I’m based in a town where all the focus is on the Market Area.
I’m in the town centre but 10 minutes walk from the market so I never get a look in.
How do I make my business work?
I really appreciated you asking this and I’ll be honest, you’re not the 1st. We must hear this question a few times a week
Firstly I want to say one thing – “Energy flows where attention goes. What you focus on grows” so after you’ve finished digesting my answer I really want you to stop spending all your time thinking about the Market and really spend all your time thinking about your business. That is what is important to you and I sense you’ve been stunted in your growth as you’re dissatisfied
There are countless businesses outside the Market Area that do really well because they focus on their business, making it the best possible and they have people driving 30 minutes just to go to that business. We work with one that is 20 minutes walk from the Market and isn’t hipster at all and yet attracts visitors to town on a regular basis
For anyone outside Altrincham I imagine there’s an equivalent area in your town / city where all the focus seems to be on
I’ve got 4 questions for you to think about
Is Your Business Shareable?
I want you to be totally impartial when you think about this – Is Your Business Shareable?
I must have seen a million Instagram shots of Market House Altrincham and they all look exactly the same – but people want to show off that they’ve been there and had the Altrincham Market experience. And we’ve done the same when it’s a Summers Day and we’re sat outside the Con Club or Pi
I want you to look around your business as if you’d walked in for the first time. Look at how it looks to passers by from the road, look at what is inside that will grab people’s attention.
And once you’ve focused on how it looks. Then focus on the customer experience such as interaction with your staff and what aspects of product or service makes your business truly unique and exceptional
Most businesses talk about what they feel is unique or their USP – but in most cases their USP stands for Unoriginal Selling Point rather Unique Selling Point
Who has your back?
Now this is one area you can’t compete with on the scale of Altrincham Market, but you can do your own version of it
Altrincham Market is not 1 business – it’s a series of independents that must number 80-ish food stalls and traders. And all are encouraged to be active in their marketing and support others in the market. It’s almost like an unofficial “employee advocacy scheme” where the sum is greater than the parts.
You might not have 80 people that can support you – but you have friends, family, staff, business neighbours, local professional service suppliers that you use and more
The latter of local Professional Services is a really important because I hope you’re not shouting about people needing to shop local and then choosing online professional service suppliers over local businesses because you think they’re a little bit cheaper
My business is just me – but I have my army of supporters from my networking group. Those people have my back
Have you contacted 10,000 people?
Honestly – how many people have you marketed your business to?
If the answer is – not a lot (try saying that without imagining Paul Daniels) then that explains the lack of customers
From memory at the last count Market House Altrincham was reported as having 10,000 customers a week – you don’t have 10,000 customers a week unless 10,000 people know you exist
Obviously we run a Social Media Company, so we’re going to beat that drum home – look at how many people see your updates each month and there might lie the problem. If you have 63 Instagram followers, 200 Twitter followers and 500 Facebook fans it’s probably not enough to sustain a business. And that’s before you look at how many of those are actually engaged with what you post (if you’re even posting on a regular basis)
And don’t forget offline marketing as well
A good friend of ours, Mark at Altrincham Design Studio, offers a solus flyer delivery service that reaches out to all those areas outside of the town centre that you’ve probably never even considered. Everywhere from the B Streets and Tree Roads through to Navigation Road Area, Timperley, Broadheath and Hale and Bowdon. All those people that live in Altrincham that you’ve probably never even contacted because you expect that as you’re in the town centre everyone should know you exist. He walks 14 miles a day helping businesses promote themselves
If you want to win 10,000 customers you need to reach out to a lot more people
And do this on a regular basis
Have you honestly taken every opportunity that comes your way?
Take every opportunity to promote your business
If Altrincham Unlimited are running a campaign & ask you to be involved
If we ask you to pitch a story for exposure to 30k people
If Altrincham Town Centre Partnership ask for support in a community campaign
If you see that there’s a networking event in town
If there’s a training or education workshop
PR and Education helps grow your business
Honestly – I wish you all the best for your business
The hard work starts now – put the market out of your mind and focus on your business
Hope this reply helped
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Alex McCann is owner of Altrincham HQ – a social media management and training company based in Altrincham, Cheshire that has worked with 100s of local business developing their social media strategy. Alex has 400+ LinkedIn testimonials and is ranked number 1 for Social Media Marketing in the UK via independent customer reviews on Freeindex.