Don't get eaten by the Sharks!
If you had to prepare and go on Shark Tank, would you get the funding? If you are a watcher of the ABC show, you know it isn't easy, and Mr. Wonderful certainly would rip you a new you-know-what if you're not crystal clear on the specifics of your business.
What specifics? Well you certainly better know your revenue numbers, where your customers come from and customer acquisition costs to name a few, or you could kiss any potential investment goodbye.
So what if you're not pitching an investor or seeking private equity funding, but simply want to grow, thrive, add a new location, hire more staff, buy that new service truck, treat your spouse to a cruise, put your child through college?
Get familiar with data
If you want to beat your local competitors and achieve the things you dream about, you have to start thinking strategically, and when it comes to boosting customer acquisition, you have to get familiar with your business data and Lifecycle Marketing.
What does Lifecycle Marketing even mean?
It's essentially your ability to turn consumers into customers across all stages of the buying funnel and keep tighter control of the process. We've simplified the consumer buying journey into 3 simple stages:
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>>Be sure to download How Consumers Buy Today: Harnessing the Buying Journey to Get More Customers<<
It's 2014...good technology is not just for the big guys anymore
The first thing you have to realize, is that for the most part, practically all new consumers are going to filter through the web (unless you're a tourist shop or bakery relying on walk-by traffic...I'm talking Home Services, Doctors, Schools, Attorneys, Accountants, Auto Repair Shops, Health Clubs, Spas, Salons...). Even any offline advertising or word-of-mouth referrals will trickle through online (consumers need your contact information, look up reviews, read testimonials, search for good content, watch informative videos, elicit feedback from their social networks, etc.). You'll need to get used to leveraging modern digital tools and compliant with the web's best practices.
The second thing you have to realize is that there are leaks in every business' marketing funnel. To maximize the best return, you need to address and fix these leaks along each stage. The easiest place to start is to incorporate a smarter website, functional technology and marketing automation.
So let's get down to it. If you're a small- or medium-sized business that operates in a local marketplace and want more customers, clients, patients, students, residents or members, you need to be able to answer all of these questions. I can guarantee the top local business in your industry certainly can!
- How easy do you make it for people to discover you when consumers Search, Surf and Socialize online (desktop & mobile)?
- How many of your website visitors turn into a customer?(By the way, the average small business in the U.S. only gets 6 customers for every 1,000 website visits, Source: Marketing Sherpa)
- Which advertising source provides the strongest ROI and how do you measure that?
- How long does it take your business to respond to initial inquiries?
- Are you 100% confident your employees are saying the right things on the phone to potential customers?
- How many leads are slipping through the cracks?
- How do you stay in front of those “missed opportunities?”
- What is your current cost per lead, and what are you doing to drive down that cost each month?
Then, once you have them as a customer, retaining them begins a whole new process. That will be a future topic.