Last month I attended a No BS Marketing Power Circle meeting with J. Wayne Story, owner of Direct Marketing RX, in Albuquerque.
The meeting was valuable because he laid out effective customer acquisition strategies and also provided an illustration of a better way to think about advertising.
Most small business waste a lot of money trying to get the word out, because they go about it backwards, starting the process by clearly defining who they are, and hoping that by putting an expensive logo onto an ad, the customers will start to line up.
Story illustrated a better way of cultivating customer relationships with his “Prospect Seduction Ladder.”
Step one: Identify the Luke-Warm Who
If you think that “everyone” can use your services or products, you’re in for a rude awakening when you try to attract them.
On the other hand, have you ever read an ad truly speaks to you? It seems to be geared specifically toward you and your problems and concerns? Those are the kind of ads that make you want to buy.
The first step to creating an ad like that for your business, the kind of ad that your ideal customer won’t be able to dismiss, is to identify who your ideal customer is.
Story was smart to point out that these people are still feeling pretty meh about you. Don’t lose heart; you’re only getting started. You need to grab their attention…
Step 2: Interest Hook
You need to give them a reason why to buy from you. And the reason that you choose needs to be their reason… not yours.
The best way to write a good interest hook is to get to know your customers, and figure out what they’re thinking about. Make the connection between their world, and your business.
Step 3: Identify the Ripening Fruit
Offer your customers something that they want.
While you’re at it, give them something that teaches them about who you are.
This free giveaway is basically a piece of free information (for example, if you own an art gallery you can write a report that explains how to protect your work of art). This free information is perfect for people who like to “do their homework” before they buy.
Step 4: Prime the Pump
According to Story (and I firmly agree) the number of names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses a business has in their database is literally the most valuable asset of the business.
During this step you collect that information.
Once you have the contact information, send the people on your list a series of information that will keep them engaged.
Step 5: Light the Fire
Start sending information about your company, like testimonials, proof that your product is as good as you say it is, case studies, etc. Send the kind of information that will lead your customers to the conclusion that they shouldn’t work with anyone else.
Step 6: Make an Offer
Now is the time to get them to take a step. Don’t leave it to the customer to make the decision about how to go about working with you. Make them an offer that “they can’t refuse.”
If you need help, check out Bob Bly’s book, How to Create Irresistible Offers.
Step 7: Raving Fan
Once you get a customer, it’s up to you to wow them so that they come back, bring their friends, buy more, and advertise for you. These raving-fan customers are the most valuable customers you can get.
Step 8: Create Customers for Life
Congratulations! You’ve gotten someone to buy something. Now sell them something else!
Step 9: Trusted Advisor
When people start to see you as the primary provider of what you do, they will naturally start to refer new business to you and buy more. What steps do you have to take to become that person?
Step 10: Ideal Customer
Ideal customers tell their friends and family about the experience of working with you… whether those people need your services or not. They are that excited!
If they are in business as well, and have a list or a database, they might be willing to send something to their customers on your behalf. When that happens, the response rate can be 2, 3 or 4 times as high.
These steps make it possible to transition from a one-sale business, to a business that fully realizes the potential of each existing customer. For more information about J. Wayne Story, check out his book Knock Their Socks Off Markketing.