How They Grew Their Business 500%
Steve Olenski | Forbes
When it comes to massive business growth, it’s not just the digital marketers with wildly popular blogs you want to be learning from. It’s the successful entrepreneurs themselves — people who have built real businesses from the ground up.
Every successful entrepreneur will tell you that exponential growth is hard. It’s a product of more than just a few great hires or a viral marketing campaign. Business growth that happens at lightning speed is more often than not a result of a movement. Something about the business has to trigger such a strong emotional response in consumers that they can’t help but tell everyone they know about it.
One entrepreneur who experienced this sort of exponential growth first-hand is Chris Cavallini, founder of Nutrition Solutions — a meal preparation company that went from one location to eight figures in revenue and a nationwide presence in just a few years. To have Cavallini tell it, “We were growing as fast as we could keep up with — and that was both great and nerve-racking at the same time. We definitely experienced some growing pains, but that’s a good problem to have.”
When I asked Cavallini what advice he could give to marketers looking to grow their business, he shared these 5 crucial marketing lessons. While some of these may sound overly obvious, especially to seasoned marketers, they are also a good reminder and this time of the year with the hustle and the bustle (what is bustle anyway?) of the holidays — it’s helpful to slow down and smell the roses, AKA, don’t overlook the obvious.
1. Don’t Sell A Product — Build A Brand
This is tried-and-true advice, but the way Cavallini explained it, building a brand is about speaking directly to your customer’s biggest pain points.
“You never want your ideal customer to feel like they’re being sold to. I’m a firm believer in that. What you want to do is think about what they’re struggling with, and consider how you can help them on their journey. Your product or service will always be there as an option for them, but on social media you have the opportunity to engage and help them regardless. That’s the best way to earn their trust and show them you care — is if you give without expecting their business in return.”
He went on to explain that building a brand is all about creating that larger movement and motivating big groups of people to do something positive. Some of them convert into customers, and that’s great. But what’s more important is that you establish your brand as a voice that provides people value on a daily basis.
2. As A Founder, Ask Yourself How You Give — And Then Give Some More
“I attribute a lot of my success as an entrepreneur to the way I approach business,” said Cavallini. “I’m always looking for ways to help the next person, to give back, to share what I know, to empower someone else. And as a result, I’ve had a lot of good things come my way. I think founders drastically underestimate how much growth they can drive for their business just by being a good person.”
While some might call this a “marketing tactic,” it is and it’s not. It’s more of a mentality and one that needs to drive every single business decision you make.
“The times when I’ve seen the most business growth were also the times when I was giving the most,” he notes. “You are a representation of your company and word travels fast. Whether I was donating more to charity, giving back to those in need, or just even taking the time to mentor CEO’s of other meal prep companies, even though it wasn’t my primary intention, it always comes back to help whatever I was doing — in some way, shape, or form.”
3. Treat Every Single Customer Like They’re Your First And Only Customer
Too many companies lose quality as they begin to scale. They start to treat their customers as replaceable, and it begins to show in the world. People who once loved your product or service suddenly don’t feel the same — and rightfully so. The relationship you’ve established has gone out the window while you’ve started to prioritize quantity over quality. This was a poignant lesson Cavallini shared.
“When you’re growing faster than you can keep up with, a lot can slip through the cracks. That’s the challenge. But a big reason why we were able to scale so effectively is because we worked hard to maintain those individual relationships we had created with each one of our customers. If we messed up an order, we were proactive about fixing it. If a customer wasn’t happy, we went above and beyond to make it right. And by doing this, not only did we improve upon those relationships, but those customers became our most loyal advocates,” said Cavallini.
4. Don’t Underestimate The Value Of Transparency On Social Media
In the social media world today, consumers want to see what’s real. There is nothing more inspiring than a human story. And especially in the health industries, people don’t want to see what has been Photoshopped nearly as much as they want to see what is vulnerable and honest.
“Our success stories have been some of our best marketing tools,” said Cavallini. “And it’s because they’re real. They’re out in the open. Our customers willingly share the positive changes they’ve made in their life because overcoming poor eating habits and an unhealthy lifestyle changed not only their body for the better, but their energy, focus, confidence and overall quality of life! It’s something people want to talk about and other people want to hear about as motivation to make a similar change in their own lives. This is what I mean when I say it’s not about "selling" a product or service to your ideal customers. It’s about empowering them and then letting your product or service be there for them as a viable solution.
5. Never Skimp On The Quality Of Your Content
And of course, if you want to market something effectively, then you have to do it right. Too many brands hope to reach huge audiences on the Internet with sub-par content. What happens is they invest too little money or energy in the production quality and instead save their budget for putting advertising dollars behind lackluster content.
“I suggest investing more in the front-end and making sure your content is the best possible representation of your company,” said Cavallini. “Your content is often the first thing people see. And if what they see is average, they’re going to assume your company, product, service and team are average as well.”
One of the marketing tactics Cavallini has deployed with Nutrition Solutions to raise the content bar has been working with influencers.
“Aside from all the other benefits of influencer marketing — like reaching bigger, more targeting audiences — influencers just create better content. Period. It feels more genuine, more authentic, and a lot of them are highly creative. There is huge benefit in having influencers help tell your brand’s story.”
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