Ask almost any business owner the primary purpose of their marketing, and their first (and only) answer will usually be “To make sales.” While sales drive the business, marketing drives the sales, right? Simple enough, or is it? If the primary objective of marketing is sales, then who do we sell to? Prospects? If every sale is to a new prospect, we have a mountain that will constantly be the source of new struggles and obstacles every single day.
Ask any direct salesperson and they’ll tell you, a previous customer is always an easier sale. What about previous contacts who have never bought from you before? These l eads are also much easier to sell than cold, new prospects. Why?
Because they already have an affinity for you. Because they feel they already have a relationship with you. Because there is some element of trust in all this, and people are looking for companies and products they can trust. Stay with me.
If all of our marketing is essentially “buy or die,” guess who dies? We do! Every marketing campaign is a monstrous unknown, and we are hoping to get enough numbers to convert to save us. If, on the other hand we focus on our prospects, and on building rapport and relationships with them, we create a bank account we can return to again and again, and every time we go for a withdrawal, we know we’ll tap into new money – from old prospects and customers.
In the campaign I am perhaps best known for, we achieved something fellow marketers have referred to as the “Holy Grail of Marketing.” Conventional wisdom says all leads have a cost… a value. Most businesses don’t have a clue what that cost is (and is dumbfounded when I figure it for them!). You can tell the ones that do: they accept ANY competitor coupons and backend market to their existing database!
Anyway, we developed a national infomercial campaign and fine-tuned it to the point where each lead actually paid for itself. In fact, at $49 per lead, we actually made money and were able to increase our lead generation efforts every week. So much so that when the company was sold, the acquiring company continued to use the same infomercial as their lead generator (today the Cash Flow Generator infomercial is recognized as the longest-running lead generating infomercial in history!). Why is this concept so important?
Because having a serious focus on generating leads, and a backend focus on continual conversions of those leads to cash, is the real key to your success in business. We had a $49 front end lead generator, and many were returned along the way. Nevertheless, we created successful backend campaigns that generated almost $2000 – per lead. Your leads really are your bank. Along the way, dozens of infomercials vying for upfront sales failed, and we kept going, and going, and going.
Let’s use your online marketing as an example. While your site is – or should be – a 24/7/52 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year!) salesperson, it also serves as your customer service, PR, credibility resource, frequent question forum, and numerous other important functions. Essentially you want prospects to come to your site for three basic reasons:
1. To capture their name. This is primary. Without it you have one shot at the sale. I’ll cover this more in the section on Online Marketing. This is your site’s primary function, and if you ever mistakenly assume otherwise, you will stand to lose 60-80% of its value as a marketing tool.
The Internet is the greatest funnel-filler ever devised! We know that most visitors will NOT buy on their first visit… trouble is, most of them won’t ever give us a second chance on their own! Address this issue head on! Dance with them… give them good reasons to return. Then focus on giving them a solid reason to leave their name! This way, you have a second, third, fourth chance… possibly an unlimited number of opportunities to present your message again and again.
Too often, website success is based on sales, today, only. And online sales at that! By over-departmentalizing “the website” we ignore its extraordinary ability to enhance our sales efforts, as well as other benefits to our company.
In one case we increased the sales for one client by 519%, even with a downtime of almost a month and a half during the measured year! It wasn’t the dramatic amount he wanted.
Along the way, we added 3000 new affiliates (which together accounted for 10% of all company sales the first year!) and over 30,000 new catalog requests (doubling their mailing list from 17,600 to 52,369!). However, phone sales from these new leads were considered “catalog” sales, even when customers had come to the website first, and decided to call in their order. (People who went to the site and were sold but didn’t like to put their credit card information online just didn’t count! a significant number of people will never feel safe ordering online). Only sales through the shopping cart counted, and we just didn’t make the cut!
Do you see how lopsided this approach is? The company had numerous benefits from a well-run program, but because of internal bookkeeping preferences, saw it as a loser.
Always keep your eye on capturing names. Names are an ongoing bank of sales.