Friday, October 27, 2006

"Give it Away, Viral Marketing, Build Your Business"

In my quest to try and help a computer repair technition build sales, we've come up with a very simple solution. Give it away for FREE.


That's right. Give it away. Obviously I'm not talking about the core products or services that pay your bills and are the bread and butter of your company, but if you're looking for new clients, one of the easiest ways to pick up new ones is to give your services away!

In the case of the computer repair technition - his problem was finding new business. He mentioned that once a client became a client of his, if they ever had problems in the future, they usually called him back. In otherwords, he didn't have a problem keeping them - he had a problem getting them to buy in the first place.

Little business card sized coupons were the answer. They read, "Call this number and receive 1 hour of on-site computer repair services for FREE." Next line, "Absolutely no strings attached, Guaranteed." Last line, phone number. On the back - "The name of the person who gave me this card is: ______________"

Viral Marketing - Pass not one, but 4 cards out to everyone you know. Tell them to keep one for themselves and pass the other 3 onto friends. For every "friend" that calls you and mentions the person's name on the back you gave the original 4 cards to - give that original person another free hour as well. They'll be sure to keep passing your cards along to others if their getting something for it.

Now, the computer repair technition charges for any hour past the first, upcharges on parts needed to replace, and will custom quote a job if he needs to take the machine back to his office to repair it. There are still plenty of ways for him to make money, but the marketing efforts here are minimal, and it works on its own, building him a huge database of new clients.

Give it away, have others give it away for you, and build your business quick with just a little sweat equity.

Do you have a situation that needs some marketing advice? Post a comment here, and I'll reply.

Monday, October 23, 2006

"Apply the Age Old 80/20 Rule and Win"

The old rule goes, "80% of your profits come from 20% of your work, while 80% of the work you do, only accounts for 20% of your profits."

If we could find more of those Top 20% Clients, you'd agree I'm sure, that your profits would shoot through the roof - without increasing your workload by a tangible amount.

Furthermore, would it be possible then to do less of the tedious 80% work that doesn't give you much at the end of the day? I think so.

This is the perfect business world - what every business strives to accomplish - a client list of their perfect clients.

How can we accomplish this?

First, it really starts by knowing your perfect client. This is basic marketing stuff, I know you've heard it before, your "target market." But keep in mind, up until this point, your target market has also consisted of the other 80% clients who aren't "perfect." They too need your product or service, and your marketing strategies have been bringing them in. What you really must do is find out what your target TOP market is. How do they differ from the other 80%? Why do you like them better? Why do they like you? Why do they do business with you rather than your competition? Ask them! Find out as much as you can. The more you know about your perfect client, the easier it will be to spot them out in a crowd of 80 percenters.

Then, I say, apply the 80/20 rule to everything you do.

1. Do you give Thank You Gifts? Stop. Give 80/20 Gifts.

Your Top 20% Clients provide you with 4 times as much profit as the other 80%, and they should be thanked as such. Treat them with nicer gifts, and tell them why you appreciate their business 4 times as much. These are the ones you never want to loose.

2. Do you write and use a To Do List? Stop. Start using an 80/20 List.

Write out your to do list tomorrow, and then separate the top 20% most important things in a separate column and do those first. Tackle each day like this and you will get the tougher, more important things done, earlier and easier each day.

3. Do you do a Quarterly Marketing Review? Keep doing it. But now, apply the 80/20 Marketing Budget.

Do your review and focus on what is working. What initiatives are driving the 20% of your clients that you want? Put 80% of your marketing dollars on what is working, give the boot to the other not-so-hot initiatives, and use the other 20% of your funds to try something new and experimental.

These are just a couple off the top of my head examples, as to how you can apply the 80/20 strategy. There are many other facets of your business that would help you to achieve better results with less work. Find them, focus on improving them, and win.

All in all, if you want top results - focus on the activities that generate top results! It sounds simple, but day to day interruptions, and not so important "To Do" things always seem to get in our way. Don't let them, and apply the 80/20 rule to everything you do.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

"The Best Way to Grow Sales"

Most people think the best way to grow sales is to build loyalty from your current customer base. This could help to secure long term cashflows, as well as help to increase the average purchase price per customer over the long term, as they build trust with your company.

Although it is very important to build loyalty with your client base, many companies spend too much on marketing to their current clients, and forget that true growth comes from the number of new clients you have - not from the average purchase price of your current clients.

Once clients become accustomed to your pricing structure, it can be difficult to raise prices. The only way you can raise your price point is to find new customers.

Furthermore, most clients have a need for roughly the same amount of products or services as they did in prior years.

For example: One man who might purchase business cards from a company for his small independent organization might need these new cards every six months.

The company might be able to get him to increase his sales by getting him to order post cards for a direct mail campaign as well. That would bring in a few hundred dollars more over the course of the year, and maybe a couple thousand if he had a big enough organization.

However, if the company were to find a completely new client who had 100 people in their office that needed business cards every six months, sales would be increased by several thousand that year.

The effort expended trying to increase that which your clients are already spending with your company is better spent looking for your next client.

I recently was working at a Fiserv convention and staging (helping with the Audio/Video) and their guest speaker, Doug Hall, founder of Eureka! Ranch - an ideas, marketing and consulting firm - had these statistics:

Out of 9,804 brands, the number of customers each brand had was 2.8 times more important than amount bought per customer.

The best way to grow your sales revenue is to find new customers.

With this in mind, do you spend your marketing dollars where it counts? Make sure you are reaching out to as many new people as you can. Build a giant database of happy clients, continuously add new clients to it, and the volume of their sales will help carry you and your business to the next level.