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Today, I’m talking all about the Business Model Canvas. Specifically, I’ll be sharing all about how to deal with a really tricky area of our business — and that is our sales and marketing channels. Plus, I’ll be breaking down the 5 types of marketing that you must have in order to be successful as a financially sustainable purpose-driven entrepreneur.
You’ve probably seen the Business Model Canvas framework before, it’s a one-pager and it has 9 boxes on it that form a grid. It’s a tool that is intended to help entrepreneurs, especially early-stage entrepreneurs, to design and tweak their business model strategies.
So let’s dive into Channels (an important strategy box on the canvas) to see how we can set up effective sales and marketing efforts for our purpose-driven businesses.
What is a Channel?
Your Channels are the ways your company communicates with and reaches your customers to deliver value. I like to think of channels having two different categories:
Your sales and marketing channels — the ways you reach your customer and start a relationship with them that leads to a sale.
You distribution channels: the way you will actually deliver your product and service to them. This could your brick and mortar shop, your e-commerce site, or the way you provide services as an individual inside your business.
How to Set Up the Right Sales Channels for Your Purpose-Driven Company
Sales and marketing is a really big roadblock for most purpose-driven entrepreneurs and so today we are focusing in on your sales and marketing channels.
Many entrepreneurs will put a few ideas down on the Business Model Canvas about how they will reach their customers. They will write down things like website, social media, podcasts, blogs, local events and trade shows.
Throwing a bunch of ideas down is the wrong way to go about it because this is really a scattered way to approach sales and marketing.
If you have a scattered sales and marketing strategy (and you are just throwing things out there on different channels), instead of having a real system into place, you are going to get scattered results.
Your sales and marketing channels must be set up to work with something called the sales funnel.
What is a Sales Funnel and Why Do I Need One?
No one just randomly buys products and services. We all go through a process over a period of time that brings us to make a purchasing decision. And this process takes time. We go through what is called The Buying Cycle.
The Buying Cycle has 5 stages: Know > Like > Trust > Buy > Repeat
- First, we must know about a company, we must become aware of it and what it does for the world.
- Then, we must like the company and start engaging with that company somehow.
- Next, we must trust the company after they have nurtured that relationship with us over a period of time.
- And finally, after we are “warm” and we trust the company, then we are ready for the company to make an offer to us so that reach a buying decision: do I want this? “Yes or “no.”
- Once the customer makes a purchase, the company can offer a great experience and turn us into loyal, repeat customers.
The sales funnel is a tool that helps entrepreneurs to map out what they will do during each stage to carry customers through this buying cycle of know-like-trust-buy-repeat.
The buying cycle is much longer than you might realize! For some impulse buys, it might be really short (for example if your light bulb burns out, you’ll need to grab another one the next time you are at the store). But often times, customers are not actively shopping for our product because they don’t know they need it yet, or they know they need our solution but they have not decided to buy it from us yet.
So on average, you will need to engage with your customer an average of 7 to 10 times in a meaningful way that builds trust before they will ever be ready to start considering your company.
So now that you understand the buying cycle and the need to set up a process to carry the customers through the buying cycle, let’s talk about the types of actions you can take as a company to move them through the sales funnel.
There are 5 Marketing Efforts You Must Have
There are 5 different types of marketing efforts that we need to do in order to have a working sales funnel and to take our customers through the full cycle.
These are the things that you do to get in front of new people and new audiences. This is the opposite of “build it and they will come.” There are three common types of attract marketing:
1. Organic Search:
Organic search happens online — it’s when someone searches for a keyword or phrase and they are led to your company online. Often times, we think most of this happens on Google, but there are other large search engines as well, like Pinterest, YouTube and hashtags on social media.
Organic search is great because it’s free. But it’s also not so great because it takes a while to start working for you. If you need paying customers in the next 90 days, you’ll need another attract strategy on top of this.
Networking involves connecting in physical spaces. This can be as simple as joining a local association, attending meetups, appearing at a local event to sell your product, or asking people who you think would be a great potential customer to grab a coffee. During the meeting, you can ask great questions about the person’s needs and start a dialogue around what problems your company helps to solve. This is a much better go-to strategy if you need sales within the next 90 days because physical in-person connections form trust the fastest.
2. Other People’s Audience
This is my favorite attract strategy because you are leveraging other people’s audiences. They have already done all the work. All you need to do is find a way to be featured. Being a guest lecturer, a guest speaker or panelist, and guest blog posting are all great options. You can also co-host workshops, challenges and do other types of collaborations to get in front of each other’s audiences.
4. Paid Advertising:
Paid advertising is a great way to drive traffic by paying for awareness. However, I only suggest this type of awareness marketing when you know that your sales funnel is converting. You want to test your messaging and your offerings on “warm” audiences first before putting too much money into the top of your funnel.
Engage marketing is asking the person to enter into a relationship with you. It’s what business consultant Rachael Cook likes to call “the pink spoon.” It’s that tiny little pink spoon that they give you at ice cream shops so you test it out before picking your flavor.
Common types of engage marketing are freebies that you offer on your website in exchange for contact information — like free webinars, free checklists or free guides. They can also be other free services that don’t have to happen online, like offering a free workshop or free local event. My father has been a health insurance broker for 30+ years and they offer a free health insurance quote to engage new leads.
The important part about engage marketing is that it has to gather contact information. It’s not a real relationship if you have no way to contact them again, right? The worst mistake you can make is offering something for free and not gathering contact information for those who take part in it. You will want to gather an email address or a phone number so that you can carry them to the next phase of the sales funnel where you will use nurture marketing efforts.
Nurture marketing is all the things that you think of when you think about marketing. It’s the social media posts, newsletters, blogging, and podcasting. The purpose of these things is to nurture a relationship with the potential customer so that you build trust by providing value to them, and that you stay top of mind by being consistent.
Nurture marketing only works if you are consistent — you must show up regularly to keep that trust going and remind them of the value that you create.
Once the potential customer is “warm,” they are ready to be invited to take part in your product/service. In order to do this, you have to invite them by giving them a call-to-action. It’s truly a myth that people will come to a buying decision and ask themselves if they want something all on their own. You need to give them a clear next step so that they must ask themselves, “do I want this?” “Yes or “no.”
The final type of marketing is delighting your customers with an amazing value-filled experience using your product or service. By paying attention to the details, you can create a great referral base, word of mouth and repeat customers that will really go to work for you over time.
So there you have it! I hope that this episode has given you a better understanding of your Sales and Marketing Channels. And I hope that it’s allowed you to put together some new action steps for your business model to include the 5 types of marketing efforts so you can stop getting scattered, low sales and you can start putting a system into place to gain more happy customers and more cash flow in your business.