Growing Your Business
Jay Baer's important business insights for 2019
It's not always easy to come up with fresh ideas to keep your business growing, or stay on top of trends. All too often entrepreneurs are trapped in the 24/7 grind of running a business, left with little time to innovate, expand and challenge themselves.
That's one of the many reasons we started the Business Insight Seminar series at Chase, which aims to equip business owners with the knowledge they need to propel their business forward. In 20 cities across the country, we pair up our financial experts with current and future Chase business clients to help exchange ideas and tips. These seminars have brought together more than 3,500 professionals to share the wisdom they've gained along the way.
Jay Baer, a New York Times best-selling author and seventh-generation entrepreneur, spoke to attendees about the power of word-of-mouth marketing. Baer has written books about creating positive customer interactions, embracing customer complaints as an opportunity for growth, and smart marketing strategies that resonate with would-be buyers.
1. Get your customers to "work" for you
For Baer, the best way to grow business lies directly within a robust word-of-mouth strategy.
"The best way to grow all of our businesses is to have our customers do it for us. When you hear about something from a friend, either face to face or online via social media, that drives real business results," Baer says.
According to a Nielsen study, 83% of consumers trust the suggestions and recommendations of their friends. The importance of word-of-mouth referrals and person-to-person recommendations are more important than ever for small business owners, particularly those in competitive industries and markets.
Baer says, however, that too few companies have a robust word-of-mouth marketing strategy. “Most small business owners either do not have a word-of-mouth marketing strategy, or haven't developed one that's robust enough to deliver optimal results."
Word-of-mouth marketing creates $6 trillion in annual consumer spending, according to an industry survey. Small business owners can take advantage of this trend by creating a robust social media presence, promoting referrals and recommendations from loyal customers or simply being part of the broader conversation within their industry.
2. Don't let social media scare you off
The truth is that most small business owners either don't invest enough time on social media, or are afraid to fully commit to creating a strong digital marketing strategy. At the same time, 71% of consumers who have had an enjoyable social media experience with a brand say that they are more likely to recommend that company to others. More than 50 million small businesses have social media profiles—yet only 4 million pay to advertise on these platforms.
Too few entrepreneurs invest the time required to bolster their digital presence, even if it can translate into real-life sales and passionate consumers. Baer stresses the importance of turning clients into advocates, as their influence extends much further than conventional advertising ever could.
The Business Insight Seminar events provided real-world advice, networking opportunities and actionable goals to help expand their businesses. Attendees walked away from the day's events with a new set of tools to help them grow their business as well as a newfound excitement for building their brand's market presence through new channels. Baer challenged audiences to think outside the box and determine what kind of messaging resonates with customers. When done successfully, small business owners can open the door to personal recommendations that drive real revenue.
The most important thing, he says, is to leave an impression on consumers. "What can you do that sets you apart but that's reasonable and memorable?"
Brian O'Connor is a Chase News contributor. His work has appeared in BBC, TIME, and Foreign Affairs.