A client-driven approach to marketing
A client-driven approach to marketing is essential for small businesses that are serious about developing long-lasting trusted relationships with their existing clients and winning new business.
If your marketing strategy is directed by the needs of your clients, it can be one of the most powerful tools, and the more direct and engaging the marketing approach, the more effective it will be.
You need to have a direct connection with your target market to get the best return on investment from your marketing spend.
Three golden rules of marketing to help you keep your edge in the market:
1. Know what they want
"The biggest golden rule is to carefully identify what your clients need and want, and then to show them that you can provide them with the service that will meet those needs," says Charryse Scarpignato, Head of Marketing for Macquarie Business Banking. "You need to have a direct connection with your target market to get the best return on investment from your marketing spend."
The cornerstone of an effective marketing program is to have a current and accurate understanding of your clients' needs. Once you know what people expect of you, you can tailor your business objectives to meet their needs, and develop a marketing plan that clearly outlines the specific initiatives required to achieve your own marketing objectives and business goals.
2. Communicate clearly
Direct engagement, either by social media, email or face-to-face contact, creates a good rapport with your clients and allows you to remain competitive in your industry. The more honest and direct you are with your clients, the more trust you will build in your brand. It is much easier to exude a client-driven business focus if you have already established a reputation of honesty and integrity.
"Clients appreciate direct and honest engagement," says Scarpignato. Keeping your clients informed, and communicating clearly and honestly, creates positive word-of-mouth and referrals.
3. Use your reputation to your advantage
"Small businesses often grow from referrals," says Scarpignato. "Word-of-mouth is one of the most successful ways a business can quickly reach potential clients".
If a client has a good experience with your business, not only will they come back to you in the future, they are also likely to tell their friends. Clients who value your service and the way you provide your service will support you by passing on their praise – and these referrals have a strong correlation to action. Think about the last great restaurant you ate at. You probably told a number of people about the excellent food, service and atmosphere and recommended they try it for themselves – and it's very likely that some of them followed your advice.
"All clients want to have a good service experience," says Scarpignato. "If you treat them with honesty and respect, while staying attentive to their needs, then you'll create valuable repeat business for life. And nothing can promote your business better than happy clients."
Top tips to grow your business
- Connect with other businesses – fostering relationships with other small businesses can allow you to offer a joint client experience, seamlessly meeting clients' multiple needs
- Refer yourself - if you expect to receive referrals then you must reciprocate. Research and choose your referral partners wisely
- Communicate with your clients – proactively engage with your clients by providing updates on service levels or special offers that will keep you front of mind, such as social media or a weekly email.