Have you found your business has leveled off and, no matter what you do, you just don’t seem to increase your profit margin? Maybe you’re making more sales, but you’re spending substantially more on marketing and it’s just not paying off. What exactly is going on? Chances are, it’s how you’re using your content marketing. It’s all about knowing how to scale your business.
You’ve reached a certain level, and now you need to take the next step. By understanding business scaling you’ll discover new ways to push your business past the $100,000 mark and onto bigger and better things.
Don’t Fret; Your Marketing Isn’t That Far Off
Before you fall into a deep dive of despair, don’t worry. You’ve made it this far, which means you’re doing things right. In fact, you’re just about everything right. Whether this is your first business or you’ve learned from a few failed startups and now you’re humming around nicely. But why on earth have you leveled off? After all, should sales continual upward at the same pace?
The fact of the matter is everything plateaus. You just need to find a way around it. Most businesses run into marketing problems. According to JPL Creative (2017), 63 percent of businesses don’t believe they have the infrastructure to collect marketing data, while 50 percent of businesses say they have no clear marketing plan.
Have you ever been on a road trip where you’re almost out of gas, your GPS isn’t working and you’re just trying around, hoping you find a gas station? That’s what advertising without a plan is. Crossing your fingers and hoping you don’t run out of gas before success.
For a moment, let’s compare your business to weight lifting. In a way, the two are the same. You start off small, work on the weak points, and eventually, you’ll grow stronger. However, with weight lifting, any gym rat will tell you they eventually hit a strength wall (Muscle For Life, 2018). At this wall, doing the exact same thing that had worked no longer leads to gains. You maintain your current level, but you don’t grow.
So what do the experts do? They change it up just a bit. They shift their exercises, allowing them to avoid that dreaded strength wall to bigger and better gains. The same can happen to your business. But to do this you need to take a step back at your content marketing, your audience, and even how you’re reaching out with influencers.
How Are You Selling What You’re Selling
Your content marketing has worked up until this point. It’s helping you make sales and grow your business. But stop and look at how you’re marketing your business. Are you highlighting the product and its specs, or are you highlighting an experience and how the product will make someone’s life better?
Take Apple. Apple is king when it comes to advertising. Truth be told, the performance specs on an Apple aren’t all that different from other manufacturers (in many cases, the company comes out with features long after these features have been around).
So why do people buy Apple? Brand loyalty (we’ll get into that in a bit), and because they want the experience.
When you think about it, how many specs or features does Apple normally tout with its advertising? It shows how you can go wireless, how you can enjoy a computer while out in the park, or how you can skateboard while listening to music. But in terms of specs, outside of the release keynote address, Apple rarely includes spec information.
All of this is because the company sells an experience, not a product. And that’s what you need to be doing.
According to Econsultancy (2018), 93 percent of consumers polled said as a consumer they are more likely to want to buy a product based on the experience it gives, not just because of the product.
You already have a strong hold on who your target audience is. However, you’re just not selling to them correctly to fully pique their interest. So if you’re selling camping equipment, don’t talk about how it’s waterproof or can sustain the wind, show your customers that. Use pictures of people camping in the snow or in the rain.
Highlighting material and components is great, but not for your content marketing (save it for website bullet points). By making this change, you’ll instantly see an improved return on investment. Content marketing only works if your potential customers are excited. It’s why Apple uses trendy music, bright visuals (often against white backdrops) and focuses on the user experience.
These are some of the reasons why Apple is successful. It also provides you with a blueprint for how to scale your business.
Don’t Be Afraid to Spend Money In Order to Make Money
Yes, you’ve heard the saying before: you gotta spend money to make money. The thing about this saying though is it isn’t just focusing on creating a product or maintaining your website. It’s about reaching out to your customer and you have to be willing to lose money before you make money.
The purpose behind this is to attract people in your target audience. Then, you’ll offer a product or service at a great discount. You may not even break even with this initial discount. Whether you’re selling mattresses or e-books, you, in the words of The Godfather, “make an offer he can’t refuse.”
In other words, the offer is so good they have to say yes. After all, what do they have to lose if the product or service you sell isn’t great?
The thing is, you know it’s great. And you have confidence in it. So when the customer uses the product they fall in love with it and, from there, they just can’t help but buy more and more from you.
Take Sephora. This beauty products retailer will give you a sample to any product in the store if you only ask. Why? Because the company knows that you have nothing to lose by testing the product, and the store has everything to gain when you like it.
According to Advertising Systems Inc, the average small business spends just $1 to $249 on monthly marketing. While there’s no one right answer for every business as it depends on what you’re selling and the discounts you’re offering, the vast majority of small businesses fail, and a big reason behind this is due to the lack of advertising.
When it comes down to what makes a company successful, it’s reaching customers and boosting sales. You won’t be able to do this without “spending money to make money.”
Know How Long You Can Last Before Turning A Profit
Sometimes it isn’t just about offering a single one-time discount to help turn customers into repeat clients. It might take several product sales or even an extended trial.
Streaming TV services provide free trial periods. HBO lets consumers try out the platform for a month. All of this is done because the companies assume that after testing out the service the customer will more than likely sign up and remain a customer for months, if not years.
If you know where to look, you can score an Amazon Prime membership for free (or $0.99) for three months. If you download music, take advantage of shipping services and other benefits, it represents money out of Amazon’s pockets on the belief that you’ll come around and sign up for the service.
Now, you don’t have deep pockets like Amazon. So you need to determine how long you can go before you need to start generating a profit. This will help you determine exactly what kind of discount or special service your business can afford to offer customers.
According to Klipfolio, after implementing a free trial offer, the company experienced a 20 percent boost in monthly subscriptions from the previous trial period. These are repeat customers who pay monthly service fees.
One customer that monthly subscribes for three years makes up for 36 customers who used the subscription and opted out, and the numbers get better for every month the subscriber stays.
The only way you’ll discover how to scale a business is if you focus on what the long-term benefits are, not the short-term costs.
Let Your Audience Become Your Influencer
Going after social media influencers is more popular now than ever before. However, most small businesses that do this are doing it wrong. The companies turn to social influencers as a means of propping up their content marketing approach.
These businesses may not experience much in the way of major advertising traffic, so the companies assume plunking down money on an influencer will propel sales. This is the wrong way to go about it.
A social influencer will highlight a product to his or her viewers, but if the product doesn’t already have a desirable marketing presence it won’t matter all that much.
Followers of the social influencer will see the posts, but even if they follow links back to your website if the marketing doesn’t stand up it won’t matter and you won’t generate much in the way of sales (at least sales that make up for the amount of money you spend on the social influencer).
Instead, you need to focus on making connections with your customers. Chances are many of your current customers who have fallen in love with the services you provide have a large enough social following they can promote your products to their own followers.
For example, if you sell biking equipment and several of your top customers are avid bike enthusiasts, what they share and post will have a greater impact. This is also where “spending money to make money” helps. You’ll offer excellent benefits to customers, who then test out your products and, potentially, become repeat buyers.
According to HubSpot (2018), the most beneficial form of marketing information is word of mouth, as 55 percent of consumers say they listen to recommendations made by those they know. The next highest performing form of advertising come from customer references (46 percent). Business scaling is all about putting your customers to work for you.
When you forge a connection with the customers you work for a mutual benefit, all while increasing your return on investment without spending the kind of money you would on a major social influencer.
You Can Still Use Larger Social Influencers
Now, to go from six figures to seven it doesn’t mean you should avoid larger social influencers. This is just the next step in your marketing approach. Once you have a well-established method for offering discounted products that convert leads to repeat customers, and after you have a well-oiled marketing machine, turning to social influencers can be the final push that tips you into the seven-figure scale.
Don’t force this method though. If you do you’ll find it’s a quick way to burn through money without results. So build your content marketing in steps and you’ll eventually reap the rewards.
All businesses hit a wall at some point. Wherever your wall is you might assume you’ve peaked and there aren’t any other ways to expand your business. That’s not the case at all. You just need to know how to improve your content marketing, interact with your audience and how to turn your audience into influencers. By using these tips and suggestions you’ll have the power to go from a six-figure salary to seven.