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Selasa, 03 Februari 2009

SMALL BUSINES

Marketing to Your Customer Types by Corte Swearingen
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Many small business owners make the mistake of marketing to everyone with the same product or service. By developing specific products for various customer stages, you will be able to convert more prospects to first-time buyers and more first-time buyers to repeat customers.
Here is a brief look at the various customer types and suggestions on the best way to market to them
SuspectsSuspects are people you think might be interested in one or more of your product/service offerings. A suspect has not established any contact whatsoever with your company. You're goal is to get these suspect customer types to raise their hand and give you permission to market to them.
There is really only a single goal for marketing to suspects - convert them to prospects. The best way to do this is to offer them free information that helps them solve a business problem. If they accept this offer of free information, you have just converted them from a suspect to a prospect. By actively requesting this information, they telling you that they are interested in what you have to offer.
So, whether you have a product or a service, you need to start brainstorming ways you can provide free information to your suspects. In addition, you also need to find an easy way for your suspects to respond. If your suspects have to jump through hoops in order to request your free report, many will simply ignore you.
ProspectsA prospect has made some sort of communication with your company. Maybe they signed up for your newsletter or called your company to ask a question. At this point, they have made some type of inquiry but HAVE NOT made a purchase. Your goal is to get your prospect customer types to make an initial purchase.
Once a suspect becomes a prospect, you will have the confidence to begin marketing your products and services in earnest. The key here to create an introductory offer that has a low enough price point that the prospect feels they have nothing to lose in trying it out. This offer must only be given to prospects and not regular customers because it needs to represent a substantial savings off the normal product/service price. The point here is to provide something of value for a price that is almost too good to pass up.
It is important that your prospects understand that this is a special one/time introductory price so that they may test your product or service with low investment on their part.
First-Time CustomerYour number one goal for first-time customers is to get them to purchase something a second time. With these customer types, the barrier is much lower now that they have made their first purchase commitment but that doesn't mean there isn't work to do. Ask any company the percentage of customers that purchase a single time and never make a second purchase. I guarantee that percentage will be fairly high.
You must find additional ways to provide higher end value to first-time customer types so that they continue to do business with you. You must find a way to create special package or service offers that cater to them. This could include special membership offerings, products and services from strategic partners, or upscale premium services that are not offered to anyone else.
Repeat CustomersOnce a customer makes that leap into multi-buyer territory, the goal is not only to retain their business, but to move them up to more expensive products and services. Repeat customers are your most valuable group.
Once someone has made multiple purchases from you, your job is to entice them with high profitability products and services. This means you need to create a portfolio of product and service offerings that will appeal to these multi-buyer customer types. Here are some suggestions.
1. Add accessories to a product. See if there are ways of adding additional product add-ons or related items. This is a great way to continue adding value after the initial sale.
2. Attach a special service. Many companies find they can make large profits by attaching a service to a product either with the initial sale or afterward. This could take the form of special in-house training programs, maintenance contracts, or even consulting services.
3. Offer bundled packages. See if there is a way for you to bundle products, accessories and services in a fixed-price package. These larger packages can be extremely profitable and you will be marketing them to your multi-buyers. When you come up with a package, make sure to give it a great name and market that name on your website and sales materials.
In summary, you must create low-entry products and services for your suspects and prospects and higher value offerings for your customers. Offering discounts to repeat customers is not the best
As a final word, let me say that if you can find ways of creating additional value for your multi-buyers, you will be able to sell them high ticket items at high margins. You have built up confidence and trust with your repeat customers so there is no reason to offer steep discounts. Sell them your valuable products and services at full price!
If you would like more information on this topic, please visit Marketing to Your Customer Types.
About the Author
Corte Swearingen is the creator of the Integral Marketing System™ and CEO of SmallBiz Marketing Tips. He holds a degree in physics and mathematics from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

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