How To Scale Your Marketing The Simple Way
Marketing these days can feel overwhelming.
There are countless tools, platforms and channels at your disposal… and more are appearing every day.
“Should I learn Facebook ads?”
“What should I be doing with LinkedIn?”
“Am I doing enough email marketing?”
It’s so easy to lose sight of why you’re marketing in the first place…
Building and nurturing relationships with the people that matter.
If you want to really want to scale your business, then put aside the platforms, the tools and stop trying to unravel the mysteries of every algorithm.
At the startup or scaleup stage, there’s probably a list of 25 to 100 or so people – that if they knew about your business, respected you and served as an advocate for you – would catapult your business to success.
Some might be your ideal customers. Others might be people that influence your customers. Or potential partners. Or even investors.
Here’s three examples of entrepreneurs who’ve applied this approach to incredible success.
Building a global community for entrepreneurs
Verne Harnish founded the Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO) in the US, a network of like-minded entrepreneurs to exchange ideas and learn from one another.
He developed a list of 25 people and “spent a couple hours a week trying to figure out how to attract these people”. At the top of the list was Ronald Reagan.
In only 36 months, EO had become a global organisation and he even managed to get Ronald Reagan to deliver a speech at their 1986 convention in Los Angeles!
Verne’s advice is simple:
Your selection criteria should be the people or brands who will be impacted by the vision you aspire to achieve. The biggest indicator of your company’s success is how many dinners, coffee chats, and breakfasts you have with the people on your list. That’s what it takes to build those relationships.
While recent events might require those relationships to develop over chat, phone or videoconference, it all starts with (1) having a clear vision; and (2) achieving clarity on who would be impacted by that vision.
Starting a new consulting practice
Long before Dominic Barton became Global Managing Director of the strategy consulting firm, McKinsey, he took up the opportunity to relocate from the US to Korea to build a new practice there.
As described in the book How Clients Buy, he arrived knowing no-one…
But with the vision to build a consulting practice in banking and an understanding of who could help him make that happen, he wrote letters to ten banking CEOs and said:
I’ve moved here, I want to help play a small role in building the financial system, but I don’t know anyone. All I have is my experience from x, y, and z. Can I get some advice from you? Would you help me?
He built the list. Then he worked the list.
And guess what? Nine of the ten CEOs wrote back saying “Sure, come and talk”. The rest is history.
Starting a high growth retail business
You may be thinking: Those examples don’t work for me. What about B2C? What about retail?
Well, it certainly applies there too!
The founders of Australia’s own HiSmile started with little more than $20,000 and the vision to turn the tooth whitening industry on its head. They started out by sending their product to 300 or so Instagram influencers for free, and simply asked for a review and feedback in return.
From $0 in sales, they were doing $15m in sales in only 18 months and have continued their amazing growth story from there.
Don’t mistake this approach as a lucky shot in the dark. HiSmile was deliberate about targeting people who were in the public eye and whose image was vital to their own success.
Once again if you consider: Who is going to be most impacted by my vision? Then the people on their list were the right choice.
The founders didn’t just fire off a one-off request and hope for the best. They worked the list. Consistently and with focus until they got the results they needed.
. . .
That’s the power of building the right relationships.
Sure, it does take upfront research to identify the specific people that really matter to your business. And a focus on consistently putting in the work to nurture the relationship.
But it truly works. For your business the list might be 25 people. It might be 100. It might even be 300.
Get together your list and spend at least an hour every week figuring out how to get those people to support you.
And the bigger the names, the faster you’ll scale!