What’s the famous quote from 1932 film, The Western Code – “This town ain’t big enough for the both of us”?
When you have a local competitor, it can certainly feel like there isn’t room for you both to run successful clinics. If you’re already worried about bringing new clients through the door then another clinic opening its doors just streets away can fill you with dread.
At Cosmetic Digital, we believe that competition is healthy and can spur you on to build a bigger and better business. We also believe that you can triumph in the turf war against your competitors. Here’s how:
1. Know your competition
They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies even closer. In the turf war for new clients, it’s important to study your competition and build a picture of what they’re offering and what their unique selling point (USP) might be.
Look at how they’re presenting the clinic to passers-by, as well as checking out their website, social media profiles, leaflets, local advertising and online directory listings. You could even enlist someone to carry out some undercover work in the form of some mystery shopping.
This should all help to give you a sense of their target market.
2. Know your clients
No-one knows your clients quite like you do. To make sure this stays true, it’s essential to keep your focus on your target audience.
- Who is the perfect fit for your clinic?
- Who loves your treatments?
- How old are they?
- What gender are they?
- What treatments do they want and why do they want them?
- What are the problems or dreams that drive them?
- What are their interests?
- Who do they admire?
If you can show your existing and potential clients that you recognise who they are and what matters to them, this will give you the edge over your competitors.
3. Differentiate your offering
The most powerful way to stand head and shoulders above your competitors is to show how your clinic is different to any other. People want to know why they should come to you over anyone else.
Tell your audience:
- How you are better
- How your treatments are safer and more efficient
- How you’re more qualified or your team are more experienced
- How your training is fresher and more up-to-date
- How you’re more ethical or more daring
It’s the differences you have from your competitors that will win the turf war, not the similarities.
4. Look after your existing clients
Did you know that acquiring a new client is estimated to be five to 25 times more expensive than keeping an existing client?
You have a valuable resource that your competitors don’t have and that’s your current clients. These are people who love what you offer and identify with your brand.
Make them feel good and they can be your clinic’s most passionate ambassadors.
5. Expand your offering
You don’t need to invest in new equipment or provide a wider range of treatments to expand your offering.
Often it’s the small added touches that make a difference to client loyalty. A cup of tea, a glass of prosecco or even a shot of kombucha on arrival can make a difference. Or perhaps a consultation room with sofas, plants and a stylish coffee table instead of an office table and chairs can all change perceptions.
People enjoy and remember experiences that make them feel special.
6. Step up your marketing
If you’ve been the only clinic in the area until recently, you may have become complacent about your presence. It could be that you’ve had enough clients to keep ticking over without really having to put much thought into your marketing.
New competitors in the marketplace often signal that it’s time to step up your marketing (although we would never recommend waiting for competition to move on to your turf before you get proactive!)
Look at where you are spending your marketing budget right now and the return on your investment (the ROI).
Are you marketing and advertising in the right places?
Have you tried targeted local Facebook or Google advertising? Leaflet drops? Local newspaper or magazine marketing?
7. Be the best employer
Your staff are as much brand ambassadors as your clients, so it’s important to treat them well, inspire them, develop them and make them feel happy about coming to work every day.
Clients can tell when clinic staff genuinely love what they do and where they do it, and this feeling of good will spreads.
8. Look to the future
Instead of focusing all of your energy on your competitors, it’s important to keep an eye on the future of your industry more widely.
Taking time out every week to read up on predicted trends, new treatments, the latest fashions and celebrity must-have treatments can all help you identify what clients will be looking for in the future and fill that gap in the market before anyone else spots it.
9. Invest in your local SEO
Although your competitor may be just down the road, much of your battle for new business may be fought and won online.
These days, more and more of us use our mobile phones to search, usually with the intention of finding a local business that offers the product or service we need.
If people are looking for a clinic nearby, your local SEO efforts could skyrocket you beyond your competitors.
Small steps such as making sure your Google My Business page is up and running, listing your clinic in local directories, adding your clinic address to the header/footer of your website, writing blog articles that reference the local area, and advertising in the Google AdWords ‘local pack’ can all make a difference.
10. Team up with your competitors
“The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.” Sun Tzu, The Art of War
You may also find that the way to win the turf war against your competitors is actually to form an alliance.
In reality, when one business takes off locally, it often works wonders to raise awareness about the industry as a whole and bring in sales across multiple businesses in the same sector.
Some businesses find it helpful to team up with their competitors by running a cross-promotion or tapping into different expertise within the same niche.
If there’s something you offer that your competitors don’t, for example, you could offer to accept referrals and vice versa.
11. Focus on being the best you can be
Although you do need to be aware of your competitors, a sure-fire guarantee of defeat is to become so bogged down by what they’re doing that you lose focus on your own business.
Too often, people feel that they have to compete with their competitors by copy-catting what they’re doing. This can lead to brands becoming diluted and too ‘samey’. Your clinic is not a poor imitation of the clinic down the road but a unique business in its own right. That’s where your focus belongs. This is what you need to shout from the rooftops.
Think about how you can offer:
- Better customer service
- More favourable opening hours
- Easy online booking
- A better website
- Pampering and add-ons that make your clients feel special
Perhaps you could get more involved in your local community – sponsoring events, donating to a charity, taking part in sponsored challenges can all be fantastic ways to raise your profile and stand out from your competitors without ever directly reacting to their activities.
Remember that when you look at a competitor, you only see what they want you to see. You don’t know what’s happening behind closed doors or even where they are in the journey of their clinic’s evolution.
All you know is your own clinic and your own clients. Yes, it pays to be aware of your competitors so that you can always stay ahead of them but the turf war is really won on your own soil by leading your business with clarity and commitment.
If you need help to stand out in today’s busy marketplace, give us a call at Cosmetic Digital on 0115 9140 640.