You had an idea, you took action, you’ve taken the appropriate steps to create your business, you created an amazing product, and now you are ready to go out and show the world your amazing product and service! Congrats!
The next step is to put your product to the test: it’s time to bring it to market.
This time is a little nerve wracking; what will the customer think? Will they laugh at you? Will they hate you? Is this your big break? How are your clients going to react?!?
Sales and marketing is the most important part of business; without sales, you have no business!
But sales is more than just the selling; sales and marketing, at the heart of it, is taking a potential prospect from stranger to customer.
In this post, I want to talk about branding your product and service, give you some tips on sales and marketing, and talk about how to take someone from total stranger to loyal customer.
How to Take Someone from Total Stranger to Loyal Customer
Ideally, when starting out in business, you’d be able to leverage some of your contacts from previous experience, but unfortunately, that is not always the case.
We are going from Wantrepreneur to Entrepreneur, and in this scenario, many times, you will be alone to build your empire.
At this point, there are no customers or paying clients.
There are a number of questions to answer:
- How can we take someone from total stranger to loyal customer?
- How can we market our awesome product in such a way that will gain the trust of the buyer and persuade them to choose you over your competitors?
- What do you need to consider when naming, branding, and marketing your product?
The rest of this post will be looking at the following things:
- Naming Your Business and Product
- Branding and Color Scheme
- Thinking about the Journey of Your Customer
- Designing Your Website for Conversions – Captivating, Clear and Persuasive
- Marketing on Social Media
- Email Marketing
- Getting the Sale
- The Customer Journey Can Always Be Improved!
- Train Your Staff Well
- Know Your Customers
- Reward Loyalty
- Ask for Feedback
I’m not an expert in this, but I’m learning each and every day. I hope you find benefit from this post!
One last thing before jumping in: remember, our job as an entrepreneur is to DELIGHT THE CUSTOMER. Keeping this in mind will help guide us deliver our best work!
How to Appropriately Name Your Business
First impressions are sometimes all you get.
“Hey, I started a business.”
“Oh yeah? What’s it called?”
“It’s called confusing name LLC and our product is called something bland.”
“Oh, that’s cool.”
How many times has this happened to you? How many times have you done this to others? First impressions matter, and if your name doesn’t stick out, it won’t be memorable, and if it’s not memorable, it’s probably not going to be a great success.
What’s in a Name?
I really enjoy Napoleon Hill’s books, and in his books, he talks about the concept of a mastermind group, or in his words, a group of successful individuals who come together to share their successes, struggles and tips with each other and look to become even better.
I wanted to put a little spin on it, and focus on what we have inside of us: a potential which is unlimited: we all have a mastermind inside of us, just waiting to be unlocked and unleashed.
The Mastermind Within is all about helping you reach your full potential. Does it work for a personal development blog? I think so: becoming a master of your life is the pinnacle of your self-improvement journey.
Likewise, let’s do another example. Sleeping Cow might not be the best name for a self-improvement site. Sports and Sun might not be the best name for snow cone business.
There has to be some connection between your product and your business’s name. I’m sure you are saying, yes, I get it, but this is often overlooked. (Even with something like Admiral Plumbing Service, does Admiral make sense to add here?)
Make it Pop!
When thinking about your name and tagline, at the end of the day, you want to stand out and be unique. You want to make it pop.
The other week, I started reading the book, POP: Create the Perfect Pitch, Title, and Tagline for Anything. In the first chapter, the author talks about the eye brow test for your business’ name.
If you tell someone your business or product name and their eyebrows go up, that means they are interested in your product and you have a good name.
If you tell someone your business or product name and their eyebrows go down, they are confused and you’ve lost them.
Try the eyebrow test for yourself on your business and product! I definitely like it as a good starting point after I’ve done some name brainstorming.
Finding the Best Branding and Color Scheme
After selecting your business name, it’s time to think about your branding and color scheme.
Let’s first talk about colors.
What does your product and company stand for? What do you want your customers to feel when they interact with your brand?
Let’s not reinvent the wheel: there is a ton of research out there on colors and emotion. Take a look at the following graphic to see what different colors mean and what companies are utilizing those colors in their branding.
Once you’ve decided on a color scheme which matches your company vision and fits in with your niche and service, you are ready to get a logo.
Here, do what you think is best. What kind of logo makes sense for your company?
If it’s a simple industry, maybe it’s as simple as your company name. If you are in design, maybe you should have something a little more complex.
For my kombucha business, kombucha is 100% organic. As a result, I wanted to include nature in our logo through a hibiscus flower. In combination with the orange colors, representing life and joy, I’m very pleased with the new branding:
Take Your Customer on a Journey
You now have your business name, color scheme, logo, and product or service design.
It’s time to get to selling…. but how?
Sales is about providing your potential client or customer with your product. It’s providing a solution to their problem.
I like to think about it like a journey from stranger to buyer.
If I had never heard of this product before, what would I need to know and have to see before getting out my credit card? What would be required from the business for me to trust them?
When thinking about the customer journey, we need to think about the following: how to build trust, how to clearly explain our offer, how to captivate our potential buyer, and what is the best avenue to spend our time and marketing dollars on.
Are you leading them to a sale or not?
At the end of the day, our goal as entrepreneurs is to make money.
With every interaction you have with your potential client or customer, you should ask yourself, is this interaction leading to a sale or not?
Every interaction is crucial; from your Tweets, Pins, or Facebook ads, to your website design, to emails you send to further nurture the relationship, each action needs to have a purpose and align with the ultimate goal of a sale.
With the concept of “leading your customer to your product” in mind, let’s dive a little bit farther into the details of what can help this customer journey along through the following topics:
- Designing your website for conversions
- Define the Offer
- Marketing on social media
- Email marketing
- Going in for the sale
Design Your Website for Conversions
First, let’s define conversion. A conversion is the successful completion of a goal by the user for the website owner. This goal could be a purchase, viewing a certain page, putting their email into a specific form, click on an ad or link, or whatever the website owner wants it to be.
If your goal is sales, then at there should be multiple spots on your website for the user to interact with a button pointing to the checkout.
If your goal is collecting emails, then you need to have multiple spots on your website for the user to submit their email in exchange for a lead magnet (read: freebie).
My goal on The Mastermind Within is to provide value through my freebies. To do so, I’ve taken steps to optimize my site for more subscribers opting in to my email list for these freebies.
At the end of every post and page, there is a freebie offer form. In addition, at the top of the window, there is an offer for my freebies as well.
As a website owner, if you have a goal, then it’s crucial to make sure there are many spots a user can interact with this goal (just remember, there’s a fine line here, and it’s important also to not be spammy and over the top with your offers!).
Clearly Define the Offer
What are you offering? $50 in exchange for 1 hour of your work? $25 for your unique trinket? $5 off for a 3 month subscription of magazines?
If a potential buyer gets confused, they aren’t going to bite and spend their money with you.
Unfortunately, I’ve been on the receiving end of some harsh criticism from my customers about the clarity of my kombucha site (and now I’m updating it to be more clear).
People want to know exactly what they are getting when they decide to buy. Anything less, and it will lead to unmet expectations and confusion.
For your website, I’d recommend having the following pages at a minimum: a home page with an introduction to your product, an about page, and a contact form.
If you want to have a blog for your website, go for it – but it’s not necessary if you don’t want one.
Marketing on Social Media
Instagram! Facebook! Twitter! Google! YouTube! Pinterest!
There are so many social media platforms out there which all have large followings.
Starting off, it might be tempting to try to dive in on all of these platforms.
Instead, let’s think critically for a second and try to answer the following question: where are our customers hanging out in the social media world?
For example, many food bloggers are crushing it on Pinterest because many people are looking up recipes on Pinterest. YouTube is a great visual platform for showcasing your music or video editing skills.
For many businesses, paid ads on Google or Facebook work well.
You have to figure out where your customers are, and then dive in to try to interest them in your product and convert them into buyers.
Every single day, I get hit with a ton of emails. I’m sure you do as well.
Every one of these emails has a goal if done right: the person sending the email wants you to interact with their content to gather data, provide you with more value to gain your trust, or purchase their awesome product.
A business’s email list is one of the most important assets – you have a direct way into a person’s world.
After getting a person’s email through an opt-in, you will want to follow-up over time to further nurture them.
There are many email marketing formulas and strategies out there which could fill a whole series of blog posts which I will not be covering. Here’s some additional reading on email marketing if you are interested: A Beginner’s Guide to Successful Email Marketing
Getting a Sale
We are in the business of making money! At the end of the day, all of our interactions with our customer or client should be leading to the sale.
Throughout the customer journey, your customer should now be aware of what you have to offer, how much it will cost, and what exactly they can expect in exchange for their hard earned cash.
They have seen your funny Instagram memes, interacted with your emails, and grown to trust you.
At this point, your potential buyer will most likely be excited to improve their life with your product or service, and will happily buy from you.
You did it!
The Customer Journey Can Always Be Improved!
There are always ways of improving your customer service.
The goal of better customer service is ultimately, the customer’s happiness, but also how this satisfaction translates into sales for the business.
Customer Relationship Management, also called CRM, is the process of trying to create lasting bonds between your business and your customers, and encouraging positive associations with your brand in your customers’ minds.
Now, CRM can be relatively difficult.
You want to strike a fine balance between making sure your customers get what they want while ensuring that they don’t walk all over you and your staff.
You want to focus on building strong customer bonds with your brand and store.
The easiest way to do that is by providing good customer service.
Here are some areas for you to focus on:
Train Your Staff Well
Your staff needs to be highly trained in every area of their job.
They should be able to answer any customer queries pertaining to your products, services, policies, brand, etc.
They should be familiar with the product you stock so that they can be comfortable giving recommendations and product demonstrations. They should know the layout of the store so they can show customers where certain items are located.
They should understand the point-of-sale (POS) system and be comfortable using the store phone and other technology.
They should also be familiar with your store policies, such as refund and exchange policies. On top of all of this, they need to be able to greet customers appropriately, maintain a polite tone, practice patience, exhibit understanding, and encourage sales without coming across as overly harsh or intimidating.
Customers should be able to enter your store, find the products they like, and have their sale processed quickly and conveniently with no hitches.
With good customer service, it’s possible!
Know Your Customers
Customers like shopping at places that show appreciation for their business.
If you have regular customers, take the time to learn their names and greet them by their preferred name.
This creates a customized experience where they feel individually recognized and appreciated! It also makes for a more relaxed and pleasant atmosphere.
It adds a touch of the personal to an otherwise business-oriented transaction.
For customers that shop with you time and time again, you should think about setting up some sort of loyalty or reward program.
It could take the form of weekly coupons or specials, or a more formal reward system like a points or stamp card.
Loyalty programs have been shown to increase sales and retention, but they’re also just a great way to show you appreciate your customer.
Ask for Feedback
If things are going well but you don’t know where to start, consider asking your customers how you can improve.
Surveys and questionnaires can provide you with all sorts of positive feedback that can help your business.
You’ll be able to gain an insight into what’s working and what needs to be changed.
You could also tie in leaving a review in exchange for a free product or sample. It gets people talking about your business and in the door and generating positive reviews.
There’s Always Room for Improvement
With all things in life, we can always improve a little bit more each and every day, week, month, and year.
In my kombucha business, in the last 2 months, I changed the name and color scheme, I’m on my 4th iteration of my web site, and just last Monday, spent $300 for new professional photos.
In April, I’m going to continue to focus in on what’s important for the sales process – there’s still a lot to do.
Like I said, each day, there’s an opportunity to improve. Even if you are making sales each and every day, there is still an opportunity to improve the process.
Are there areas your customers are dropping off? Is there something that isn’t quite clear on your website? What can be made better?
With every post in this Wantrepreneur to Entrepreneur series, I will be providing you with a task for you to think about after finishing this post up.
For your task, start to think about the customer journey from stranger to customer or client. What does that look like for your organization?
When a customer hears about your company, sees your brand, and looks at your color scheme, what emotions should they feel?
What are the steps for a potential client and customer to take from introduction to passing over their credit card details and paying your for your service?
When you send a potential buyer an email, is this directing them towards a sale? On your website, what’s your call to action?
All of this should be going through your mind as you start to design your sales process and begin to market your amazing process.
At the end of the day, if this is a little overwhelming, just remember what the goal is with entrepreneurship: serving and delighting the customer. Keeping this in mind will help you along the way!
Sales and marketing is what drives an organization; without sales, you have no business!
Like I mentioned in the intro, sales and marketing, at the heart of it, is taking a potential prospect from stranger to customer.
How can you make this journey as enjoyable and as efficient as possible for the customer? That’s your task to become successful in sales for your business.
Readers: are you taking your customers or clients on a journey from stranger to customer? What is an area you need more help with in this client journey? Which social media channels do you like to market on?