This is actually surprisingly simple to answer; the best strategy to grow any business is as simple as three steps:
- Find out what your perfect customer wants
- Go and get or develop that service/product
- Deliver it to a high standard consistently to your customers
It sounds basic because it is. The thing is that most people fail at the first hurdle by either not finding out what the customer wants (and often just developing what they think the customer wants with no or little market research) or not doing the work up front to properly understand who their ideal customer is.
You must make nailing down your customer avatar your first job when starting a new business or looking to grow an existing one. Who is your ideal client? How old are they? What are their pains? Where do they hang out both on-line and off-line? There are key questions that must be answered in very specific ways in order for you to have any chance of developing marketing and sales copy that speaks directly to those people and makes them feel like you know them, you know what their problem or challenge is, and therefore seed trust before they’ve even picked up the phone to speak to you.
Another issue is that a lot of businesses try to appeal to everyone – ‘we can do everything for everyone’ they cry! I know, I’ve been there. The reason people do this is because they feel like they’re limiting their audience and therefore restricting their customer base if they niche down and get specific about who they serve. They want to get their message and company seen by everyone in the world thinking that this will increase their chances of winning more customers, however the opposite is actually true. The more broad your message, the less is ends up connecting with your ideal audience – or indeed any audience at all.
Think about it; when you have broad marketing and sales copy that is trying to speak to everyone it actually speaks to no one! Sure, there will always be some elements that people can relate to, but the single goal of your marketing should be to communicate with people in a way that makes them feel like you know them right to their core before you’ve even spoken to them. Developing your customer avatar is excellent for this because it allows you to develop your marketing copy in a tailored way that very specifically speaks to your ideal clients. It’s always better to have your message reach less people overall, but only reach the right people who are actually interested in what you’re offering – you might have a smaller overall reach, but your conversions will go through the roof. In other words, better to have a list of 100 where you can consistently convert 85%, rather than a list of 1000 where you only convert 8.5% – I’d rather manage and nurture a list who are engaged and interested in what I have to offer rather than looking at a large list with a 10% open rate.
Once you have this nailed down, it’s a case of developing the 3 core areas of your business – marketing, sales and operations. All three of these must be optimised in order for your business to be a success – the marketing increases the visibility and reach of your message and let’s the right people know how amazing your product or service is, the sales is where you convert that audience into paying customers (note that sales and closing the deal are two completely different skill sets), and operations is the art of masterfully delivering your product/service to your clients with consistent levels of quality and customer service. When you have these three elements optimised for success, your business will grow in a sustainable and profitable way quite naturally.