I like to quiz solo business owners about how they spend their time in a typical week.
That’s about the right length of time (seven days) to measure both simple and complex tasks that the owner completes.
I find that most do very little active marketing.
I believe that’s a big mistake for a small business. But here’s an even bigger one:
There is a tendency for most solo business owners to focus on extending “reach,” the breadth of the company’s range of customers.
They try to market to prospects that are new to the company.
What drives this mentality is a business marketing numbers game.
It goes something like this: “If I contact X number of prospects, Y percentage will register at my site, and Z percentage will buy my product. Therefore, it stands to reason that the larger the number X, the larger will be the number Z (the more sales I’ll make).”
While all of this may be true, there is an overlooked fact that stands out about this method of business marketing.
Drawing new customers into a business is always more difficult, time consuming, and costly than making additional sales to your existing satisfied customer base.
If that is the case, then it pays to devote a greater amount of time to your current customers’ needs rather than to prospecting for new ones.
Of course, in the early stages of a small business there will not be a lot of customers so this advice needs to be tempered with the size of your customer base. You don’t want to continually market (sell) to the eight people that have purchased your product!
Spend time researching and developing the ideas you might have for products that complement those you are currently selling. Look for ways to add additional value to a product your customer already purchased from you.
These are called “backend” product sales.
Add a “Volume II” or other follow-up to the product mix if it fits what you’re doing. Expand your line or even develop additional lines that will go hand-in-hand with the ones you currently offer.
If you don’t have additional products of your own, and can’t develop new ones, offer your current customers great affiliate products from other non-competing businesses.
You might also look for resale rights or distribution rights to products that complement what your business sells. Some of these can be repackaged as your own products.
Here’s another proven idea: offer a more in-depth level of customer attention or “experience” in the niche by adding a membership site alternative for those really avid fans of your business. You see this approach a lot in niches where the customers just can’t get enough information or engagement. Really rabid and fanatical fans will often pay a little extra for add immersion in the niche.
Talk to your buying customers and ask them what additional products they would like to see available. Ask them if there are gaps in your niche that need to be filled.
Provide your loyal customers incentives to give you feedback and share their ideas about what would make your business better.
Often I find solo business owners to be great technicians . . . but quite ill-prepared for effective marketing and selling. In the Internet world, the most critical factor to the success of your product is how well it is marketed.
Even a mediocre product with excellent marketing stands a good chance of making money.
But if no one knows about your product to begin with, no matter how great the product is, you will make few, if any sales.
So remember that you need to continually pay attention to your customers that have already made a purchase.
New prospects are great, but they should not be the entire focus of your small business marketing efforts.
To your online business success!