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Build It And They Won't Come

Marketing is a game of inches. James Poyser, co-founder of inniAccounts, shares his approach to finding and keeping loyal customers.

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Marketing is a game of inches. James Poyser, co-founder of inniAccounts, shares his approach to finding and keeping loyal customers.

Opinions

Build It And They Won't Come

Marketing is a game of inches. James Poyser, co-founder of inniAccounts, shares his approach to finding and keeping loyal customers.

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Build it and they will come. Quite possibly the worst piece of advice you can receive when you are gearing up for a launch.

I should know. I’m guilty of letting the obsession of launching a technically perfect product overtake me, to the extent that on our very first day of trading I sent myself enquiries through our shiny new website to check it was working.

I continued to do this for weeks. I proved the site worked alright, but also proved no one knew it existed.

A rookie mistake. But now I’m mentoring other entrepreneurs, I see I wasn’t the first to make it and I was by no means the last.

So what advice do I give these aspiring millionaires? It’s actually quite simple but it takes time, effort and an appreciation that marketing is a game of inches.

Inch 1: Perfect customers come from knowledge

To have got as far as launching a product you should know who your customer is. But astonishingly, lots of business get to launch day and are just hoping for a sale. They aren’t really thinking who the right customer is for them.

In the service industry, it’s very easy to get swept away with signing up a customer because you need the revenue and then finding they aren’t a good fit for you. Not profitable, not quite fitting in with the business model you’d prefer to work to, not buying the service you want to sell.

I’m thinking about the customer who wants a few nips and tucks to bring the price down, or a sneaky extra at no extra cost. Resist the temptation to say yes to these potential customers, no matter how much you want the income.

It will skew your projections and only cause you pain in the long run. Believe me it’s easier said than done to ignore people but well worth it.

Finding the perfect customer can be a forensic process, but it makes sense in the long-run

Finding the perfect customer can be a forensic process, but it makes sense in the long-run

However, you can only be decisive and single minded about your customer if you’ve done your research. So do it. Research inside out what your perfect customer looks like. What’s the reason they want you? And why are they good for your business?

There may be several types of customers that are perfect for you. That’s fine. Just make sure you make a conscious decision on which ones they are and above all, those that aren’t worth it.

Inch 2: Perfect sales numbers come from efficient marketing

Once you know what your perfect customer looks like, how will you find them? But most importantly can you do it so that your cost to acquire them is low.

You might have trade shows, ads in industry magazines, ad words, and deals with social media influencers on your hit list. But think about the cost per customer to acquire. If the pay per click comes in at £18 and your product sells for £20 then is there any value in going down that particular route?

Often I tell those I mentor to put aside the money they saved for marketing and define a plan that works on a shoestring. Turning it on its head really focuses the mind and makes for a more profitable business.

Inch 3: Perfect customers value razor sharp experience

And I mean razor sharp. You need to excite your customer and give them the benefit of working with you in spades.

This is where being all things to all men just won’t wash. If you know who you want to sell to you, and you know why those people need you, you can shape an experience that specifically meets their needs. One they are willing to pay for and keeps them loyal.

Inch 4. Perfect segmentation will be your friend for life

Don’t do your customer segmentation only for launch. Do it repeatedly. This will help you keep up with the market and establish if your marketing plan or indeed proposition needs to change.

There are so many ways to achieve this, from Google consumer surveys, to quick survey pop ups you can put on your website, to running face to face sessions with people you think are your prospects.

difference drinks

People have different wants and needs - discover what they are

But no matter which technique you use, do more than just validate your idea, the product and the price. Look for the emotive reasons that drive a purchase.

We’ve found that when we understand this really well for one segment and develop a marketing campaign to target them we also attract people from other segments we’d like to work with.

Inch 5. Perfect words not design

Your marketing spend goes further when you get your message right. Trust me on this one. Those I mentor invest lots of cash on a great website. It looks beautiful, but to save money they then write the words themselves. Words that fall flat.

That’s just shooting yourself in the foot. You’ll have three times more success if you focus on the words rather than the design. Don’t get me wrong, brand is part of the package but what you say will have a huge impact so use a professional copywriter who can help you convey your message brilliantly.

One way I check our message is perfect is to use ad words. I test lots of different options for saying the same thing. The ones that perform well are refined and tested again until we have a golden set of messages that we know will work wherever use them in our marketing.

This informs the copy whether it’s 15 words or 15 lines and time and again we see the return on our investment. Simple approach, big impact.

And that should be the guiding principle of your marketing model – simplicity. If you keep it simple your customers will get you, and you’ll soon be inching ahead of the competition.

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Build It And They Won't Come

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