Of all the philosophies in business, there is an old age one that is now truer than ever, to grow your small business:
“Customer is king”. Or queen, as it fits.
To achieve growth in a business, any business, of any size, the most essential stakeholder, element, is the person who believes in your brand, swears by it, and advocates for it. The beauty giant L’Oréal openly concedes that their biggest ambition, to ensure their growth plan, is to have 1 billion customers in the next few years.
So how does one go about getting these customers? First of all, you need to understand that a prospective customer follows a certain journey before she reaches a purchase decision. Hubspot explains this journey quite well.
So you have to keep connecting to and engaging your target customer at each stage, to get her investment not just once, but continuously. And your brand growth will follow.
To do that, there is a simple 7-step formula that you can follow, and can fit into your business, in any industry.
Now let’s get into it in more detail.
First of all, it goes without saying, you have to define your target customer. You cannot sell to everyone, all the time. So need to get specific with the demographics and psychological factors of your customer, by creating a buyer persona.
So now that you have the buyer persona, follow these 7 consecutive steps, to achieve long-term growth for your brand!
- 1. MATCH your business offer with the needs of your target customer
- 2. DIFFERENTIATE your brand from other similar ones
- 3. COMMUNICATE in the right voice with your target
- 4. CONNECT with your customers continuously
- 5. Gain TRUST of your customers
- 6. Close the SALE
- 7. DELIVER HIGH VALUE through your product or service
1. MATCH your business offer with the needs of your target customer
The only way a brand can grow is to offer sufficient value to people.
What is that value?
Your potential buyers have certain needs, and your brand offers a certain promise. And you have to determine where the 2 meet.
For example, if your customers are those who love fast food, don’t want to spend a lot on it, and often want food impromptu while hanging out with their friends at home, and your brand offering is pizza, you can match them with your brand offer by creating a brand which offers home delivery of pizza.
2. DIFFERENTIATE your brand from other similar ones
So now that you have matched your brand offer, you realize that there can be other brands who offer a similar product and are targeting the same customers.
To win, you have to be different. So you need to create a Unique Value Proposition that stands out from the others.
A lot of companies offering home delivery of pizza? Do yours in 30 minutes or less. Et voila! You become much more attractive to your time sensitive customer.
3. COMMUNICATE in the right voice with your target
Ok, so now you have your uniqueness laid out, and you have to communicate this to your prospective customer, in a way that is not about selling to them, but offering them value in many different ways: information, service, suggestions, stories, etc. Think content marketing.
But as we know, in order to be heard, we have to talk to people in a way they connect with, and in a channel that they are present on.
If your customers are younger, and more online, that’s how you have to structure your communication. And if they are more traditional and prefer elaborate face-to-face communication, maybe most of your messaging needs to be personalized, in- store, when they come to browse. Either ways, become their go-to-expert and advisor on a particular niche.
4. CONNECT with your customers continuously
As you communicate with your customers, make sure you do that continuously and consistently, and not just let it be a one-time thing.
Keep providing them help, enriching their lives in any way you can. And slowly, over time, the connection and relationship between you and your potential customer will grow stronger.
5. Gain TRUST of your customers
An authentic connection and relationship can only happen with trust. So as your customers keep getting help and value from you, even before making a purchase, they start to trust you, your brand, your products, your expertise.
This is an extremely crucial step, as now, your target is ready to invest! Which brings us to the next step.
6. Close the SALE
Now that your target believes in you and trusts you, make it easy for the sale to proceed. Answer all their remaining questions, clarify their doubts, simplify the process, and make it more like the beginning of a long-term relationship than an actual sale. There is a close link between sales and marketing, and depending on the nature of your business, you can also choose to adapt a sales channel marketing strategy to conclude this step.
As we will see in the next step, to make your brand keep growing over time, it is not a single transaction that counts, but about proving long-term value and service.
7. DELIVER HIGH VALUE through your product or service
As David Ogilvy once said, “the consumer is not a moron. She is your wife”. She knows exactly what she is doing, and if she is investing in something, she wants good value from it.
So make sure your brand offers a good quality product that will make her feel she has taken a wise decision by choosing you, and so she becomes loyal to you, and also advocates you to others.
Your journey doesn’t end here though. To keep growing, keep the communication and relationship alive with your customer. Keep providing value, keep connecting to her and engaging with her, giving her a good level of service.
In short, start again at step 3 and follow the chain. Repeat.
So to sum it up again:
Just follow these few steps, talking to your target and customers at each stage of the buyer purchase journey, and your brand is sure to keep growing. Be #PowerfullyYOU.
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