Marketing Strategy - The Next 2 or the Next 200?
As a business owner, you are given TONS of tips and tricks and advice regarding your marketing strategy. Are you overwhelmed yet?
You should be.
Marketing approaches are varied and diverse and there is no 'one size fits all' strategy for your business. Sad, but true. To help you narrow down your choices, I have a question for you to ponder.
Would you rather focus on finding the next 2 people or the next 200 people with your marketing efforts?
The Next 200
For most of you, I bet your knee-jerk reaction to the above question was to say, "The next 200, of course!" I can't blame you. We all want to achieve success in our businesses, make more money than we spend, and start making an impact in our community and around the world. Behind able to reach the next 200 people sounds like the faster way of accomplishing our aspirations.
Here what a strategy targeting the next 200 people looks like:
In order to reach the next 200 people, you are going to have to become an expert at tracking the numbers and compiling data. Why? In order to reach the largest number of people, you have to develop a marketing strategy that has massive reach. Going out and networking or building a community a person at a time isn't going to accomplish this. There are tons of people out there working the demographics game in order to reach the maximum number of people possible. It will mean teaming up with someone who specializes in this if it doesn't come naturally to you or you don't have experience with marketing data.
Once you have the lists or the demographics, and you've done some testing on whether or not the audience you've gathered is valid, you'll need to put together a targeted marketing strategy and build a sales funnel. Doing the target audience exercise, building the funnel process, developing an email drip campaign, building the landing pages, and putting together the online advertising efforts in a targeted, strategic way is the method for accomplishing results using this strategy.
Back in the good old days of direct mail marketing, the standard thought was that if you got a 3-5% return on your investment and efforts, your campaign was working fairly well. That means if you bought a list of addresses, created a postcard and had it printed, and spent the necessary money on postage, and then sent it to 100 people - having 3 to 5 people buy whatever you were selling was an ideal return. If you got more than that - BONUS! Of course, that also meant having an offer that would cover the costs of putting together the direct mail campaign and still award enough profits to make the effort worth it.
Of course, to reach 200 people you don't know and who don't know you, you're going to have to spend money. Building that campaign is going to cost money and getting people to your sales funnel requires a targeted online advertising strategy. Where you advertise will depend on where your audience is and how much you have to spend. A marketing budget is key to pulling off this method.
In a way, the Next 200 approach is like that direct mail strategy. The point is to Reach as many eyes as possible in hopes that a small percentage of folks convert. This works best for offers or products with high dollar amounts to help you recoup the costs incurred to do the campaign in the first place. If done correctly, this method will cost you more money than it will time and could prove to be fruitful as many small business owners aren't willing (or can't) spend the capital needed to get results - making YOUR campaign stand out and be found.
The Next 2
Did you get overwhelmed with the Next 200 approach? Does that sort of strategy feel impersonal to you? Do data and numbers make you want to do ANYTHING else? Don't worry. You're not alone. AND you have another option that works just as well - only differently.
Instead of going after the next 200 strangers, you could focus on finding the next TWO clients instead. There is value in building and nurturing relationships. If you love going out and meeting people, building collaborative relationships and putting yourself out there within your own community, this is the approach for your small business. Relationship marketing is centered around building relationships and community, retaining current customers, and providing exceptional value.
Customer service and personal attention isn't what it used to be. However, building trust with your audience is how you convert people to clients. Nurturing and maintaining that relationship can lead to bountiful organic returns.
Customer retention is important because it can cost up to 5x more to find a client than to simply keep a current one happy. Client appreciation efforts often bring about a return that can multiply without you needing to spend any money on advertising at all. This method is more of a time investment as you continue to show people that you care about them and want to hear what they have to say.
How does this approach produce results similar to the 200 method? Each person you convert to becoming a happy, satisfied customer is going to recommend you, refer you, and talk about you every opportunity you get. This is the strategy I prefer and I receive several potential clients sent to me each month - even in the slow months. They come to me through satisfied customers. I don't have to invest any time or money into finding them. My marketing budget is currently $0. Therefore, my time is better spent ensuring that my current client base remains happy. I do my best to overdeliver and delight and the rest tends to take care of itself. There could come a time in my business where it makes more sense to switch to the 200 model. Right now, however, this one is working just fine.
The added perk to this approach is that you experience steady growth without overwhelm.
Ask yourself this question: If you were to actually reach the 200 people you want tomorrow - do you have the bandwidth, team, and resources to adequately take on all of that work?
So, 2 or 200?
Which of these approaches resonates more with you, your business and what you are trying to build? There is no right or wrong answer here. For some people, investing in the data and the targeted reach is going to be more successful even if the conversion rate is low. For others, that approach is going to feel like throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping something sticks.
Is it possible to do a mix of both approaches? Of course. This does dilute your efforts but could prove to be beneficial especially if you have the budget to reach the next 200 and the time to reach the next 2. For most small business owners, picking one and pursuing it will have a bigger impact because specializing and focusing on one thing tends to have more dramatic returns than attempting to do a little bit of everything.
If you are a brand new business and have the capital to spend, you may need to try both to see which is a better fit for your business. No capital? It might be more beneficial to jump head first into finding your next two and then decide which method you like better when money starts rolling in.
Before plotting out your marketing and content strategy, pick one of these approaches because it will help you narrow down your options and craft your marketing campaigns more effectively.