In my day job, I help companies of all sizes to reach greater audiences and get those audiences buzzing.
With limited resources, new ventures must focus their marketing efforts. Growth hackers are wisely targeting one ‘low-hanging fruit’ after another to maximize momentum.
Entrepreneurs are building their MVPs (minimum viable products), testing for product/market fit, and when they have it, they scale using various growth tactics.
All good things, of course. And that’s how most startups are doing it.
However, I think Mark Twain said it best:
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.”
It’s easy to get stuck in this conventional type of marketing thinking:
How do we get more traffic?
How can we convert more of that traffic?
Yes, it’s great to reach other people’s audiences by producing attention-grabbing content, and by launching urgent lead magnets to build your list. I do this, too.
Marketing may evolve fast, but people’s mental bandwidth is basically staying the same.
Here’s the thing:
In theory, you only need to reach one other person, as long as that person becomes a customer for life and refers one other equally dedicated customer each month.
In one month, you will have one customer and in two months, you will have two. In three months, four. Then eight, then 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, and so on. And in a few short years, your company will be the biggest brand on Earth.
The math couldn’t be simpler:
2[number of months]
This type of thinking will move your brand away from:
How can we attract more traffic and increase our conversion rates throughout our funnel?
and closer to:
How can we transform each and every customer into life-long brand ambassadors?
Now, some of you might think, “yeah, customer service is really important.” However, earning true fans is more than just taking good care of your customers.
Here’s a mental exercise to try:
Imagine two friends hanging out. One of them is a customer of yours, the other one has never heard of your product or service. In casual conversation, the friend who has never heard of your brand brings the very problem that you’re solving!
The other friend, who really wants to help his or her friend out, then says:
“I used to have that problem, too. You should really check out X, their product/service is really awesome!”
If the above scenario happens often enough, your brand will become a success. Growth, sales, and marketing, all of that won’t be your biggest challenges anymore. You’ll instead have to focus on hiring the right people!
In the above ideal scenario, customers will be referring other customers without your active involvement.
A great product or service is a must, yes. So is great free content and stellar customer service. And the value you offer must address a real, urgent need that resonates with a large enough group.
And then there needs to be that little ‘extra’ something…
Hence, my no. 1 advice for startups starts with this:
Don’t stare yourself blind on trying to reach more people, because it always begins with just one extremely happy customer.