We just attended our very first network meeting held by Business Women Network Singapore. The keynote speaker was Betty Ng, owner of the ExpatFairs, which runs fairs where businesses can reach out to customers. She mentioned that the company was doing $10 mil in turnover this year, which is pretty impressive. The topic was on how to market your business and we managed to pick up quite a few tips.
1. Share Your Personal Experience
Sharing your personal experience is a very powerful way to connect on a deeper level with your customers. Betty mentioned that service providers like fitness coaches tend to be very good at this. They share about their past experiences where they were so unfit and how shaping up changed their lives dramatically. This gave them the motivation to want to do the same for others. Sharing your personal life journey is also a very good way of inspiring people to know that everybody can achieve success, fitness, discipline etc. no matter what their background is, as you probably struggled in the same shoes before.
2. Be niche and unique
Starting a business generally takes quite a bit of capital, especially if you are targeting the broader market. Yes, the market is large, but at the same its dominated by bigger players and will cost you a lot of money if you want to establish yourself. Instead, go for a niche market, best if it’s unoccupied by an incumbent. While niche markets are smaller, it costs so much less to market to this group. If you are going for a market with existing players, then you have to be very clear about what makes you unique from the rest and stress on that. Market that idea repeatedly everywhere, which brings us to the next point.
3. Be consistent
Marketing is all about being consistent. You have to be consistent with your branding, marketing message and position. If you are targeting a specific segment, say children’s clothes then make sure that message is clear everywhere your brand appears. There should not be a place where your brand might be associated with say adult clothes or sports apparel. If your position is high end, stylish children’s clothes then try to associate with complementary brands that bring out the same high end class. Of course, make sure you keep on marketing, it doesn’t help to show up for one trade fair and then disappear the next. Similarly, having your brand show up for only a month on advertising media and then disappearing doesn’t inspire confidence either.
4. Be The Brand
Betty recounted an experience of how a vendor who sold necklaces at her fair stood out as a fashion statement herself. She was able to style herself in such an attractive way using her own products so much so that everybody wanted to buy her necklaces so that they can look as good as her. She was so charismatic and amazing at selling that even her employees ended up buying two or three from her.
5. Collect a database
It is really important to collect a database of customers and also interested people even if they did not buy anything. Fairs are an excellent place to collect customer information such as phone numbers and emails so you can reach them whenever you have some new product offerings or promotions. Even without any new products, a monthly or quarterly newsletter is a good way to continuously engage your customers to let them know that you are still active. Most importantly, marketing to your own database is practically free, so make full use of it.
6. Pre-market Before Events and Re-market Post Events
To make best use of an event, premarket to your database and let them know that you will be there as well as what new products and promotions are available. That way your fans can be sure to allocate the budget for the stuff that they want to get from you ahead of the event. Post event, always thank your customers and those who stopped by, letting know how much you appreciate them. Also do let them know how they can contact you or get new products from your retail/online store should they want more.
Hope you find these tips useful, I certainly did! It’s always great to learn from a successful female entrepreneur. Many thanks to Michelle for organising the event as well!
Michelle Mcfarlane is the founder of Business Women Network, a network group that offers members support, encouragement, to exchange ideas as well as experiences with fellow female entrepreneurs and business owners in Singapore.
Betty Ng is the managing director of The Expat Fairs, a renowned organiser of high-end sales platform and business networking for vendors to connect with both consumers and business partners.
Betty will be releasing a book on her entrepreneurship journey which we will be available soon, stay tuned!