Your business needs a marketing strategy and a marketing plan to implement the strategy. But that’s you might call: “stating the bleedin obvious”, you knew that already but the problem is that you just don’t know where to start.
So let me help you.
First: Let me give you your marketing strategy:
Second: Here’s your marketing plan:
Done, there’s your marketing strategy and your marketing plan.
In small business especially there is no more effective marketing strategy than getting your customers to love you, truly love you. Famous business guru Ken Blanchard, author of the “One Minute Manager” books coined the term: Raving Fans. If you make the focus of your business to turn your customers, all of them into Raving Fans, you’ll never have to do any other marketing, because they’ll do it for you, and better yet, they’ll do it for free.
One of my favourite customers, let’s call him Eric has always done exactly that. Ever since I’ve known him and worked with him, he’s asked himself at every turn: “What else would my customers love”. Eric has stores, 8 of them by now, and these days, whenever he opens a new store, the neighbourhood comes and brings him flowers. That’s how happy people are to have one of his stores nearby. You might think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. Two months prior to the opening of his latest new store in a suburb of Sydney, whenever Eric was in the store supervising the fitout, people would wave him over, excitedly asking.
All Eric has to do as far as marketing is concerned is hang a sign on the door announcing the imminent opening and hundreds of people will turn up on the first day.
You may say: My customers are very happy too, but they don’t come busting down my door.
I read a really interesting statistic the other day:
80% of business owners believe they offer superior customer service, and 8% of customers believe the same thing.
There’s an enormous disconnect between how good we think we are and how good our customers think we are.
Eric, actually offers superior service while his competition merely think they do. Eric’s customers are Raving Fans in the true sense of the word, while most of his competitors merely have satisfied customers. Satisfied customers are simply not the kind of people who do your marketing for you. They’re merely satisfied… until something else, cheaper, more convenient or simply different comes along. Raving Fans on the other hand will go out of their way to do business with you, they look forward to buying from you, they drag their friends and family to your door, defend your honour against the competition and proclaim at dinner parties how wonderful you are.
There is a really simple system for discovering how happy your customers really are with your business. It’s called the Net Promoter question and it goes like this:
On a scale from 0 to 10 how likely is it that you’ll refer your friends and family to us?
If your customers answer anything less than 9 on that scale, they’re not Raving Fans and if they answer less than 7, they’re not even satisfied customers. (read more about the Net Promoter System here)
How would most of your customers answers the NPS question? Are your customers merely satisfied, or are they Raving Fans… Are they really?
I suggest you go and find out… it’s the most important marketing work you’ll ever do… I promise you.
#CustomerSatisfaction #HappyCustomers #RavingFans #CustomersDoYourMarketing #MarketingPlans #MarketingStrategy
Guest Post by Adam Ramshaw, founder of Genroe (Australia
For me every Monday is like a fresh beginning. I start out full of energy and a big list of things that needs to get done. But when rolling over my to-do list there is always a small number of items that just never seems to get completed because I’ve simply gotten caught up in the day to day.
As small businesses owners we are often so busy finding customers, getting orders, delivering services or products and collecting payments that we barely find time to stop and look around.
Maybe your customer feedback survey is one of those items that keeps getting rolled over; maybe you think it’s a luxury. Believe me it’s not.
Keeping more customers makes it easier to get orders and customer feedback helps you to keep customers.
It’s true that you speak to your customers every day and probably believe you know exactly what they
think of your business and that they’d naturally just tell you if anything was wrong. But remember, telling someone the truth when that truth is negative is difficult and so most people avoid saying anything.
What’s more, in a small business you will be close to your customers. They know you and you know them. That makes it even harder for them to tell you the negative things that may be driving them away from your business.
The information you need the most, what they dislike about your business, is the information they are least likely to tell you. So you have to actively solicit that feedback and in the right way.
Yes there will always be a few people that tell you what they think regardless, but they are in the minority. If you really want to know what the customers of small businesses are thinking you need to give them an anonymous way to provide you feedback though a customer feedback survey.
That anonymity will give them the freedom to tell you more clearly what you are doing well but more importantly, what you are not doing well.
Only then will you know what they really think. Only then will you really know what changes are required.
By systematically collecting information on what drives customers away and correcting those issues you can keep your customers longer. Keeping customers longer reduces the load and cost of marketing your business.
As you go about your daily work you can get too involved in the business which makes it difficult to really get a flavour for what your customers think. This is a common problem for small businesses.
Stepping back and really listening to what customers are saying allows you to divorce yourself from the here and now and really listen to what they are saying.
Often they will be telling you what you are doing well so you can reinforce those elements. But they will also tell you what you need to fix or change in your business.
“I know my customers” is the catch cry of many, most, small businesses. This is mostly correct. You are closer to your customers than the CEO of General Electric will ever be to his or hers.
However, just because you are closer doesn’t mean you know everything. You must still collect and use customer feedback so you know what to change in your business to ensure that you are serving their needs for the long term.
I’ve been working in the customer feedback industry for 10 years. In a “plumber with leaky pipes at home” moment I was reviewing our customer feedback and found that our customers were telling us they want to buy more from us. Basically they were asking us to contact them more as we had more services they wanted to buy.
If we hadn’t been listening to our customer feedback we would have been making our customers unhappy and losing sales at the same time. My point is that no one really knows their customers unless they ask.
Business moves forward and if you are not moving forward you are falling behind. Some of that innovation comes from you but it also comes from your customers.
It is rumoured that Henry Ford said
”If I had asked my customers what they wanted they would have said a faster horse”
Which is true. But if he had not listened to their needs afterwards we would still be hand starting our cars and wearing driving goggles.
Customer feedback surveys provide an invaluable place for customers to let you know about the innovation they desire. That’s not to say that every single piece of feedback with be an innovation nugget but you only need a couple of nuggets a year to drive your business forward.
It can seem daunting (and scary) to run a feedback process but it doesn’t have to be.
Adam Ramshaw is the CEO of Genroe and has developed a the “The Complete Small Business Customer Feedback Kit” The kit is the easiest system available to implement a simple but effective customer feedback program in your business. Find out more at this link, click here
Contact Adam on his website with any further questions http://genroe.com.au
In this series of articles and associated webinars and workshops, by Roland Hanekroot you will learn the basic concepts and get the knowledge you need to become a successful ‘Business-Owner’, as opposed to a struggling ‘Business-Doer’.
The format of each episode in the “First Steps” series is to explain the basics of the topic and then in line with the principles of New Perspectives business development programs, to suggest some small simple “First Steps” you can take straight away to put the knowledge into action.
In this article we’ll look at your customers and ask:
There is an old maxim that says: ‘Your best and cheapest source of new business is in your existing customers database’
And that is so true. You know your existing customers and they know you; you know where they are and you probably know how to get hold of them and communicate with them already, and most importantly they’ve learnt to like and trust you already.
Well, I hope they do anyway.
Marketing boffins refer to the ‘Cost of acquisition’ of new customers, meaning what you have to spend to get one new active customer, a customer who spends money with you.
Cost of acquisition can include all kinds of marketing costs; advertising, Google optimization, brochure delivery etc etc, down to the cost of offering a free garlic bread with a first order of Pizza from the local Dominos.
Marketing is all about balancing the cost of acquiring a new customer against the money you stand to earn from that customer.
But encouraging an existing customer to do business with you again is nearly always cheaper than finding and acquiring a new customer, because all you have to do is to pick up the phone or send them an email or something like that.
So much for Marketing 101, but here comes the interesting part: Turning your existing customers into Raving Fans has the potential to reduce your marketing investments to near zero.
How does that happen?
Let me tell you a story
The restaurant employed some 20 people from kitchen hands to waiters and chefs and Giuseppe had owned the restaurant for about 5 years.
Giuseppe loved feeding his customers. The restaurant ran well and as far as Giuseppe could tell his customers were satisfied. The problem was that every time a new restaurant opened up in the area Giuseppe’s place dropped off for a while until clientele slowly started building up again. Every time Giuseppe was getting comfortable with his team and his turnover and his profit levels, there would be a new place in the street and for a couple of months Giuseppe would be losing money again.
‘It’s two steps forward and two steps back all the time’ thought Giuseppe
Giuseppe was ready to close up.
Working with me, Giuseppe came to realize that he needed to create a truly loyal customer base. A group of customers who were advocates for his business, Raving Fans. How do you create Raving Fans? By doing things for your customers they don’t expect, to always go one better, to truly make the customers feel at home and surprise them at every visit.
So Giuseppe turned the culture of the restaurant around. Ordinary customer satisfaction wasn’t enough anymore. Staff were trained to ensure they knew customers by name. To record customers preferences for tables and wines and dishes. Customer’s birthdates were recorded and free dinner vouchers sent to them on their birthdays. Every time a customer had dinner they’d be given some little surprise, from a free desert or after dinner drink, to a little bon-bon to take home or a voucher to give to a friend. Any time a customer wasn’t entirely happy with their dish or service they would be given it for free. Customers would be surveyed to find out about their favorite wines or dishes and Giuseppe would make sure that these preferences would be available on the menu next time the customer came and had dinner with him. A couple of tables would always be kept free for his regular customers so they wouldn’t ever need to book on forehand. Giuseppe started free cooking classes for customers and organised wine tasting tours for his regular clientele.
Now, a couple of years later, Giuseppe’s restaurant is always full. Every day of the week… people come from far and wide. Giuseppe hasn’t spent money on advertising or any other marketing than his initiatives in the restaurant. New restaurants arrive in the area and barely cause a blib on the radar. And best of all, Giuseppe and his staff feel that they have truly become part of the community and the community has made Giuseppe’s restaurant one of it’s institutions.
The restaurant is now consistently profitable
And Giuseppe and his very happy customers lived happily ever after… The end..
Giuseppe learnt to understand what it means to turn your customers into Raving Fans. Because when your customers are indeed Raving Fans, you don’t need to market to them anymore, they will be looking for opportunities to do more business with you. What business often don’t appreciate though is that the impact of turning your customers into Raving Fans is exponential.
Raving Fans will go out of their way to bring their friends and spread the word amongst their own networks. Raving Fans will also actively resist the attempts of the competition to win them over to their side. Raving Fans feel invested and emotionally engaged with your business and want you to do well.
There is a famous series of business management books written by Ken Blanchard, ‘The one Minute Manager Series’ and one of the books in the series is called ‘Raving Fans, why ordinary customer service isn’t good enough anymore’. Ken introduces a concept of ‘Plus One’ in the book, it’s short for ‘Find out what the customer wants, and deliver plus one percent’
The problem is that most businesses don’t take the trouble to find out what the customers really want and even if they do know they deliver inconsistently and certainly not more than the customer expects.
So if you want to reduce your marketing spend to near zero, commit to turning all your customers into Raving Fans.
Your business and your life will never be the same again… I promise you.
As mentioned in the opening paragraphs of this article, here are some ‘First Steps’ actions you can take right away, that will get you started on implementing the topics and principles of Raving Fans:
Roland Hanekroot is the founder of New Perspectives Business Coaching and the author of “The Ten Truths books for business owners”
To support small business owners take the first steps to building a business that sustains them for years, Roland runs a series of regular webinars called The Small Business Masterminds Foundation webinars. There are three different Foundation webinars, on Time Management, The Purpose of Business and How to have more Fun in Business.
The foundation webinars are totally free and you can find out more and register for the next one here: http://smallbusinessmasterminds.com.au