In the beginning
When I started my first company some years ago I was overwhelmed with who I wanted to be. It can be lonely and overwhelming. As we grew and found ourselves I looked back and found that there were two key turning points in our growth. The first was community and the second was marketing. To some this is obvious, and to others they still haven’t realized the importance.
Let’s start with community.
Building a community for your business is more than just growth, it is finding who your customer is. It is seeking what their needs are so you can be dynamic. When we seek to build community we offer more to our customer base than just our business, we offer a package, a relationship, integrity. In building your community you partner with businesses who have something to offer your current customer and potential customers.
Maybe you are in Marketing…. Your customer doesn’t only need help with marketing! Your customer also has an accountant, your customer has a tech team, your customer has a banker, your customer has a customer service team! The list goes on and on. By building a community you gain the ability to suggest a resource to your customer when the need arises. Your customer mentions they have a need for xyz and you can say OH! I have someone in my community who can help you. It is like networking on a more personal level.
Sometimes it isn’t even when a need arises, sometimes it is not just sharing information but rather proactively educating your customers about a useful tool. Maybe you have a friend in your community who has created an ebook that is universally helpful. Sharing this with your customer base gives you a chance to both support your community and enhance your customer’s experience. At the same time you are helping your friend grow, you are building integrity in your business by showing your customers that you support those around you. You are helping to build both your customer base and that of your friend.
Next comes Marketing
After I had created my community, both by sharing my product as well as supporting those whose customers aligned with mine, I focused on marketing. The two pieces fit together seamlessly in so many ways. By knowing my community and supporting those whose customers aligned with mine I was able to direct my marketing to my prospective customers. I wasn’t seeking out my customer because my community naturally nurtured growth. I could cross promote someone in my community while they promoted me. My marketing was direct to my customer, to a list of people in my ideal customer realm yet outside my customer base. In turn I grew my base and my community grew their base customer lists.
By ground floor marketing in this manner you are supporting community. It all comes back to the same point. But most importantly you are showing your customers that you have their back. You are planting a seed of knowledge and support.
There was a time, and some still go this route, when business was self fulfilling. You had your back and you did for you. But as the world changes and business evolves we see a deep desire to help those around us, to be socially conscientious. It is in supporting those around us that we create change, we build integrity, we grow!