When I was an engineer, I actively avoided marketing and sales. But I believed that acting like you owned the company was the path to success. So what are some simple things I could do to grow my business? There are some things I’m not doing that I should. There are others things I could do better. The things I can do to improve aren’t difficult or time consuming. I like Alex’s Goldfayn’s definition of marketing: “Marketing is systematically communicating your value to people who can buy it. It’s measured by new revenue. And marketing communication doesn’t need to be perfect, only helpful.”
This changed the way I thought about marketing.
Have the right mindset
At Modus, we care about our clients; we’re good at what we do, and we help people. Even as a developer, I should want to share that with more people. The best way for me to share, is to talk about the value we provide our customers instead of just our products and services. I can and should communicate helpful information. If that’s what marketing is, then it’s not so terrible. Maybe I can do that. One example of communicating is through blog posts like this one. But the key is to communicate regularly.
Regularly communicate your value
The most important thing you can do is communicate a lot more with your customers and prospects. Clearly communicate your value and communicate with your customers and prospects more often. If you do this, more people will take advantage of your services. At Modus, we have excellent services and I’ll bet your company does too. The problem is not enough people know about them. How can we show them the value we provide?
Get examples from customers
Examples are powerful. Have specific examples of how your efforts helped clients make or save money. Be able to share examples, such as how you:
- saved clients time
- made clients more productive
- created a happier, more engaged workplace
You can get several examples in a 10 minute conversation. Talk to your good customers and ask them:
- how they’re doing
- what’s improved since they’ve been working with you
- how they feel about working with you
Then, follow up to get details. Once you have some good examples, and a blessing from your customers for you to tell their stories, you’re ready to share them with other customers and prospects.
Create a marketing list
Create a list of current customers, past customers, current prospects, and past prospects. Such a list allows you to communicate with many customers and prospects at once. A good list has:
- Job title
and other relevant information. Make it work for your environment.
The list should always be growing. The list needs to have an owner that is responsible for maintaining and grooming it. Everyone should keep the owner in the loop on new customers and prospects. The size of the list isn’t as important as getting started. Once you have a list; use it. Send prospects and customers helpful information and not spam. For example, you could send a thoughtful newsletter with a case study from previous work showing how you delivered value.
Send periodic newsletters
A good starting point for publishing a newsletter is once every two weeks, just make sure it’s a frequency you are certain you can hit. If you say you’re going to send the newsletter on a schedule, and then only send it sporadically, it would be better to not start.
Keep it short — it should be readable in under 5 minutes. It should help people, not sell to them. You know your customers best and where they struggle. Share a brief article with helpful tips or valuable information.. Give them case study examples with a call to action.
Provide case studies
A case study doesn’t have to be complicated. Briefly describe the situation, what you did for the customer, and how it turned out. Pictures are nice if you have some. Here’s an example.
Use newsletters and case studies to communicate value to the people who will benefit the most. One way to identify these people is to build a customer model.
Create a customer development model
Do a brief exercise to categorize your prospects and customers. Count the number of customers or prospects in each section below. Then, identify customers in each section that have potential to grow to the right. Focus your communication on those customers.
Coming from a technical background, I tended to focus on building products and services. But there’s more to me and my company than that. There’s more to you and your company than that. Share the value you provide beyond your products and services. Doing this will help you and your customers grow and set you apart.
“Focus on products and services commoditizes you, and focus on value and relationships makes you singular” – Alex Goldfayn
If you want to learn more, check out The Revenue Growth Habit by Alex Goldfayn. It’s a quick read that goes into more detail and offers 22 ideas for growing your business 15% in 15 minutes a day.
And for the engineers who made it this far, check out this blog article from Andrew Chen, Why Growth Hacker is the new VP of Marketing. See how your technical background can help you do things traditional marketers can’t.