You will find learning resources throughout this article. Click the links to find a host of Eguides, white papers and other educational resources that are designed to help you market your security alarm business.
Smart Insights reported that half of all businesses who pay for online advertising and digital marketing do not have a clearly-defined online marketing strategy. That means they are shoveling money into a machine that isn’t tuned to deliver any value. In a sense, they have set sail to the ocean’s horizon without bringing a compass. This page is designed to help you gain the tools you need to develop an effective marketing strategy that will help deliver value for your business. Marketing, afterall, should be a revenue-generating department, not just a glorified party-planning committee.
Whether you are starting a new security alarm company, or your business is already well established in the market, it is important to regularly evaluate the competitor landscape from the consumer’s perspective. That is because the tactics that were used to attract new customers five years ago will not work as effectively today. Simply put, new tactics have to be used in order to exceed customer expectations. Five years ago, it was common to offer contract-based monitoring to consumers who had no other choice. But, with the growing wave of DIY security products and deluge of new security system options, contracts are a major factor that will drive today’s customers away, NOT help you keep them longer.
As you perform your research and develop better ways to attract new customers, think of ways to delight them. As mentioned before, yesterday’s customer expected to sign a multi-year contract, but today’s customer wants you to earn their business every day they work with you. As detailed in a pertinent article from the Harvard Business Review (HBR), titled Companies and the Customers Who Hate Them, the author writes, “Many firms have discovered just how profitable penalties can be; as a result, they have an incentive to encourage their customers to incur them—or, at least, not to discourage them from doing so.” This is wrong, and if you’re familiar with All the ways comcast ripped off people over the years, you should know from personal experience that customers hate being taken advantage of.
If you gain anything from reading this article, you should remember that consumers will go where they find value, and therefore, you should strive to deliver a product and service that exceeds those standards. But first, you need to do your research to learn just how to do that. As the HBR author continues to state, “Dissatisfaction and churn should be particularly worrisome to firms that see their customers defecting to a competitor that provides a transparent and friendly alternative.”
The first step to creating successful business is to perform market research. There are two major perspectives to consider when doing your research. The first is to research from the perspective of the consumer. You need to understand what they need, the words they use to search for solutions, and how they come to conclusions. Next you need to research your competitors. The more you understand about the competition, their service offering, and where they are missing opportunities, the more you will be able to effectively differentiate your business. Your differentiator will help communicate your brand message and your business will be remembered for it.
The first step to performing customer research is to understand consumer needs. One method is to scan through security companies’ customer reviews to find common complaints. As you do this, make a list and identify the patterns they reveal. As you go through this exercise, you may find that your differentiator designs itself; and that is because you have discovered what every other security company is doing to upset customers.
For example, you may find that a significant amount of the complaints come from customers who have problems with their system installations. Because of this problem that frequently occurs, you could write a formal 10 step training plan that every technician has to learn and comply with before you send them into homes. This particular form of information–when effectively communicated on your website and brochures, and then accompanied by measurable results–solves a common consumer problem and differentiates your company from your competitors.
The next step you should take in your consumer research, is to understand the keywords consumers use so you can know how to offer services that fill their needs. Performing keyword research gives you insights into what you need to write about and how you should structure information on your pages so you can appear first in search results.
Click the image below to read our Beginner’s Guide To Performing Keyword Research.
The next step in preparing your marketing strategy is performing competitor research. If you read through your competitors’ customer reviews, as discussed in the previous section, you already know about some their strengths and weaknesses.
Five ways to evaluate your competitors are to:
Finally, it is important that you perform an in-depth online competitor analysis. In today’s market, the majority of consumers use the internet to educate themselves about potential solutions to problems before visiting a store or finally making a purchase. It is your job to make sure your company’s name appears alongside each of your competitors by knowing which sites they are featured on, who is linking to their websites and knowing which keywords they are targeting.
Click to read our Eguide to learn the basics of performing an Online Competitor Analysis.
One piece of information you will find from performing this research, is which review sites you will want to be featured in. Getting a third-party review is a great way to receive publicly-accepted approval–if you deserve it–which is more convincing to consumers than an advertisement.
Once you have finished performing all of your research, the next step is to develop an effective business model. Determine which aspects of your business you will be better at than your competition and make them stand out. Amazon became an online shopping paradise because of its incredible two-day shipping model and flawless buying experience. They completely changed the way consumers experience online shopping and became a global powerhouse because of it. The same can be said of industry disruptors like Uber, Netflix, AirBnB, and many others. These companies discovered how to solve consumer problems effectively and leveraged their differentiators.
To take this idea a bit further, we believe that an essential focal point of your business needs to be customer service. Customers are willing to pay higher prices to companies where they feel a sense of satisfaction and trust. We outlined several factors that develop customer satisfaction and trust, as well as analyzed the financial difference good customer service can make.
There are several ways to promote your business, each providing unique benefits and reaching different audiences at each stage in the buyer’s journey. Promotional methods like public relations–commonly referred to as “earned media”–are free to you, require more personal work, and earn customer trust more effectively than advertisements. But, they mean more to people who are further along in the customer lifecycle.
For companies on small budgets, earned media strategies are your best shot at success.
Some great ways to promote your business on budget are:
Whether you want to get a feature in a local newspaper, or on an online tech site, you need to know how to write a persuasive news release. They will help you gain third-party assistance that deliver traffic to your website, nurture greater brand recognition and increase consumer trust.
Contrary to what the name "news release" suggests, they don't have to be posted exclusively in newspapers or on broadcast television. They can be posted on your website, social media pages and email blasts. In fact, you would be missing out on opportunities to get your news releases viewed if you didn't post them in as many places as possible. If your business has an important announcement–like winning a service award–which would not be important to a local newscaster, you can save hours of time by not trying to pitch the story to reporters. Instead, write the news release, put it on your website–with specific keywords in mind–and share it on as many channels as you can.
What's important to remember, is you don't have to wait for a New-York-Times-worthy story before you write anything. Chances are, unless you somehow change the world with your security devices, you'll never find a story to write about. Instead, you should write about different changes your company makes to improve the customer experience, help the local community, and improve business operations. And, if you happen to have a newsworthy story, go ahead and pitch it to some local reporters.
Joining associations that are related to your business helps customers perceptions of your company. You will be more likely to be seen as an expert in your field, and your membership will signal to them that you are reliable. Being a member of an association communicates to consumers that you are an authority in your field, and you comply with basic regulations that protect their interests.
Building a repertoire of third-party endorsements can often start with you joining an association or group. As we mentioned in the previous section, this provides an excellent opportunity to write a news release, announcing your membership and the goals you have while being a member. In addition to earning your customers' trust, participating in associations will keep you connected to the industry conversation and up to date on developments within. It is always your responsibility to keep up with industry trends and leverage them for your benefit. You can start here.
There are few better ways to earn media and consumer trust than by winning relevant awards. We’ve created a list of awards that you can win for your security company in our blog below. They will help grow brand recognition and equity, helping you deliver a message backed by credentials.
Applying for awards is a completely free exercise–most of the time. Therefore, it is one of the best free promotional methods for promoting your company. Awards provide your customers with third-party recognition and elevates your brand in a way that could not be achieved without one.
In our article below, we made a list of national awards your company can apply for. You should also do your own research to find more local awards that can help you get started. It will be much more difficult for a new security alarm company to win a national award than it will be to win a local one.
As explained in our Customer Service white paper, companies who retain only five percent more of their customers can increase profits more than 100 percent. That is why meaningful customer service truly is the lifeblood of a successful business.
The first step to retaining more customers is to first understand why they leave. As we examine in our service white paper, listed above, companies who record customers’ reasons for defection are more in tune with the problems in their company. As we outlined in an article, the Top 5 Reasons Security Customers Leave, one simple way to keep customers, is by nurturing them with educational materials throughout their customer lifetime. These materials will help them see the value in the product they pay for each month, and will help them rest assured that you are still in contact with them. Contrary to the popular saying that “distance makes the heart grow fonder,” businesses who do not make themselves valuable do not stay in consumers’ lives.