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19th April 2018

If you want good business growth, speak to your customers.

Whatever your line of business, when you start up by yourself there’s one reality that hits pretty quickly: You’re not as in control of your success as you thought you would be. That responsibility falls squarely in the lap of your customers. They have your hopes, your dreams, and your fate in their hands.

It sounds pretty elemental, but whether you’re trying to grow your business or just get it off the ground, you need your customers to be on board. And to do that, you need an offer that really speaks to them. That means reaching them with a brand promise they can truly connect with.

Of course, successful businesses already know this. To get where they are they’ve had to be very clear about what they’re offering and who they’re offering it to. This clarity usually translates into an unshakable brand positioning that resonates with their customers and provides the perfect platform for growth. Making friends is easier if people know what you stand for. So how can you achieve the same thing?

Define your audience

The first step to growth is to know exactly who your customers are. And here’s a tip. The answer isn’t ‘everybody’.

Whatever product or service you’re offering there will always be some people more likely than others to respond to your particular way of doing things. Find them. Understand them. Get to know what they like and where they hang out. It’s far more productive to have some meaningful conversations with a few kindred spirits than it is shouting at everyone who walks past. (Here are some tips on how to do it.)

Shape your proposition

Once you’re clear on the kind of people you’re talking to you can frame your offer in the way that best speaks to their needs. But refining your proposition isn’t just about making it clear what you do. It’s being absolutely and unmistakably clear about the difference you make. And doing so in terms that the people you’re trying to reach can understand quickly. The more closely you can shape your proposition to fit the hole in your customers’ lives, the more likely you are to hit it off together.

Craft your communications

Even when you’ve done all that, knowing what to say and who to say it to is only half the story. Now you have to package it up in a way that does far more than just get your sales message across.

Your marketing communications, your website, even your logo are your opportunity to show potential customers that you’re someone they want to do business with. First impressions and all that. The language, the designs, the imagery you use all reveal something about your brand’s personality. If you’re a start-up, your marketing will determine whether you come across as the risky new guy or a fresh-thinking expert. If you’ve been around a while, it’s your marketing that will create the impression of relevance or irrelevance.

Good communications will bring down the barriers to doing business with you. So it’s important to get it right. Because the stark truth of the matter is that it doesn’t really matter how amazing your product or service is if you can’t get customers to your website or through your front door.

If you want new customers to visit, you need to reach them with compelling reasons why they should. Which, by the way, is exactly what Sixth Story is here for.