With more than three decades of industrial and consumer products marketing experience under his belt, as well as an impressive educational background that includes graduate studies at both Boston University and Fairleigh Dickinson, David Stevens is a successful entrepreneur with much to offer in the way of expertise. He has run companies that range from $1 million to as much as $25 million in revenues, making him a good sounding board when it comes to what it takes to make it in business today.
David recently took some time to write about what he believes is one of the greatest challenges facing business owners today…how they communicate with their existing as well as their potential customers most effectively:
“Today, most small business owners’ idea of branding dates back to the Yellow Pages. And as most of know by now, that’s history. They are simply unprepared to deal with the new world of digital communication. Simply put, they are lost.
“The way I see it, businesses have three choices when it comes to how they get the job done in communicating with their customers in the digital age: outsource, hire someone or learn how to do it themselves. Choosing not to do any one of those three things is ultimately going to doom your business.
“I am first and foremost a proponent of learning how to do it yourself, as marketing and communication is paramount to running a successful company on every level. Given that learning all that there is to know in the digital world does take time, outsourcing may be your only viable solution in the short run. Keep a minimum budget of $1,000 a month in mind, and come up with a plan of attack.
“The old saying that it’s easier to grow your customer base from the list of those that already exist than it is to find new ones is absolutely true to an extent. Any successful business owner will work on both fronts. But first, you have to know who your existing customers are. Do you? If you don’t, a good place to start is by using a cloud-based software company, such as IMS360, to help you. They offer a low-cost software solution for both acquiring that kind of data and talking with your customers instantaneously. Whether it’s this company or any other, the point is that finding a workable solution is paramount.
“Working from an existing customer base is one thing. The more difficult challenge is in finding new customers. To do so, I recommend the following:
1. Create a dynamic website that utilizes social media, blogs, video and, now…the new product, video blogs. SEO (search engine optimization) rewards fresh, new, relevant information, which is why you always need to be adding it.
2. Sites like Boost Local Biz are an ideal way to introduce your company to and communicate with potential customers through special offers, deals and so much more…and all at a very affordable price!
3. Reward your existing customers for referring new business to you. Although this might seem like a simple strategy, it needs to be done effectively…and that doesn’t just happen. You need to take it slow at first with some measured testing before you jump in full force. Again, companies like IMS360 can be helpful in this regard.
“Remember: Whether you’re just starting out or even if you’ve been in business for many years, knowing how to communicate in this new digital environment will ultimately be the key to your success in the future, so you need to take steps to make it happen.”
More about Boost Local Biz:
Boost Local Biz offers a business opportunity that allows you to run your own consumer-savings website in a protected territory. This is your chance to interact with business owners, non-profit organizations and consumers in your community, providing them with a platform to engage their customers in advanced and interactive ways that are unrivaled by any other company in today’s marketplace, including ValPak, Groupon and Living Social