The entrepreneurial life cycle is a roller coaster in every sense of the word.
In the beginning, you have that “eureka!” moment – the one that inspires you to devote your life to building a business in the first place. After that, you’re hit with bumps in the road that have you doubting every decision you’ve ever made. A feeling of hopelessness begins to set in… followed by the euphoria that only comes with knowing everything is going to pay off.
Then you get to that point where it’s time to scale. All that hard work and dedication starts to pay off. You think you can finally start to cash in on the fruits of your labor. Then enters the self-doubt. You scramble to figure out why things aren’t working in quite the way you thought they would. You’re growing, but not exactly at the rate that you wanted – and at that point, you have a choice on your hands.
A), you can course-correct and finally start to unlock the results that you were after in the first place. Or B), you can continue to watch your efforts crash and burn. More often than not, businesses in the B) column are the same ones that think you only need marketing and sales to grow and scale.
But the truth is, these elements in and of themselves are not enough to get the job done. Every entrepreneur wants to scale their company. But for that to happen, they have to scale themselves. Getting there isn’t impossible, but you need to keep a few key things in mind.
The Art of Scalability: Breaking Things Down
Successful digital marketing is a huge part of how you put your business in a position to scale. It’s also not as complicated as most people are prone to making it.
The number one rule of digital marketing is — make the right offer to the right customer at exactly the right time. You probably know this already. These days, people are spread thin. Their digital consumption is all over the place. They’re spending a lot of their time on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. They’re staying informed on all their favorite news sites and blogs. They’re scouring sources online to find the products and services that they want.
In this crowded landscape, digital marketing becomes less about “selling” and more about putting you in touch. You’re on the same channels, participating in the types of conversations that people are already having. What you’re trying to do is get them interested in you to the point where they want to learn more about you. They’ll start to ask questions about your products and services. If you can get to that point, scalability becomes a foregone conclusion.
To get an idea of how powerful this can be when leveraged properly, consider the last major purchase you made in your own life. Maybe you needed a service provider to come in and fix a leaky roof. Maybe you bought your first home. It doesn’t matter – the process likely began by searching online and doing as much research into your potential options as possible.
The ultimate decision you made to buy wasn’t based on an advertisement or a flashy piece of marketing collateral. It was built on reviews that you read. It was made after consulting with friends and family members to get their opinion. It was a move that you made only after doing an intense amount of research about the features, the pricing and other aspects of your decision.
Every last one of your customers is going through the same basic journey before they engage with your business. That, in essence, is why a new approach to digital marketing is your key to the scalability and growth that you need.
To put it another way, think less about digital marketing in the traditional sense. It’s as a communication opportunity to illustrate as much value as possible. Don’t just push your products and services. Focus on having a real conversation with your prospects. Keep them up-to-date on all the latest industry news you feel they need to know about. Don’t push traditional advertisements. Write content showing that you understand the unique challenges they’re facing. Show them how you’re prepared to help them solve those problems. Share social media content that keeps them active and engaged, even if they’re not ready to buy right this second.
This approach — of talking to your customers, hearing and solving their problems — is the key. It’s so much more important than just digital marketing. When you apply this to your digital marketing efforts, you’ve got a well-oiled machine. Say goodbye to false starts, growth missteps. Say hello to consistent, repeatable results time and again.
This goes beyond converting a bunch of new buyers. Listening to your customers and solving their problems creates brand advocates. Brand advocates buy more, much more often. Word-of-mouth takes off and social sharing campaigns gets easy. The best part about this? The customer journey gets way shorter. All while guaranteeing you always get the right message in front of the right person at exactly the right moment.
In the end, true scalability is all about three core ideas. Put a machine in place that will create the type of predictable sales that only grow stronger as time goes on. Once momentum builds, those predictable sales become predictable, bankable profits. Those profits mean you can capitalize on opportunities for growth. Growth opportunities you couldn’t afford before, and had to watch them pass you by.
The only way to get to that point is by creating as much transferable value as possible. Which means your digital marketing needs to change. Growth is impossible without your brand advocates. Those happy customers are your ticket to growth.