During the economic crisis caused by state government shutdowns of state and local economies, my wife and I have been doing what we can to support our favorite restaurants and small businesses.
We’ve ordered take out at least once a week and purchased a couple of household goods and appliances to make the time we are spending at home more enjoyable.
After a holiday weekend where we worked hard to get our yard and patio for the summer, we decided to treat ourselves with a visit to our favorite burger bar in a neighboring town. We knew we would have to eat in our car, so we grabbed a couple of banker box tops to serve as trays while we enjoyed our meal in the car.
We were excited to see several cars outside the restaurant. Once we pulled up to the door, we realized that the cars that we saw were not for the restaurant because it was closed for good.
This restaurant will be like many of the one in four businesses that will not survive the economic crisis caused by economic shutdowns related to COVID-19.
It makes me sad for the many workers whom we knew by name and who relied on this restaurant for their employment.
Seeing a once-thriving business forced to close makes me angry for two reasons. First, our state government made wide-ranging, untargeted decisions in the name of public health without full considerations for the dire economic consequences they would cause. Second, this restaurant could have had a better chance of survival if it had simple marketing sales funnel in place and use.
Let’s be realistic. A sales funnel does not guarantee the survival of a business, but it gives the business you fought hard to build a fighting chance. Even with a simple marketing plan in place, if there are no orders, there is no business for you.
With a marketing sales funnel in place, you can communicate regularly with current and future customers.
Even with a loyal and raving fan base, and a robust marketing strategy, a close friend’s business is at risk because orders have dried up. The business sectors he served are closed by local and state governments, and he had no clear way to pivot his business to another product or solution.
Look at Your Marketing from Your Customer’s Point of View
I realized that this restaurant did not have a marketing and sales funnel in place because even though they had our email address, we never received an email from them to let us know that they were still open and are still serving customers.
- Think of your customer’s journey as a path, or sales funnel, that they follow as they are attracted, inspired, and engaged in the brand you invite them to experience.
At the far-left end of the path, customers are curious about what your business offers and how it can help them meet a need or solve a problem.
- In the middle of the path, people are looking to be informed about what you offer and inspired about how it can meet a need, make their life better, or solve a problem. It could be that what you offer helps them do all three!
- At the far-right end of the path, customers have committed to buy your product or service; it’s your job as a marketer to continue to nurture and steward those loyal relationships.
Align your Customer’s Problems with Your Business Goals
Marketing doesn’t have to be complicated, and if you’re in a hurry, you might make on or all of these common mistakes many small businesses make with their marketing. All it takes to engage customers and grow your business is a clear message, simple marketing, and an effective sales funnel.
If you have a goal of raising revenue by a certain percentage or attracting a specific number of new client prospects, align your strategy with that goal.
We often think of our business strategies from an internal perspective, but what if you shift your thinking to a process that meets your customer’s needs?
For instance, what if your business had two goals:
- To help five businesses increase revenue by 20% within 12 months
- To increase your revenue by 25% a month
What strategy would you need to have in place, and what tactics would it take to achieve those goals?
Start with listening —
- Align what your team and business are capable of and what your customers find value in
- Define the problem you seek to solve or change you seek to make
- Define the problem your customers want to solve
- Define How your business or brand solves that problem
- Position your business as a guide and show your customer the path they can follow to solve the problem
A Step-By-Step Plan for Marketing, Made Simple
Once you have the strategy and goals in place, the next step is to develop the five marketing tools that help your customers move from curious to inspired to engage.
The five tactics that make marketing simple are:
- Your positioning: a three-part story about the brand you are inviting people to experience
- Your website or landing page that becomes the place where the people you attract and who are curious about how you can solve the problems can look for more information
- Lead-generating resources, such as a PDF, video, or webinar that generously shares value, positions your brand as the guide, qualifies your audience, and creates trust in your expertise
- An email nurturing campaign that adds value for and helps your customers build trust in your business
- An email sales campaign to share how your product will help solve your customer’s problems and then asked them to buy it.
These five steps flow from clear messaging (like you can get with the StoryBrand framework), a conversion-focused website (like you can build with Websites Made Simple), and marketing automation and customer relationship management system.
Once you have all these elements in place, you have an automated marketing funnel and an ecosystem that does the work for you.
With this marketing funnel in place, could our favorite restaurant survive? Perhaps.
What about your business? If you’ve made it this far, your business has survived. Are you ready to recover strongly, so your business grows and thrives in the future?