The best business strategies seek both sales and margin improvement but this means striking an uneasy balance between managing growth and delivering profit. It usually means reinvesting profits into the business; focusing on customers you want and delivering products or services that satisfy customer needs.
Owner managers need to be clear on the markets they want to serve and the kind of customers they want to service. But we know finding new customers doesn’t happen by magic. You have to have a well-defined plan on how you are going to attract them and systems for monitoring your progress and measuring your success.
Here are some tips to get you started:
1. What makes a customer attractive?
However unfair, I don’t look like Mr Clooney or Mr Pitt. Similarly, in business, not all customers are equally good looking either. Take time to reflect on what makes a customer ‘attractive’ to you. What is their equivalent of a strong jawbone or luxurious hair? Is it being a growing customer or simply (but importantly) having the means and intention to pay!
2. Get to know them better
Find out what your customers buys and why they come to you instead of your competitors. You may find they fall into different groups; just make sure you build a picture of what each of these segments looks like
3. Find out where to find them
Where do they physically or virtually congregate, where do they go for information, what or who influences their buying decisions. Find this stuff out!
4. Make the best of yourself
Once you know where your clients’ hangout, direct efforts that reach them. No single marketing tactic will cover everything. You need a balance of targeted activity with relevant content that exploits what you do.
5. Why should they be interested in you?
Make sure you are attractive to them by being clear on what problems you are solving? You should convey a compelling and consistent proposition. Whether its service, price or innovation – keep it simple and easy to understand.
6. Have a system
Once you have your target audience in mind, track who is sent what and when. There are many tools available to help you do this for social marketing, delivering efficient and cost-effective emails, monitoring buyers’ journeys and engagement with content. It is worth the investment.
7. Seal the deal
Once you’ve managed to find and attract ‘beautiful strangers’ you need to get them to buy. Have systems to monitor when they engage with you and respond with speed to each interaction. The business you’re in will influence how you respond – a telephone call, a tweeted reply or a free trial to win a sale. The key is to be ready and responsive when your potential customer engages.
8. Set clear targets
To judge whether your efforts are delivering results, you need to set targets for what each activity aims to achieve e.g. for a 10% increase in profit, what sales will you need? What level of profit do you need on each sale? What marketing activities will generate leads and how are you measuring this?
Great businesses attract and retain quality customers through deliberate and consistent efforts. Quality customers in turn spark growth in your business because they keep buying and spread the word to like-minded customers.
The Management Guru Peter Drucker got it right when he said, “The purpose of a business is to create a customer”
If you are looking for some further reading, have a read of our new report https://www.hwca.com/for-love-or-money-tool/one_plan_report.pdf. or watch our latest video on Why a detailed business plan is essential for fast growth https://www.hwca.com/videos/detailed-business-plan-essential-fast-growth/