After growing her business on referrals for 5 years she suddenly lost it all. Here's how this small business owner bounced back and how you can prevent this from happening to you!
I recently sat down with Catie Daus, a Google Ads expert, based in Colorado who works with clients all over the world. Catie joined me on my podcast Burda Marketing: The Podcast! where she shared her inspiring small-business story.
Catie manages the Google Ad accounts of multiple businesses around the world. Mostly small businesses. I’m sure it’s no surprise that this story involves the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pre-pandemic, Catie grew her business solely on referrals, or word-of-mouth marketing. For 5 years, she was doing great, until that fateful day when everything shut down. Taking 70% of her business down with it.
Growing solely on referrals has its drawbacks.
Catie relied solely on referrals and word-of-mouth marketing for 5 years to grow her small business. And she had 5 great years, until the pandemic hit. Most of her clients were service-based small business clients who were no longer able to work, and no longer able to pay for her Google Ad services. Catie, in turn, lost 70% of that business during the shut down and had nothing to fall back on.
After growing her business solely on referrals, she had no way of bringing in new business. So she had to think and think fast!
She immediately realized she needed to ramp up her own marketing and advertising efforts to have more control, to save her business, and to prevent this from happening again.
"I lost 70% of my clients during the pandemic because of a mistake I made. I was terrified. I quickly realized something needed to change and fast because when I lost those clients, I also lost that income. Pre-pandemic, my business growth solely relied on referrals. I’m still shocked referrals kept my business running for years… But that is where my biggest mistake lied: I only relied on referrals. Without clients referring me, I was hemorrhaging money. So what did I do? I quickly changed my game-plan. I created an Instagram account, began my Facebook Ads journey, and started to run email marketing campaigns. The results? I have potential clients sliding into my DMs almost everyday."
- Catie Daus
Luckily, Catie was able to turn things around quickly for her small business. But it doesn’t always take a huge global event for this type of thing to happen.
I’ve seen it happen with other businesses as well. Another business grew their business solely on referrals and word of mouth marketing, then over time those referrals started to slow down and eventually stopped all together. It was nothing the business itself did; they had a referral program in place with another company and that other company spread their referrals too thin. Leaving them with little business coming in. This is just one other example in, what I image, is a very common occurrence.
Even if referrals are currently working for you, don’t put the growth of your business in the hands of your clients. Be sure you are building brand recognition and putting the right marketing efforts in place so you can have control over your own business stability and growth without relying on others. Referral should be the icing on the cake.
How you can build a strong marketing strategy.
It all works together!
There are a few moving parts you need to start creating a strong foundation for your marketing efforts. Here are some small business marketing tips you should consider for your own business.
You need a solid understanding of your brand, you need to know your target audience, know your value, and use this to create a strong online presence. Consumers will do their research on line before making a purchase decision. And they aren’t just looking in one place.
Catie and I both agree, it all works together and that it takes 7 - 20 touch points for consumers to make a purchase desicion. 7 to 20!
Google Ads are great for people to discover you through online search, but then where will the ad lead them to? That’s right! Your website. Your website needs to speak to the right audience, be well designed, and needs to effectively encourage visitors to take action. Social media plays a part as well.
People love to get more information on socail media, this humanizes your business. People want to work with those they know, like and trust, and social media is how they get to know you.
Bottom line; Small businesses need an effective marketing strategy and they need marketing to establish a solid presence with their audience to stay top of mind.
Here is what you need for an effective digital presence:
Social media presence
Once this is all set, you can begin to drive traffic to your business online, and with the inclusion of ads, like Google Ads or Facebook Ads, you can increase your reach and help bring you in new business faster.
So, are you taking steps to be in control of your marketing to sustain and growing your business?
How to get started.
If you need help creating a solid foundation for your marketing efforts online, I can help. I help small business with creating a strong presence online with a solid brand, web design, social media management and a plan! If you are interested in adding Google Ads into the mix, reach out to Catie at catiedaus.com.
Want to get started with your marketing? Schedule a free consultation today!
For more small business marketing tips check out these blogs: