In the marketing world today, it seems like most of the discussion revolves around the “sales funnel.” You have to have a streamlined sales funnel in order to stay in business, the pundits may say. You need to develop ads around each stage of the customer’s journey. You have to have an exceptional website in order to stand out from the crowd.
A sales funnel, hyper-specific ad campaigns, a killer website — sure, those are nice things to have. But do you really need them in order to grow your business?
In a word: No.
The truth is, you can build a following for your company without heavy investments in these tools.
Yes, it requires some planning, hard work, and perseverance — but the rewards are well worth it!
Let’s talk about 4 steps you can take.
1. Find Your Niche and Focus On It
First of all, you need to understand who exactly you’re selling to. In other words, what unique needs does your product or service fill? Who specifically would be most interested in it?
Once you identify your niche market, you need to say the right things to engage those consumers in a positive way. You don’t want to approach your niche demographic from an outsider’s perspective! Rather, you want to speak to your prospects as part of their group — a member of their community.
This means finding common ground with your audience and then building from there. (It may also mean using terminology that they’re familiar with!)
2. Start With Your Network
Despite all the hoopla around automated marketing tactics, from SEO to PPC to programmatic ad buys, this simple fact still holds true: The best business is done between people.
When there’s a pre-existing relationship, there’s a much higher chance your prospect will buy from you — and that he or she will keep coming back for more.
Research backs this up. In fact, one study found that 83% of consumers either somewhat or completely trust recommendations from family, friends, and colleagues about products and services. These “organic referrals” are by far the highest-ranked source for trustworthiness among consumers — and they all start with building your network.
So put yourself out there. Ask you’re satisfied customers to spread the word about your business. When you make your network the foundation for growth, you’ll be able to build a sturdier, longer-lasting business.
3. Look for Ways to Serve Human-to-Human
Ask yourself: “What’s one thing I could do to serve someone else today?”
You want to go the extra mile for your customers, and really demonstrate how much you care about them. Not only will this feel great for you, personally, but it will also bolster your reputation as a “customer-obsessed brand.”
Let’s face it: all the advertising in the world can’t make up for one really poor customer experience. But the converse is also true: If you consistently go above and beyond to serve your customers, then you won’t necessarily need as much advertising to grow your business.
The word will spread. Appreciative customers will tell others about you. In the end, you’ll enjoy more sustainable growth than if you’d focused on marketing to the exclusion of great customer service.
4. Build Communities of Shared Values or Interests
Everyone has an inborn need to belong — to feel part of a greater whole. You can cater to this need by developing a community around common values or interests that your consumers share.
Think of Facebook Groups for example 1.8 billion people are part of them! Why? In part, because these groups offer a forum for exchanging thoughts with like-minded people. In other words: they offer a way for users to become part of a (virtual) community.
Of course, you can use other avenues to build your community besides Facebook. Host events, either virtually or in person. Send out a regular newsletter to your subscribers. Create a club.
Whatever you do, do it with the goal of building a community that your consumers can enjoy and actively engage with.
The bottom line? You can grow your business without using a sales funnel, ads, or a website. It just takes a little planning, creativity, and hustle.