entrepreneurs know what their customer's are feeling about their retail/hotel/etc. experience? Include case studies on how what you do improves the shopper's experience and ROI. Then, get your content out there consistently. Use content to build your database and bring people to your blog, follow you in social media, or get it posted on other sites. Once you start to build a database, send them useful, compelling content regularly. Don't oversell - educate and engage.
Look for strategic partnerships/alliances where you add value to one another. Identify speaking opportunities to speak on your subject of expertise in front of influencers.
There is so much you can do with very little money. With consistent effort on your part, I'm confident you'll shine. Here's wishing you the best of luck and success!!
being in retail for over 25 to 30 years I have used services like yours a lot. I will point out a few quickies below.
1. Linkedin is a HUGE resource for you, build your network, add retail stores and your target clients into your network.
2. If you can, do a few shops in stores and send your results to some of your new linkedin network, showing your clients, that they need your services can go a long way.
3. Set up a strong website and content connect this to social media outlets, that target your client base
4. I can tell you smaller chains and family owned chains do not use these services but need them badly. Many of these family owned chains don't have anyone running the stores and night and you can only imagine what goes on, target these and small account can add up.
Hope this helps, All the best to your success Auggie
Assuming you're referring to the businesses you wish to ghost compare. In which case, it's important to demonstrate how the service will work and benefit the customer.
Assuming you haven't, you may want to conduct a market research and test market your services to gauge traction and interest in your services.
In my experience, the best way to achieve this would be to select a sample of your customers "business" and differing models. Invest some time and resources into conducting the "service" exercise you're offering, analyse the data and use a very simplistic and visually compelling presentation to showcase your findings. As you are aware, B2B service contracting in Africa can be challenging - "seeing is believing". The fact that your services are localised has some advantages.
The next phase would be to identify the right "decision making" people in the companies you have conducted your test marketing activity on and invite them to take a look at how your findings can "guide their business in the right direction and highlight areas of improvement". This can be achieved through a webinar or via consultations.
This is your opportunity to pitch to the right people and illustrate how your reports or findings can help them improve on the businesses. You will also have the opportunity to point out where their businesses are being affected and perhaps showing a contrast between theirs and their competitors. This is "their pain point and" also your opportunity to offer a streamlined service as a trial leveraging your knowledge about the business and how specific processes can be improved.
I hope this helps and feel free to connect if I can be of further help.
Best of luck
Best thing to do in these circumstances: If you can get a web site, take your business cards, fliers, and other promotional materials, have your web site address and e-mail on it, and go to as many networking opportunities you possibly can. You want your web site on every piece of material you put out.
Isaiah: I am not qualified to comment on the market in South Africa. One suggestion I would make is to search for companies providing similar mystery shopping services in other markets such as the USA, UK, Canada, and India then go to LinkedIn and connect with someone in the marketing/sales department for those companies. Setup a Skype call with them (ie. ask them to share their expertise with you) and discuss how they approach the market in their geography. Take those learnings and adapt them to the South African marketplace.
Draft an email and or a campaign to the CEO. Target the pain point. Do a webinar or something to answer questions of multiple business owners at once. Follow up with a call.
Maybe offer a free report on customer service strategies.
If your looking for clients try a list broker.