Big thinking for small business – four growth strategies

In a world where customers expect an always-on brand, available 24/7 and across multiple channels, it’s a challenge just to run a business, let alone grow one.

According to BrightTalk, 80% of marketers report their lead generation efforts are only slightly or somewhat effective. The marketing landscape has become crowded and consumers more selective on the content they consume. So how do you breakthrough? Well, here’s four strategies that will help you grow your business and stand out from the crowd.

Strategy One: Your brand

Whatever size your business, whatever industry you have a brand. The best definition of really what a brand is this – a brand is what people say about you when you’re not around. It’s what you stand for in the market and what customers say about you, so much more than a mere logo. Simon Sinek says that nowadays people don’t buy what you do or how you do it, they buy why you do it. Take some time with your team (or if you’re a one person show, a few friends) and run a strategy workshop to uncover your why. To help you get started here’s Apple’s what, how and why;

Strategy Two: Your buyer persona

Once you have identified your why, the next step is to really understand the who. The best fit customers for your business. Buyer personas are deeper profiles of your prospects and include things like …

  • Background
    Demographic, gender, age, income, job, career path, location
  • Key identifiers
    Demeanor, communication preferences
  • Goals
    Primary goal, secondary goal
  • Challenges
    Primary challenges, secondary challenges
  • Common Objections
    Why wouldn’t they buy your product or service?
  • Specific problems our business solves
    What we can do to help this person reach their goal
  • Process for buying
    The steps involved to buy your product or service
  • Marketing message
    How do you describe your solution in 1-2 sentences?

Use the above matrix for each of your core target markets so when you are writing content, designing social posts or running a marketing campaign you know exactly who you are talking to.

Strategy Three: Lead Magnets

Now you know your buyer personas it’s time to understand their buyer journey. There are three key stages that a prospective customer will go through on their path to eventually buying your product or service. They are Awareness, Consideration and Decision.  The content that’s relevant to them is very different at each stage of the journey – those at the Awareness stage identify a challenge they are experiencing or an opportunity they want to pursue and far from ready to engage with you. For example, if you are a home builder then a typical piece of content at this stage might be ‘5 things to know when building a new home’ or ‘3 common mistakes made when buying land’. Now if the content is well thought out, educational, relevant and produced as a tangible e-book or guide, you can ‘gate’ it. This means that to access and download the content a name and email must be provided. If you create these ‘lead magnets’ for each stage of the buyer journey you can engage better with your market and generate more leads.

Strategy Four: Lead Nurturing

The final strategy now that you have the first three bedded down is called nurturing. From a first touch point with your brand through to the contact with a salesperson, the experience should be seamless. If a salesperson cannot add value beyond the information a buyer can find on their own, the buyer has no reason to engage with the salesperson. Your sales team need to personalise
the entire sales experience to the buyer’s context. By helping a prospective customer through each stage of the buyer journey – both from a marketing and sales perspective – you nurture them to making a purchase when they are ready to buy.

The power in the buying and selling process has shifted from the seller to the buyer. Today’s buyer knows what they want and when they want it. So it’s vital that our marketing and sales efforts are all about context. We have to provide the right content and services to the right people at the right time.

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