Do you worry about where your next new customer is coming from? Do you count your “Likes” on your Facebook page and “Follows” on your Twitter feed? Is your marketing strategy focused solely on finding new people to bring into your business? If the answer to any of these questions is “Yes” then you’re looking in the wrong place to really grow your business.
The key to unlocking your bottom line is to leverage your existing customers. Sixty-five percent of all your business comes from those existing customers and it will cost you one-tenth the amount of money to retain them than it will to acquire new ones.
The famous hockey player, Wayne Gretzky, said “Good players skate to where the puck is, great players skate to where the puck is going.” The challenge of being great at hockey is that the puck is always moving. The same can be said these days for business.
Fifteen or 20 years ago it was websites; now you can’t imagine starting a business without one. Five or 10 years ago it was having a social media presence; now who do you know that doesn’t have a link to their Facebook page?
There have been hundreds of other modest and major technology and tools over the past two decades that have come along adding to the hype and the hope of large and small businesses around the globe. None have had the impact that smartphones and tablets have had on the collective mindset.
Once the Internet became ubiquitous and part of our cultural landscape, so too did online businesses, skipping the whole notion that “brick n’ mortar” was essential to success. In the same manner, as the idea of a “mobile first” strategy is taking hold, businesses are skipping the need for a browser-based website.
The growth of mobile has been constant over the past five years to the point that we now spend four hours a day on our smart devices; and that puck is continuing to move. That fact too, has changed the social norms we all accept.
Social interactions, even in face-to-face settings, are accepting of the mobile device presence. It’s almost like when parents are out with friends and their young children are along, the often-interruptive communications with said children, is accepted by most everyone. So too, is the checking of email, posting on Facebook or responding to a text message.
Carving out the opportunity
Taken to the extreme, these “moments of mobile opportunity” have become the norm and I contend that, for a business, carving out a share of those moments can be the most powerful branding and marketing opportunities they can get.
The idea behind “mobile first” is predicated on the importance of building strong relationships with your customers. To do that, you and your brand must be where your customers are, where they spend their time, where they hang out and then engage with them on their turf not just your own.
That’s all part of building the “know, like and trust” foundation for selling. But because people don’t want to do business with businesses, that relationship has to begin with you.
In the “Mad Men” era, relationships were built on the golf course and the “19th hole” after the game. Those 3-martini lunches went a long way to locking in the relationship but we don’t live in that environment anymore. The business landscape has changed just as have consumers’ expectations and if your business doesn’t change with them you risk becoming invisible and irrelevant to your market.
That’s where social media, mobile technology and e-marketing come into play.
First, social media is where you go to define who and what you are; it’s where you will introduce yourself to your marketplace by not just focusing on your account profile and posting about your business. In fact, social media isn’t really about sales; it’s about conversations. As my friend, David Deutsch of SynergiSocial describes it; imagine social media as the bar you go to after work. Sometimes that bar is your regular and sometimes it’s a new bar.
Similarly, you need to visit and participate in discussions in groups and sites where you know your prospects hang out. You need to share information and educate providing value and opinion without expecting anything in return. That’s how people will begin to get to know, like and hopefully, trust you before they ever need or meet you.
You should tie those conversations into your blog and redirect people to your posts that will engage them. The success of a blog only happens when it engages people and promotes dialogue.
Now not every business warrants a blog, so that’s where an active Facebook or Twitter account will serve a similar purpose; serving up your opinions, your personality, your brand.
Let me warn you here, though that too many businesses use Facebook solely to post pictures of their products or memes (pictures with sayings on them), thinking that this is what followers are looking for. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Put the shoe on the other foot and think about what type of posts grab your attention? What engages you to the point that you visit on a regular basis? Then emulate that approach from your business perspective.