The most important thing you can do to grow anything - business, followers, influence, is to create value for others. Once you start to focus on doing that, the rest will naturally click into place.
When it comes to creating 'valuable content' for websites and social media, I usually break it down to 3 things.
- Useful - Sharing something or knowledge that can be applied immediately.
- Informative - Educating the consumer with helpful information or
- Entertaining - Making them laugh.
This week I wanted to tackle how you can you add 'Value' in other areas of your business.
The Value Equation
The common misconception is that you can easily add value by reducing the price of something you offer. David Salyers of Chick-fil-a beaks value down to a simple equation.
Value = What you get ÷ What you pay.
The problem of reducing the price of what you pay, to make what you get look bigger in comparison is two fold. Firstly you are not increasing what you offering, which means that your customers aren't getting an improved in service, just a reduced price. Secondly those costs will have to be passed onto to somewhere or more likely, someone else, if you are to remain profitable.
From a branding point of view, reducing your prices repeatedly only cheapens a brand's reputation and attracts the wrong type of customers. They have no loyalty to your brand as their primary focus is saving money and they will disappear once you stop giving away discounts.
The Brands that never give discounts are often loved and respected for this. Think of Apple, it never does deals and it has loyal, almost rabid fans, who will queue for hours to get their hands on the newest version.
Don't look to extract value from your customers, instead look at an opportunity to create value for them
If we want to create loyal fans of what we do, who will keep coming back and will tell others, we need to start focusing on the other part of the equation: What your customers get.
This isn't about giving away more, because that is essentially the same problem as before, someone has to foot the bill to cover the cost of what is being given away. Instead start putting the needs of your customer first and giving them something that they will appreciate, that won't cost you money.
As I mentioned before, dream customers are: happy to pay full price, come back often and spread word about what we do. But how do we create them for our business?
By becoming a Brand that they will happily pay full price for, by adding value to the customer experience.
Adding Value to the Customer Experience by fixing pain points.
The simplest way to do this is to look at the customer journey, their experience of your brand and to isolate and fix any pain points you come across. Many huge businesses have been created by making things smoother for the customers - Amazon fixed Online Shopping, Uber fixed getting a taxi, Stamps.com fixed having to queue in the post office, Harry's fixed having to buy expensive razors.
Not only does this make their experience better, but it isn't costing you hard earned profit.
What can you fix in your business for your customer?
I believe that your branding should seep into everything you do and how a customer experiences your brand is so often overlooked. Many people think it starts and finishes with a nice logo and website, but it doesn't. It's every way your customers can experience your brand. From your social media, to customer service, the cleanliness of your toilets, magazine selection in reception, vehicle signage etc.
So go through what your customer experiences and look to improve any pain points so you can make their experience more enjoyable.
In Chick-fil-a they have created an app that enables customers to book a table, order and pay for their food in advance so that when they arrive it's all ready and waiting. No queuing, no time wasted, just a smooth customer experience that is super easy to take part in.
To Sum Up
Add value to your brand by thinking beyond just your logo and website. Start eliminating customer pain points and building a memorable experience of your brand. If you do this you will live long in the minds of your customers. They will be happy to pay full price for your services, come back often and spread word about what you do.