How much is a new customer worth today?

When you own your own business every customer is important.  Businesses spend thousands of dollars trying to attract customers and hopefully keep them all.  There is an old saying- that says a happy customers tells a friend, but an unhappy customer will tell the world-average 10 people! And the scary thought about that quote, its pre social media.

Depending on your type of business you will need to estimate the short and long term value of each new customer.  You may be surprised, for a small ticket item like coffee, it has a large life time value. Let’s think about how addictive coffee is, how predictable peoples patterns are and you have a formula to capture a life long customers for your coffee shop.  In 2010,  there was a marketing study done by kissmeterics that calculated  that the life time value of a Starbucks customers $14,099!  If you knew each new customer you attract is worth $14,000-would that change how you viewed them or treated them? Something to think about.

How can you estimate this for your business:

Hire a professional marketing  and research company

Search on line for similar businesses and see what information is available to give you a guide

Do you own research: look at your monthly and annual records.  Look for patterns.  What is your average sale? Does that sale change by day of week or seasonally?  By what percentage is your business growing? What marketing channels are you using and what are the results coming in?

Check with town and state Census data to learn on average how many people enter the area each year and leave.  Those estimates will give you an idea of your growth curve or potential attrition each year

Now that you have an idea of what each of those new customers are potentially worth to you, what happens if they are unhappy.

Apps on our phones allow unhappy customers to become instant thought leaders or business crushers.  Yelp, Twitter, SnapChat, Facebook, Instagram and more, allow instant feedback-good or bad.

I don’t want to scare you but it’s important to think about  this- If a customers has an unsatisfactory experience at your business and they have a robust social network, how many people are viewing their comments-100 people, 1000 people, 100,000 people.  Frightening!

For many businesses this is a frustrating thing and something they need to handle.  In many cases, you cant “fix it” but you can respond quickly.

The most important thing when handling an unhappy customer: do you very best to handle the situation in the moment.  If that is not possible, keep a close eye on your social media.  An unhappy customer will try to warn others and most likely will tag you in their posts.  This is your chance to respond promptly and make an attempt to answer the concern.  Reaching out directly with an apology about their unsatisfactory experience, offering a solution to the situation and being open to please them is KEY.  Others who may see their unhappy post will also see that you responded and replied with earnest to rectify things.  That is what matters-a reasonable person understands that things can happen and its how you react afterwords that speaks more about the character and quality of your business. As difficult as it is to hear negative things about your business, it may make you aware of a growing staff problem or faulty product.  That feedback, allows you to take action quickly to make your business stronger and better for tomorrow’s customer.

And as we just learned, tomorrow’s customer is worth a lot more!

 

 

Selling VS Buying

Selling has never had the prestige that  other fields of work have and has somewhat been looked down upon.  Images of used car sales men with bad comb overs in plaid suits are still in movies and television shows to punctuate this stereo type. And ironically, people LOVE to buy.

I like to sell.  I offer a product and service I believe in.  I think everything in life is about selling in some way and if you can figure that out and be good at it,  you will become successful.  You may be thinking, I don’t sell stuff and I definitely can’t be sold- I am a smart, educated customer, I only buy WHAT I WANT.

The key phrase is – THE WANT.  But how do you get  people to want things, by selling yourself, by persuading , by becoming likable and by building trust.  There are many different “sales techniques” but this is about  human behavior and building trust.  Plus  with the customer having more  control by making purchases on their phones and computers  to understand this behavior is KEY.

Let’s look at a couple simple examples that you may not view as selling.

#1 Let’s imagine you are going out to eat  with a large group of friends.  If you really want to eat Mexican food, you will persuade the group to also want Mexican Food. You would highlight the delicious meals you have had there, being sure to mention the favorite dishes that you know the group likes.  Adding in points about specials, atmosphere, parking etc..whatever would be the hot buttons of the individuals in the group. Because you have been there, are knowledgeable and they like and trust you- End result-you will be able to persuade them to your restaurant.

#2 Since it is a presidential political year, I thought I would mention that we are all being sold right now.  Everyone is being exposed to truthful and perhaps not truthful things about candidates and issues, all in the hopes that we will vote their way.

Most things are about selling and the #1 thing that turns selling into buying is TRUST.  The client or consumer needs to believe you are going to do what you say and  take care of them if there is a concern.  And in today’s world of marketing building trust has never been easier.

How to build trust and gain sales:

#1 Tell people who you are, and what you do

#2 Be clear and honest with your message

#3 Use all forms of communication appropriate for your message

#4 Layer traditional  advertising tools like Radio, Television and Newspaper with TRUST building advertising tools like You Tube, Facebook Live, Snap Chat,  Periscope or InstaStories.

BUT WHY DO I NEED BOTH- one is the engine to find new customers and the other builds trust in you and your company.

Examples:

If you own a liquor store, the traditional means of advertising has always been local newspaper.  Unless your liquor store carries specialty products, it is typically a small radius of consumers close to their home and your business. The newspaper allows you to highlight many different brands and PRICE. BIG MONEY MAKING IDEA: Then you can  create a You Tube Channel and show people how to make classic and new cocktails using the featured products from your ad in the video, let them see your passion and personality-THAT BUILDS TRUST and SALES!

If you own a roofing company and you use Val Pak and some local cable as your primary tools for advertising.  Add Periscope or  Facebook live.  Going live is the ultimate trust builder because you can’t “re-do” or fix it.  It’s ALL YOU-100% REAL! So making mistakes and not being perfect is ok, that lets people see the real you.  And at the end of the day that is who they are going to be buying.  What can you do on Periscope or Facebook Live- walk around a home and talk to homeowners about the signs they need to look for to know when it is  time to repair or replace their roof. I am going to bet that most homeowners don’t know what to look for on their roof or home and would find this valuable.  You can always offer to come out to their home for a complimentary inspection or offer  a link to a coupon or “secret word” for a discount for those who watched the Periscope or  Facebook Live. That is a reward for their time and attention and another way for you to gather information and to contact them with follow up offers.

So let’s wrap this up.

Just about everything is selling.

People want to trust who they buy from.

Help them build that trust with you faster and be more successful.

 

Happy Trust Building and Selling!

 

 

 

Sometimes you have to re-pot yourself to grow

I have a small tree in my home that has been struggling  in the last year.  The leaves fall off, it looks spindly no matter what I did.  I gave it more water, less water, more sun, less sun, nothing seemed to make it happy again.  Until recently, it occurred to me that I have never re-potted it.  That lovely little tree has been in the same pot since the day it came home.  I don’t know how many years ago that was, but it was awhile.  And just like that,  I popped it into a new pot with fresh soil.  I could almost hear a little sigh of relief that it would now finally be able to grow again.  I was hindering its growth by keeping it in the same small pot.

Sometimes life is like that, especially personal relationships and business relationships.  We stop growing where we are planted and we need to be re-potted.  I know people that have  been fired from their jobs, or lost a business,  that is an abrupt re-potting. I have experienced both business and personal abrupt re-potting in my own life, so I know what I am talking about.  And trust me, I was one unhappy plant at the time.  But I can say from my own personal experience, from each of those uncomfortable times I grew- I grew in glorious ways.

People are typically adverse to change, they get in a comfy spot and settle in.  In business today that can be deadly. Words in today’s business landscape are: nimble, agile, evolving etc none of which says, “grab a blankie and nestle in”.  Its hard.  How can you look at your business critically and recognize where you need to grow and change. Take a hard look at the things that keep you up at night.

Here are some things to think about:

Could you focus more time on cultivating new clients, if you fired that one that drains you?

If you gave up some control and brought on a partner or investor,  what could you gain?

What growth could you see if you left your first location for a new, bigger, prime location?

What could you out source so you have more time to do ” your thing”?

What do you need to learn or get better at to be more successful?

Sometimes life will change your pot, sometimes we do it for ourselves- when we decide to grow,  we can do it anywhere!

 

Assemble your dream team

Life and business move pretty fast these days, so having the great team is critical.  If you are an owner or manager you have a great gift and responsibility of directing and leading your business.  The greatest leaders are getting information and input from key people in their tribe. But who are those influences….

What I am suggesting is don’t settle for the tribe that is in your geography but to build your dream team.  Who are the best at what you need-ideas, strategy, production, creativity…whatever you need to keep your business moving forward. You know what you are great at- do that. Lots of that. And get people to help do the rest.

I like this quote from Reid Hoffman:

No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you are playing a solo game, you will always lose out to a team.

More ideas, more energy, more influence will make ideas and strategies better.  If nothing else than to trouble shoot the idea on the table. What if you could turn great into incredible by tapping into your team?

Some things to think about:

  • Are you hoping to expand to more locations: do you have a realtor in your tribe to keep an  eye on the market and great locations for you?
  • Are you starting to sell on line and through social media channels like I suggested in my last post?  Who can help with that?
  • Who is keeping you up to date on the latest trends?
  • Do you have someone on your team that is a great trainer and motivator, are they doing the hiring?
  • What business or spiritual books are you reading to inspire your soul?

Throughout my career I have had to assemble my own tribe, people I trust and  have great skills.  We have worked together, we have worked as competitors but they always remain a friend, sounding board and source of wisdom.

I challenge you to think about who is in your tribe, who should be on your dream team and who can help your business grow.

 

Tell Your Story

Our ancestors would pass on information through stories.  Critical historical information was passed on for years.  Why is that important? People remember stories.  When something matters to YOU and it is told in a compelling way-people remember.

 

That is what you need to do with your advertising.

First: What is your story ?Second:  How are you sharing it?

 

Your story is who you are, what you do and what makes it,  and you special/unique. This is the story you want to tell people and have  other tell,  about you.

Long version– can go in a press release, article, the about page on your website, and your mother bragging about your success

Medium version– You Tube,  newspaper, magazine

Small version– TV commercials, radio commercials, Facebook

Flash version– Snap Chat, Instagram, meeting someone at a cocktail party

If you are not sure where to start or what your story is, you can look back in my blogs for the one on USP’s, unique selling propositions. That is a place to start  to help you get clear on your story, then add detail and emotion. No one can tell your story better than you.  Work with your team and fine tune it.  Then share it with the media channels listed above- and tell your story.

When you own your own business you are always telling your story-make it great so others want to tell it too!

 

 

 

Have you seen any Political Ads yet?

I am completely kidding about that title.  Unless you have been on a retreat for the past few months or on a media cleanse ( i love that, that is a thing.  People stop all technology consumption to cleanse) you have seen political ads, and heard political ads.

If you live in New England you have  seen a ton of primary ads, especially on television.  Why is this? New Hampshire is an important primary state,  so we are seeing all candidates trying to win votes for the primary.  These ads are candidate focused, both positive and negative.

Lowest rate 

During the political window of time which is 45 days prior to the primary and 60 days prior to the general election, media outlets must provide the lowest rate on their station to candidates wanting to advertising.  Bottom line, those stations aren’t making as much money on those ads as you may think, but they do ok-not to worry.  

Reasonable access

The Communications Act requires licensees of commercial stations to provide federal candidates with “reasonable access” to a broadcast station. So, stations may not turn away candidates running for federal offices (President, Senate, House of Representatives) and must provide them with some access in all dayparts. Stations may decline to carry ads for local and state races (e.g., city council or county clerk) because candidates for those races have no statutory right to reasonable access. Access for significant non-federal races (e.g., governor) should be considered under the general public interest standard, however. Bottom line, a station can’t deny federal advertising, stations are regulated   by the FCC ( federal communications commission )after all.  But stations can elect not to take smaller races. 

Equal Opportunity

Generally, whenever there is a candidate  on a station, the appearance creates an equal opportunity for the candidate’s opponent to “use” the station for the same amount of time to reach a similarly sized audience.  For example, a candidate’s appearance as a host or an anchor of a news program would be considered a “use” and any legally-qualified opponent of the candidate may assert an equal opportunity right to appear on the station. Bottom line, everything needs to be “even Steven”. 

 

Beyond a natural curiosity about how some of the political advertising works,  why do you care? If you are a small to medium size business owner looking to adverting you need to be careful how you spend your money. Over time, there is some listener and viewer fatigue.  People begin to zone out on the political ads.  You don’t want your valuable message to get lumped into those commercials.

Here are some suggestions on how to smartly spend your money to avoid the Political Landmines.

If you like to use television, you may want to  stay away from local broadcast channels during those windows unless you have a large budget. Instead, try local cable and utilize non news channels.  While all channels on broadcast and cable networks will be targeted-to reach the most amount of households possible, there seems to be an abundance of political marketing on what I would call more “serious channels”, and  channels targeting older voting adults.

Local radio is always a good resource for your marketing dollars.  When trying to avoid the political wave, advertise on music radio stations vs talk or news stations for the same reasons listed above for television.

Depending on your business, perhaps local or regional magazine’s would be a good option during this time of year.  Magazines are typically not a political candidates top choice, the creative can be difficult to change on the fly. However, for your business a fresh glossy photo spread might bring in new customers.

 

To be clear I am not advising you to stop advertising during the political times. I am merely offering some suggestions and things to think about, I want you to feel good about where you are spending your money.  Advertising works, all advertising mediums work, all it takes is the right message reaching the right audience.  I hope this was helpful- don’t forget to vote!

i voted sticker

 

 

How can you promote your business for free?

If you are a new business or a small business,  you are looking for ways to start marketing and promoting your business for free.

Things that may go through your head ” I want to just test the market first before I go big”, ” my trading area is so small it’s going to be referrals” or ” I just spent my life savings getting this off the ground I don’t have much coming in yet”.

Not to fear– you already have the most important and effective advertising medium….YOU! No one is more knowledgeable or passionate about your business than you.

Let’s use what you have and get started.
Here are three things you can do this week to increase the exposure for your business that is free (or almost free).* side note- these ideas will require your time, focus and attention and in some cases,  your product or service.

#1 Social Media 

Is your business properly represented on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Periscope? Do that first.  Social media has become a very powerful tool for communication, referrals and promotion. We will spend more time on each of these and their benefits in upcoming posts.  However, for today make sure you have all the basic business information correctly listed. Name, web address, street address,  current photo’s of staff, merchandise or events.  Social media channels give you an opportunity to build a relationship and have regular communication with people who are interested in your business.  Get on line and start that conversation!

#2 Charity and Community Involvement

This is a great way to support the organizations and groups that are important to you, while gaining exposure for your business.  Offer to provide prizes for a raffle event,  Donate your time at an event, and wear your company gear. If your business has the space, invite them to have an event in your business.  By donating your time and services you are not only doing a good thing for an organization you care about but you are showcasing your business to like minded people AKA- potential new customers.

If the event or organization is large enough,  it might be worth reaching out to local media outlets for a PSA.  A PSA is a public service announcement.  All media outlets are obligated to promote and support community events, sending them a PSA doesn’t guarantee free press or free air time. However, if they have an interest in the event and the space,  you might get free advertising. Below is a basic guideline to writing a PSA, be sure to have all the important pieces of information included but be brief.  Now who gets it? Here is a sample list of titles:  email your PSA  to: Public service director, program director, editor, community relationships manager.

How to Write a PSA Script

  1. Capture the attention of your audience by making the ad relevant to them at the beginning of the announcement. Ask questions or make brief points that will help the audience identify with the cause of your organization or event. For example, “Have you ever known anyone who has been the victim of a drunk driving accident? A friend, a relative, an old high school acquaintance?”
  2. List the essential information listeners or viewers need to know. Think about who should attend or get involved, what it’s about, where it’s happening or where the business is located, when and why. Give directions or a point of reference for an event location. For example, “located next to Wal-Mart on the strip.”
  3. Use emotion to encourage the audience to get involved. Choose words that describe how the audience, or those benefiting from the charitable event, will feel as a result of their participation. For example, “Your decision to quit smoking won’t only leave you feeling free and in control, but your family will benefit from having you in their lives for many more years.”
  4. Call the audience to action. Do you want them to make a monetary contribution, attend an event or volunteer their time? Maybe you want the audience to quit smoking or teach their children to look both ways before crossing the street. Make it clear what you expect the audience to do after listening to your message.
  5. Include contact information, such as a name and phone number, or a website address where people can get more information. Repeat information that’s difficult to remember, such as the phone number or website address.

Read more : http://www.ehow.com/how_4927633_write-psa-script.html

And finally

#3 Networking

You are the most enthusiastic person to talk about your business- go talk to people.  Tell everyone you meet-spread the word.  There are formal organizations you can join like a  BNI group.  These are groups of businesses, usually grouped by geography. They meet regularly to share leads, ideas and support each other.  Some groups do ask for a joining fee, but you will have the opportunity to formally and informally talk about your business on several occasions.

You can find more information on http://www.bni.com/

I wish you luck and success with your business. I hope these tips have given you some good ideas. Get started today to see new customers tomorrow!

If you have any specific questions, you can email me here.  Thanks for stopping by and spending time with me.