There are few things that matter more to a business owner than their clients. After all, without customers there is no business. Yet, do you really know who your customers are? Why they work with you? Why they come back?
Most business owners don't. They don't know much about their customers other than their customers buy their products. The key to creating a successful business is to be able to use marketing to help bring more customers like you have now to your sales table. And, in order to do that you need to understand as much as you can about your active customers so you can speak to them. Directly and in their voice. If you're not talking to them you're talking at them, and they won't hear you. The goal of marketing is for your prospects and customers to see you, listen to you, relate to what you're saying, and give them a reason to work with you. So, to understand more about your customers consider asking yourself the following questions:
1. Who are my clients?
Do you know who is supporting your business? You probably have different types of clients, as most businesses do. You have customers who buy from you consistently, whenever they can, and as much as they can. You probably have some clients who come back occasionally to get more of what they need, or to see if you have anything new. And, then there is that one time client. They came, they saw, they bought, and you never heard interacted again. The client that got away. Or, the client that you were happy to see leave. Either way makes no difference. We all have a transaction or two.
If you want to minimize transactional business, and create ongoing business relationships with your clients, even clients who only buy from you occasionally, knowing your client breakdown is important. Why? Not every client is worth the same to your business! You want to know your client breakdown so you can identify potential areas where you can grow your business quickly and simply. And, this is usually with your most important target audience...your active existing clients! It's a lot easier to get an active client to buy more (products, frequency, dollar value) than it is to acquire a new client. And, with some targeted marketing to your occasional clients you may find that they're wanting to work with you, but don't really know what else they want!
Most business owners spend their time on the hunt in lead generation, and miss the obvious "next sale" from an existing client. Today, if you don't nurture your clients, someone else will nab them. And, you want to nurture your clients at the place they are now. In our fast paced society clients don't have time to look for you, they're going to turn to someone who is there when they need them. Developing client relationships is the key to getting more clients who buy from you consistently.
Looking at your client breakdown and strategically targeting specific client types with a marketing message that is unique to their position in your business will help you get more sales. And, you'll be happier and more confident in the process. It will make you feel less like you're hawking products and more like you're solving specific problems. Because your different clients may have slightly different problems! And, your clients will notice and appreciate the attention. Plus as an added benefit, knowing this information will help you identify who your perfect ideal client actually is because most business owners don't know this information, but this is a topic for another article!
2. Why do they work with me?
If you know why your clients work with you, or refer other businesses to you, you have an opportunity to use this intelligence to have more of your ideal clients find you. Remember, marketing is about visibility, getting the right people to find you, and this is only possible when you're marketing to them specifically. Getting them to see you consistently, intentionally, and consistently. Building the know, like, and trust factor. And, how do you do that? You do it by showing up as the solution to their problem. When they're ready to say "YES." And, in language that resonates with them.
The hardest thing for a business owner to learn is not why they think someone works with them, but why someone actually works with them. The specific challenges. The specific words. The specific ways words are phrased. This means they're in their client's minds, instead of their own. Yet, this intelligence is money in the bank. If one client needs you for the reason they say, there are other clients needing you for that same reason. You may think everyone works with you for one reason, and then you come to find that they work with you for an entirely different reason. When you learn to listen to your clients, really listen to them, they'll tell you what they want and what they need. They'll tell you about the marketplace. They'll tell you about the competition. While you may speak the language of your company, your clients speak the language of your success. Listen carefully. Knowing these answers helps you fine tune your brand message so you can create more effective marketing. More effective marketing leads to more sales. More effective marketing leads to better clients.
3. What do they need more of from me?
Feedback is an amazing success tool because it tells you what clients want. Every marketing and sales activity you do in your business should have built in analytics so you can see from client to client, marketing effort to marketing effort, and product to product, what works. Today, it's incredibly simple to get feedback because there are so many online tools to help. All you have to do is ask the right questions!
Building client relationships is the best path to success so understanding what a client needs, wants, likes, and is looking for next in their business success journey is critical. If you know the answer to this question you can support them as they grow. It shows you understand their business. It makes you a market leader. And, supporting them as they grow gives them a reason to continue wanting to work with you. Consider that support can come a lot of different ways, for instance:
What does your product funnel look like? Even if you offer custom solutions for clients, do you have a clear path for them? Your product funnel helps you create marketing that keeps customers coming back for more. If you've seen a client's journey start, don't you want to continue to provide them with enough training/support/products so they can move to the next step of their own business journey? Or, give them a reason to keep using your products? Seeing the bigger picture of their business lets them know that you're there for them, and care for them and their success!
These three questions get you thinking about your customers, instead of your business. When you're doing this you're looking at a bigger picture of your business, and stepping out of a "What's in it for me" mindset. And this is the place where you open up a world of possibilities for both you and your clients.
To your SWEET success!
Abigail Tiefenthaler is the founder of Sweetspot Strategies, Inc. She is passionate about helping business owners create a brand that is marketing worthy, and marketing that builds visibility and brings your ideal clients to your sales table. She would love to help you align your brand to your business. Or, work with you and your employees to help them understand how to build customer relationships that brings more clients, more income, and a more productive company environment. "Build a Brand and Your Build A Business." Contact her directly at 954-804-9413 or email@example.com.
Marketing is the people mover of your business. It's the train that takes a person and gets them to become a prospect, then a qualified prospect, then a customer, then a fan. How does that happen? It happens with a great brand. And how do you create a great brand? This happens when you know who you are and what you do, who you serve and why you serve them, and you have clearly positioned your business as unique in your competitive marketplace. These are the foundational elements of a great brand.
So "Branding is about everything" (Tom Peters), especially as it relates to creating a good relationship experience with your prospects and customers. This is really important. If your brand is working you are getting more visibility and credibility, and the right people are showing up at your sales table.
But, did you know that a great brand gives you so much more? Below are five benefits of having a great brand:
1. Gives your clarity on your business - If you do the right branding work and really dig deep into the who, what, where, when, why, and how of your business you WILL get clarity on your business. You WILL get clarity on your goals. And, you WILL get clarity on the steps you need to take to make things happen. Clarity gives you purpose. Clarity gives you hope.
2. Allows you to take control of your brand and your business - Your business has a brand. My question to you is, "Who is controlling your brand's reputation?" If you're not making sure your brand image is visible, consistent and solid, you're allowing your prospects, customers, competitors, and community to control your brand's reputation. Protecting your brand image is an important part of building a thriving and enduring business. Control your brand. Manage your brand. And, it will give back to your business tenfold, at least.
3. Gives you a foundation to create great marketing - Marketing is a necessary part of the business success puzzle. However, without the right foundation (branding) effective marketing is impossible. Marketing is all about getting seen as credible, and as the authority in your marketplace. It requires frequency, consistency and intention. But, the process starts with branding.
4. Gives your prospects and customers a level of expectations - Your brand is your reminder to your prospects and customers that you are running a business. It's a reminder to them that you're focused on solving their challenges and being the best solutions provider you can be. A standard level of service is a good thing. It gives your employees and resources a level of expectations. And, it gives your prospects and customers an assurance that when they work with your company they will be treated a certain way and receive a product or service at a certain level of delivery.
5. Positions you as a market leader - Every industry evolves through innovation. Who is leading your industry? Companies with a solid brand become the 'go to' leader because they're out in their marketplace consistently, frequently and intentionally. They're usually listening to their customers and creating products and services that help customers solve their problems in new and better ways. Companies that have solid brands are market innovators and thought leaders.
Controlling your brand will help you control your marketplace. What are you waiting for? Is your brand ready to lead your business to success? Is your brand ready to be a market leader? If you answered, "I'm not sure," let's talk.
Before the logo, before content, before development of websites or social media pages your brand needs a blueprint. It needs to be carefully created so that the steps of marketing and sales can be developed aligned with your business goals.
I've created "Your Big Bold Brand," a Live Interactive Virtual Workshop to help you get your brand focused and on message. Check back for the next event!
This is a working workshop. You WILL make progress on your branding. Branding is the foundational element on which marketing and sales are built. It is a critical piece of your success puzzle. Once you see the connection between the branding, marketing, and sales your business will never be the same! Get your branding right and you'll be on your way to creating marketing that gets results and sales that gets you customers. Let's talk, let me help you create your Big Bold Brand!
To your SWEET success!
Abigail Tiefenthaler is the founder of Sweetspot Strategies, Inc. She helps small and mid-sized companies clarify, prioritize, and simplify their branding and marketing for greater success. Her FREE Guide: "7 Deadly Mistakes That Sabotage Your Business and Cause You to Lose Customers (and Money)" identifies potential sabotage patterns in your marketing so you can address them and start creating marketing that grows your business. Download it today: http://www.sweetspotstrategies.com/7-deadly-marketing-mistakes/
As a growth strategist I work with a lot of clients on branding and marketing. It's hard to grow a business, get sales, and create customer relationships without either a brand, or the marketing that supports it. Although I see many entrepreneurs try.
And it amazes me, that even with tons of free information available, and hundreds of marketing coaches in the business, that entrepreneurs still struggle with the processes of branding and marketing. I have my guesses why, but one reason I know for a fact is that most entrepreneurs think it takes too much time to do these steps right. And, the one thing entrepreneurs don't think they have enough of is time.
There are so many questions that get answered when a business owner does branding work. A brand creates a businesses' look, feel, and hook. The right branding work helps an entrepreneur have an idea of whether their vision will fly, it gives her a clearer image of her ideal client, and identifies a USP or UVP for her business.
Yes, you can do branding work without professional support, but why would you? Branding is so foundational to your business that it would be like building a house on your own without knowing anything about design, or construction. Working with an expert helps you ask the right questions, take the right steps, and focus on the right things. A lot of entrepreneurs think branding is the way the house looks (logo), but branding is actually the foundation. And, every home needs a foundation if it is to stay standing long after the hammer gets put away.
Branding answers the Who, What, Where, When, and Why of your business mystery. And, we know from reading Nancy Drew books that without figuring out these facts, we never find out who committed the crime, and why they did it. And, more important, without a trained eye we miss critical clues.
So, what happens after you know these answers? They become the basis of your marketing plan. Marketing is the steps including, pricing, packaging, product, and promotion of taking your brand to market. Once you know your what (your brand), marketing is everything you need to do - advertising, promotion, public relations and merchandising, to help people FIND YOUR BRAND.
Branding gives you purpose. It is the dart board for your game called business. It's the canvas on which you will paint success. It's the focal point of your "Knock 'em Dead" outfit. At the end of the day, it's the one thing you protect more than money because it's your treasure. It's your personality. It's your reputation. It's your essence. It's there whether you define it or not, and if you don't define it you risk having your competition and customers define it for you.
So branding is important. It is your EVERYTHING. And, I mean EVERYTHING. Without it, your business will suffer. You business will feel out of place. It will experience confusion, frustration, and overwhelm. It will lead you to misguided and unsuccessful attempts at selling.
With it, peace. Confidence. Purpose. Yes, your brand is that important.
So, if branding does all this, what does marketing do?
Marketing is the steps you take to get your brand noticed. By the right people. At the time they're making decisions. Marketing is the process of building visibility and credibility. It gets your prospects to consider you a viable option to solve their challenge. Marketing is a people mover. An engager. It brings people into your tribe (and gives prospects a way out of it as well). Marketing has one job and that is to get your brand noticed.
So, without a brand, there is no reason to market. And, without marketing even the most solid of brands fade away into oblivion.
The world is not at a loss for great ideas. The world is at a loss for those ideas to be formed into a brand, and then marketed in a way that gets the right people to see it. So the next time you think about upleveling your business, focusing your business, or finally figuring out what you need to do to grow your business and get results, think your brand. And then, plan your plan. And you will be taking the first step on the path to your success.
Abigail Tiefenthaler is the founder of Sweetspot Strategies, Inc. She helps small and mid-sized companies clarify, prioritize, and simplify their marketing and income producing activities for greater success. Her FREE Guide: "7 Deadly Mistakes That Sabotage Your Business and Cause You to Lose Customers (and Money)" identifies potential sabotage patterns in your marketing so you can address them and start creating marketing that grows your business. Download it today: http://www.sweetspotstrategies.com/7-deadly-marketing-mistakes/
Any of these issues will sabotage your marketing, and make it less effective than it should be causing you to waste time, money and effort. So, before you start your marketing activity, pause and take a strategic look at where you want to go. Then, devise a plan to get there. I promise that a little strategic effort will go a long way toward having your marketing engage and compel your prospects to action. To your SWEET success!
Abigail Tiefenthaler is the founder of Sweetspot Strategies, Inc. She helps small and mid-sized companies clarify, prioritize, and simplify their marketing and income producing activities for greater success. Her FREE Guide: "7 Deadly Mistakes That Sabotage Your Business and Cause You to Lose Customers (and Money)" identifies potential sabotage patterns so you can address them. Download it: http://www.sweetspotstrategies.com/7-deadly-marketing-mistakes/.
And, contact her if you're interested in a Strategy Session to get started on your path to success at firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-804-9413.
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Marketing is everything! And without it, your business will fail. But, before you decide to invest in marketing make sure you're doing these seven things first. If you're not, chances are your marketing investment will be a waste of your money, time, and effort.
1. You've made a Commitment to run your business like a business.
You are creating structure around your business. You are organizing your day, performing specific tasks, committing to a certain number of work hours, finding a balance of working both in your business and on your business, and creating specific expectations. You have a measurement for productivity, and an evaluation criteria for activities. You understand how structure is your fastest path to freedom.
2. You plan on turning a Profit in 2016.
You plan on making more money than you spend, and realizing a profit in your business. You have identified specific financial goals. You have determined how many clients you need, how much product you need to sell, the value of a client, and the types of activities you need to do to reach your financial goals. You will dedicate time to think about how you spend your money, time, and effort so you can maximize your productivity.
3. You're confident in your Brand.
You have completed a Brand review. You're ready to bring your brand to life. You have your Who, What, Where, When, and Why answered. You know your USP. You have a clear positioning statement. You can segment your potential market, and target your various ideal client groups by pain point and key messaging.
4. Your products and services are Packaged and Priced.
You've done an audit of your competitive market and identified gaps that only you can fill. You have research that supports your decision on the types of products and services you offer. You're confident in how you've packaged and priced your offerings. You've done your homework, and you're ready to promote your products.
5. You're creating a Plan that aligns your activities with your goals.
No more "BSOS" (Bright Shiny Object Syndrome) for you! You have a clear path to take with your money, time, and effort. You have identified a few (only 2 or 3) key strategies so your tactics can be focused, intentional, and consistent. You know which media outlets and social media platforms will best reach your ideal target. You understand the type of content you need to create to help your customer's choose you. You can use your customer's voice. You've identified analytics to measure the success of your activity.
6. You're ready for the Sales conversation.
You are ready and willing to talk to your prospects to qualify them, overcome their objections, and close them. You know how to listen and respond to their questions. You know how to understand their needs. You know the results you offer. You're letting your prospects come to you in their own time.
7. You will Follow Up until you receive a Yes/No answer.
You will do what it takes to create follow up activities that get a response from your prospects. These activities will include multiple points of contact to build awareness, visibility, credibility, and authority. You will remind your prospect that you will be there when they're ready to make a decision. You will not stop speaking to that prospect until they become a customer or say, "No thanks." And then, you will not take their NO personally!
These seven activities point to a place where you're READY to invest in marketing! So now, make sure you're doing everything you can to ensure that your investment in marketing leads to success by creating programs around the best strategies for you and your prospect! To your SWEET success!
Abigail Tiefenthaler is the founder of Sweetspot Strategies, Inc. She works with small and mid-sized companies helping them clarify, prioritize and simplify their marketing and income producing activities for greater success. She can be reached at email@example.com, or 954-804-9413. Connect with her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sweetspotstrategies, Instagram atwww.instagram.com/sweetspotstrategies, and Twitter atwww.twitter.com/mysweetstrategy.
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