Every successful small business owner is continuously looking to get more customers and build their businesses. Business Growth as we all know needs to have a structured system behind it – otherwise your business runs on times of feast and times of famine. The most critical element of growing a business is having a steady stream of sales leads coming in.
So how do you create a system that will help you bring in consistent and predictable sales leads into your small business, and then with the right focus and effort turn them into customers?
It all starts with the magic triangle of Market-Message-Media because it’s the cornerstone of getting more customers:
Your MARKET is who you’re selling to.
If you’re selling wedding rings then you’ve got multiple markets, because you can target both:
- men who have just proposed,
- women who have just been proposed to
Your MESSAGE is what you’re going to say to convince your market that you’re the best place for great wedding rings.
And where you have multiple markets you’ll need different messages for each market.
Your MEDIA is whatever you use to get your message to your market.
In this example you might promote yourself in bridal or wedding magazines read by 20 and 30-something women, magazines for men in the 20 to 30 age-bracket, or on Facebook to women and men who’ve just updated their status from ‘in a relationship’ to ‘engaged’. You wouldn’t place an advert in an obscure trade magazine, would you?
I’m sure you can see how the triangle works. Get all three sides right and you’ve won yourself enough customers to holiday in the Caribbean. Get them wrong and you’re in a caravan in Blackpool. In November!
Let’s take a look at how you can get clear on your Message in 3 simple steps:
Step One – Identify your market’s specific problems/issues/needs/wants
Step Two – Present your solution to that problem and the benefits to buyer
Step Three – Prove/Guarantee that your solution works as you say it will
Let me use the wedding ring business as an example, selling to a couple who are getting married in August.
Step One – My prospective buyers need wedding rings, before August and they are worried about all sorts of things, will they still fit on the big day? What happens if they lose one? What if one of them calls the wedding off and they don’t need the rings at all?
Step Two – I can put at rest all of my prospects fears by assuring them that I can definitely deliver the ring before the big day, that if the rings don’t fit they can have the rings swapped or altered at no fee, and I can bundle in insurance with the rings in case one or both is lost or damaged. And if they don’t need the rings after all, they can bring them back for a full refund. All of the risk and worry is taken away.
Step Three – I’d be sharing a case study of someone who was in my prospect’s shoes this time last year, and tell the story of how they had the same fears, overcame them and bought the rings, they were a perfect fit they both loved them and are writing this message from their honeymoon in the Seychelles.
Then I’d get busy with a few shorter testimonials, with each one covering off a specific issue or concern, like “I couldn’t sleep I was so worried about whether the ring would still fit on our wedding day, but I shouldn’t have worried, my wife lost weight before the wedding and the ring was a size too big, so we had it altered to the right size, easy as pie, and with no cost, all in time for the wedding.”
Then I’d hit my couple with my Guarantees (plural!). In this instance I’d have three; each in response to a specific issue:
1. “On Time Delivery Guaranteed, or Double Your Money Back”
2. “Perfect Ring Guarantee: your rings will fit on the day, or we’ll swap or alter them, no questions asked”
3. “She Said WHAT!?: don’t need the rings, have all your money back, but don’t spend it ALL at once.”
I could also bundle in 3 or 6 months worth of jewellery insurance into the sale, to cover off any future worries.
So we’ve covered Market, Message, Media – but that’s not all you need to know…
Know where you’re going
If you don’t know the end destination, there’s little chance of you taking the best route to get there.
Decide on your destination, when you’d like to get there, then map out your route. Once you know where you’re going, it becomes so much easier to work everything else out.
If you’re on your bike, and you’re planning on getting to New York for dinner tomorrow, then you need to change something. It could be the destination, it could be the timescale, maybe it’s the transport, but something’s got to change.
I see many business owners pick up a map, choose a mode of transport without knowing where they are going, and that’s just dangerous.
That way you end up using the wrong marketing to achieve your goals. You could be spending hours at local networking events when in truth you need hundreds of customers – and they could be from anywhere in the world. Or you could be spending a fortune on advertising in a national magazine when you really only need ten or so customers to achieve your goal.
“If you want to bring more customers into your business then take the time to work out how many you really need.”
And the answer isn’t “as many as I can get”.
The truth is that some businesses, with high value items might only need 10 or 12 more; other businesses will need hundreds.
Who’s On Your “Dream Customer” List?
If you have identified your ideal customer; “If you can then create a “Dream List” of customers, you should.
Choose a sensible number, whether it’s 5 or 500, to really focus on and then channel all your efforts on them…
…it’s WAY more effective in terms of time, money and effort.
Spending the time to find out just a little bit more about them than another business would is just smart.
Whatever you’re selling, it’s always going to be an individual reading your sales literature. Always individuals making the decisions, holding the purse strings.
You’re not selling to a ‘business’ – you’re selling to individuals. We all are. And that’s where personality and persistence pay off.
It isn’t all plain sailing from there though.
Even now, when you’ve found your dream list, you’ve identified the message and put together a whole library of marketing material that you can put to work straight away, there is still work to be done:
Over half of your letters or emails or advertising will fail – it has NOTHING to do with the wording, your offer, your media.
Shocked? Probably not.
Always be testing
You always need to be testing your offer. Your price. Your payment plan. The length of your guarantee. Your headline. Your subject line. Your ‘From’ address. Your call to action.
But don’t be too disheartened; of course, 50% is 50%, so it’s worth paying some attention to what you’re sending out too.
This ties straight back into the two pieces of advice I’ve just shared with you.
If you’ve worked out how many customers you really need, and you’re in the sort of business where you’re able to draw up a list of your ‘Dream Customers’, then you’re in a good place already, but what comes next is even more valuable to you, I promise.
How much to spend to get more customers?
Don’t be cheap.
In fact, you should spend as much money as you’re able to. And I will tell you why.
But before I do, you really need to know your numbers before you start spending money on getting customers. You need to know what the value of a customer is to your business, and there are two things that you need to measure:
First is the 30 day value.
The second is LIFETIME value.
Until you know and understand these numbers you can’t start working out how much you’d be prepared to spend on getting a new customer.
Once you know and understand how much a customer is worth to you, then you can start thinking about how much you’d be prepared to pay to get a new one.
As long as you know your numbers, and your numbers are solid, then my advice would be to be prepared to spend as much as you can afford to.
1 – Break through the Noise
How many emails does your prospective customer get in a day? How easy would it be to miss yours?
Or how likely is your prospect to ignore a 3ft box tied up with ribbon, with their name on it?
Every business is trying to get new customers as cheaply as possible, and all that marketing, all those samey sales-letters and quarter-page adverts are too easy to miss or ignore.
Stop doing the easiest thing for you
but START doing the best thing for your potential customer.
Increase your spend and break through the noise to get your business noticed, because most businesses spend as little as they can. Think about it, when did you last receive a gift of any kind or anything out of the ordinary or memorable?
2 – Spend more than your Competitors
If you can spend more than everyone else in your market then you can dominate that market. Makes sense right.
Don’t get me wrong, out-spending doesn’t need huge amounts of money in most cases. It just requires a better understanding of your numbers, your target customers, and what you can afford to spend to acquire a customer based on what they’re worth to you.
Once you know this, and you’ve got a crystal clear picture of WHO you want as your customer, then you can spend ALL your marketing budget on them and before you know it, you’re spending less on marketing than your competitors but it’s all going on the right customers – so you’re outspending them in the only place that matters.
3 – Spend more to get a Better Customer
Cheap customers buy on price.
Cheap customers are typically more demanding.
Cheap customers cause way more hassle and grief than their ‘expensive’ counterparts.
Having less customers who pay you more could be a much better place to be with much higher profits for you AND less work as well.
The magic triangle of Market Message and Media is the critical part of getting more customers for your business, together with having a solid understanding of your numbers.