Last year I bought a book call Convert; the simple little formula that sold $50 million worth of products and services online. That book was written by Frank Kern.
Can you guess what that simple secret is?
Actually more than one “secret” but the ultimate of those “secrets” is… positioning.
Positioning is a marketing strategy by which a product, business or company occupies a space in the heart of the consumers.
Positioning is the most important marketing step to growing a business.
According to Al Ries (the author of Positioning; the battle for your mind), we (as business owners) are not competing with products or services. We are competing with minds, the minds of consumers.
In his words, “The basic approach of positioning is not to create something new and different, but to manipulate what is already up there in the mind, to retie the connections that already exist”
Running a business, we all know is about selling more of our products or services. We all know that our goal is to grow our businesses and make more money.
What most of us don`t know is that we have to win many hearts before we can sell many of our products or services.
Winning the hearts of our prospective customers follows similar process as winning the heart of a lady you love.
You have to occupy a space in that heart. You have to get her to fall in love with you. You must get her thinking about you.
How do we do this in the business world?
By positioning ourselves.
What exactly does that mean? It means creating a word in the mind of our prospective customers.
By letting your target market know you (or your product) for a single thing.
Let me remind you of this… human beings respect (I mean, always respect) specialists.
If you need the service of a fashion designer who can make a good Yoruba (Nigerian) attire for you and you get to know about two good fashion designers, one makes English suits, Chinese dresses and just everything in-between, including Yoruba attires and the second fashion designer makes only Yoruba attires, which of them will you love to do business with?
The answer is obvious because we all love specialists.
You will rather go to a specialist malaria doctor than to a doctor who treats every disease, am I correct?
Let me tell you this.
When we started the ABC (this organization) online and focus on Africa, it was actually “stupid”. You know why?
Internet is a public place where people from all over the world can come across your products, blog or website through google, yahoo search or just anywhere, so writing for a single continent is like chasing away 70% of people who come into your office away by saying, “Hey, I don`t do business with someone like you”
Crazy, isn`t it? yet, that`s what we do with the ABC.
Some time when I look at the traffic (the numbers of people who come to this website) though a software and see so many people from United States, Uk, China and tens of other countries, I was tempted to change the name of this organization (so as to welcome them too)
But at a point I thought about it. I would rather have 30 people to love me than to have 100 people to like me.
We would rather have 40 committed, loyal readers of this website than to have 90 people who see us as “another blog”.
When you see a website that teaches African (alone) about business and another website that teaches everyone, which will you love most if you`re an African?
The answer is obvious.
We understand that getting only Africans to love us is far better than getting the whole world to like us, that`s why we position ourselves as an organization that teaches Africans (alone)
That`s a magnetic marketing strategy.
To grow your business, make more sales and more money from the products or services you are selling, you will need to get to the mind of your customers.
The only way you can get there is for them to fall in love with you.
That`s the importance of positioning yourself, your product or service..
The world is too crowded already. You cannot be everything to everybody anymore. For you to make money and grow your business, you have to be a specialist.
You have to understand segmentation and focus on a particular audience, not everyone.
Now let`s move forward.
Let me discuss with you 8 or 9 positions you can try to occupy in your market place or with your product that will help you to sell more of whatever you`re selling.
- Position your product or service as a popular product/service
You remember what we were taught in the psychology class?
Let me remind you. Human beings don`t usually know what is right or wrong for them. Most at times we judge what is right by watching what others are doing.
If we see many people doing certain thing, we conclude such thing must be right.
Psychologists call this, Social Proof.
If you`re walking or the road and see 20 people gathering together in a particular place, you will pay a close attention to them. What is happening there? What are they doing? Can a take a look?
If 5 of your friends buy a particular clothes, you are more likely to buy it (especially if you`re a lady)
How can you apply this to your business?
Anything that shows you to be famous, popular or loved by many people will make many more people to love you and buy your products, therefore growing your business.
Has your new product been sold in three cities? Have you won an award? Do you have testimonials?
Find a way of using these assets in your advertisement, signboard, flyers and other marketing materials.
We started the ABC in the year 2007. Why do we write it on this website? We are now in over 13 countries (maybe in 57 when you will be reading this). Why do we have to write it?
Our business trainings and books have helped so many Africans. Why do we have to “brag” about that?
If you know more people have done something, you`re likely to do it.
You can position your company, business, product or service as a popular product, service, business (if you`re truly popular) and more people will buy from you, then you will grow your enterprise.
- Position your product/service as being exclusive
I have written a little thing similar to this. When something is exclusive, that is, only for certain people, such people rush to get it.
We ran an advert on Facebook sometimes ago and guess something I wrote?
“This is for you only if you`re 23 years and above”
What is magnetic here?
Someone who is 26, 28 or 50 would say to himself, “Thank God I’m having the ‘grace’ to get this” so he would rush to get it. Someone who is 19 would say, “Oh shit! This thing is not for me. Can I secretly get it?”
We all love to get something scarce, isn`t it?
We love to brag about getting something special. This human weakness is the reason why you will sell more of whatever you`re selling if you can make it clear that you have excluded some people from buying it.
This is not smart because you`re pushing away some people who would have bought what you`re selling, is it?
Don`t forget what I told you earlier. You will be saver to have 50 people who love you than 100 people who merely like you.
You`re better with 1,000 loyal customers than with 10,000 ordinary buyers.
Positioning is a marketing step toward getting loyalists as customers.
When you`re applying this marketing tactic, you can actually be smart with it.
Take for instance the advert I earlier mentioned. My earlier experienced has shown me that most people who actually respond to our offers are mostly age 26 and above.
Now you see the game. Coming in public to cut off people who are not my original customers wouldn`t hurt me at all (and it would favour me much).
You love selling to women? Write it on your sign post, “I attend to women alone”
This attract women to you and push away men from you, (and so what? Did you need them before?)
You have a vision for private secondary school? Start girl’s alone private school.
Yes, you will miss some boys who should be registered with you but trust me, more people will withdraw their female children from both sex school and bring them to your school.
And you see another miracle here? You can charge more money.
Why? Because you`re now being perceived as an expert, a specialist. Don`t we (willingly) pay more for specialist doctors, etc.?
One more reason why you will be able to sell at higher price and grow your business fast is… now you have no competitors.
If for instance there are 27 private schools in a town where you now start a girl only private school, what just happened is that you are no longer competing with anyone.
More business. Higher prices. More profit. Business growth.
- Position yourself as a contrarian
Dan Kennedy is known with his contrarian approach to marketing. He would voice out, “All you advertising agency in America are wrong!”
What does it mean to be contrarian?
Come up with a different opinion other than what is popular. Tell people, “What you think is wrong. This is right”
This can work for you if you`re in service business, a politician or a writer (politicians are business men, don`t you know? They are selling their ideology. If they don`t position themselves very well, they cannot win elections)
Take for instance how I write frequently on this website that I hate school.
That`s crazy. Everybody loves school. Why will someone claim to hate school? Yes, I do and I have my points here.
As long as you keep on growing, learning and reading good books, you will get to a point in your life when you will discover that the world is wrong.
I mean it. Most things, philosophies, beliefs and norms in this planet are wrong.
If you have grown up in mind, you will be able to come out to say the whole Africa, Kenya or your city is wrong.
Whenever people hear that what they have believed for many years is not correct, they want to know how and why, so they give you 100% attention.
If after listening to you they are convinced, you have won another group of loyalist for your business idea, book or political ideology.
The more people`s hearts you`re able to win, the more growth you will experience in your business.
- Position yourself, service or product as rare or scarce
What is the difference between stone and gold? What is the difference between petroleum and water? What is the difference between air and bread?
Scarcity. Nothing more.
Nothing is special in gold. If everybody can pick it on the street, it worth nothing. What is special about petroleum? If I can draw it the way I can draw water from a well, why would it be costly?
Think about it. Air is very important than bread, yet bread is costlier. Why? Air is everywhere. You will have to pay to get bread.
If any product is perceived (I mean just perceived) as scarce, people will be willing to pay higher price for it and do so in haste for the fear it might not be available tomorrow.
There is this allegation that Diamond is not actually scarce. It is made to be perceived as scarce, who knows? But that doesn`t matter.
As long as human beings perceived something to be scarce, they rush to get it.
Is there any way you can position your service as being scarce (because it`s like scarce. Who else can do it like yours?)
Can you market your products with a deadline?
Why do you think so many big companies market their product with words like, “for today alone”, “one week special offer” or “Christmas promo”?
You get it. Those words remind you it will soon be over.
This position is powerful. We all fall for it.
I have rushed to the café to pay for a book online (I mean rush and fearfully wanted to pay) because the author said the selling would be stopped in a few days.
Even if you cannot use this position every time, you can use it to increase sales and grow your business on special days.
- Position yourself, service or product as being different
People are tired of norms. We all love something different.
Look at your industry very well. There is a likelihood that everybody is doing things like everybody.
You have a money-producing strategy if you can just differentiate yourself from the crowd.
This may not be in a single act. You may have to make a list of 10 things commonly done by your competitors and then see the way you can differentiate yourself from the competition by doing things differently.
We ran a Facebook page sometimes ago and when we started, I looked around and saw that everybody (I mean 99 out of 100 page owners) was simply doing the same thing (mediocre stuff I mean).
It was easier for us to make money, simply by not writing the way they wrote (they copied post, we wrote original stuff), by not abusing people the way they do (we replied abusive comments with a humble and lovely tone), by impacting knowledge into people when our competitors were entertaining them.
When people see that you`re different, they fall in love with what you are doing.
I wouldn`t tell you how much money we made through Facebook (I don`t even know the specific amount if I want to tell you), though it wasn`t so much, we did far better than our competitors.
If you can differentiate yourself form your competitors, you have got a good position that will attract customers to you and make them be willing to pay for what you`re selling. You will make more money and grow your company fast
- You can position your product as being strong
Volvo positions their product (car) as being strong and saver than the competitors. Dangote Cement is being positioned in recent time as being strong. Look at its package and you will see something like, “3x stronger”
Most of us want to buy things that will stand the test of time so if we know a product as being strong (or safe in the case of products like cars), we are more likely to buy it than that of the competitors.
That`s the reason why a product that is being marketed as stronger may win the market, sell more and make more money,
- You can position your service as being fast
I wrote on my facebook profile yesterday that we don`t actually have 24hrs in a day. I proved my point by saying that the hours we spend sleeping, bathing, eating, watching useless movies (most movies are useless, don`t you know/) etc. are actually not part of our life time (because they are not productive time.
We are living in a world where time is the true currency. We just have too much to do and too much things to waste time on (T.V, football, etc.) so whenever we see a product or service that can save us time by being quick or fast, we go for it.
That`s the reason why FedEx positions itself with the motto: “overnight”, quick.
So after you have discovered a space to be occupied in your market, what is the next thing?
Make a noise about it.
Write about it in your flyers, sign posts. Paste it inside your shop or office. Write it on every marketing material you`re using and continue in spreading that word.
You can even write it as part of design of your product (just as Dangote does with Dangote Cement)
Final thing on positioning and growing a business.
Whatever space you intend to occupy in the mind of your target audience, you must be consistent with it.
You don`t tell people you are strong today and tell them you`re fast tomorrow. Why other positions can be claim along the line in your marketing materials, the major position you decide to take must be obvious everywhere and in every of your marketing strategy.
Secondly, you must be faithful to your position. If you are not, it is just a matter of time before you will kill your product with your own marketing.
If you sell something to people and they find out that what you claim about it is not so, they will hate your product or service and help their friends to hate you too.
The third thing I want to tell you here is that you have to forgive me because I promised to share 8 or 9 market positions you could take and I only shared 7.
I love you fellow Nigerian, Kenyan, South African, and every African reading our tutorials.
Don`t forget to pick one of these powerful business trainings