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Marketing Life Cycle

What is marketing?

According to Wikipedia “The action of selling or promoting an action or business.”

WOW that is very broad! Take a minute and ask yourself these 3 questions

  • In the last 90 days what marketing activities have I engaged in?
  • Out of those activities which efforts yielded the most increase in sales?
  • What marketing will I engage in over the next 90 day period?

I would bet you are not satisfied with your marketing efforts over the last 90 days, and the next 90 days doesn’t look like it is going to get any better.

I have met a lot of business owners who think marketing is all about “how to get new customers.”  Getting new customers is part of your marketing efforts. This is what I am going to talk about in this article.

Let’s answer the question “What is marketing?” in terms that will actually yield more sales, and increased profits.

I like to look at marketing as having 3 main pillars.

  • Interaction with your customer before the sale.
  • Interaction with your customer during the sale.
  • Interaction with your customer after the sale.

Can you see if we look at marketing in this fashion marketing is broken up into creating awareness, educating the customer about the product, and staying in touch to create future sales.  This process is very circular. This process creates a sales funnel with the option to get a past customer back into the sales funnel for future sales.

Let’s look at these categories on an individual basis.

Before the Sale:

This stage of marketing is all about creating awareness. If no one knows your business exists it’s going to be hard to create sales. If you are a home based business, you have more in common with an internet business then you might think. As a home based business you are not visible. The person who needs your product or service is not going to stumble upon your business unless they run into your message.  You are not going to get a chamber of commerce ribbon cutting or a write up in the newspaper. You are truly hidden from the world.

That is what this stage of marketing is all about. How to place your message in front of potential customers in a manner they are going to find it. As an internet business we have the same challenges. It takes a while to build momentum in this area. That is why a lot of home businesses start with friends and family. It allows them to create “traffic” to their business, and practice delivering their message.

Here are some strategies to attract people to your business:

  1. Find where your potential customers spend their time
    1. Associations
    2. Community Groups
    3. Local Businesses
    4. Online Communities
  2. Put your message where your customers are
    1. Advertise where your customers “hangout.” (door to door is a fishing expedition and usually a waste of time)
    2. Use social media (facebook, twitter, linked in, pintrest, and google plus) these are great FREE tools to get your message out. ( I will make a post all about using these tools)
    3. Joint Ventures with Local Businesses or Community Groups
    4. Trade Shows
  3. Give something away that is seen as valuable in exchange for contact information
    1. This creates targeted leads you can contact later to promote or ask for appointments
    2. In the online world the money is in the List, and you can use this same concept for your home business.

Why is it so hard to attract new customers to your business?

People are immune to marketing messages. As consumers we are all bombarded with people trying to sell us stuff, and most peoples first response is no. Our job as business owners is to find a way to get our message through the noise.

Here’s a secret:

Give your best information away for free.

I know you are thinking “YOUR CRAZY!!!”

Well, I am telling you it works. People want you to solve their problems. If you can show them how, they will become your customer. Let’s be real, most people want to save money, but the most precious resource we have is our time. If you can show potential customers how to do what you do, they will become clients just to save time. Even better is if you can give them things they can do on their own that are easy DIY fixes, when the big stuff comes up they will come to you!

Message maters, however if you are not positioning your product or service to your customers in a way that shows them you can solve their problem you are wasting your marketing efforts. People do not care about the features of your product or service. They want to know how it will give them more pleasure, or reduce pain.

Let’s do a little easy math.

100 found your business last month

10% or 10 of those people bought something from you. (sales conversion rate)

If you create a plan to increase awareness and you manage to increase the amount of traffic to your business by 10%, and in your plan you put plans in place to increase your sales conversion rate by 10% let’s see what that will do to your sales.

110 people found your business

11% or 12 people bought something from you

If your base product is $100.00, you would have made an additional $200.00 during the month.

You can see how this formula can scale. The idea is to make a plan for each area of the process. You want to attract more traffic and convert more of that traffic into sales. You also have to remember to measure the process too.

During The Sale:

The next two sections are the most over looked in the marketing sequence. Most people have a grasp on what it takes to get a new customer. When you are in the process of closing the sale, there is a new opportunity to market other products you sell.

Once you know you have a customer who wants to buy your product, it is time to increase the transaction value. There are a couple of ways to do this. You can either up sell the person to a package which costs more, or cross sell that person to have them buy related items.

This sounds so simple, however usually it is the most commonly missed marketing opportunity. Let’s do a little easy math.

You base product/service package costs: $100.00

You have a premium product/service which costs $200.00

You have 2 add on products to compliment your base product/service which are $10 each.

If you have 10 customers purchase your products, and they all buy the base product your will make $100.00.

If you are able to up sell 20% of those customers, and cross sell 50% of those customers your profit will look like this

2 will spend $200.00
5 will spend $120.00
3 will spend $100.00

Total Sales: $1300.00 you made $300.00 by using the 4 magic words “Oh By the Way”

It is also easy to see how this process scales. I think it is even more powerful to see all of the parts work together. Let’s say we use the 10% increase in traffic, a 10% increase in conversion, a 10% increase in up sells, and a 10% increase in cross sells and see what it does to our original $1000.00 in sales.

110 people saw our business
11% or 12 people bought something from our business
22% were upsold and bought a $200.00 product
55% were cross sold and bought $20.00 of complementary product
23% bought the regular $100.00 product.

2.64 at $200 = 528
6.6 at $120 = 792
2.76 at $100 = 276

Total Sales = 1596

I am sorry if the math is confusing. I just want to highlight how powerful it is to create a marketing plan and being very intentional when it comes to selling your product. Sales are exciting, and by working your process they become even more exiting. The potential to increase your sales by more than 50% just by putting a little energy in a few areas is so powerful.

After the Sale

Getting people to find your business is very difficult as I have highlighted above. The worst thing you can do is let your customer get away without a plan for getting them back to your business to buy again.

Here comes the power of delivering value to your customers. In the “before the sale” section we talked about capturing information when we gave away our most valuable information. Well this is the section where we can leverage that information to create future sales.

You just solved a customer’s problem, and he is very happy with his purchase. When he is on a mailer, email list, or text message list he is now able to get information from your business. I caution you here. If all you do is ask for him to buy more stuff you will lose his attention. If you give him more information about other problems you can solve, he might come back to you to solve those problems too.

The sweet spot is to pop back up in a person’s life every so often to remind them you are still out there, and yes you are still delivering value for your customers. Another caution, if you send multiple messages per day to your list, you are probably not going to keep very many people on that list. You have to experiment and see what is the right amount of touches to get people to come back?

I would like to hear from you about your marketing plan. Please leave a comment to give us some ideas on how you approach getting new customers, and what information can you can give away to your customers to add value and solve their problems?

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