I talk a lot about how to market your small business so that it grows, but what happens if that actually works? Expanding small businesses can experience growing pains, from scaling up production to managing a larger workforce. And on the marketing side, you may find yourself with a rapidly-expanding budget and a new set of directives. While it's great to have these kinds of problems, it's also important to remember that you have to retain existing customers and continually make them happy.
I recently read a great article on Fast Company about this problem. The author talked about a presentation given by three marketers who all experienced this kind of growth in their small business, going from $200,000 in revenue a year to $2 million. They outlined some strategies, tips and other tidbits they learned about marketing along the way.
5 marketing tips for growing companies
- Don't neglect your customers. You probably gained a lot of clients by offering them a more personalized experience because as a small business, you were in a position to do this. You need to stay in touch with your customers' needs and continue to deliver stellar, personalized support or you may lose them.
- Automation is a tremendous tool, especially in marketing. If you can find ways to automate basic marketing systems, like how leads are managed, email campaigns are distributed, contact lists are maintained and social media content is posted, then you'll be in a much better position to keep growing.
- Evaluate your company's customer life cycle. How long does it take to convert a lead into a sale? Next, find ways to reduce that time so leads are converted more quickly. Additionally, make sure you consider the time involved in managing that lead and plan adequately so those resources are available in an ongoing, scalable way.
- Use social media, but focus on one tool and use it really, really well. I think this is a great tip for SMBs - even growing ones - because resources can be more limited. Many social media sites are in a state of constant change and it can be hard to stay on top of them all. Choose one site, do your research and become an expert. Over time, if resources grow, consider branching out onto other social media platforms.
- Use your existing customers - and new customers - to test out changes in your marketing plans. This could be done by sending out a few different email campaigns - each with a unique URL - to see which landing page gets the most hits. Look at that traffic and see which campaigns worked best with which groups. You may find that different markets or audiences react better to certain messages.
At Fonality, we've had to adapt our marketing strategies over the years as our company has grown. We've refined the way we market our products and we've figured out how to convert leads into sales in a more effective way. But at the end of the day, each company is different and has to find their own path for growth. So I'll leave you with this tried and true expression, which I think is great advice for SMBs and marketers: "Know thyself, and to thine own self be true."