There are critical digital strategies to embrace and execute to help grow your business to even more than what it is currently. Collectively defined as the High C’s by SquareStack CEO Bill Furlong, they consist of customers, collecting data, competition, and content to name a few.
If you aren’t focused completely on your customer, you shouldn’t be in small business. You need to have a personal relationship with as many customers as possible and be sure your team also follows the customer first mantra.
What follows, you will see how each High C relates directly or indirectly to the customer.
Furlong points out that across each High C, there is always a business app for that to add to your AppStack.
Collect > Data
Every digital action produces data, and that data resides within your SaaS platforms. It lives in your bank accounts, your social media, your day’s receipts.
“There is data, that for the betterment of your business, you need to look at and take a look at all your software systems that you have, whether it's QuickBooks, or Google Analytics, or constant contact for your email,” Furlong says.
Most small business owners have only a cursory knowledge about their customer data, much less how they collect it. Few others are conducting proactive assessments of the data’s insights.
Furlong offers a few pointers on data:
- Be sure and review and get comfortable with how your vendors collect data
- Speak in common, layman’s terms, not technology babble
- Be transparent in how you collect data from customers
- Ensure your customers and yourself that your data is secure
- Apply best practices and respect customers’ privacy
- Make sure your business apps use the same “taxonomy” or collect information on a similar data template
Educate yourself on all the online tools your legacy finance vendors offer. Additionally, convert old-school paper to online alerts and communications.
“You should make it a daily -if not weekly- ritual to check your executive dashboard, which you can do through GreenApps, to understand how much money is in the bank. How many new followers do you have on Facebook? Did your employees submit their expense reports,” he says. “You will be more ingrained to check out all of these data points and be more strategic. You'll be able to lean into your business and make more informed decisions about whether to buy a new tractor or hire two new field workers or layoff someone. It's both the good and the bad but, you can't make a decision without proper data.”
According to Salesforce SMB Business Trends Report 2nd Annual 2018, the top three tech budget priorities include: 35% productivity 35% financial and 34% security.
“Financial apps are the core of our enterprise,” Furlong says. “You may want to check out some of the tools that will augment your foundational software such as expense management, loan apps and forecasting.”
Competition > Who Now?
This may seem obvious, but with an ever-growing digital tool library, you can find some expedient and automated ways to track a raft of competitors.
Any business apps that are priced right and are possibly relevant to tracking your competitors and what they’re doing are worth knowing.
If you’re a B2C business, you’re likely already allocating some search-marketing dollars, and as such, it would be good to know what the other guy is doing.
While your closest competitors are readily apparent, Furlong says it is important to give some thought to who your new competitors are.
Content and Curation > Produce, You’re an Expert
You have the ability, if not duty, to push curated information to your audience via your social media pages, newsletters and on your website.
Consider your customers lifetime buyers. Build that conversation online and in person. Data collected by Demand Metric "A Guide to Marketing Genius: Content Marketing" infographic, indicated that 70% of consumers prefer to learn about their company through articles/blogs than ads.
“There's a lot of data that sits in there that you may not be familiar with and those vendors will get on the phone with you and give you a demo on all the tools that you could use within those separate software systems,” Furlong says .
Community > Social Now, Share Now
At the foundation of social media strategy is the idea of stirring the pot of all your fans, customers, and prospects. There are no better advocates for your brand than these. And in the venue of social media, if your followers are providing good feedback, then you have some real magic.
“Your community extends to your own website and promotional arsenal,” Furlong says. “ There’s no better method than to feature customers’ testimonials on why they like your product or service. Encourage your customers to connect.”
Lastly, I need to talk about the downside. With opening a community and adhering to transparency, there will, of course, be the naysayers, the bad customer experience, or a bad review. It’s going to happen, so just expect it. It’s pretty much the nature of the beast. Some of these things may already have happened to you or your business. Just bear in mind that in our current world, the one initiating the negativity can just as easily be a sly, unethical competitor at work as an actual disgruntled client or customer.