Some of the smartest, most practical things you can do to drive growth require creativity and effort — not dollars. Check out our list of ten things you and your team can do with your time and energy to beef up your marketing results. When you see something you know you should be doing, make it a priority.
1) Your Company 2.0
Leaders often get caught up in day-to-day stuff. Managing people. Putting out fires. Finance and operations. Customer Service.
Thinking big, setting goals, mapping out the future, exploring new opportunities – these are the things that are often neglected. Put off for the end of the year “brainstorming” or “strategic planning” session.
Want to grow your business? Build strategic thinking into your routine. Set aside time to read, learn, talk with other business leaders, sketch out ideas, focus your team, and envision the future. Make generating and exploring new ideas a priority. If you don’t, your competition will.
2) Listen to Customers
How well do you know your customers? Do you understand why they do or don’t buy from you? Get them on the phone. Invite them to lunch and show some interest. Ask open-ended questions and listen to their stories: How did you hear about us? Was there a reason you chose our stuff (product/service)?. How did we measure up to your expectations? What could we do better? Would you buy from us again? One-on-one conversations provide raw material for improving your customer experience, and strengthening your position in the marketplace. Surveys and anecdotes from front-line staff are a start. But nothing beats going right to the source for sparking creativity and improvement.
3) Refine the experience
Positive word-of-mouth is the best, most powerful way to attract new business. Work with your team to map out the details of the ultimate customer experience. What will make your clients crazy with excitement about your company? Examine your business process step-by-step.What should be better? Can you respond more quickly? Or more thoughtfully? Go through the customer’s experience from the moment they call, to the moment the transaction is complete and beyond. Get the whole team involved in creating a customer experience that will get people talking.
4) Sharpen Your Value Proposition
A value proposition is not what you do. It’s what people get from your product or service. It’s not an elevator speech. It’s outcomes. It’s results. It’s how they feel when they use your stuff. If you want to get people excited about your buying from you, communicate value – not features and benefits. Can everyone in your company (not just your sales team) communicate your value to a friend, neighbor, or prospect?
5) Update Your Sales Tools
Are your sales tools dull, dated, or incomplete? Do they make it easy for people to buy from you? Or are they ugly and hard to understand? What information do different types of folks need in order to feel positive about their decision to buy from you? Invest time and effort communicating value to clients and prospects. Make sure it’s brain-dead simple to see how you are the best choice for them.
6) Scrub and Mine Your Data
Are you keeping information about prospects, customers, business partners, and “friends” in a database, so you can communicate with them consistently? Is the information complete, accurate and up-to-date? Owners and leaders set the tone when it comes to maintaining accurate data and managing relationships. Is your database helping you manage the business, make decisions, and build relationships? Or is important information scattered all over the place on pcs and mobile devices? Businesses are built on relationships. How are you managing yours?
Volunteering for a cause or organization that you care about is its own reward. But you may also find that volunteering has beneficial side effects. Connecting with people from other walks of life offers opportunities to see the world from a different point of view. You might meet a prospective customer. Discover new resources for the business. Connect with a peer or mentor. Or trip over a new idea.
8) Learn Something New
Search engine optimization, writing a press release, setting up a blog, social media. These and many other marketing tactics cost little or nothing. They only take time. And a little know-how. Luckily, there are vast resources that are cheap or free! Books, libraries, blogs, podcasts, professional organizations, roundtables — when dollars are limited, invest your time learning how to become a better marketer.
9) Create Partnerships
The home building and remodeling industry is populated by lots of small and mid-size companies, each struggling to maximize profitability and attract customers on their own. Strategic partnerships provide substantial opportunities to expand your reach, and stretch your resources — especially time, talent and dollars. Spend time talking with upstream and downstream business partners. Get to know them and learn about their business challenges. Look for ways you can help one another succeed. (By the way: putting your logo on someone else’s ad isn’t a partnership. We’re talking creativity here.)
10) Build a Dashboard
You have goals. But do you know the score right now? Or do you rely on quarterly or annual reports? How often do we set goals, without creating a mechanism for monitoring them in real-time? By the time we realize we’re falling short of our goals, it’s too late to make critical adjustments in strategy or operations. Dashboards make it easier to recognize and respond quickly to shifts and trends in company performance.
Filed under: strategy