Today’s marketplace is about building relationships and learning how you can spend your resources wisely so those who are predisposed to buying your products and services step forward. Unfortunately, many companies are still following outdated mass marketing techniques where they approach everyone with their offer with the hopes of landing a few sales. As such, too many businesses spend too much money on marketing because they’re bombarding people with ads and offers—and getting mediocre results at best.
Because consumers feel buried under all the sales information hitting them every day, they don’t trust companies and people who are blatantly trying to sell them something. That’s why if you want to compete and win in today’s business arena, you need to “give it away” in order to attract long-term customers—that is, give away something of value for free.
The focus on “give it away” is on the pre-selling, meaning that you make the prospect predisposed to your product or service. The goal is simply to get prospects familiar with what you have to offer. By doing so the sales will come, although not always right away. Remember that customers willingly spend a lot of money buying from people and companies they know, like, and trust. Since many companies offer similar services or products, the winners will be the companies with the best relationship, credibility, and rapport with the marketplace. Competing on price alone is a road straight to bankruptcy.
Before you decide to give something away, consider the following suggestions so you can use this marketing strategy wisely.
Define your target audience.
To attract new customers, you need to focus on a target market and find new ways to reach them directly. Such an approach will cost you less than traditional marketing, because you’re focusing only on the people who are predisposed to your product or service. Additionally, no company can serve “everyone.” Even large multi-billion dollar companies who market products that are seemingly for everyone (soda, sneakers, snack foods, etc.) have a defined target market. They know and follow the old Pareto principle that states 80 percent of your revenue will come from 20 percent of your customer base. Therefore, you want to focus on that 20 percent and cater to their needs.
Ask yourself, “Who do we want to serve?” You can narrow down your audience many different ways: age, gender, family status, personal or professional interests, previous similar purchases, geographic location, etc. There’s no one correct way to define your target audience. Your job is to analyze what you do and whom you could help the most, and then narrow that audience down to a clearly defined niche.
Identify your target market’s biggest pain.
Once you identify the target market you want to serve, the next step is to figure out this group’s biggest pain or need. What are the concerns of your target audience? What issues keep them up at night? What information or services or products would they pay big money for? If you’re selling business to business, what is the biggest pain of your prospect’s customers?
To uncover this information, you need to think like your potential customers. Get in their shoes. Do what they do on a regular basis. You could also interview them or ask them to participate in a survey. Additionally, talk with your sales department and find out what concerns prospects routinely mention. Take the time to understand your potential customers, what motivates them, and what drives them to make a purchase decision.
Ultimately, prospects are never interested in you. They only care about what you can do for them. When they see that you can meet their needs, they will seek you out and do business with you, without you having to prod them.
Define a product, service, or activity you could give away.
When you decide what to give away, you need to stretch and extend yourself. What can you offer that will be of real value to your target audience? Realize that this does not mean your give-away must be expensive. It simply has to have a high perceived value to your target audience. For example, a CPA could do a free seminar on the new tax law changes and how they affect the target audience. A real estate agent could give home sellers in their target audience a how-to book or report on home staging techniques. A dentist could offer a free teeth whitening procedure to new clients. In each of these examples, the offering has a high perceived value to the customer but is actually low cost for the business to implement.
A few more examples of things you could give away include:
• A webinar
• An informational DVD, report, or e-book
• A complementary product or service that will make things easier for your target audience
• An in-depth consultation
• An assessment
Be aware that whatever you decide to give away must be relevant to the target audience and must address their pain. The worst thing you could do is give a “pretend” offer, such as a seminar or report that is really nothing but a sales pitch, a coupon for free or discounted products/services with lots of fine print restrictions and conditions, or a useless and cheaply made gizmo or gadget (don’t you have enough promotional magnets and key chains already?). Your prospects will immediately see through any tricks or deception and will avoid you as a result.
The goal is to let your prospects experience what you have to offer so you can prove to them that you are worthy of their trust…and their wallet. When you genuinely help your prospects fulfill some need or eliminate some pain, you will build a strong relationship with them that is based on respect and value. By keeping your focus on a customer’s lifetime value rather than the one-time quick sale, you will grow your customer base and be very profitable.
Give Today – Receive Tomorrow
As you go through this process, always remember that your prospects and customer are smart; they don’t want to be fooled. Therefore, don’t burry them in junk mail, bad offers, trick offers, or bad quality. Additionally, your prospects want to make their own decisions, not be chased by desperate salespeople. So if your focus is strictly on the commission or the prospect’s wallet, you won’t get vary far. You need to have a genuine desire to help people solve their problems.
Also keep in mind that your prospects and customers have a circle of influence. Therefore, give them a good reason to bring their friends and family to you. Happy customers will tell others about you, and those referrals can quickly add up and impact your bottom line.
So be the supplier of tomorrow’s customer. Focus on the long-term relationship of mutual trust, and always give more than expected (more service, more content, more value). Doing so will cost a lot less than traditional marketing activities, and it will increase your profitability dramatically.
Ingunn Aursnes is an author, Independent Licensed LifeSuccess Consultant and owner of Quantum Leaps Consulting, LLC. She has a master’s in business and marketing and more than 12 years of experience in large multinational companies like Eastman Kodak Company and Kraft Foods. Her focus is on assisting people and companies to set high goals – and reach them. Contact her for speaking or coaching at (561) 868-1815 or www.quantumleapsconsulting.com.