Christians grow business3 Reasons Christians should grow a business

I think Christians miss out on many blessings because they are not willing to step out and take chances.  Whether it is witnessing to a friend, or growing a business, Christians should be bold about their faith in a God who gave them wisdom, courage and strength.

Today, let’s talk about three reasons Christians should grow their business.  I am sure there are those that say, “We’ll just wait for God to grow our business.”  I want to make sure you understand that waiting on God is a good thing.  Waiting without taking action is not wise.  God does not steer a parked car.

 

Growing a business means helping more people.

First and foremost, your business is helping people.  You want to help people with your product or service.  Beyond that you are helping your employees, your community and your family by providing for them.  When you grow your business wisely, you are helping an ever increasing number of people.

 

Growing a business means you are becoming more influential.

As your business grows, you become more influential and more people will listen to you.  They will see you as a success and you will have a larger platform to tell them of the blessings that you have received from God.  Don’t discount success as a means to introduce people to Christ.

 

Growing a business is the most spiritual thing you can do as a business owner.

This may sound counterintuitive, but I want to put this in perspective.  Growing your business gives you a larger platform from which to share about God.  People listen to people who are successful and it allows you to impact their lives.

When you succeed, people look at your habits and want to copy what you do.  The reason growing your business is such a spiritual endeavor is because you are reading your Bible, actively getting involved in church, leading others, serving, and giving.  People will see that you are living a life of integrity because ultimately God is your CEO.

 

Conclusion

I am not going to pretend growing a business in and of itself is spiritual.  What makes is spiritual is the enlivened power of God working in and through your business.

Remember the prayer of Jabez?  “Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.” I Chronicles 9:10

God did not bless Jabez just because he asked.  God blessed him because He knew Jabez would be an influential person who would speak for the King of Kings.  The Bible says his influence came from his honor and that honor was directly rooted in the power of God.

Christian, I want to encourage you to grow your business.  If you need some help, get involved with our growth membership and get on the right path or at least find a mentor or accountability partner that can help you grow. We grow best when we grow together strengthening and encouraging one another.

Be blessed and be a blessing.

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steps to grow your business3 Things you need to understand to grow your business

Growing a business takes a lot of work.  We all hope for the day our business becomes viral and people flock to us like moths to a flame, but in reality, growing a business takes a bit of time.  It takes a foundational understanding of what we do, who we do it for and how to tell them about it.

 

Understand what you sell in business

I know a lot of business owners think they know what they sell.  I am always surprised to see that they really don’t know what they are selling.

Let’s say you sell new cars.  There are thousands of different cars to choose from, so how do you stand out?  You stand out by understanding what you are selling.  If you have a minivan, you may be selling safety and security.  If you have a sports car, you may be selling power and prestige.

Here’s a quick exercise.  Take your product or service and define how your customer’s life is different after they use your product.  Then, ask “Why?”  Do that five levels deep.  Once you do that, you will truly understand what you are really selling.

For example, let’s say you sell minivans.  Your customers have a car that fits all of their family together.  Why?  Because having enough room is important.  Why? So the kids don’t fight.  Why? So they have a more peaceful ride. Why? So the parents can concentrate on the road.  Why? Because family is important and we want them to be safe.

If you follow those five levels you will see that family is important to people who buy minivans.  You are selling the idea of family, unity, peace and security.  You are not just selling a minivan.

 

Understand who you do business for

Once we have nailed down exactly what it is that we are selling, we must understand who needs it most.  Our customers are the people who are going to purchase and if you get this one wrong, we will always have a struggling business.

First thing we must get right is how they think and talk.  Each group of customers speaks a different language.  They may all speak English, but what they say is different.

A twenty something new mother is going to use different vernacular than a forty something female executive.  They are the same general persona, but they have widely different circles of influence, habits and values.  What is important to one may not be as important to both of them.

It is important that we really nail down our ‘best type’ of customer.  If we try to get everyone into our business, we will find ourselves doing a lot of work and getting minimal results.

Think about fishing.  Depending on what type of fish you want, you need the right type waters (lake, river, ect.), the right bait, the right hooks, the right equipment to get where they are, and the right timing.

The more we understand our ideal customer, the better we can talk to them and help them with the business that we have.

Here’s a quick exercise.  Write down 10 things your ideal customer values.  Write down 10 habits they may have.  Where do they shop?  What do they drive?  Where do they spend leisure time? Etc.  Once you nail down those 20 items.  Write a ‘day in the life of’ you ideal customer.  What does their life look like before they use your business and what will it look like after they use your business?

 

Understand how to tell customers about your business

Everyone likes to buy but no one likes to be sold.  People love getting a good deal and finding things that help them with problems they have in everyday life.  They love businesses that can speak their language and if they can relate to your business, they will be a loyal customer for life.

I can’t express this hard enough.  If we want our customers to buy from us, they must like us.  They must feel like we understand them and are there to help them.  No longer are we in the days of yelling the loudest to get the most attention, we are in the days of whispering in the ears of good friends and engaging them on a personal level.

You have a message about how you can help your customers.  They want to know how you can help them.  Put together the two ideas from above.  Do they fit?  If not, fix the one that makes the most sense.  Remember, people love to buy things that help their lives and solve pain points they feel, but they only listen to you if they feel like you are talking directly to them.

 

Putting it all together

Here is a real life example. I was talking to an insurance sales man.  Their motto of their company was “for all your insurance needs from A to Z” (slightly altered to protect the company).  I asked what they did different that all the other companies that say they have all kinds of insurance.

He said, “Well, we are Christian and we pray for our people.  We have all the insurance they need and can probably get them a better rate than they are currently getting.”

I asked, “Many insurance agents offer all types of insurance and a lot of them say they can save you money. What are you doing differently?  Are your customers Christian?”

He said, “Why, yes, most of them are. I don’t guess I ever realized that.”

I suggested, “Then why don’t you emphasize your Christianity?  I would put our some ads, geared at Christians that said, ‘When was the last time your insurance agent prayed for you?’ When people know you are praying for them, they realize that you really care for them and that is different than other insurance agents.”

He said he had never thought of that and would have to do some work to see if he could get more people.

See, he wasn’t just selling insurance, there are thousands of people doing that.  He was selling a company that prayed for you.  In essence, he was selling insurance agents who care about you and your needs so much they will take time to pray for you.

Being in business as a Christian may not mean you only have Christian customers, but some do. You must identify your ideal customer and how you can help them.  Then, and only then, will you be ready to tell them what you have and how you can help them.

 

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marketing strategyA marketing strategy is a growth mechanism for any business. Christian entrepreneurs understand they need to pray for growth and plan for it with an on-going, effective marketing strategy.

We’ve talked about business strategy and communication strategy.  Today, we get practical by putting these two together in a marketing strategy that brings in new customers.  Let’s define marketing.

Marketing is making sure those who need what you have know about it.

In other words, you help solve a problem in your business and it is your responsibility to make sure potential customers know that you can help them.

Before we go too far, let me say that marketing and advertising are different.  Advertising is the item you are using to market.  A flyer is an advertisement.  Marketing is strategically placing that flyer at the most effective location and making sure it has the most effective draw to your ideal customer.

 

Marketing Strategy

Marketing strategy is lining up your ideal customer with your ideal message.  Start with your customer and their needs.  Then, add in relevant and specific messages in a way that communicates with them.  We have other articles about your ideal customer and communicating well in marketing (see links at the bottom of this article).

When you refer back to your mission and vision, you should see a consistent pattern in how you help people.  The way to help people is the key to marketing.  It is not about shouting from the roof tops, though that may work for some businesses.  It is about creating a message that specifically and effectively talks to your ideal customer and helps them with a pain in their life.

 

Marketing Channels

An effective marketing strategy understands there are many marketing channels.  Each of these channels must line up for a specific message for your customer.  Basically, you must decide where the most effective location for your marketing would be best suited.  You have to define where your customers go to get information to solve the problem your business solves.

Here are some marketing channels to think about:

  • Webpage (SEO, Content marketing, etc.)
  • Social media
  • Coupon books
  • Billboards
  • Flyers/Mailer/Direct Mail
  • Whitepapers and reports
  • Webinars and video series
  • Commercials on TV or Internet
  • Digital ads (PPC or CPC)

 

I don’t want to inundate you with ideas.  I have a list of over 100 ways I can help businesses market their company.  My background is in helping businesses find ideal ways to grow through marketing.

As a matter of fact, you can have one million ways, but until you know your goals and understand your customer, it will be hard to create a marketing strategy.  You must start with a specific goal.  There will be some trial and error, but you must engage your customer to understand them better.  Then, you must go where they go and make it seem as though you are everywhere they are.

 

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How to set up your marketing strategy

  1. Start with your vision and mission.  Set a goal that you want from your marketing.
  2. Once you have a goal, set up a valuable sequence to bring your buyers from knowing about your product to actually buying your product.  You must know where your customers are in the buyer’s journey.
  3. Do your research.  Talk to current customers.  Engage online in forums and social media to really get to know your customer.  Look for pain points and common terms among your potential customers.
  4. Based on your research develop a marketing sequence.  Post your ads where they will get the most attraction and make sure it lines up with the terms and pain points of your potential customers.
  5. Evaluate each piece of your marketing to test its effectiveness.  Make sure any calls or emails that you gather have tracking so you know where your customers find out about your business.
  6. Once you know the most effective source, put more time and effort into developing a solid campaign.

 

Conclusion

It may sound like a lot to do, but you are fine tuning how you communicate with your customer.  You are defining how they hear about you and making sure you can help them.  As Christians, we should want to help as many people as possible.  It is our duty and responsibility to treat people with kindness and integrity.

Marketing strategies are simply aligning how you help with where your customer are.  Whether it is online, at a location or some other idea you found when doing your research, get to where your customers are and make sure they know how you can help them.  Do it in a way that benefits your customers and not just for your sales.

Here are some articles you may find helpful:

If you need a professional to help you design a solid effective marketing campaign for your business, here is a link to a Christian Marketing Consultant I trust.  Just tell them you found him on Christian Business Revolution and he’ll give you a great deal.

writing emails for businessChristian entrepreneurs can write powerful and engaging emails with a few simple tweaks in the way we think about email marketing.

We have been talking about email marketing.  I want to emphasize again, as Christians, we are building relationships with everything we are doing.  We may be looking for sales, but ultimately there is a person behind every transaction.  We are called to help them.  That is why we are in business.

With that in mind, let’s talk about how to write emails.  Of course, you can buy an entire course to learn this, but I think you can learn what you need from this simple blog post.  Don’t overthink it.  Write emails like you talk to people.

 

How to ‘talk’ in emails

I have seen too many businesses sharing emails like this: “Hello valued subscriber.  We have the greatest assortment of widgets.  Go to our page to buy are widgets.”  Static…boring. . .uncaring!

Even if you are a professional organization, the point of emails is to communicate.  People communicate with people not corporations.  Don’t write from the corporation to the customer.  Write from one person to another.

If you saw a great movie, you would quickly tell anyone who would listen.  You would use personal words like “That movie made me feel like I could conquer the world.”  If you heard a great sermon, you would share with your friends.  “The pastor knocked it out of the park this Sunday.  The sermon really got me thinking about how to deepen my relationship with Christ.”

That is how you write emails.  They are personal, engaging and use words real people use in real life.

 

Write Subject Lines people want to open

Make sure your subject line gives your readers a reason to open the email.  This person may be getting hundreds of emails each day, so you want yours to stand out.  Use powerful words and curiosity.

Some of the most interesting email subject lines I have seen recently involve words of emotion.  “I messed up,” was the title of an email I got recently.  It intrigued me, so I opened it to see what it was all about.  This is known as a ‘blind’ subject line.  It builds curiosity.  Only use these if you have established a relationship via email over the course of a few weeks.

Most of your emails will have a subject line that offers value.  “Here’s an article about how you can get more customers for your nail salon.” It shares the value and tells the reader why they should open it.  Be careful it does not become spammy.

Spammy subject lines may be “Try my stuff free.”  “Hurry, before it’s too late.” “Money for nothing.”  Things like that can quickly end up the email spam or trash folder.

Use words with power and action. Think about how you can make the subject line sincere, snappy, emotional, celebratory or even joking.  People want to get to know other people and if your subject line can engage your customers, they will readily open your email.

Pro Tip: Develop a ‘swipe’ file.  Anytime you see a good email subject, copy it and put it in a document or folder within your email.  Use these as primers when you write your next email.

 

Personalize You Communication

If you are writing, even if you are using an autoresponder, take time to personalize the email.  You can use the person’s name or business either typed in of filled in via tags on your autoresponder.  You can also make the body of the email personalized.

For instance, if the Olympics are going on.  Make a statement about something you saw at one of the games.  This makes the email seem more ‘real’ because the reader is in the same world you are in.  It engages and connects with them in a personal way.

 

Have a Single focus

Get to the point early.  Make sure you have a single point and engage your reader from the first line.  Your point may be to tell a story, so start off with something simple like, “Let me tell you story. . . “ and tell them why you are telling that story.

If your email has more than one focus, the reader will probably skim over it and they will miss something.  There is nothing wrong with having more than one email to communicate an idea.

Each email should be able to stand on its own. Keep it short and to the point because most people are busy and they only skim emails.  They only see the highlights.  To help the reader, use bullet points, pictures and bold text to highlight the important parts for them.

 

Valuable content

Make sure what you share is valuable to the reader, not just to your business.  Email marketing is not to tell something about you and your business.  Write to help them make lives better.  If that means doing business with you, then tell them about how you help after you have established a relationship.

Think of email marketing like dating.  You don’t ask someone to marry you on the first date.  Get to know them and share interesting, valuable and entertaining content.  After you have talked for a while, then mention what you have to offer and how you can enrich their lives.

When we talk about valuable content, it can be as simple as a tip or trick.  If they purchased from you maybe the subject line is “How to get the most out of your Kenmore dishwasher” or “3 Tips to get the most out of your Kenmore dishwasher.”  Those tips will be valuable to a recent customer.

You can also share information that fits your audience.  If they bought a dishwasher, why not share some cooking tips.  They have to eat something before washing plates, right?  Share a recipe or something interesting to your readers. You can find posts, podcasts, infographics, videos, etc.

 

Consider Your Call to action

When you send an email, you want the customer to take action. You may want them to read an article and share their own tips.  You may want them to respond to tell you how they are liking their new dishwasher.  A call to action, could be as simple as “Have a nice day.”

Again, we are communicating with real people.  When we leave a conversation, we have an ‘exit.’  When you end an email think about the same thing.  How do you end your email?  You want to leave the reader with something.  It may be an encouraging quote or Bible verse.  It may be the weather and telling them to take a moment to enjoy it.

As you get into selling your products, you can have them call, click or take some other action that is more focused on your business.  The key is to have more personal call to actions before you have sales call to actions.

One more note about call to actions: people may not interact.  Focus on the ones that do interact and keep building relationships with the others.

 

Use Your Signature

Use your signature line to your advantage.  Here is where you can really engrain what you do into the brains of your customers.  Put your contact information and include a picture if you can.  Sure you can use your logo, but people buy from people.  Put your smiling face on there with a professional headshot.

Make your signature stand out with a ‘byline.’  Share a benefit or your company value statement.  It should be short and memorable.  If I was writing an email, I would include “Grow your faith.  Grow your business.” Right below my name. . . come to think of it, I need to add that to my byline .. .see, I am learning too!

You can include a link to your website, social media, or whatever, but be careful about too many links.  As a general rule of thumb, your email should have only two to three links.  I suggest mixing it up. On one email, tell them to like your Facebook page or send them to an article found on your Facebook page.  On another send them a link to your webpage with the title, “Let me know if I can help.”

 

Conclusion

Let’s be honest, you know how email works.  If you are reading this article, there’s a good chance you have an email where you send and receive messages.  Get your emails working for you and your business.  As your business grows, so will your influence with your customers and your influence as a Christian.

Get a game plan to collect emails and engage with your customers.  If you need help, consider joining our coaching program (also known as our membership) or hiring a Christian business coach.  I am here to help as much as I can.  You just need to take the first step and take some action.

 

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email marketing for Christian entrepreneursChristian entrepreneurs should always be looking for simple proven strategies to grow their business and engage customers.  Email marketing is a great tool to do both of those goals easily.

We discussed what an email marketing campaign is and how to think strategically about it. In today’s article, we are going to discuss the major parts of an email campaign and introduce some tools to help you get started on email marketing to engage your customers and grow your business.

Before we get too much into this, let me pull out the spiritual side of things.  Email marketing is about building relationships.  The more your customers understand who you are and what your business is all about, the more they will feel they can trust you.  When they realize that you actually care and do business differently because of a higher purpose, you may just be the bridge that brings them one step closer to knowing Christ.

 

Collecting Emails

The first tool you need in your email marketing toolbox is a way to collect emails.  You can collect emails online through your webpage, social media or even on someone else’s webpage.  If you read our article on the power of email marketing, you saw that you must start with a strategy.

The basics of the strategy is to know you customers well enough to know what you can offer to entice them to give up their email address to you. It can be a giveaway, coupons, reports, newsletter, etc.  It needs to be something that would help your customers and they would find it valuable.

 

Ways to collect emails

Get a clipboard and a piece of notebook paper.  Draw columns with the title ‘name’ and ‘email.’  You can also get phone numbers if you plan to do any text messaging.  Have your cashiers fill out the form so you can read the email address and name.

To take it up a notch, you can create a ‘fancy’ sheet using Word or some other office type software.  Show on top of the page your ‘enticing offer.’  Again you can have your customer service representatives fill out the information either by typing or by hand-writing.

Next you can create a free Google form online.  It is really easy to create if you have a Gmail account.  Just go to your drive and create a simple form to collect name and email address.  Again, make sure to point out the benefits of joining.  You can have this on a tablet at your location, customer representatives can input the info or customers can.  You can even put a link to the form on your social media accounts and your webpage.

You can use a simple contact form on your webpage.  It is best to create a new form and put it on a new page.  Your webmaster can help with this.  You just want to show the benefits of joining with your enticing offer and have a place where customers can fill in name and email.  Make sure when you get an email, you respond with the benefits and congratulate the new ‘member of our family.’

The best way is to use an autoresponder.  There is a slight learning curve, but it is well worth learning if you want to use email marketing.  Basically, an autoresponder allows you to collect information online, store it in a date base, send out messages regularly and even automate sequences of emails. (more on autoresponders below)

 

Email Campaign Communication

Once you get an email, you must communicate.  Always use a simple ratio of no less than 6 to 1, I would even go as far as 12 to 1.  That ratio represents how many times you send some helpful, valuable information compared to how many sales pitches you send.

That being said, if you send a newsletter, make the ratio in each newsletter.  Put 6 helpful articles, information and research to one of your product sales pitches.

Whatever you do, make it a regular occurrence, especially the first week.  When I am coaching clients, I suggest the first couple of week sending some helpful advice every two days.  Then, on the last day of those two weeks offer to help in a relevant, non-threatening way.

The last email goes out and tells subscribers what your schedule is moving forward.  For instance, if you have a monthly newsletter, you will simply mention that it was great to get to know them and you will be sending monthly newsletter and as always, “if you have any questions, we are here to help.”

You may be wondering what to send.  Make it simple.  The first email welcomes them to the email list and delivers the enticing offer that was promised.  The next email is a helpful tip, tool or article relevant to your business and your customer.  The next email tells a simple story about your business and asks a question like, “how can we help you better?”  You can repeat this pattern followed by a relevant offer and an ‘ending’ email mentioned above.

 

 

Email Campaign Automation

The first suggestion I have in automating is using an autoresponder. I don’t want to make this article super long, but I found a great walk through that shares examples and even free tools for email marketing using an autoresponder. He suggests using GetResponse which is one of my favorite autoresponders.

If you choose not to use an autoresponder, your automation can be done in a few ways.  You use Google Forms, and can create a section 2 that delivers your enticing offer after someone enters their information.  If you collect emails manually, set up an internal system.  Have a customer service representative or sales person, know what sequence to send out.  They should have a check sheet for each customer that lists customer, email address, email sequences and date sent.

Automation only works if you put it into practice.  There are ways to use your online calendar to remind you about sending these.  There are tools the plug into your email that can send emails in a sequence.  There are even CRM’s that will remind you about dates and set up email templates.

If I was starting out and did not have an autoresponder, I would use Google tools to help.  I would create the form, collect the info.  Use that spreadsheet to track sending email.  Use a Google doc for my email sequenced templates and use boomerang connected to my email to schedule the emails.  We have an entire training on using Google tools that you may find very helpful. Click here to learn how to maximize your business using free Google tools.

 

Conclusion

Email marketing is a powerful tool if you know how to use it.  For Christian entrepreneurs, it could be the system that creates a connection with customers to build a bridge to knowing Christ.  Make sure you start with a solid strategy and if you need help hire an affordable Christian business coach.  The business coach should get the system set up, show you how to update it as needed, and you can run it from there with a simple system.

In our next article we will discuss the parts of a well written email and walk you through a simple step-by-step email sequence to help make your email campaigns a success.

 

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Email Marketing Basics

email marketing for Christian businessWhen Christian entrepreneurs understand the power of email marketing, they have a tool that will help grow their business on autopilot.

Technically anytime you communicate via email with customers, you are email marketing.  However, I want you to think more strategically than that and make email marketing a powerful tool for your business.

Every business thrives on regular repeat customers and email marketing is a great way to engage with customers.  Communicating regularly keeps your brand at the ‘top’ of their mind.  Ultimately, you want your customers to think of your business first when they think of your industry.

You may have been at a register and the cashier asked for your email.  If you give them your email, they will send you special, coupons and interesting information about their business.  If it is a restaurant, they may send weekly specials, chef suggestions or cooking tips.  What is offered is dependent on the business type and interest level of the audience.

 

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is simply collecting emails from current and/or potential customers in order to develop a relationship with them.  It is a strategic communication tool that enhances your brand and sets up your authority as a leader in your industry.

  1. Let me give you the basic 1-2-3 sequence of most email marketing systems.
  2. A customer comes to your site and is offered an incentive to give their name and email on a form.
  3. That email is collected and the incentive is delivered.

A sequence is initiated (automatically or through a sales process) delivering valuable content to your customer as a follow up strategy.

 

How can I use email marketing in my business?

The key to success with email marketing is to focus on strategy.  What is your goal in collecting emails?  Are you building relationships with potential customers, getting potential customers to buy, getting current customers to buy more, or what?  You must have a single strategy for every email sequence in order to be effective.

The next step in using email marketing is to understand your customers and their needs.  Most businesses will use some sort of incentive to entice the customer to give up their email.   What real or perceived needs do your customers have that you can solve for free and can be delivered digitally?

Digital offerings can include things like cheat sheets, resource lists, best of reports, infographics, etc.  It needs to sound exciting and offer an immediate benefit to your potential customer.  Use the words that your customers would naturally use and make sure the title is catchy enough to build curiosity.

Once you have identified or created a helpful resource, you want to implement a form on your webpage to collect the email and deliver the resource.  You can also collect emails by having cashiers or phone center workers enter the information given by the customer or go ‘old school’ and have a clip board where customers can write their email and name.

For example, a hair salon may collect email addresses with the promise of delivering hair care tips each week or highlight the newest trends of hairstyles each month in a digital newsletter.  The emails are professional and engaging while delivering valuable information as promised.  You want to offer value more than asking customers to buy more.  Remember, you are building a relationship.  When you offer valuable information, they will take notice and will buy when they are ready to use your services again.

Incentives do not need to be digital, but doing so means you can distribute as many as you want with no additional cost to your business.  I have seen businesses offer books, gift cards and other tangible items by collecting emails and send the customer to a form to get their physical address.  Keep in mind the more information you ask for before developing a strong relationship will decrease your response.

 

Conclusion

Start collecting emails so you can communicate with your customers.  If you have never done email marketing before consider hiring a professional or do the leg work needed to find out what your customers want.  Once you see what needs they have and what you can do to help, you can set up a strategy to deliver valuable information to them on a regular basis.

Note: Why don’t you just offer these kinds of things on social media?  You can, but posting on social media may or may not be seen.  You can be assured an email will go directly to the customers because they gave you their email address.  It is a deeper level of trust to get an email address than a page like, connection or follower.

 

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If you are ready to grow your business with strategic tips each month taught by a Christian entrepreneur coach, check out our affordable Business Growth Membership.

grow my businessBusiness Growth Habits for Christian Entrepreneurs

As Christian entrepreneurs, we want to have a growing business so that we can help more people.  You can’t help people if they don’t know about your product or service.  You can have the best product in the world, but if you want to grow your business, you need to do whatever it takes to make sure people know about it.

 

Understand your customer

The first step to growth in any type of business is to understand your customer.  (Read our article on how to understand customers better.) You must know your customer so well that when they come into your store or read your webpage, they think, “This is just for me.”

Think about the places you enjoy doing business with.  You probably feel like they ‘get’ you.  You like the lay out, colors, the words they use, etc.

You want to do the same thing for your customer. WOW them by how well you understand them.  Then, you won’t just have customers, you will have loyal fans that will stick with you through thick and thin.

 

Understand what you sell

After you understand your customers, you want to understand what you sell.  Remember, if your product is drills, you are not selling drills.  You are selling holes. People want a hole and they buy a drill to get the result they want.

People want solutions and results.  Really dig down into what you sell.  What emotions will your customer have after using your product?  What will their life be like without your company?

Here’s a fun exercise:  Write down what a customer’s life is like before they use your product.  Then, write down how their life has changed after they use your product.  Be creative and notice any repeated words.  If you have trouble doing this exercise, you don’t know your customer well enough and you don’t really know what you are selling. (Don’t be offended about this, go take action, get to know your customer and grow your business.)

 

Understand your marketing strategy

Once you understand your customers and really know what you are selling, you must take action on that knowledge.  You want to create a marketing strategy.

Now before you start to check out, let me break this down simply.  A marketing strategy is simply know where your customers are and giving them an opportunity to know about your product.  It does not have to be complicated or salesy.  It just needs to show you genuinely care and are true to your word.

Pick one strategy and try that strategy as your one focus.  Put considerable effort into developing that strategy and making it work.  You want to learn all you can about your marketing strategy and really give it your best effort.   You may even consider hiring a a marketing professional to help give guidance or do it for you.  Whatever you do, make sure you track results and it lines up with what you know about your product and your customer.

 

 

Conclusion

Growing a business is all about the fundamentals.  The only way to grow your company is to understand your customers and understand what you actually sell.  Then, armed with that knowledge you set a strategy to make sure as many customers know about your business as possible.

Check out our other articles on marketing:

If you are really ready to grow your business, sign up for our Growth Membership.  It is affordable and provides training and resources to help you grow as a Christian and an entrepreneur.  Remember our motto: Grow your Faith, Grow your Business.  I’ll see you on the inside.

I would be remiss here if I did not remind you to pray about your strategy.  Make sure it is something that lines up with your customers and your business.  God will give you success if you listen to Him and wait on His leadership in your business.

 

Business Growth Formula= Know Your Product + Know Your Customers + Tell ‘Em. –Rev. H. #ChristianBusiness #ChristianEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

how to marketing strategyChristian entrepreneurs understand that marketing takes strategy.  A strategy placed into action will save money and get better results.

Picture this: a salesman enters your business and tells you about all the customers and money you will get if you just buy a simple coupon or ad in their magazine.   Or you get an email with the next greatest marketing idea that will change the way everyone is doing business. Or you get a flyer or phone call telling you about the newest craze and you can be one of the first to take advantage of this exciting offer.

How do you know which ones to choose and which one will work for your business?

Implementing a marketing strategy keeps you from being blown by the next wind of innovation that comes along.  I counted over one hundred different ways that I can help people with marketing and when you combine them that takes the numbers into the hundreds of thousands…if not millions.  With all of these choices, which one do you use?

Note: Make sure you read our previous articles.  In our first article we talked about what marketing is.  In our second article we shared a how to guide to get your marketing foundation set up. Today we talk about some simple steps to put a marketing strategy into action.

 

Starting with a marketing strategy

First, you must start with a good understanding about where your marketing is going.  You don’t want to blindfold yourself and throw something out to see what happens.  You want to have a targeted plan with a targeted goal.

It’s like fishing.  You have to have the right bait for the right fish.  Then you need to put your line in the water where the fish is most likely to be.

You should have read our article on the foundations of marketing.  If you did those exercises, you have what you need to set up a marketing plan.  When you researched your customers, you saw where they hang out.  You understand what they read, drive and where they are likely to live.  Now all you need to do is identify how to get your message in front of them as timely and specifically as possible.

 

Getting your message out

In today’s world there are two kinds of marketing: offline and online.  Offline marketing is things like business cards, signs, billboards, ads in magazines, flyers, etc.  Online marketing starts with your webpage and then branches out to social media, directories, blogs, ads, etc.

Don’t get overwhelmed.  Simply ask yourself.  “Based on my research are my customers likely to get online or are they likely to congregate in a specific location.”  Then, choose one.

If they congregate in a specific location, put ads there, make your presence known, and offer them the opportunity to know about your product.  You may be able to partner with the owner of the location or even buy ads.  I was recently in a mall and noticed that the tables had ads displayed under the glass on the table.  In another location, they posted magnetic signs for local businesses on the walls.  Another location had TV’s that displayed simple ads from local businesses.  Just do what you need to do to get the message where they are.  Think outside the box and set a plan of action that goes beyond the next ad sales guy that comes by.

Quick point of clarification: I am not against ad sales people.  I just want you to have a clear understanding about your customer so you can know where best to place your ad.  If the magazine will work for your customer, use it, but be wise about where you spend your dollars.

 

Marketing in the digital age

When we talk about online marketing, you have probably heard the term Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.  It is a fancy word that means you make sure your webpage will show up online when people search for your business.  It is not hard and this is not an article about SEO, but let me give you a quick walk through of the basics.

To start with you must understand what your customers search for when they go online to find a business like yours.  For instance if you own a beauty salon your customers may search for “beauty salon” or “best beauty salon” or “beauty salon my city” “beauty salon coupons” or  even “hairstyles” or “hair trends.”  If you don’t know how to do this kind of research you can hire a professional marketer to help, look it up online or check out our training on Google products which includes a section on keyword research.

On your webpage you want to say specifically what you do and make sure you include the keywords your customers may be searching.  Don’t try to be cute with your words, be specific and focus on what you do for the customer: the results.  You want to have your services listed out with a few paragraphs describing what you do.  You want to have an ‘about’ page that describes the way you help your customer.

One thing I always suggest is to have a blog.  It is pretty simple to do.  Just give relevant information to your customers on a regular basis.  This lets search engines know that you are a real business and actually want to help your customers. It also keeps search engines noticing your page since it has new content on it.

Outside of your webpage, social media and directories is the next level.  You want them all to have the same address, phone number, etc.  Use pictures and keep the branding consistent across all platforms. (Here is a free training webinar for setting up directories.  Here are some previous posts about social media from a Christian perspective.)

The whole purpose of having a webpage is to have a single location where your customers can find your business.  The more places online that talk about your business, the more search engines see you as relevant to your customers.  If you have directories, social media and all those things, you have increased your relevance in search engines. (You also want to make sure it can be read on a cell phone, called mobile optimized.)

Once you have your website set up, you want to go back to your research.  Get on web pages that your customers visit.  Ask about placing ads on blogs, forums, online magazines, and other webpages that are relevant to your customers.  You can even place ads on social media, like Facebook and with search engines like Google.  It takes time, so you may want to hire a pro to help you.  Here is a marketing pro we found that is Christian and reasonably priced.

 

Evaluate EVERYTHING

You want to know where your hard earned dollars are going.  All marketing can be tracked, so don’t let some ad sales guy tell you otherwise.  Sadly, I have seen much wasted money.  For instance, I live in a condo with very little grass.  There are over 300 units.  I saw that we had an ad for lawn care in our mail boxes even though we have a single lawn care company.  That business spent money on over 300 printed ads and 300 stamps, not to mention how much it cost to create the ads and buy the mailing list.  It was all wasted because they did not focus their efforts and know where their ads were going.

Keep track of every place customers are coming from: online or offline.  You can use a simple spread sheet, or just a good notebook with tabs so you can see where customers come from.  If you do a lot of digital marketing, there are many tracking tools you can use.  Most online ad platforms have integrated tracking built into their systems.

 

 

Conclusion

Having a plan of action for your marketing helps you keep from being swayed by the next marketing craze.  Sure, you can try new opportunities, but only if they fit your customer and your goals in marketing.  Check your return on investment, ROI, for every marketing dollar you spend.  Then, you will have a well-oiled marketing machine to help your business grow.

Keep in mind you want to have a marketing plan going when business is doing well.  If you wait until business slows down, you are too late.  Keep your momentum and keep your focus.  Remember, marketing is about helping the most people by making sure they know about your business.

Again, if you need help developing a plan for your business sign up for our membership program where you can ask questions and get live training for pennies a day.

Marketing strategy goes where your customers are so you can help them. #Christianbusiness #ChristianEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

marketing how to for Christian entrepreneursA how-to guide to the basics of marketing

Christian entrepreneurs need to have a good foundational understanding of their marketing.  In this two part series, we are going to cover the basics.

Make sure you read our previous article on what marketing is.  We redefined marketing as offering the greatest products and making sure your ideal customers know about it.

 

Ideal customers

The first component in marketing is not your product or your business, it’s your customers.  In essence, the better you understand your ideal customer, the better you can talk to them.  Just think about the difference in the way you talk to your grandmother, mother, friends and spouse.  Different people relate to different words.  Plus, your relationship to those people identifies how you talk to them.

When it comes to customers, you want to help them.  To help them you must understand them.  What do they like?  What kind of house do they live in?  What kind of cars do they drive?  If you can understand where they shop, what they read, what music they listen to that can all become part of your communication with them.

If you want to know where to start, check out our article on a free tool to help you understand your ideal customer.

Once you understand your customer better, make an avatar.  In other words, I want you to create a picture of that person so well in your head, it is as if they are a real person.  If you have someone who is exactly the right fit, use that person and interview them.  (Of course, offer them some incentive or bonus for their participation.)

Create a name for the person.  Find a picture online that represents that person.  Write up a short bio for that person.  Make sure everyone in your office has that picture of the ideal customer in their head each time they think about your product or service.

Once you have that person firmly in your head, pray for him/her.  Begin praying for your ideal customers.  You can even go through your customer list and pray for previous customers by name.  When you begin to pray for people, your heart is moved to notice them better and want to help them. Plus, God may just give you some wisdom about your business.

 

Ideal conversation

Marketing is simply a conversation.  You have a business that can help others and you want them to know about it and like it.

Let’s use a simple example of a movie.  If you go to your best friend you can easily talk to them about the movie you just watched.  You can even convince them to see it with you.  If you talk to a stranger, it is a bit harder to communicate to that person because you don’t quite know what they like.

When you begin to understand your customers, you can use words they relate to.  If I was trying to talk about a car to guys I may use words like “power” and “speed.”  If I was talking to women about a car, I may use “safe” and “comfortable.”  Not to put people in a box or anything, depending on my ideal customer, those statements may be reversed.

Marketing is simply understanding our customer and communicating with them.#Christianbusiness #ChristianEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

I heard it said best this way, “Marketing is entering the conversation your customer is already having in their head.”  If you can identify what keeps them up at night and what they would pay to solve that problem, you have a great understanding of how to market to them.

Do your research to understand them, go to forums, look at reviews on similar products on Amazon, or search for blogs that relate to that specific customer.  Notice the colors, wording, length and even what other products/services they are trying to sell that person.

Quick note: Your product may be great for 100’s of people or 1000’s of people, but until you can sell it to that specific one person you will never be a success.  Focus on one ideal customer and get your marketing moving.  Later you can develop a second tier customer.  The key is FOCUS.

 

Ideal market

The ideal market involves many moving parts.  You must understand what others are selling your customers.  You must understand your competition.  You must know the ins and outs of your industry so well that you become the ‘go to’ company for what you produce.

You can do lots of research in this category, but don’t get distracted.  Keep in mind your ONE ideal customer.  Look at your competition and look at what you do better for your customer.  Look at reviews to see what others are saying they want in your industry.  Read information from real people.  With the digital age we live in, you can see reviews and comments from your ideal customer everywhere.

Once you know your market, you know what makes you different.  You can identify a USP, unique selling point.  Take what makes you different, communicate that to your ideal customer in a way that they can relate to and understand.  That is marketing in a nutshell.

 

Conclusion

In our next article, we will talk about setting up a basic marketing plan.  We will talk about where to put your message and how to best communicate with your ideal customer.

Christians are action takers.  We want to grow our business and understand it takes work.  Below are three actions you can take based on the article above.

  1. Write a bio for your ideal customer.  Get a picture (royalty free) and give them a name (Annie Car Buyer, Bob HomeOwner).  Make it memorable.  Print out this bio and ask your employees and leadership if they agree with the ideal customer.  (Actually, you should include them in the entire process.)
  2. Come up with 10 key points that your customers care about.  Look for patterns in your research.  Find attitudes that speak to them: safe, fast, etc.  Find specific fears they have and problems you solve with your business.
  3. Write down 2-3 key points about your business that differentiates you from your competition.  Don’t bash others, but edify your customers with what you do.   Keep everything positive and focus on RESULTS over benefits.

You have your work cut out for you, but if you take this exercise seriously, you will have a great beginning to a solid marketing system in your business.  It will help you grow your business in tight times or plentiful.  You can handle all the twists and turns of business when you are prepared and take everything to God in prayer.

If you need specific help, consider contacting a Christian marketing business coach or join our membership where you can ask your questions on our live online training webinars each month.  It is less than a dollar a day!!

Be blessed and be a blessing.

What is marketing really?

Christian business owners must understand the holistic approach to marketing.  It is not just running ads.

Running ads is called advertising. You are broadcasting a single message on a single channel.  Marketing is so much more than that.  It covers everything from how your logo looks to how you answer the phone, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

 

The definition of marketing

If you look at dictionary you will find this definition, “the total of activities involved in the transfer of goods from the producer or seller to the consumer or buyer, including advertising, shipping, storing, and selling.”  It says that it is a noun and comes from the Latin word for traffic, trading and market. (dictionary.com)

The businessdictionary.com defines it like this: The management process through which goods and services move from concept to the customer. It includes the coordination of four elements called the 4 P’s of marketing: product, price, place and promotion.

One defines it as activities; one defines is as a process.  I want you to take a different approach to marketing. Marketing is a responsibility. It is more than just your opportunity to tell everyone about your product.  It is your opportunity to help others.

 

Quick story

I was in Amway back in the 90’s.  It was a great group of people and I learned a lot about business from these leaders.  They always touted that I should tell everyone about Amway.  They wanted me to be an Amway evangelist.  I understand the concept.

There was something missing.  I would talk to people who I could see was hurting.  I wanted to sell them the newest vitamins or soap or whatever our focus was for that day, but I couldn’t just sell.  I thought to myself, I should have this kind of an attitude about Jesus.  I should want to tell everyone about Him, not about a business.

I was discouraged because I could not bring those two concepts together.  I have a love for people and truly wanted them to know about God.  Yet, I had an opportunity and something that would help them and I wanted them to know about that, too.  I had to make a decision about which one to focus on.

Much later in life, it hit me.  It is not a matter of one or the other.  It is a choice of BOTH!

 

Marketing redefined

Marketing is your opportunity to help others.  If you want to succeed, offer the greatest product at the greatest price to help the greatest number of people.  That is marketing.

Marketing is not about how many followers you have on social media or how many employees you have on your payroll.  Marketing is about how many lives you have impacted and made better.  If you redefine your idea of marketing, and become customer focused, you won’t worry about growth because it will happen naturally.

Yes, you should have something on social media and you should do whatever you can to get your message in front of your ideal customers.  You have a moral responsibility to make sure everyone who needs your product or service knows about what you offer.  You have a responsibility to tell them why you are the greatest.

 

Becoming the greatest

Talking about being the greatest may make you think you are bragging.  In a way you are, but you are bragging about how God has gifted you and granted you the opportunity to help people.  You are bragging about what makes your business different than others.  It’s called your USP, or unique selling point.  You are not putting down other companies, you are building up your customers.

“Greatest” is defined by you.  You should always strive for excellence and an opportunity to WOW your customers.  As Christians, our business should look better, feel better and be better.  We serve the Creator of the universe and we should represent our best in all that we do.

Historically, Christian businesses have done little more than put the word ‘Christian’ somewhere in their ads or name, then they offer shoddy work hoping Christians will buy their wares.  They think that people will flock to them if they put an ad in the Christian yellow page or put a flyer at church.

Let me be blunt: “Christian” is not a marketing ploy.  Being a Christian is about living a life that is God honoring, people loving and Kingdom focused.  If you can represent God in your business and show the world how much you care, then and only then should you put the name of Christ in your business.

Being a Christian in business is about living a life that is God-honoring, people-loving and Kingdom-focused. (tweet this by clicking below)

Being a Christian in business is about living a life that is God-honoring, people-loving and Kingdom-focused. #ChristianBusiness #ChristianEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

 

Conclusion

Marketing is about offering the best products or services and making sure your customers know about it.  We will be talking much more about marketing on Christian Business Revolution.  Part of my mission here is to help Christians rise above mediocrity and develop a business that honors God, helps people and shares the love of Christ in practical, real-life ways.

Won’t you join us on this adventure?  We are Christians that help one another grow.  We offer a free membership with Bible studies and blog reminders.  But, if you really want to take your business to the next level, join our Growth Membership.  It is very affordable.  Plus as a member, you have the ability to ask specific questions about your business each month in our live online training.  Find out more now.

In the meantime, look at your business.

Question 1: Are you offering the greatest products and services because you know you serve the greatest Savior?  If so, great.  Let us know what you are doing on our Facebook page. If not, get to work honoring God with your business.

Question 2: Are you making sure everyone who needs to know about your business knows about it? If so, great job, you should be mentoring another business owner.  If not, develop a plan for your business.  If you need help, you can hire a business marketing coach or join our membership and ask your questions.  That’s what we do here at Christian Business Revolution.

Remember: Be blessed and be a blessing!