Unless your business is located on a public premises, such as a shop which advertises itself just by being there, it all starts with a database of purchasers; be them past, present, future, or all three. In spite of this, whether the customers are from walk-ins or clients from businesses, their personal and business details should be gathered into a database for ongoing contact, marketing and reminders. This will in the long run aid in getting more customers and business expansion and growth strategies.
However, are consumers nowadays now so immune from the bombardment of online banners and messaging, in whatever form it is delivered? And have they shifted from responding to offers to do business, to working out what they want for themselves and then searching for it? If they have, what’s the point of trying to approach them? Why not just create a nice website with ecommerce plugins and do some posting on social media to create awareness? This is what most business start-up plans aim to do, in way of the future to enhance their business performance?
This is looking at it from a different point of view. It’s the same as having a high street shop where people can walk by or notice it and walk in on impulse. Even if they don’t buy today, they now know it’s there and can come back in the future or recommend it to others. And being virtual, there is no rent, rates, insurance, maintenance costs etc. Funds for business are therefore very considerably reduced!
Is a virtual shop really the same? Do people walk by or drop in on impulse? If they are searching, with the impact of SEO spending to get on page 1 of Google. This should have the positive effect of getting more customers onto your business website and some eventual purchases too. This is certainly one important aspect on how to grow your business.
Whatever the approach, there is no getting away from the age-old imperatives of knowing:
Through our real case studies and practical work with businesses, the most common issues that we have unearthed, is their lack of new customers and clients and help to raise finance. Here we have helped many a business improve business performance making their business sustainable, compete effectively, improve profitability, structure their decision making process and achieve business goals.
In the last month alone at RBSS Consulting Ltd, we have helped client businesses to implement marketing programmes such as the ones stated below:
In most cases, the first strategy in their marketing plan was research.
This is because they didn’t know the answers to the seven questions above.
In that case, how did they get where they are?
Initial diagnosis. The common trend is, they rode on a wave of new demand with automatic growth by getting in early into a new gap in the market and did very well at the beginning, until the market became choked with new competitors. This resulted in the prices going down, customers proving to be disloyal, business becoming a struggle and it therefore became difficult to make ends meet and meet the business development plans before getting far into the business.
Action Plan and solution. Some clients did not contact us until they had lost all hope of their business getting out of the above situation. At the initial stage, we had to convince them in becoming aware that without market research the risk of wasting money is high because spending decisions will be based on a hunch and assumption rather than hard facts. Going into many of these cases, the first discovery we made is that there was no CRM (Contact Record Management) system. Therefore, there was nowhere to collect data about their customers and prospects who will be used in drawing up the research result. We were also able to direct them in setting up an easy to use CRM system.
Results. The appropriate research was able to proceed and it turned out a lot easier than our clients had expected. Furthermore, it was informative and surprisingly fun. A transformation occurred and they switched from scepticism to motivation as they started to see why their sales and margins had declined and understood that knowledge is power on the way to solutions to business growth plans.
So, what about the database issue?
There are two approaches:
This works out fine until the drought comes, as it did and will eventually.
Those who choose this approach and are consistent, avoid the drought when it eventually comes.
So, are the marketing methods wearing out?
Yes. This is mainly because many who use them do so insufficiently, which is the reason why effective marketing has become so difficult for everyone.
Fortunately, there is a ‘but’ for those who invest in and manage a live database of customers or clients of the past, present, and future in a way they understand, communicate with effectively, and listen to as a guide. For these, there will always be good business. That will never change.
If you can relate to any of the above, please discuss this with an experienced RBSS Business Advisor by contacting us or booking here.
Customers are the heart of all small businesses and without them the business is sure to fail. Therefore, it important that they are treated properly and you strive to build a relationship with them, to ensure you gain a loyal customer.
Business is business and whatever the size of your company there are many principles that apply to all. Look at the following skills that big businesses use that small businesses can use too: