Marketing to Existing and to New Customers

When we talk about new and old customers we are not referring to their age.

Instead our focus is to point out the reality that there are two distinct populations your small business needs to keep in mind when you create and implement your ongoing marketing plan.

Every business needs new customers to grow and prosper.  But do not forget your existing cutomers. They need to be encouraged to buy more and to buy more often.

Your new customer is the tougher nut to crack. They haven’t had a chance to prove to themselves the quality and efficacy of your products and services. Your job is to find a way to attract their attention and then to persuade them to give you a chance.

For most businesses, it is a basic reality that most of the people in their service area will not be customers. Most probably do not need you product or services and/or find it easier to get the same from someone else. Many are already getting similar goods or services from someone with whom they have an established relationship.

What you need to do is find the handful of souls who are looking for your product or service in your market area. By focusing on your local market area it may be possible to identify a target demographic and reach it with direct mail, or use mass media with a narrowly focused message.

Another approach is to be “Findable,” by making it easy for your prospects to find you when they need your product or service.

This more passive approach has a couple of advantages. One the one hand you are not expending resources marketing to uninterested prospects who happen to live in your market place. More importantly, the people who seek you out have already demonstrated a potential interest in your goods which increases your chances of actually converting them into sales.

A nice display ad in the Yellow Pages used to do wonders in helping people find your business, but far fewer people use these today. In today’s world the role of the yellow pages has been taken over by the computer search.

The second category is your existing customers, your “old” customers. You have already gotten them in the door before and gotten them to buy. Since they have at least some relationship with you, it is much easier to get them to buy again. The stonger the past relationship, the more likely they will repeat the process and buy again.

The bottom line here is that it is important to your long term business success to conciously build a strong positive relationship with each of your customers. Doing so requires a lot more than a smile and thank you for shopping sign on the exit door. Although these are good starts.

You want to help them get to know you. If they start to care about you and your business you are ahead of the game. And it is not that hard to do. This approach is called permission based marketing, because you need to get their permission to begin and continue.

To get this going you need to ask them permission to put them on your list for email, texting or your newsletter. Typically you offer them an ethical bribe in the form of a freebie or a great coupon, useful information, or a membership of some sort. The easiest way to get them to sign up may be to include a message on the bottom of the cash register receipt you give to customers when they buy from you, as well as an opt-in form on your web site.

Reward them for signing up to your list by keeping in touch regularly but not too often. Treat them with respect and make it worth their while to be a member of your list.

You want to contact them often enough so they don’t forget you. That may be once a week or once every two weeks for most businesses.

You want to make sure these messages are relevant to them. If you are a dentist a message about teeth whitening is appropriate, but probably not one about neck ties.

That said, don’t be bashful about sharing personal events, business highlights and similar insider information about your business. Your customers will appreciate local community news and events. This is especially worthwhile if your business is helping in some way, even if it is just promoting them though the email or texts.

Finally, the messages you send should be useful. Make their memberhip on the list worthwhile by giving them occasional specials that only list members recieve. so they can really benefit from being on your list. The cell phone is going to become a larger and larger feature in the future. And texting with it. Imaging if you are a restaurant sending a text on a slow Tuesday offering, $5 off on a favorite entry to your text list if they get there by 7PM or whatever. Everyone likes special deals, and if you can offer them at least occasionally, you will have a happy list and in the process build a positive realtionship that will result in many more sales.

Marketing a business is a dual process. You need to address two different audiences. Your existing customers and those who have never bought before. Both are critical to the long term health of your business.

[tags]permission based marketing, permission marketing, email marketing, text marketing,  small business marketing[/tags]

Getting Mobile Ready

Change is coming every more rapidly to internet marketing. At first we rushed out to put up web sites, thinking customers would be rushing to find us. We quickly learned that a web site by itself was not the end all and be all.

We leaned to redesign it so that it was optimized. After that we discovered why we needed to pay attention to what our customers thought our business was and focus on the keywords they used to find us.

Even then we learned as time went on that we had to do more. We needed to create back links from other web sites to help build the authority of our sites. And recently we can’t help but notice that video is playing a larger and larger role online. And today, all of that remains the case.
The dirty secret is that while we may do all of the above, so too does our competitors. To stay ahead we need to be constantly on the look-out for the next big change that is coming down the pike. A lot is going to change as a result of the dramatic new change in the coming months.

For most businesses, just keeping up with the day to day business of running a business is time consuming enough. Most of us are hard put to stay on top of this constant wash of online changes. Too many of us have already been left behind or on page 22 of Google results where no one can find us. Planning for the future is problematic when you haven’t caught up with the current state of affairs. This is why the SEO or Search Engine Optimization consulting industry emerged in the past decade.

These constant changes are not just hard on small businesses. Many of the majors, like microsoft, AOL, Netscape, Yahoo and many others have stubbed their toes. New players are emerging and new trends. The cell phone is making some significant inroads. Cell phones? I thought we were talking the internet and computers.

The trend has been underway for some time already, but increasingly in the next few years there will be a massive turnover in how people access and use the internet and that change is the smart phone in its many and future guises.

Today over half of all log ins to Facebook are done from cell phones. And this trend will continue. Now there are three things most people make sure they have with them when they leave home: Their cell phones, their wallets and their car keys. Soon their phone will do all three and more.

Within a couple of years, for many people, their cell phone will do all three. The desk top computer will be playing a smaller and smaller role. Instead of it, your customers will be using their phones to find barbers, restaurants and hardware stores.

Among other things, this change will require businesses and other web site owners to rethink how our sites look. The canvas is about to shrink. What once filled a wide screen monitor will now need to be squeezed into a diminuative phone screen.

We don’t want to have to reintroduce scroll bars to see our sites. It means we need to create mobile ready web sites in addition to those we already have.

The coming 18 months to three years will mark a significant transformation. Those who are early adaptors will gain a significant temporary advantage. Whether we like it or not, this change is coming. Either we will lead the way, or our competitors will.

[tags]internet marketing,internet marketing consultant,cell phones,marketing,small business marketing[/tags]

How Much Is A Top Google Listing Worth?

I bet you have taken the time to search for your businesses web site on Google just to see where it ranked. When you searched for it by name using your url or most of the words of your domain name it probably did pretty well. However if you are a bakery, and search for “Bakeries”, the odds are that you are in the nether regions of the 13,900,000 listings.

A lot of small business people have given up on their websites as a result of this apparent invisibility. The gallop to the internet was all the rage before and after the dot com bust. However, for most small businesses, it has had little if any positive effects for their business.

The alternative that was easiest to figure out was to buy pay per click ads. They cost money, but at least they had an active prospect on the other end – usually. When some one did click on the ads, they were shown your offer and either did or didn’t buy.

At first a lot of keywords were real cheap, as little as a dime or less. Some still do, but many clicks these days run from $2-5 each and some go well beyond that into the $20 -$50 each and even much higher. You really need to know what you are doing to spend that type of money. And yet it can be well worth it.

Initially the pay per click ads were on the right side of the “organic” listings. The term organic listings refers to the free information that Google would find relevant to a searchers keywords. These free organic listings are the target we are shooting for when we try to get a top Google listing. Eventually, Google added some ads on the top of the left side as well, but we are still referring to the top organic listings.

When thinking about the value of this top organic spot, we can compare the value by looking at the equivalent cost of the top ads for the same search term.

It would cost $25 for 100 clicks to the advertiser. And this would be the equivalent value for 100 clicks on any of the organic searches.

Thus if a business were to get their organic site listed so that it got a hundred clicks a day, that listing would be worth the equivalent of $25 a day to them.

Now multiply this out for higher pay per click rates of say $2-5 each or much higher. Some keywords get a lot of searches every day, and this could multiply the value. The term “dog training” for example gets over a half million searches every month in the US alone. Dog training is a competitive word that would cost you $2.44 on average if you wanted to get the maximum pay per click volume for it. According to Google’s Traffic Estimator, if you were the top advertiser, you would expect to get 358 people clicking on your add every day, costing you $895.28. [Note that estimate of 358 people is 2% of the daily traffic.] (550,000 / 30 / 358) = 2%]

On the surface this would seem to indicate that have a top organic listing for Dog Training on Google would be worth almost $900 a day, assuming that the top listing got the same number of clicks as did the top ad.

It does not.

It probably gets a lot more.

Some time ago, as many as a fourth of all visitors would click on one on the ads on they typical results page. Recently, that number is closer to 18%

Industry experts suggest that a whopping 43% of people will click on the top organic result. This is significant.

It is even more significant when we understand that the percentage of people clicking on ads means those clicking on any of the ads.

Thus the top organic search result is getting between 8 and 22 times as many clicks as the top pay per click ad!

Calculating the results for our Dog Training example where the pay per click ad was worth about $900 a day, our top ranked listing should be worth roughly anywhere from 7 to 20 thousand dollars!

And that is why, getting to the top of Google’s Organic search is so valuable. As a result a whole new consulting industry has emerged to deal with this potential for value creation. Getting a listing to the top of the search engines is a worthy goal.

There are some additional caveats that need to be taken into account, but the central thrust of the above still holds true. People who choose the ads may for example be more actively looking to make a purchase compared to those who click the organic results who may be more interested in getting information.

Being the top organic listing may be meaningless, if the page people are taken to does not result in a desired action, etc.

That said, it should be obvious that getting a top organic search result is worthwhile.

[tags]Google, google Ranking, Organic Search value, top organic search, SEO, SEO Value, Why do SEO, Search Engine Optimization, pay per click[/tags]

What’s A New Customer Worth To You?

If you are thinking about the marketing plan for your business, one of the key things to think about is the long term value of your average new customer. Finding new customers is one of the primary functions of your marketing plan, but not the only. What is a new customer worth?

The profit you make from their first purchase may be negligible compared to the value of all the future purchases they may make. If a barber had a new customer who came in once, teh value would be that one haircut. If that person came in once a month, the annual worth of that customer would be tweve times as much.

If they get their hair cut every two weeks, they are worth twice as much. If they stay with you for five years on average, because most people in your market area move every five years, you can multiply that total by five to get your lifetime value.

Now not everyone will keep coming back forever.  Thus you need to temper your estimates of life time value with a realistic understanding of your own past performance.  Recognizing that people will leave is a critical reason to make sure you are constantly marketing to attact new customers. We will talk about this in another post.

If your product cost more than a haircut, that value is correspondingly greater. If your customer buys only once or twice a year or once or twice a lifetime, it could be lower.

Now there are several reasons to evaluate this concept of life time value. First, it can help you justify the money you spend on your marketing efforts.
It also is useful to stimulate your thinking about how you might be able to increase their lifetime value. For example, what can you do to extend their lifetime? Can you develop a personal relationship so they still come back for their haircut even after they move to new suburb in your metro area? Building loyalty by way of building a strong relationship is one way of extending the life time value.

If you can find ways to get people to spread the word, through positive reviews, outright referrals or just positve word of mouth, you have added to their value. Any new business they send is worth at least as much as you now have to pay to recruit a new customer. And probably more, as the new customer is already warmed up to you.

There is also the upsell. After a while our barber may increase the periodic sales value by adding a shave to the visit.  You may design your business around offering an entry value or deal and then move customers to higher level or services as they build trust and familiarity.

Getting a new customer in the door is the hard part. Once you have them, assuming you treat them well, it is easier to get them to make their second and subsequent purchases.

When considering your marketing campaign you want to focus on both. As you put together your long term business and marketing plans be sure to keep the idea of each customers lifetime value to your business front and center.

[tags] Lifetime value,marketing tips,new customers,life time value,customer worth,marketing plan,marketing[/tags]

Mass Money Makers Hits Top of Clickbank Gravity

Today Matt Bacak and Adam Sultanic announced that they had set a new record on Click Bank for Gravity.  Gravity is an often misunderstood internal indicator that I have heard explained in multiple different ways, but is essentially a measure of how many affiliates are making money with a product in the past time period. A high gravity suggests a high level of active market success.

They have done a superb job of lining up tons of top marketers and middling ones like myself to promote their launch. I, for example, got about 10 snail mail communications from them in addition to multiple online pitches.

One attractive part of the deal, is the low price just $37 (although that will rise to $47 tomorrow). Low price means a lot more people will take advantage of the offer which means more sales.

Another attractive part is that both Matt and Adam are in the trenches marketers.  They actually do this stuff themselves and do it very well. They are speaking from strength and practical knowledge. What sometimes hurts “in the know” people though is that they sometimes forget that they learned a lot of things step by step, and will on occassion assume people know stuff they don’t.

That is the strong point of the Mass Money Maker product, and surprisingly one of the points that rubbed me wrong.  They do an excellent job of explaining the basics, in detail. First in theory and then by showing a step by step process to do what they are teaching. As an experienced marketer myself, I found it frustratingly detailed.  Their first video is an hour long and didn’t teach me anything new. But if you are newer to the process, it may well give you an essential theoretical underpinning. So while I was bored, you may well have found it critical. They then follow with a two hour phase 2 video which also is largely theory. But the time it was done I was chomping at the bit to get going.

Finally, they though they got into some meat. Now again I picked up most of this already in the past from Adam via his Niche Profits Classroom program he does with Adam Short. But it does belong here and is critical element to understanding how to target keywords that you can rank for on Google. And that tidbit is well worth the price of the course by itself.

Now another thing, I didn’t like was their use of Market Samurai in their video. They have created a new software designed to perform all the tasks they describe in the program, and include it as part of the program, but as it wasn’t fully ready when they recorded the video portion they use Market Samurai as an alternative. Now I bought and use market samurai myself, and highly recommend it, I thought it would have made sense to do the videos with their software. It’s clear they had a scheduling problem and this was their solution.

While it may seem as though I am griping a bit about the product, the truth is that they have done a good job of creating a set of resources and a how to set of videos that can take a newbie to intermediate marketer through all the steps needed to become an effective affiliate marketer.  Way too many people, myself included start out wrong. Some of us are pig headed and refuse to give up and eventually learn how to do it. Most people just give up. Those who grab this course and software and pay attention to the theory that I hated, and take action following their tips will do well, very well in fact.

Now they do push their favorite hosting service and autoresponder. In my opinion, you don’t need to use their recommended services, I don’t but that said, the ones they recommend are fine. You gotta use someone. Beyond these basics that everyone needs and has to pay for, most of what they recommend are free services, and that is another strength of what they teach.

Most people looking to make money online are doing so because they currently need more money, not more ways of spending money.  The approach they teach is certainly one of the most economical approaches an their asking price for this training and software is a true bargain.

I’d appreciate it if you would use my link for Mass Money Makers

[tags]mass money makers, market samurai, clickbank, affiliate marketing, Matt Bacak, Adam Sultanic[/tags]