Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes, as the great man sang. You have to turn and face the unfamiliar, do something different, if you want to move your business forward and take it to new places.
This might involve learning something new, discarding old beliefs, or asking for help from a specialist as you enter an unfamiliar area.
Our recent blog post mentioned some new ideas you might want to try in your marketing this year. However, there may also be bigger changes required. But how on earth do you know which changes to make or where to start?
Strategies for Growth
You can't go far wrong if you refer to the classic Ansoff matrix for business growth:
The two main strategies for business growth are selling your existing product/service range into new makets - these could be new geographical areas or new industry sectors - or developing new products/services for your existing markets, to meet customer demand, for example.
The riskier strategy is diversification - introducing new products to new markets, which tends to require deep pockets and strong nerves.
The fourth option, market penetration, selling the same products into the same market, doesn't mean do nothing though; it gives you plenty of options to work harder and make small but considered changes to make your marketing operation work more effectively.
Small Changes - Big Impact
According to Bryony Thomas, author of Watertight Marketing (see below) there are thirteen points in the buyer's decision making process where you can make improvements in order to make your business more profitable and generate in increase in long-term sales. Using her calculations, just a 2% improvement in retention rates at each stage of your buyer's journey could make a 127% improvement in your profits.
But how do you know what to change? Or what order to do it in?
Audit your Buyer's Journey
What I suggest is to undertake an audit of the process your buyers go through between hearing about your company for the very first time and becoming a loyal, repeat customer. A Watertight Marketing Touchpoint Leak Assessment is a great place to start, and you can either do it yourself or ask me to help you. What you should be doing is giving your potential customer a very easy, step-by-step route to buying from you, where they have exactly the information they need at each stage of the process. Not too much, not too little, just the right amount of relevant and helpful content to help them hop gently on to the next step.
Get Your Priorities Right
While it is tempting to rush off and rebuild your website (which may well be a good idea, but just hold fire...) or throw a lot of money at some glamorous advertising, just stop and think. Your marketing audit or your Touchpoint Leak Assessment will highlight your priorities. If you have loads of "to-do"s the chances are most of them will never happen because you just feel overwhelmed and don't know where to start. Or, possibly worse, you will waste money on doing things in the wrong order and generating loads of leads which are not nurtured because you haven't got the rest of the process fixed and the leads just fall off the edge instead of becoming customers.
Time spent planning is never wasted. Take a methodical look at your business and change the right things in the right order.
I strongly recommend that you read Watertight Marketing - there's a free sample, including the whole of part 1, available here. Take the ideas on board, assess your touchpoint leaks and then make a positive start on changing the top priorities. Sounds good? Off you go then!
Again, in the immortal words of David Bowie: Commencing countdown, engines on.