One of the most significant components of developing a marketing plan is determining your company’s competitive advantage and presenting it to customers. Defining that competitive advantage essentially answers the question: why customers choose you over a competitor? It can help you set business goals and create a marketing plan that allows customers to choose your company again and again.
The key to reaching a new customer is connecting with them on an emotional level. If you can speak to their challenges, and offer a solution for them, it makes it easier for them to do business with you. That competitive advantage can help you present solutions to your customers, leading to customer-focused marketing. That personal connection is critical, but there are many reasons why customers choose one company over another.
Here are ten reasons why customers choose you over a competitor:
1. You can define and leverage your competitive advantage
The first step, as mentioned, in marketing success, is identifying your competitive edge. You need to know how your business is providing solutions to the marketplace. It might be how your service or product helps customers. It will also be how your service or product is different than the similar services and products your direct competitor offers.
There will be other companies that offer the same product or service as you do, especially in the home services industry. Think about why customers would be better off choosing your company for that product or service. Define your target audience. Think about their needs, wants, what they care about, and what challenges them? How can your product or service help them with those challenges or meet those needs and wants? How will your company benefit your target customer? What makes your way of doing that unique and better than the rest?
Sometimes it isn’t as complicated as that. Sometimes a customer will choose your company because it’s convenient or they like your price better. Even still, those things are what is giving you a competitive advantage in those situations. Defining your competitive advantage is the first step.
2. You have a good reputation
Companies that do honest, quality work will develop a good reputation. A solid reputation in the marketplace will generate more word-of-mouth referrals, both online and off. If you do a great job with one customer, it is likely they will tell their friends, family, and even colleagues when asked. People will typically choose a company that has been recommended by someone they trust, over a company without that personal connection.
At a Canadian Home and Garden Show late last year, RenovationFind surveyed homeowners to determine how they are choosing contractors for home renovations. 72.9% of participants stated that they find renovation contractors by trusting a referral from a friend. That is most people. Building an exceptional reputation by exceeding your customer’s expectations will help you gain and retain new business.
Managing that reputation extends to your online presence too. While online customer reviews are not always reliable, they are still widely used in consumer research. No one is perfect, and so negative reviews even happen to good companies, but how you responded to that review is essential. Sometimes companies fall victim to fake reviews, and you need to be on top of that too. Checking listings and review sites, and making sure you respond to concerns online, should be part of your reputation management plan.
3. They can find you online
When someone is looking for a new company to hire, the first place they are going to look is online. If your company does not come up on Google search results, and they haven’t heard about you from offline sources, they probably won’t find you. Obviously, if they can’t find you, they can’t choose you.
Investing time and money in enhancing your online presence and search engine optimization (SEO) is important. Your SEO strategy could have many parts, including keyword analysis and research, creating content, using social media, building backlinks to your site, Pay-Per-Click and other web advertising, email marketing, and a range of other digital marketing activities. If you do not have the time or know-how to do any of these things yourself, hiring a third-party SEO company or a digital marketing company to do it for you can be helpful. Make sure your customers can find you online, or they might never find you at all.
Third-Party Certifications & Accreditations
Over 71% of consumers look for a third-party seal of approval.
4. You provide excellent customer service
Everyone wants to be treated well, especially when investing in a significant renovation or expensive product. Companies who are friendly, knowledgeable, and quick to respond to customers will build a reputation for their service. If you are focused on your customers, they will feel taken care of and that you are helping them meet their needs or solve their problems. Bad customer service will deter repeat customers and referrals. It will likely result in negative feedback and even bad online reviews. If you want your customers to take care of you with more referrals and more business, you need to treat them well.
5. You offer quality
People care about quality, even in a world where cheap comes quick and easy. The importance of investing in quality is especially true when it comes to home renovations. Homeowners would choose to spend a little more on a renovation job or product that is going to last and meet their needs for the long-term. Fly-by-night renovation services that do shabby work do not last long in this business. If your company focuses on providing quality products and work, over saving time and overhead, you will become the clear choice for the kind of customer you want to attract.
In the same survey taken among homeowners at a Home and Garden Show, the most important things to homeowners when choosing a contractor were quality and trustworthiness. These two considerations were more important to them than price and customer service.
6. You’re trustworthy
Along with quality, trust is essential. Being trustworthy is especially vital in the home renovation industry. Everyone has heard a story of someone being ripped off by a bad contractor. Whether it was leaving work unfinished, doing a lousy job, or completely running away with their money, it has been enough to make homeowners leery about hiring contractors to work in their home. If you can build a reputation of trust, and you do what you say you’re going to do every time, customers will choose you. No one will do business with a company that they can’t trust. Show that you’re trustworthy, and you’ll gain new business.
7. The price is right
While the price isn’t the most important thing to consumers, it is still a significant factor in decision making. Some consumers will prioritize a lower price in their decision-making process. However, companies that gain customers because they have the lowest price will always lose customers as soon as someone else offers something for less than that. You will not increase customer loyalty with low prices, but having competitive pricing can be advantageous.
Make sure your pricing is fair. Keep in mind that even rock bottom pricing can deter quality clients if they feel you’re too cheap. Likewise, if you are nickel and diming your customers at every chance you get, they will feel the sting. Offer them a competitive, fair quote that breaks down all aspects of your products and services. After you formalize an agreement with the customer, stick to it. People will always be on edge if they feel they are being taken advantage of financially but will not shy away from paying a fair price for exceptional service and products even if it is a higher price than a competitor.
Today’s Consumers are Digital.
Did you know Google released a stat indicating users check out 10.4 sources before purchase.
8. It’s the most convenient
Simple convenience is a reason why consumers might choose your business, even if they know nothing else about you. Sometimes people are in a hurry, and they can’t be bothered to do extensive research on the company they are going to hire. Or they want the job done quickly, and maybe the best company for the job has a busy schedule, and they’ll have to wait. It could be that your company truck was parked at the right place at the right time, and they inquired about a job then and there. Or maybe it’s because your office hours were more convenient. If you can offer something quickly and hassle-free, customers might choose you regardless of the other factors.
9. You have a shared belief in a cause
If you believe in what they believe in, a customer might choose you over your competitor. It doesn’t have to be a religious belief, but shared values and culture can fall into this category. If your company gives to a particular charity, you might attract potential customers who also support that charity. That is why it is imperative to stay connected to your local community. If you have a cause or organization you’re passionate about it, show up for it and make it known. Supporting a cause in your community might mean participating in fundraising events or just sharing their content on your social media feeds. If what is important to your customer is important to you, it can give you an advantage over competitors.
10. Customers can relate to your story.
For some, the reason why you’re in business and your story can sway them to choose your company over their competitors. They might relate to the problem you’ve set out to solve. Maybe they can connect to your companies story.
Let’s use RenovationFind’s story as an example. RenovationFind was created to help homeowners find and hire certified, quality, and trustworthy trades and home renovation companies. The industry has had a bad reputation for shady contractors taking advantage of homeowners. So, there was a need to create a system that helped stop that problem. That was one why. As the second part of that, good, worthy companies were impacted negatively by the tarnished reputation – and they needed to be promoted as trustworthy, quality companies to homeowners so their business could grow. That is the second why RenovationFind went into business.
As it turns out, homeowners and renovation contractors could both relate to why RenovationFind went into business. Homeowners and contractors can both relate to why we do the things we do. No one wants to feel stressed out hiring a home services company because they think they might get ripped off. No contractor wants to deal with a bad reputation that they had no part in creating. Their business should not suffer because of it, and they needed a way to stand out from the rest.
RenovationFind can give you a competitive advantage
RenovationFind is a free online listing of pre-vetted, certified trades, contractors, and home renovation companies. All the companies on the directory meet strict criteria and are monitored continuously to ensure they’re keeping up to standard. The criteria include legal and financial background checks, checking for licensing and insurance, WCB coverage, monitoring customer reviews, and rewarding a higher ranking to those who are a member in good standing with the Better Business Bureau.
When your company goes through this process, it shows customers that you are a contractor that offers quality and who can be trusted. Having a source of contractors in one place also makes it convenient for homeowners to find you, not having to do the background checks themselves. It checks off several of the ten reasons we have listed why a customer will choose you over a competitor.
In addition to a company listing on the directory, a great deal of digital marketing goes into helping customers find you. Blogs, social media posts, banner advertisements, email marketing campaigns, and search engine optimization are all used to promote your industry and your specific company. We cater to a very niche market: home services, home renovations, trades, and contractors.
RenovationFind has a membership base of tens of thousands of homeowners in your city, who all receive digital communication regularly. These members are offered discounts from key partnering companies, and they know that hiring contractors on RenovationFind is safe, convenient, and stress-free. We’ve done the work to build our reputation and trust with consumers. When a company is on our directory, they know they can already trust it. If you’re RenovationFind Certified, you automatically have a competitive advantage over companies in your industry who are not.
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This post first appeared on https://blog.renovationfind.com