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The seven marketing steps that landed us with 30,000 clients

Monday, 11 March 2013 | By Mitchell Harper

feature-2-guys-thumbFrom humble beginnings meeting my co-founder in an online chat room, we've grown Bigcommerce to the fastest growing eCommerce platform in the world that helps SMEs get online and sell more.


We've secured $35 million in venture capital funding, built up offices in Sydney and Austin with our brilliant 200-strong team, and stores that use Bigcommerce have now made $1.5billion.


From growing our own business and helping over 30,000 small businesses grow theirs, we've experienced a lot, and really enjoy sharing our stories and what we've learnt.


We know Australian start-ups are doing amazing things and can really compete on the global stage. We'd love to see more of us showing the world what Australians are capable of!


So how can you achieve the kind of growth that will see your venture prosper in Australia and beyond?


By most accounts, the fastest-growing segment of the global economy is eCommerce. Even organizations not normally known for internet retailing now have an online presence to sell merchandise — even if it's just to promote their own image with customised products.


The worldwide interest in eCommerce presents a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs of any size. Unfortunately, many of today's entrepreneurs just don't have the know-how to get their venture off the ground.


This series was written for those budding entrepreneurs. In the next several entries, to run on StartupSmart in the next few weeks, we'll outline a seven-step, customer-driven marketing plan that will at least double your sales within the next 12 months and get you on your way to bootstrapping your budding company to seven figures.


First, about us. In 2004, my co-founder Eddie Machaalani (who will trade off with me on this series) and I started a company with no funding. We now have 30,000 clients, with annual revenues in the high seven figures.


While we recently took on venture capital, we made it to seven figures with no outside investment. How? We learned all there was to know about customer-driven marketing the hard way — through trial and error.


Some of you might think the information in this series is too simplistic to be of much use. But in business, there's knowing and there’s doing. This is a call to action – get out there and start doing.


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First, there are some basic truths you need to consider.


Social proof: It's more than likely that your competitors and fellow entrepreneurs don't understand or use customer-driven marketing. But as we all know, people will buy from people they like, trust or respect.


If you lose any of these then you lose the customer. That means building affinities, and for that, nothing sells like social proof. Show potential customers that other people just like them have already bought from you, and you’ll get customers that start and keep buying from you.


Courting: When someone orders from you, that's just the start of the relationship. You have to keep providing them with as much useful, educational information as you can through any outbound means that will help them use your products better.


It’s simple: If you want to get to seven figures, you must understand marketing. Period. A poor product that is marketed well always outsells an excellent product that is marketed poorly (or not at all).


If you understand marketing and use it aggressively, you'll be ahead of 99% of your competitors.


With all that out of the way, here is a Seven-Step Marketing Plan to help you master customer-driven marketing and get your business to the next level:


1. Create your typical customer profile


2. Position your products to appeal to your ideal customer


3. Spread the word to people who fit your typical customer profile


4. Wow them immediately after buying


5. Follow up with lots of free, useful stuff


6. Ask for a (video) testimonial


7. Repeat steps 3-6 infinitely


In the next several pieces, we'll take a closer look at each of these steps. See you next time.