How can you stand apart from your competition and Wow! your customers so that they become evangelists for your products. Here are four ideas that could either help you out or serve as catalysts for coming up with your own ideas.
1. According to the Austin American-Statesman, here´s one idea that´s catching on.
Brett Hurt got the idea for his startup while shopping on Amazon.com for a baby stroller.
“I read a stroller review written by an aerospace engineer and bought it because of him,” Hurt recalls. “It got me thinking about the power of online product ratings and reviews.”
That thinking turned into a company.
Last May, Hurt co-founded Bazaarvoice Inc., which allows online retailers to add ratings and reviews to their Web sites. In less than a year, the company has signed customers including CompUSA, PetCo and Golfsmith International Inc., and raised about $4 million in venture capital from Austin Ventures and private investors.
You´ve seen reviews from customers on Amazon.com. Why not your Web site as well?
2. Have you visited a Home Depot or Lowe´s Home Improvement Store in the last few years? If so, you probably noticed that they offer "do it yourself" courses such as faux painting or how to lay tile. Could you offer similar courses that would generate more sales for your products or services? What? You don´t have the space to host 6-10 people? Why not make individual appointments with your better customers to teach them more about your products? This is just another way to get them back into your store (if you´re a retailer) and build upon your relationship with them.
3. Douglas, over at Small Business Blog, writes about businesses getting into podcasting. Whether you sell lawn mowers, drugs, training courses, or clothing, you could do 15-minute podcasts that could discuss how to take care of the product you just sold them. Don´t know how to do a podcast? Ask your younger employees. (Ask me–no charge.) I´ve done several so far with a total investment of less than $100 for two microphones.
4. You´re reading a blog now, right? Why not write one for your customers? Microsoft and IBM both have employees writing thousands of blogs, many of them for customers.
Okay, so you don´t like any of my ideas. Think of your own. Use this post to brainstorm for new ideas on how to set yourself apart from your competition.
Get your employees involved. Did you know that the American Cancer Society offers numerous free support groups in many communities for cancer survivors and their families? The ideas for these groups came from survivors, not someone at headquarters.
Don´t just stand there; think!
"But there´s no substitute for getting smarter faster. And the way you get smarter is to screw around vigorously. Try stuff. See what works. See what fails miserably. Learn. Rinse. Repeat."
–Tom Peters, quoted in "Fast Company" Dec. 2001.