Well, I won’t keep you treading water any longer!
In our last post we talked about how your business already has the basis of a great marketing approach, even if you don’t know it. In much the same way, you probably already have the channels you need to fuel your business’s growth as well! The key now is knowing how to use those channels.
Leveraging existing customers is the single best way to grow your business. Acquiring a new customer is significantly more expensive than retaining current customers. This is why so many businesses try to encourage brand loyalty by investing heavily in customer rewards programs. If a business does a good enough job, it can turn brand loyal customers into brand advocates. Brand advocates then help do some of the dirty work for the business by creating brand buzz, bringing in additional sales and defending the company when it comes under attack by other consumers.
Sending your existing customer base emails or interacting with them on social media can help move a customer along the path from one-time purchaser to repeat-purchaser to brand loyalist to brand advocate. If you are not yet doing anything to stay in touch with your current customers after they make their purchases, that is a huge area of opportunity to grow your business.
Your community is everyone that surrounds your business. When you are first starting out, your community is likely just your friends, family and colleagues but as your business grows, so too will your community.
If you have a local business, your city or town is part of your community. If you have an online store, your community may be your social media followers, blog readers and current customers. Use your community by soliciting feedback and engaging people authentically to win their business. Nothing is more important as a business owner than to get plugged in with people who are interested in your business so that you can always be generating a stream of new customers.
You may also have professional associations, religious organizations or political groups that make up your community. Connecting with a larger group is a great way to get more recognition for your business and generate brand buzz among likeminded individuals and other businesses. One great way to get plugged into these niches is to join LinkedIn groups that are focused around topics that relate to your business. There is a great exchange of ideas and they provide a convenient way to meet people, which brings us to our next channel…
As a business owner, you likely have professional contacts and industry-related connections that can help spread the word about your business. This is often the best referral or recommendation that you can get because it is the most person sort of lead for your business. For this reason, networking is incredibly important at all stages! Carry business cards, connect on LinkedIn and always be ready to have a conversation about your business.
By Kate Pierce. Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!