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The 2 things you must do to grow your small business online

written by Priscila BernardesMay 23, 2017, 9:30:00 AM

“54% of customers will consider ending their relationship with a provider if they are not given tailor-made, relevant content and offers” (Microsoft 2016).

I am guessing that, in 2017, the above quote from Microsoft isn’t any news to you. But what may still be a struggle is:

How, as a small business owner or manager, can you keep up with your existing clients, and understand how to grow your business online?

Well, you are in for a treat! That is exactly what I hope to answer over the next paragraphs.

Growing your business online, surprisingly starts with knowing your existing clients!  As such, the first step in your digital journey is to map out your customer persona(s).

1. Create a customer persona

For the modern business, customers are not just numbers. Increasingly, customers are demanding a level of personalisation from their service providers. Expectations are driven by social media, data-driven technology like Google which knows things about individuals and tailors services accordingly, and a broader environment where businesses serving hundreds of thousands of customers are able to deliver ‘mass personalised’ experiences.

That puts pressure on your company to deliver to these expectations, even if your line of business is very different from that of Facebook, Google, telecommunications companies or electricity retailers.

The days of sending out standardised mass messages are over (I bet you are sitting there and thinking about that old newsletter that you have been sending for… 10 years?).  

This ‘shotgun’ approach can lead to confusion, contempt and wasted effort. Instead, it is necessary to explore the customer in-depth, knowing who they are, where they live, what motivates them and what their goals are, and then… reach out to them in a way that they want, with a message that they would enjoy consuming.

So, what is a customer persona...really?

A customer persona is a fictional representation of your customer. The customer persona incorporates the age, gender, location, goals and challenges of the person that you are trying to engage. The more in-depth the information that you can provide, the easier it is to create a tailored message which will appeal to your target audience.

A customer persona isn’t simply “Jerry, 25, Auckland”.

A strong customer persona will work in tandem with your Value Proposition. If the persona and Value Proposition operate harmoniously, you’re on track.

Ready to give this a try? We have a template with an example for you:

Start mapping your buyer personas now!

2. Understand your value proposition 

The second step in preparation to going online is to improve the understanding of your value proposition. Establishing your value proposition is key in communicating with your buyers, and it will also assist with how you position yourself in the market.

When identifying your value proposition, you should consider 3 things:

a) What you do best
What does your company excel at? Is providing specialist services that are tailored for your clients? Is it adaptable technology that enables you to provide services that others can’t?

b) Who is your target
Who are the main people or organisations who are using your services? Is it only the customer persona who we identified ealier? OR are there other people who are using your service as well.

c) What value do you add?
What separates you from every other service provider? Do you have state of the art facilities? Is your service superior? What do you do differently or better?

I could keep going past the 650 words, but I am aware that we all have busy lives (I bet you can you relate to the image below!).

to do list_everything.jpgWhat is next?

If you are keen to see what comes next (hint: it has something to do with creating brand awareness and reaching out to your audience) or read more about the two topics we covered today, this series of three books we wrote covers all for you:

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About Priscila Bernardes

Passionate about relationship building, Priscila leads Lancom’s customer experience and growth initiatives. With an Executive MBA and a decade of IT experience, Priscila loves challenging the status quo and finding innovative ways to service our clients, while sharing what she is learning with the community.