There’s no one correct path to follow when building a business or a brand. There are many ways to achieve growth and success. If you look at most successful businesses, however, you’ll often find some common trends to take note of. Here are five keys to a successful business that can be found in businesses of all kinds throughout the world.
Understand Your Customers
The best-laid marketing plans will look different from industry to industry. But they all have one common thread — they’re based on what customers actually want, and not what the company thinks people want.
How do you achieve this? Market on the level of your customers. Get to know them. Understand their needs and wants. Identify customer pain points. Conduct surveys. Ask shoppers in stores exactly what they’re looking for. Develop buyer personas to group like-minded customers together. Create paths to purchase so that you know exactly when the big decision points are reached, and what people are going to do at those moments.
This all sounds like a lot. And without the right plan, it can be. But if you remember that marketing is all about meeting consumers where they are, you’ll realize that the only way to actually do that is to put in work to fully understand your customers.
The work you put in today to get to know your customers will pay off many times over down the road. And the applications for this knowledge go well beyond marketing, informing decisions regarding new products, online functionality and additional locations.
Identify Your Niche
As you become more familiar with how consumers perceive your business, you’ll start to understand how your company fits into the lives of your customers. While you might begin your business attempting to be all things to all people, you’ll soon find that you need to narrow your focus at some point. Some companies find that balance right away. For others, it takes a little longer.
No matter what industry you’re in, or how big or small your business is, there’s a niche out there for you and your company. And the sooner you find it, the better off your organization will be.
How do you find your niche? A large part of it goes right back to listening to your customers. Take their feedback seriously. Consider the role your company plays in the lives of these individuals. This feedback will hint at the key areas in which your business needs to focus.
Just as importantly, consider the interests and talents of the people within your organization. Even if consumers want something, you can’t give it to them if you’re faking your enthusiasm for that line of business. The ideal niche is the middle ground between your company’s own passions and the demands of your customers. Within that sweet spot, there’s room for your business — and there’s plenty of room for that business to grow.
One of the best things about a growing business is that the company always has the opportunity to communicate directly with customers. This can be in-store conversations, through social media or on review sites. Every bit of communication helps, and every interaction can result in either a new customer or an even more satisfied existing customer.
Communication in marketing can sometimes be a “less is more” proposition. For example, you don’t want to send out email blasts to your entire customer list every day. Instead, wait until you have something important to say — a sale, a new product offering or company news are just a few examples — and send out your message in a tasteful yet compelling manner. It’s not about being pushy — it’s about letting customers in and making them feel valued.
The same is true for customers who might not be feeling so valued. But in this situation, less isn’t more. You should respond to every customer who sends an email, comments on social media or writes a review on Yelp or Google.
Doing this accomplishes two very important things. First, it has the potential to turn a negative experience into a neutral one, if not completely turning it positive. Reaching out to disgruntled consumers and attempting to make it right can turn angry customers into your biggest advocates.
Second, responding to comments shows every visitor on these sites that you’re willing to go above and beyond to make consumers happy. Those who might be on the fence about your business will see that level of dedication, and it may make them more inclined to give your company a shot.
Continue to Evolve
Following the first three keys will take considerable time and dedication. But just abiding by those principles isn’t enough to survive over the long haul. There’s also the importance of evolution and adaptability, especially when it comes to marketing.
Why? Because the world doesn’t stay the same for long. Can you even remember how the world looked two years ago? None of us can. That’s not just because of the pandemic. It’s because life is always changing — for you, for your products and for your customers. The needs people had even six months ago might be entirely different tomorrow.
But it’s not enough to simply preach about changing with the times. It’s something that has to be practiced every day. The best way to practice is to continue listening and to keep those lines of communication open. If people’s lives are changing, they’ll let you know — even if they announce their changing lives by shopping elsewhere.
A good business keeps an eye on these changes and acts accordingly. A poor business acts as though they’re set for life and assumes they don’t need to do anything differently. Don’t follow the latter example. Keep your every action at the heart of what customers need, and you’ll do right by them more often than not.
Marketing is built on the building blocks we’ve discussed. You need to understand customers in order to effectively market to them. You need to know where you stand within the marketplace. You need to communicate with your customers, and you need to evolve in changing times. There’s one last piece that’s missing, and every good business makes it a top priority.
Everyone knows it costs more to attract a new customer than it does to retain a loyal customer. That’s one reason right there to emphasize loyalty. But it’s far from the only reason. Quite frankly, at the end of the day, it’s the right thing to do.
Your customers are your lifeblood. Without loyal consumers, you don’t have a business. It’s your responsibility to do right by your most ardent supporters. A promotion here and a customer appreciation coupon code there will cost you very little when compared with the lifetime customer value of a regular shopper.
Rewarding these individuals for their loyalty will keep those people happy, and it just might encourage them to recommend your business to others.
At the same time, loyalty should also be shown to business partners and employees. Taking care of these parties means they’ll likely be loyal to your company in return. That means a lot in the world of small business, where relationships and familiar faces go such a long way.
Again, it’s not loyalty for the sake of getting something out of people — it’s loyalty because you truly appreciate the people that have made your business a success. That authenticity is the heart of modern marketing, and it can be what separates your business from the competition.
Of course, there are more than just five keys to success in the business world. But these five tenets can set you up for success, both in the short term and over the long haul. To learn more about how your business can succeed, contact us at Commit Agency today.