I have an old metal torch at my house that has been in my family for longer than I can remember. It died last year after more than two decades of faithful service. I still keep it around so I don’t have to lie to my Mom when she asks about it during visits; and she always does. If she found out that her trusty companion died a gruesome death at the hands of rust, unuse and time; I’d be at fault. And she would be right; again. If I hadn’t taken it for granted, maybe changed the batteries once in a while, it wouldn’t have slowly flickered out. And now, it’s too late. Even when it comes to my business, there is always the tendency to take things easy when you’ve gotten into a flow. But this is the worst thing a brand can do if it intends to keep the flame alive. “Taking it easy” is how brands stop growing.

If your business is at a point where you’re just going with the flow and not making any waves these tips could point to where you’re going wrong.

Customers don’t connect with your brand

Your customers might like your brand and even trust it, but an emotional connection is necessary to drive sustainable profitable behavior from your customers. A Harvard study categorizes the steps in the customer’s “emotional connection pathway” into 4 steps

  1. being unconnected
  2. being highly satisfied
  3. perceiving brand differentiation
  4. being fully connected

The study conducted sampling across 9 categories to find that fully connected customers are 52% more valuable than those who are just highly satisfied. Who are these “fully connected” customers? Well, you’re probably the perfect example. Remember how you used to visit the same mom and pop shop as a kid because the sweet old lady gave you an extra sweet every time you shopped? You were their “fully connected” customer. As a kid, you had one emotional function – get more sweets for your buck. By tapping into that function the store owner successfully kept you happy and a regular customer.

The next time you see a Harley Davidson ad where the cool guy rides his bike into the sunset, you’ll know they’re tapping into every man’s desire to leave behind the troubles of a work-life and ride off into the land of unlimited possibilities.

So whether you’re selling canned tuna or high-end motorcycles, it’s time you researched the emotional motivators that drive your customers.

Not marketing to the right audience

I knew that cloud telephony services were taking off when I first started CallHub. What I didn’t know was that a lot of other entrepreneurs had come to the same realisation and most of them had serious seed money backing them. Maybe it wasn’t as bad as what almost every new startup now faces, trying to make themselves heard in an already crowded market. But it was inevitable that I would soon reach that point.

CallHub was soon up and running and we were spending heavily on Google Ads and SEO. But there was absolutely no growth. The market was becoming saturated and we were running out of ideas. It was during one of those days that I stumbled onto NationBuilder. It was a community organising software platform (a buffed up CRM) that mainly catered to political campaigns. And they had open APIs (like how Foursquare uses the Google Maps open api). I had a chat with Adriel Hampton, who was the VP of Business Development at NationBuilder back then and pitched the idea for a scalable Voice and SMS service platform that would cater to Political campaigns through an integration with NationBuilder. He loved the idea. While our competitors were charging campaigns on a monthly basis we developed a scalable pricing model where customers were charged based on usage. Since elections were a seasonal affair, now campaigns did not have to pay for the time they were not making any calls. This was our gateway to becoming known as a serious player.

Maybe, right now, you see yourself stuck in an over-saturated market with no way out. But maybe you just haven’t found yourself the right audience yet. Don’t give up till you’ve searched every last corner – find your niche.

Your content marketing strategy is overdue for a revamp

When we were coming up with a content marketing plan at CallHub we were only focused on getting traffic into the website. We wrote a lot of generic content that would appeal to the masses, and for a while there it looked like it was working. But it soon became evident that the leads we attracted to our site weren’t the people who would turn into clients. Then we made the switch to writing relevant content that was targeted at the niche audience that we serve. Regrettably, our web traffic started dropping. But now, our conversion rates were going up. Generating content that is meant for the right person is one of the fundamentals of content marketing.

But it’s not just about bringing out relevant content. It’s also about researching and investing in the right tools that work for you. That means optimising your content for SEO with Yoast, promoting the content across social media with Buffer, managing outreach with Yesware and collaborating with Hiver; all tools that we use and love.

Your business might have a marketing strategy in place that is bringing in steady traffic. But if you aren’t getting the conversions, stop waiting for the tide to change and get ready to revamp your marketing strategy – don’t get caught in a rut.

You’re not nurturing your customers

I remember one of my “low-priority” customers, from when we were just starting out, had a problem with one of the softwares that integrated with CallHub. He had trouble deleting call lists once they were in the system. It was in no way related to my product. But I knew the solution and it wouldn’t take much of my time. I came up with a script that he could run on his computer to delete the call lists and sent it over. Two years later, he is one of my top customers.

I’m not saying these two things are directly related. Maybe he would have stuck with CallHub anyway or maybe he would have left us despite the effort. But you can be sure that unless you go the extra mile to nurture your customers you’ll definitely lose out on good business over the years – never take your customers for granted.