The top job for every business owner is to generate revenue by continually adding new customers. This task seems nearly impossible when you have limited funds and time. Where do you focus your time between all the options?
What you will learn from this lesson:
- How to save thousands of dollars and accomplish greater results from your marketing vendors
- How to make the best use of your professional networking, digital marketing, and advertising efforts
- How to invest your own elbow grease into lasting impacts instead of the hottest advertising trends
Speaker: Matt Yerkes, Founder, Entrepreneur & Executive Director of Cultivate
Matt is the founder of Cultivate, an Ohio 501c3 non-profit that helps you keep building a better business. He launched his first SaaS business called Honeycomb Archive in 2001 and has since launched or been on the management team of several companies.
Growth Track – How A Small Business Owner Can Succeed By Continually Adding New Customers
Welcome to our Cultivate Presentation about Growth Track. This presentation is all about “how you, the small business owner can continually add new customers”. The whole idea here is that the number one job for small business owners is to continually add new customers. This is the most important objective that we have as business owners.
We’re gonna take a look at the process that we use at Cultivate we called- The Growth Track to Help the Small Business to Continually Add New Customers. And what we’re gonna take a look at is first of all do you have a growth plan? What is the strategy that is driving that plan? What are the steps and processes for that plan? And what is the cost to you in times and dollars that you’re spending each week to make this happen? How are you doing this consistently every single week putting some effort into this process? And how do you know if it’s working or what you’re trying to do needs to be changed?
Common Reasons For Not Having A Growth Plan
We meet with hundreds of businesses every year, and we consistently hear some reasons why it is so hard for small businesses to put a process in place to continually add new customers.
One of these is probably gonna be reasoning with you. I can’t afford it or l just don’t have the time. Maybe you pay someone to try and help you to do this. Maybe you feel like you get all your business from networking or referrals so you don’t need to have a marketing plan or growth strategy plan.
Maybe you just have too many customers as it is and as silly as it may sound to some businesses we actually have some of our members especially those in the homemade modeling and trades businesses. They can’t keep up with what they have right now so why would you even do this?
Maybe you feel like; I’m already very active on social media — you feel like maybe you’re kinda doing everything that you should be doing. Maybe you just don’t know where to start. Maybe you tried some things in the past and they didn’t work for you and you’re convinced that this just isn’t gonna work for your business… or maybe you put a lot of work into launching a new website and you feel like you’re done with that. So like it’s not that old, why should I keep working on this? So one of these is probably one of what’s holding a lot of you back in putting basic growth plans together.
I’m Matt Yerkes. I’m the Founder of Cultivate. l prepared this presentation with the help of Traci Bakenhaster, one of our members. What really drives what I’m doing to try and help our members.
For most of us, entrepreneurship is the best opportunity that we have to change the trajectory of our life in a way that it’s gonna impact the generations. So, what really drives a lot of what we do at Cultivate is to help people along that journey. So that’s kinda my personal mission of what I’m trying to do and Traci. She’s the one that really just likes to pull together, and we’re gonna work together with these businesses. We might as well do business together. We share a common goal and try to grow our businesses.
Business Owners Need a Process To Keep Building A Better Business
So, what we’ve done at Cultivate is we put together a process. This process helps you to “Keep Building a Better Business” and of course, the emphasis on building a better business means you continually add new customers and that’s what we’re gonna cover today in this presentation.
Before l get too far in the presentation though, l just wanna give you a little information about who cultivate is and what we do.
We are a non-profit. We started in 2016 and it really grew out of my background as an entrepreneur. I’m very passionate about entrepreneurship. We started this nonprofit, we began helping members out of our first location which was in Groove City, and it’s still there today. But we’ve grown now several to over a hundred businesses, new businesses joining us every single week. This business represents hundreds of jobs millions in revenue and payroll, we have workshops and presentations that we do almost every month that people can join on a person or our Livestream, and we have hundreds and hundreds of presentation participants every single year, we have lots of things that we’re working on that we try and use as a nonprofit to help you the small business owner
We work with members across all types of industries, so l have a few on this slide you kinda share some of that but really we work with just any kind of business and some of our member businesses actually have space in one of our business incubator facilities whether they’re just using a mailbox, or meeting room, or a cubicle, or a private office but about half of our members don’t use our facilities. All we’re looking for businesses, all across the State of Ohio a few members out-of-state — they really represent a wide range of different kinds of businesses and industries, because many of the things that we cover in these presentations or workshops and support are really broadly applicable to many kinds of businesses
So what we’ve done is really put together four different programs that we use to help small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. The first thing that we do is we have this in-person business and lessons and networking. Some people are looking at these presentations online. Some people are joining and watching this in person. So, we have this almost every single month that we host this in-person — business lessons, and networking presentations. We also take almost everything that we do and we put those online not just as videos on our website but we break them down to an e-learning platform at our website at cultivateworks.org.
We make that freely available to all of our members, even a free membership that’ll tell you about what you can have access to, and what’s different about the business lesson that is in the e-learning platform is they often include templates, spreadsheets, and other resources that might help you along the way.
We have for every member, we create a business dashboard that we call your GrowthTrack report this includes creating a score for your website so you can see some of those things that you’re doing well and some of the things that you could be doing better, and I’m gonna talk more about it later in this presentation.
And for those members that are really local to our incubator spaces– for those folks that often makes sense to have some kind of space to have meetings with clients, to get some work done in their offices, maybe a small private office or workspace for their team. And we even have members that are from the outside of the Columbus area that we use our meeting rooms and mailboxes in Columbus just to have that presence that’s sort of a sales office in the Columbus area.
What We Will Cover
So we’re gonna cover three things in this presentation. The first is we’re gonna talk about the “strategy”. What is the strategy to grow your business? What does this trust-building process look like? Why in fact is it a trust-building process?;
The second thing we’re gonna look at is really kinda getting more into the weeds of some of the tactics and how we do this. We’re gonna tell you how we help our members to do this and you can take those things and do that on your own, or you can explore the different memberships that we have to get hands-on help for this.
You know really when it comes down to Cultivate, our approach, in general, is anything we can do to share knowledge. We aren’t typically gonna do that for free when it comes time to help you with implementations. That’s usually where we have some membership requirements or even a small monthly fee to become a member. If we’re gonna roll up our sleeves and meet with you every month and get some of the stuff done and help you with the implementation. That’s where we talk about the tactics but many of the other things you’re gonna able to do on your own, and then lastly just so you know explaining the options that you have for Cultivate to support you in your business.
Tortoise Vs Hare: Grow Your Business
So, as we think about implementing a growth strategy for a business what we have to keep in mind is this tortoise vs the hare approach to growing our business.
You know what we’re trying to do when it comes to building relationships with our customers, building trust with our customers. This is not a sprint, this is a marathon. This is gonna take consistent work over a long period of time. You’re gonna have to constantly cultivate this nurture. This is the reason for this. And this is something that you’re never gonna stop working on until the day you decide to no longer have your business.
So, that’s kinda the approach and mentality that we like to set at the outset of this presentation. This is a long-term process that’s gonna really bear for you for us but it’s not something that we’re gonna do overnight and have quick flash in the pan results from doing.
Trust Building – As In Any Relationship. It’s a Process
So, a lot of the building process that we’re gonna talk about really begins with your digital marketing and the reason for that is most of our customers begin a search to solve a particular problem they begin this on Google. So, they’re going out online. They’re looking out for solutions to a problem that they have and that is where this whole process often begins from any of our customers.
Maybe we will meet somebody at a networking event. Maybe people see some of our posts on Social Media — other things we’re gonna do more we’re gonna talk about to grow our audience.
But it really comes down to how often it’s highly involved with our digital marketing and with any trust-building, it’s a process. I just like to start by making the point that virtually no amount of digital marketing is gonna make up for your poor customer trust-building process… so that is where we’re gonna put the focus of our initial intention especially in the strategy phase of this. You know, to think about how we can really develop a customer trust-building process.
Trust Building – Building Relational Equity
So, when we look at any relationships that we have in our life including those that deal with our customers. We need to build trust and we look at this idea of Building Relational Equity and here’s kinda the idea. The idea is every time we exceed an expectation in a relationship we follow through on what we said we’re gonna do, or maybe we even go above and beyond what we said we’re gonna do. And we exceed the expectation of the person that we’re trying to build trust with.
When we do that, you can think of that as creating a trust deposit. Like this fictitious bank account that we have in that relationship. So, every time we exceed an expectation we make a trust deposit, and every time we fail and we miss the expectation, we’re taking a trust withdrawal. So the idea is over time we have made more trust deposits into this relationship than what you’ve taken out trust withdrawals. What that gives us is this Relational Equity, or you can think of it as accident forgiveness.
So, all of us in every business is eventually going to do something to miss the work when you’re serving a particular customer, it’s gonna happen but hopefully, we’ve made enough trust deposit with that customer that they’re gonna forgive a minor slip up in providing the services.
And when we keep failing and keep letting them down and those trust withdrawals exceed these trust deposits, that’s when they fire us as a customer or people exit our relationship. So kinda like to start with that idea on building relational equity. So this again, we’re trying to do something that’s gonna develop over the longer term.
Dorian’s Trust Building Story
So to illustrate this concept, l have a simple example and we’re gonna call this Dorian’s Trust Building Story.
So here we have set up at a local farmers market on Saturday morning all set up to sell fresh-baked bread. You know pre-covid we can have these bread samples all these little bite-sized more so for people to try these wonderful fresh-baked bread lots of wonderful varieties. So this is kinda how this goes down. People come to the farmer’s market early on a Saturday morning and the first thing that Dory says is “good morning” so they’re walking by Dory starts with “good morning” well what happens they turn and they look at the stand and in Dory to see what this is. So you could think of this sort of online comparison.
When someone has eyeballs and they get this hello from you because they saw your post on social media or they’ve seen something on your website on google they’ve seen on search results. You could think of it as saying “hello” or “good morning”. And then when they turn and acknowledge you whether it’s at the stand, or they come to your website, or click a link from your social media to your site. You know they see you, they engage you and that is when we have to tell them this offer. We have to make some type of a statement that is going to engage them. What is the simplest? The first thing that we can do to draw them in is to engage them so we can start to have this conversation moving to relationships and build trust with them.
So in the case of the farmer’s market with this bread, the easiest first thing is to try as many samples as you like, that’s it. You said “good morning” they turn and see you come on up and try as many samples as you like.
We all have similar things for our business whether it’s book a free consultation or schedule a tour whatever that thing is. At this point, they’re still not like a qualified lead. We don’t really know if they’re in the market to buy bread, maybe they’re just being polite but it gives an opportunity to engage. And the next step is really this discovery stage, this trust-building stage where we can learn more about their needs and help better explain our products and services and really kinda make the connection to if our products and service can solve the problem that this customer has.
So they come up to the stand so maybe we do things to develop our report with them we have some small talk. Maybe there are people that are coming around and starting to see this energy around the stand and the crowd gathers and this keeps drawing more and more interest to it. So this is kinda how this works and eventually, they trust, and in this case, for Dory, they trust in them they trust the product and the brand and they sell ninety-four loaves of bread in three hours on a Saturday morning at the farmer’s market just killing it. But it all begins with this process of how people first engage their “hello” all the way up to when they become a customer.
Growth Track- Trust Building Strategy
So we use the simple example of Dory selling bread to farmer’s markets.
But this process this strategy really applies to all of our businesses this is the same strategy that we use at Cultivate to get new members. So we use this to all of our customers all of our members at Cultivate this is the way to continually add new customers and it looks like this.
First, we gotta keep growing our audiences we’re gonna talk about specifics and tactics on how we can do that but the strategy says as many hellos as we possibly can to keep growing this audience of who hears us saying hello.
The next step is to Try Samples. How are we gonna engage them? What is the offer gonna be? Try as many samples that you like. what is it’s gonna look like to your business?
Next is this Discovery. How are you going to learn more about the needs of your customer? The specific customer. How can you resolve questions and objections and really begin that trust-building process with that customer?
And then, eventually, they trusted you they trust in the product they trust in your brand, and then from there.
How do you keep building trust even after you won them as a customer so you can upsell or cross-sell your products and services, you can repeat businesses with that customer? And you can get reviews and referrals from that. So we kinda break down into two parts there’s the audience and then there’s the message that’s all gonna happen to the part of the strategy.
Your Unique Value Proposition
So everything that we do is really gonna begin with this first piece of information that you’re gonna have to articulate for your business. You can think of this in a way like as your elevator pitch but the marketing phrase that we use is that your unique value proposition and my simplest of explaining what this is is What You Offer, and Why Buy From You and l have that abbreviation for that in several slides we’re gonna cover for this presentation. What you offer and why buy from you. That is the first and foremost thing that you as the business owner have to be able to articulate.
Unique Value Proposition
So, here is a better more professional explanation of what Unique Value Proposition is in this Clear statement. In line with your market’s challenges and desires, communicating the unique contribution your company, product, product, and services provide to your market that is different than your competitors.
So this is what you offer? And why buy from you? So you have to be able to explain that to every customer.
Articulating Your UVP
This is the thing that what is it that sets you apart from your competitors?
Why are you different? And why should I even buy from you? And that is the most fundamental question that we have to answer for our customers.
So, “When worded effectively, your customer will respond empathetically to your UVP. lt will speak to their hearts and souls. It will reach them and touch them”.
So we have an entire presentation on how to develop your Unique Value Proposition. So we’re not gonna completely unpack there right now just pointing out that this is the first piece of marketing content that has to kinda be the capstone or the cornerstone for this whole marketing strategy. Everything that we do all the messaging that we create and everything that we’re trying to accomplish on your website, your social media, everything that you do whether you is meeting someone at a networking event or it’s online is communicating and why buy from you?
Steve Blank’s XYZ
There are lots of ways you can structure your unique value proposition. This is an easier-to-use formula that I really liked that I find is really practical for many people. It’s called Steve Blank’s XYZ. The idea is to think of what you do in this formula. We help X to Y by Z. and this really puts your business and what you do and why people should buy from you in that formula. In this example “we help parents spend more quality time with their kids by providing parent-friendly play areas”. So that was some business that’s their unique value proposition.
This is something that l think is attainable. It takes him hours of work and coming back to it and refining it, refining it, refining it but this is the most important piece of marketing content that is gonna really be at the foundation of your marketing strategy, your growth strategy. So you’re not gonna be successful and continually adding new customers until you can get this nailed down.
Call To Action
So the second most important piece of information that we’re gonna have that’s gonna drive everything we do is the Call To Action. So in Dorian’s example, the call to action was, try as many samples as you like. What is the best first engagement step for your prospect to begin this trust-building process? What is the easiest first step? There are some things that I like to point out that we often see where this can go sideways and maybe not have an effective call to action.
The first thing is we often tend to ask for too much too soon. The Call To Action wasn’t “Good morning, and then come on up and buy a loaf of bread”. The call to action was “Come on up and try as many samples as you like”. So we just tend to ask too much too soon and many of our call to action, it’s simple as the first step.
The second point is sometimes what we “Say” is not what customers “Hear”. So we have to road test this run this by as many people as you can. Your website is a good place to start to test this out, but we often don’t have as many visitors coming to our website where that could be an effective test. Simple to test this is in a Facebook ad or some kind of digital ad that you can put in front of a lot of people for a very small amount of money and sort of road test that call to action to see if people bite and if that draws them in to take this first step.
The second to next thing is to really make sure that this call to action is actually moving the relationship and the trust-building process further along. For instance, the idea of trying as many samples as you like people are gonna come up, take a sample and taste the bread. If they like the way that tastes it’s gonna hopefully help make them take the next step and buy a loaf of bread.
But sometimes we come up with call-to-action that really don’t necessarily move that relationship further, or they’re not highly correlated to the end goal that we have of what we want them to buy. So maybe we can get people to respond to that call to action that doesn’t actually end up becoming customers. So we have to think carefully about that and this is something ok to cast out lots of different calls to action as we hone in and figure out what it is that works best. And what we need to know is let’s say somebody does accept this call to action and they engage, what’s the next step?
We have to map that out so we know ok they’ve responded to this call to action what’s the next step after that, the next step after that that leads them all the way till they are close and they are becoming one as a customer. So we have to think through that process we can’t just leave it at the call to action, and we need to make sure they were following all those additional steps. So someone at the call to action is to fill up a form and they become a lead on our website, we better make sure that someone is getting those leads that are emailed to us and are following up with them promptly and completely. If the call to action is to call now and someone called that phone number on our website, we better make sure that someone is answering that phone and emailing, responding to these people promptly.
So the first part of this presentation was really focused on the strategy kinda the main purpose like what we’re trying to accomplish now I’m gonna jump into the tactics.
Customer Trust Building Tactics
And here’s how we’re gonna break this down. The first thing is we have this process that we’ve talked about for “Hellos”. You know growing, who it is that can hear us. How do we keep building this audience? So the tactics related to growing our audience saying more “Hellos”.
Is figuring out how can we grow the reach of that audience? How can we improve the quality of that audience? Meaning to more of the right people, people that have a potential to become a customer. How do we improve the execution of all that? So to do that, there are tools and platforms that we have at our disposal to use when we need to figure out how this actually gonna grow.
There are things that we’re doing on our website and things that we aren’t doing on our website but are still part of the marketing. And one of the wonderful things that we have with technology is we have a lot of options to gather metrics so we can measure how well we’re doing and growing our “hellos”. So google my business, Mailchimp, our social media, google analytics, all these sources of ways people can hear us are trackable even down to our house as an entrepreneur we can measure how effective our “Hellos” is when we go to a networking event and other things like that. We can measure all of that to know if we’re growing our ”Hellos” and we just have to put processes in place to track that and to look at that maybe once a month at least to know if we’re moving things in the right direction. Is all of that work that we’re doing to grow our audience to grow our “Hellos”, is all of that work effectively, or do we need to take a hard look at some of those things we’re doing?
The next part to this is the “Try as many samples as you like”. The Call To Action and the Unique Value Proposition. You know what are you saying and what are your customer’s hearing. So the first part of that is “What your offer” and “Why buy from you” so we need to look at the constant messages that we’re putting out, we need to look at our content plan or content calendar of the frequency and the volume of content that we’re producing, we need to look at the structure of that content is it effective at accomplishing in what we’re trying to do and we need to look at our content distribution.
When we’re doing things to produce content whether it’s a blog post or an article for our website or a page for our products and services are we leveraging that as widely as possible to get the most bang for all that work that we put into producing a great piece of content. Are we sharing that on our social media to an email blast? Are we emailing that individually to customers that have a particular question about our products and services? What else can we do to reach people and have effective messaging and content around what we offer and why I buy from you?
And our call to action, the first step try as many samples as you like. What can we do to improve that? What can we do to have a variety of ways that people engage with that call to action? Maybe it’s a form in our website, maybe there’s an option to call your business, maybe there are other ways you’re communicating those messages, maybe there’s an in-person way that you communicate that call to action.
So we have all those things and we then have to look at this process. How are we doing and improving this customer trust-building process? Well, one of the tools that we give for free to all of our members even the free membership that we’ll tell you about later is we create what we call a ”Growth Track Score” and there’s a variety of ways you use your growth track score and one of the ways is report to you some of the things that you could be doing better and some of the things you could be doing well. So it’s one of the tools that you’re gonna have to measure and evaluate, pivot your idea, adapt your call to action and your unique value proposition.
So what I’m gonna do now is really get into the needy greedy of the Tactics. This is the process that we use to help our members continually add new customers. This is the actual how-to and how you do it. And I’m gonna step through each of these different things, you could think of these as more of a process flow that is going, to begin with, this analyzes step and you gonna go through these sequence of steps every month or every week whatever frequency you’re able to do this, and you’re gonna continually repeat this process. It’s the never-ending process that you’re gonna do again and again and again. This is some sort of flow to have this work. So we’re gonna talk about the Analyze, Review, Outline, Create, Publish and Refine. So these are the tactics that we’re gonna step through and help you explain some of the things that you can do on the stage.
Ongoing Growth Track Process (2-4 hours/week)
So the first thing that l like to point out is that this is something every small business is gonna somehow find a way to devote two to four hours a week to this process. And it might sound like a lot to some, and it might not sound a lot to others. Chances are you’re already doing something to grow your business, maybe you’re busy posting stuff to social media, you’re trying to handle emails to customers, all these things that you’re trying to do.
Chances are you’re putting some amount of work and effort each week into growing your business. This is gonna hopefully bring some focus and structure to the time that you’re spending. And it may be that you could have a team member help you with the large chunks of that work each week. But in my opinion, especially in most small businesses, it is not very effective to try and outsource this to a lender to do for you. Cause really it’s driven from you the business owner you are the chief person in charge of continually grow your business and you’re the chief person in charge of figuring out how you’re gonna improve this process of building trust with your customers. Very few vendors are gonna be able to do that for you.
So the first step is to Analyze. What areas of your digital marketing are weak? What are the missed opportunities that you could be reaching your audience? So there are things that you could view your lead results, your sales conversion, your analytics, google search console information, keyword research, your competition, your growth track report that we create for you. These are different things that you could look at to better understand what areas of your digital marketing are weak, what are the missed opportunities that you have to reach your audience. There are two different ways that we help our members to do this.
So we’ll talk about the two kinds of membership that we have at Cultivate the first is what calls our Basics membership and this is free and it’s my goal that everybody that’s watching this presentation just takes twenty minutes maybe not even that long to sign up to become a free basic member.
So this is what we do with our free basics membership. One of the first things that are gonna happen as part of your onboarding process is we’re going to go through and score your website and some of your other digital marketing. To really look at things that are on your site and even some things that aren’t on your site that really important trust-building factors. So there are things that maybe you are doing well and there are some things that need some work. And we’re gonna go through a scoring process and create a report for free to give you that information and you will be able to log in at cultivateworks.org to view that report.
The next thing that you’re also gonna be able to do is we’re gonna make it available to you as part of that membership. You’ll have instant access when you sign up as a Cultivate member on our website is accessible to these self-guided lessons that are videos and templates that you’re gonna be able to access to go through many of these steps and more detail. So early in this presentation, I’ve talked about a presentation to develop your own unique value proposition and call to action there’s a whole presentation on how to do that.
So there are dozens of presentations that we have in the e-learning system along with some templates and other resources. But for our free membership, this is largely a self-guided process. So you’re gonna be limited to whatever you can do within the web platform or the CMS constant mutual system that you use for your visual marketing for your website. So maybe you’re using Wix or square space or maybe you’re using WordPress or some other web builder, you’re gonna be limited to whatever the tools and bells and whistles on that particular platform.
Pro Membership: $200/mo.
So Pro Membership is really for those businesses that need someone that can come alongside roll up their shirt sleeves and help with the implementation. Again our overall approach is that when it comes to knowledge we are making the effort to give that away and make that freely available to our members. When it comes to implementation where we actually getting under the hood and looking on the steps with you and alongside you, that’s where we have this pro membership: it’s two hundred dollars a month. it’s a month, a month membership. But the first thing that we do is to first create this website’s score and create that factor and report you for you. But what we gonna then do is move into the direction of creating this digital marketing toolkit for you this platform that you’re really gonna need to do this effectively.
All the tactics that I’m talking about a lot of times you’ll be able to get the analytics or be able to easily make edits and revisions to your site you need some of these other trust-building factors you’re really gonna need a more robust platform for that so we use WordPress for our members. And we use a theme in WordPress called Divitus. It’s very powerful. And the big thing here is basically we’re setting up a website for you that the official marketing venue will charge thousands of dollars to do this initial set up and build up for you. We have no setup cost for this, this is month to month two hundred dollars a month membership and we’re gonna do the best we can that kinda anything we can within the framework of what we are able to do in that membership.
So the first step is to analyze once we get that site setup up for you, then we’re gonna help you configure your my google listing which we fit believe is one of the most important things that you can do to promote through your local search marketing obviously in google. And we’re also gonna add to your site google search console and google analytics. So search console helps you to understand what is happening on the internet, what’s related to your website before people even come to your site. So what search term do you show up under, what does it look like, how many people are clicking those searches that you’re showing up things that you would not even know. Otherwise, it’s gonna be for people to go to your site that and google analytics is really that tool that gives us insight for what is happening for people that are in your site how they get to your site, what do they search on to come to your site, how long do they spend all that information that’s important. So we of course put all those tools on your site as part of your setup.
The next step to this cycle is to really review your lead results. How many leads are you getting? What do these sales conversions look like? Are these leads moving to our people are your keyword research, your competition, your growth track report?
So for our Basics members, this is largely a self-guided lesson. But one of the first things we would suggest that you do is go through one of our lessons that will help you to do what we call the keyword research so you can understand really what the top twenty or so keyword search terms are your customers are looking for to solve the particular problem that your products and services solve for them. So really understanding we often come up with some intuitive idea on what people are looking for. But we wanna make sure what people are really looking for. So there are some tools we show you how to use that don’t cost you anything but might take you an hour to go through and do this keyword research. So you always do know what you should be going after online.
The next thing is this Growth Track Score and this report. We’re gonna make that for you even if you’re a free member you’ll be able to access that at our website cultivateworks.org on our page and that’s private for you. And what this is, this is really a tool that helps you measure your customer trust-building process. So that’s something we’re gonna build for you, for our members. It might take us a month into your membership before we able to get that all done for you at least spend quite a bit of time putting that together for all of our members. And then it becomes up to you to use some sort of your in a self-guided way at looking at your marketing metrics to see how you’re doing.
For our Pro members, we’ll actually do that keyword research for you at least the bulk of that work or if you’re still fine-tuning of that research that you need weighing on. And of course, we’re still gonna make that road track score and report for you to help you better understand some of these things you could do to improve your customer trust-building process. And then also for our pro members, if you would like it we can add you to a license that we have to a tool that really brings all your marketing metrics together in one place. So you don’t have to go out separately to search console and google analytics, your Facebook insights, your google my business insights, and all these half a dozen different places to see those marketing impacts. We’ll bring all those to you automatically email your report that you can also be online. So that’s something that we do complimentary for our pro members.
The marketing process is to Outline- what is needed to support the structure of your website. What are the topics and the key points that you need to communicate in your messaging? So it really comes down to thinking through what are the pages of products and services, information about the business? What are pages or posts of articles information that can answer questions that people have? What kind of videos, articles or graphics need to be created to really tell that story and communicate that effectively to our customers.
So for our free Basics members, we will give you what we call a Foundation Profile Template. This is a document where we will step you through, really thinking through all those core marketing messages. What you offer, why buy from you, your call to action, some of those initial keywords search terms you think you should have, information about your business, products, and services. I’m really stepping through all that we’ll give you a template so you can do that yourself and that becomes sort of the tool that you use to really make sure that everything that you’re producing is aligned with that messaging.
Again we through our self-guided e-learning platform we have lessons on how to create content, how to properly structure a page. Most of what happens on Google are really comes down to have unique, quality, substantive content on your website. Google basically works with the words on your site. So we have to have a great copy that is thorough and complete and pages that are structured in a certain way to really move the needle.
And then we also have self-guided lessons on how to create your unique value propositions, call to action you can do all that for free cultivateworks.org.
For our Pro members, we take that foundation profile a step further. We still have you complete the first draft of that foundation profile cause there are certain business insides that only you are gonna have. We will then take that give that to one of our team that’s an expert a this and she will review that information and prepare to interview you 2 or 45 minutes or so interview over the phone or zoom together with you. And then we’ll spend the better part of the day custom writing the content for what we’re calling this Foundation Profile. This profile is really gonna serve as the foundation for all the marketing content that you’re gonna produce. So this is a huge value obviously digital marketing firm that charges thousands of dollars for that. We just add include that, we just really find it as one of the essential steps in beginning this process.
The next tool that we have is the one that will help you with your website. Is a tool that we develop call a Page Cleaner which is really a worksheet to help you prepare for all the initial copy and graphics for your website. And then we can take that and actually place that content into your initial pages for you Cultivate will do that for you. But we’re also gonna train you how to add and edit pages on your website yourself. So we’re gonna make sure that you have the tools to do that so you won’t have to occur any added expenses and really have known invitations on how much content you can produce.
The Growth Track Foundation Profile
The Growth Track Foundation Profile has really developed into an essential tool for our members. So whether you’re doing this on your own as a free basics member or more spending the better part of the day to do this for you as a pro member. Really what this looks at is we do your keyword research, we help to construct your unique value proposition what you offer and why to buy from you, we help you to hone your call to action, we help you we’ll actually custom wright out for you based on some of the information you provide in that interview the supporting details so people really understand what they really need to know what you offer and why to buy from and your call to action. Help you write the story about your business what do people need to know about your business maybe you’re a family on business, maybe you’re a woman on business, we are better on this business you know whatever this is, you’re a fourth-generation family on business whatever those things are that we want people to know about you. Write a description of the primary list of your products and services. Develop a list of frequently asked questions you’re gonna come up with that initial list but we can help you professionally write the question and the answer for your site. And obviously, we wanna have good business contact information and links so you have this in a way you can use consistently everyone can use this on the web.
Ongoing Growth Track Process (2-4 hours/week)
The last three parts of this process are to Create, to Publish, and then the Refine, and then this whole cycle just loops and continues again and again.
So the creation now that’s how to see the steps that you’ve done all these other portions to create thorough contents of pages on your website, that align with your unique value proposition, what you offer, why buy from you, and your call to action. And then publishing this content so there might be some changes that you need to make the structure of your site. Maybe there’s a menu or some other changes that need to happen, maybe you need to implement integration to make this work properly, and then posting this everywhere you can possibly reuse this content. So share this page or post out to your social media, putting it in a monthly email blast, using this variation of this in your ads. The whole publishing step and then refining it so just it’s part of the process, just anything adjustment, anything that needs to be realigned. It’s this foundation profile that we created that is still accurate it’s still the benchmark that we wanna kinda hold everything to moving forward.
So if you’re a free Basics member this is really a do-it-yourself process using your own web or website platform or CMS that you have.
If you’re a Pro member we’re gonna invite you to our growth track labs which we are currently offering our Grove City location so people traveling from out of town to attend these. These are really like work sessions like hands-on work sessions where we kinda repeat this process to make sure everything is on the same page. And then we have team members that come around and help you with very specific things related to making these changes. And we found that those labs are helpful just because it helps our members to just really set aside a couple of hours a month at least to come in and grip on your hands we don’t want you to get hung up on some structural change on your website that we might be able to do very quickly if we’re just looking over your shoulder helping you. I will help you knock that out the way so you can focus on moving that forward. We’ll also support you virtually through zoom and email for technical support as you’re working on these things.
How We Can Help
So I’m just gonna wrap this up with how we can help you? How do these works at Cultivate? And there’s really these three levels of membership that we and have. If you remember at the very beginning part of this presentation, l showed a slide that had these impacts: how many members we have, how many employees they have, what the revenues and payrolls are. The reason why collect all that information and aggregated is that we are non profit and we are largely funded not through membership fees but through grants and other funding that we get from the communities that we serve. But as part of receiving that funding, we have a responsibility to report aggregate information about the impacts that we are making. So in each of that communities, we will report how many members we have in that community, how many employees they might have, things like that. So we collect that business survey information for everybody that takes that step to become a member even if it’s this free basics membership. So that’s the tool that we use to really make sure before we spend all this time and effort even on our free basics members that this is a serious business that’s really looking for someone to come alongside and help them.
How It Works
So with this free Basics membership, you go to cultivateworks.org, you’ll see the link to sign up for and just startup for free. When you register you’re gonna create a login that’s gonna immediately give you access to the self-paced online business courses that we have. We‘re gonna add it to our event invitation list. And we’re gonna invite you to about every single thing that we do every live stream and event with the exception of some of these special working labs that we do for our pro members that would really be fit for you. And we’re gonna spend likely several hours scoring your website, creating this growth track score and this report. And there are a couple of ways that we use that growth track score and report the first way is you have information to help you identify things that you’re doing well in that trust-building process and things that you could be doing better as part of that trust-building process.
The other thing that’s gonna happen is you’re gonna get a phone call from one of our team members, it’ll ask you to book a time with them to go through a short series of questions that’ll help us understand what kind of business connections would be helpful for you to keep building a better business. So maybe you need a bookkeeper, or maybe you need someone to help you with your social media or dozens of things you may need help with to keep building a better business.
So we call every one of our members including free basics members to do that type of interview. And most of the connections that we make are connections to our other members that are providing these business-to-business services that can help you with that issue, with that problem, with that thing you’re trying to do. So there’s an extra benefit where your business helps other businesses, we are going to get some additional information from you so that we can make referrals to you and we do that even with our free members. We make hundreds of these referrals every year. We keep track of all the ones that we make. So we use your growth track score to help make these matches between the members that are in need and the members that provide the solution to those products or services.
So where your growth track score comes to play is if there’s more than one member that provides that product and service maybe you’re looking for a bookkeeper and we have several bookkeepers in our membership, their growth track score is gonna be one of the things that is used in our matching algorithm to make that connection. So that members that have high growth track scores are gonna get more referrals and the member that needs the connection is gonna get connected to better business as a result. And some other things that we do as part n that match but that growth track is one of the key pieces that’s used in that.
For our Pro membership, this is really for those that need someone to roll up their shirt sleeves and get into trenches with them. Those people that need to implement a new website, need help with their business plan and projections or they need a sales growth strategy like we’re talking about today. So for these people, we have these advising labs plus email support that I’ve talked about, we’re gonna create this custom-written growth track foundation profile for you. And we’re gonna roll up this visual marketing toolkit for you which is this fully hosted website with all these integrations and metrics and things like that. So that’s a $200 a month membership it’s month to month, there’s no setup fee and we work with people all over the state of Ohio that have that membership.
The last type of membership isn’t a fit for everyone, it’s really for entrepreneurs that are local to our incubator locations. So currently we have several incubator locations so depending on what it is that you need whether you need a sales office that has a Columbus, Ohio business address because that’s an important market for you, or you need to do meetings with your customers or meet with your team or have a private office and one of our incubators that offers that, that sort of services that has availability. That’s we kinda put all those things in this bucket that we call our Plus membership. So there’s obviously an additional charge, only a portion of our members use this part of our service they may be dedicated to working on private spaces, meeting rooms, email, and packages and really getting this verified marketing address for google especially if you’re looking to have a Columbus, Ohio based address to reach the market. So those are the different kinds of membership we have. We just wouldn’t ask you to sign up to become a basics member.
How To Get Started
Here’s how we’d like you to get started to go to our website cultivateworks.org and register for our free basics membership that is the easiest way to get started. It begins the process to onboard you to all these programs and services that we have to offer.
If you need a business address, meeting rooms, or a workspace and you’re near to one of our first steps for people to have that neat.
Regardless of what you choose, it’s gonna prompt us then to initiate this discovery call with you. We kinda start to roll out some of these programs and services related to our launch track or growth track.
If you decide to become a Pro member then we’re gonna begin the onboarding process to implement some of these digital marketing tools.