Today’s business environment is highly competitive. Unless you have the money to buy up your competitors, to grow your business you’ll have to learn how to increase market share. A few years ago, it was possible to capture the market by being the first out of the box. Think of Apple and the ipod. Their technology and design was superior. They were the first to bring their technology to market, creating a new product category in the process. This was enough to capture overwhelming market share for years.
Today, technology has accelerated the process. Social media has sped-up the sharing of business information, both positive and negative. In order to grow, you need to identify the emotional drivers that lead your target audience to make buying decisions. Then, using tough-minded strategies, position your business to take market share from your competitors. You need to be nimble, and adjust to changes in the marketplace faster than your competitors.
Know Your Market
It’s critical when developing strategies to know your market both in terms of size and composition. Consider:
- How many potential customers are out there?
- Is it a mature market or still growing?
- Who are your competitors?
- How many competitors are out there?
- What’s your percentage of market share in terms of both customers and volume?
If you don’t know your market, you have no way to measure your success in growing market share. Have an in depth understanding of your potential in order to understand how to increase market share.
Start with customers that are unhappy with their current vendor, or approach customers who are working with companies that you know are struggling.
How to Increase Market Share
1. Outsmart your Competition
Offer additional value or services to customers. Business consultant Jay Moore recalls a pizza parlor placing a large ad in the phone book. Its competitor then ran a special giving 25% off to each customer who ripped out the ad and brought it in. Think outside the box to outsmart the competition.
2. Research Competitors Online
Many organizations are sloppy with their client lists on social media sites like LinkedIn. Check out their profile and connections. It’s easy to determine which are customers that can be targeted. Connect to employees of your competitor and monitor their activity. Look for changes in their connections, especially dropped ones. These may be potential clients who are no longer doing business with your competitor.
3. Do Small Favors
Do small favors for potential clients currently working with your competitors. This can position your company as an alternative when leaders become unhappy with their current vendor.
4. Bring Leads to You
Many times a business that has gone under will still have advertising in place like billboards, bus stop ads, or web listings. Call the listed number, if the number is disconnected call your local telephone service provider. For a small fee (often for free) you can get those numbers redirected to your business.
5. Show off Your Company’s Strengths
If you’re competing on features or price, create graphics comparing your firm with your largest competitors. Publish them on the web. If you charge a flat rate for the same services your competitor prices hourly, give potential clients a comparison that shows how your offer is superior. Get feedback from current customers to determine what makes you different. Play up those strengths.
Today’s business environment is challenging. Understand your market and how to increase market share, know what drives your customers buying decisions and then create solutions. The rewards can be huge!