Recently, I have been doing some research on how to grow one of my productized services.
This question led me to explore some different ways of approaching growth. When most people think of growth, it’s typically focused on a variation of sales and marketing tactics.
More leads, more sales, and more traffic are at the top of the list. I personally love the feeling of closing a deal and getting notifications of sales.
But there is another angle and approach to growth that is rarely talked about.
It starts with an internal focus on what you already have.
Honestly, I circle back to this framework to remind myself to look internally first before defaulting to a focus on more sales.
This takes ninja patience and a mindset shift. It really makes no sense to try and get more when you are not optimizing what you’ve already got. Yet this is not the focus for most.
We are pulled to the “sexy” side of traffic, sales, and more leads because these are regarded as priorities for us as business owners.
To be honest, I actually have no problems with this and will be the first person to tell you that making sales is the most important aspect of marketing. Sales are more of my strength and something I’m actually drawn to and really enjoy.
But where I want to challenge your perspective and my own is the order in which we prioritize our approach to certain growth marketing activities.
Let's look at non-traditional growth tactics to help you expand your business. The problem areas I’m working through as I push to grow Tiny Emails will be used as a case study.
When I look at growth, the first step for me is identifying how we might “keep” more customers. What truly kills a business, isn't not making sales but rather losing too many customers. Especially if you want to build a lasting, long-term, quality, and stable business.
A humbling question I love to ask to kick the process off is, “How big will my business be if I still had every customer who bought from me?” This typically reveals the reality of how many holes are in your business ship.
Are you sinking? or are you soaring forward?
Needing more traffic and leads are not the real problems but rather a symptom of the real problem which is, not being able to retain the customers you have.
So the question is, “How do I keep more customers?”
The goal is to add new customers while you simultaneously keep all your existing customers. Can you do both of these really well at the same time? Be honest with yourself, considering the resources available.
This self-evaluation becomes extremely important as you grow your service business and work to productize it, especially if you have a recurring/subscription model.
Keeping customer churn as low as possible is vital to growth.
Here are some core strategies you could use to keep more customers that could bring value to your service business:
1. Find out what they want
Get back to the basics. What do my customers really want? Not what you think they want. What are my customers’ dreams, outcomes, frustrations, and successes? Are you really hitting the nail on the head here?
2. Go and get it
Once clear on what they want, how can you build and structure a solution that will truly serve them? This could be an evolving and dynamic process as you dial in your service/offer.
3. Give it to them and optimize
Simply offer that solution to them by solving that problem in exchange for money. Then optimize and refine it.
4. Fix the holes in your bucket
Truly understand why people leave and are not continuing to work with you. Take the time to audit this in more depth anytime a customer cancels or leaves you. This insight will help you strengthen the value and lower customer churn moving forward. Track and document this.
5. Design your customer journey & experience
Map out your customer journey and truly understand the different emotions a customer will feel at the different stages of your funnel.
6. Build proactive systems
Do you have someone dedicated to client service? How can you set up automations and or processes in place to reach out at the right time to handle objections before they happen or solve problems before they need solving. Think multiple moves ahead like you are playing “business chess”.
Here are some great Thinking Time questions to fuel this process even more:
Why do people buy from me in the first place?
What are their pains, problems, and frustrations?
What is the compelling promise of our company?
What must happen to cause a customer to buy from me?
What would keep a customer from coming back over and over again?
Does the value we are delivering to the customer exceed the price we are charging? How do we know this to be true?