What you make is important. If you don’t make something customers want and need, you won’t be in business long.
How you make your product is important as well. Customers care where your materials come from and how you put your products together.
These two statements should be self evident in today's business world.
However, this next statement is not.
After photographing businesses for 15 years, we believe the single most important piece to marketing your business is the people that are in it!
The team your company assembles is your first (and most important) customer.
In the end, they become the sales, marketing, PR and human resources person to their friends, family and anyone they meet who asks them, “What do you do for a living?”
And if they don't like coming to your business day in, day out, they're going to let everyone know. (You know you have this friend, just like I do...)
So while it's tempting to market your business by leading with "We make this..." or "This is how we make our products..." statements, have you considered this: it would be better to market your business by telling the stories of the people in your business. Tell your customers what they stand for and why they work for you.
Your best customers want to know two things: "Who are you?" and "Are you for me?"
This approach works and it's how we began our work for Local First's “Guide to Local Living”. It is a magazine to help those wanting to direct their spending toward locally owned businesses.
Hungerford Nichols is an accounting firm that recently celebrated their 75th anniversary in Grand Rapids. Farmhaus Cider is a Hudsonville based cidery that began in 2015. Cento Anni is a custom woodworking and furniture business in Holland.
On the surface, none of these businesses compete in the same industry. One provides accounting services, another brews cider, another makes custom furniture.
But all three do have one thing in common: People.
Armed with an overview article written by a professional writer about each business, I was tasked with supplying photographs for the feature articles and chose to focus on the people involved in each business.
And this is our belief when it comes to marketing your business: it would be better to market your business by telling the stories of the people in your business. Tell your customers what they stand for and why they work for you.
Thanks again for everyone who came out to help us celebrate business as a force for good! In case you missed it, here is a snapshot of each of the award recipients and the things they do to make our community great.