Do you judge grocery stores by their parking lot?
Some store parking lots look like something between a hurricane and a Black Friday special. Carts are scattered, trash cans are overflowing, and somewhere a baby is crying. (Can someone make her stop?)
But we all know stores that have the secret to keeping a parking lot clean and organized. Every cart is in place and all garbage is collected. Most importantly you know what to expect inside the store.
At its entrance you think, If the owners care for the outside, then they definitely care for the inside of this store.
The same is true for your business parking lot. But where is your parking lot?
The “parking lot” of your business is the first place you make an impression on a potential customer or client.
- If you operate a fully digital business, then your parking lot is your social media pages, your website, or your Google My Business account.
- If you operate a service business, then your parking lot may be your vehicle, your uniforms, or even the way you communicate with your customer through a phone call.
- For a brick-and-mortar business, your parking lot may be right outside your front door.
Regardless of your business structure, find your parking lot.
Don’t Waste (Anymore) Money on Marketing
We can admit it. We’re all looking for a silver bullet, especially when it comes to marketing campaigns that fuel business growth.
This causes us to adopt tactics others seem to leverage for success. We attempt to “copy and paste” into our business ecosystem. Google Ads, social media advertising, direct mail, influencer marketing, and geotargeting. The list goes on (and on).
We research, execute, question the abysmal results, and ultimately try something else.
This cycle is vicious. At the end of the day, we may try a myriad of tactics only to realize that we may not need to add a new thing. We may just need to create congruent messaging within the channels we already possess.
Solomon, the King of Congruence
In 1 Kings 10, the queen of Sheba made a lengthy trip from Ethiopia to Israel. After hearing amazing reports, she desired to see how Solomon ruled his kingdom with bountiful wealth and matchless wisdom. After spending time with him and examining his kingdom, she made this striking statement,
“It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me”1 Kings 10:6–7, KJV
The queen of Sheba had heard reports (customer referrals!) of Solomon’s splendor, but she couldn’t believe that everything under Solomon’s influence told the same story. From the construction of his house to the food on his dinner table to the clothing of his servants, everything told the story of who Solomon was and how God’s anointing rested on his life. Solomon’s life was a life of congruence.
What is congruence?
Congruence can be defined as agreement or harmony.
When applied to your marketing efforts, building congruence means both your outbound and inbound marketing presence have received the same level of intentionality and attention to detail.
Congruence is a great communicator. It tells a potential client that you go the extra mile and pay attention to the details.
Congruence builds trust and building trust is the only way we continue to build businesses that grow into their God-given potential and help advance God’s kingdom.
Okay, But How Do I Do That?
If congruence is telling the same story in every touch point of our business, then it requires that we take a step back from daily operations and revisit the drawing board. Then ask these important questions.
- What different customer journeys does your business employ (from first touch point to follow up messaging after a sale)?
- Can you list every way a customer may see your business the first time?
- How does your business educate and motivate potential customers at the different points of their decision-making process?
Aiming for excellence in your “parking lot” and congruence in your marketing efforts involves careful examination of each touch point. It means ensuring that your brand is educating and motivating your customer, displaying excellence in every detail, and communicating clearly through your branding and messaging from beginning to end.
Yes, you may need to launch a consistent email campaign. And yes, you do need to keep your social media fresh and exciting across the wide variety of platforms that seem to multiply on a daily basis. But don’t forget to take a step back and ask:
“Where is my parking lot?”
“Did that baby ever stop crying?”
“Am I making the most of every customer touch point?”
As you are equipped with the right questions, an intentional path forward, and a purpose in your heart from God, we hope and pray your business grows into everything He has ordained it to be.
BY: MARK WOLFORD AND JENN WARREN, APOSTOLIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE STAFF