Brand New From Harvey & King Inc.
What EVERY Small Business Owner Ought To Know About Marketing”
How to SIMPLIFY and FOCUS your marketing so you can INCREASE sales, DECREASE costs and spend MORE time with your friends and family.
Joe Puskar MBA
Harvey & King Inc.
From the desk of Joe Puskar
Back in graduate school in Philadelphia, I got involved with a project to help small business owners get better results from their marketing dollars.
After a year of interviewing local business owners, learning their goals and then dissecting their marketing strategies, I realized that most of them had a very serious problem...they had NO strategy at all.
Even though they had very successful businesses, most were committing what Dan Kennedy calls “random acts of marketing”... cobbling together a bunch of arbitrary tactics without any cohesive strategy, always focusing on short-term sales rather than long-term growth.
Some months they were running magazine and newspaper ads. Some months radio. Some had a few YouTube videos. Some were even paying social media “consultants” to post pictures of cats in sombreros in a desperate attempt at viral web traffic.
Now, deep down they knew they had a problem but they were just so busy running the day to day operations and putting out fires that there was never enough time and energy leftover for strategy.
As a result, most of these business owners were working WAY too hard for WAY too little in return. And the amount of money they were putting at risk—with very little to show for it—was downright scary.
The reality is that unless you have the time to devote to mastering strategic marketing, at best, you’ll settle for subpar returns, at worst, you’ll be driven out of business.
I realized then that what most small business owners needed wasn’t more marketing tactics for their “to do” list or more agencies “doing their marketing”. What they actually needed was LESS marketing. It just needed to be much more strategic and focused.
So, I set out to find a highly leveraged marketing system that got BETTER results with LESS effort, LESS cost and LESS risk.
And then I noticed something that changed the way I looked at small business marketing.
What I noticed was that many small business owners are essentially selling to the same people. That is, they share a common customer.
At the time, I was working closely with a Jewelry Store and a Medical Spa.
The major purchaser (or driver of purchases) for the jewelry store were women, ages 30 – 60 who had a household income greater than $75,000. The exact same customer as the spa owner.
So, I made a list of different types of businesses who sold to that exact type of person: jewelry stores, spas, salons, boutiques, housekeepers, landscapers, home builders, pool builders, boat dealers, restaurants, yoga businesses, Pilates and other fitness related companies, dentists, Lasik eye surgeons, etc. The list is endless.
All of those businesses share a common customer. Then it hit me.
We didn’t NEED to dump money into more “me too” marketing and we certainly didn’t NEED to pay for the untested and speculative advertising that is typically pushed on small business owners.
We didn’t need to do any of those things because someone else had already done the hard work for us.
All we had to do was be a little more strategic and think like an entrepreneur.
In our case, the owner of the medical spa had already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising and invested years building trust and relationships with her clients and patients.
Instead of wasting time, effort and money advertising to the exact same people, why not put a deal together with her and make an exclusive offer directly to her clients and patients?
Lead-generation is one of the most expensive activities any business owner engages in. But, it costs NOTHING when you sell directly to the customers of another great business.
This allows us to target ONLY our exact, IDEAL customers. Why pay good money to advertise to everyone? Why sell to $100 buyers when we could sell directly to $1000 (or $10,000) buyers?
Why spend months building trust and credibility in the marketplace when—thanks to our affiliation with our partners—all the trust and goodwill that they spent years building transferred directly over to us?
The problem is that most small business owners fail to recognize how incredibly valuable their relationships with their customers really are. They fail to realize that a business with a customer list is much more than just a company.
It’s really the PERFECT distribution system for all sorts of other complementary products and services that our customers need and want.
It’s our duty as business owners to solve as many of our clients’ and customers’ problems as possible. But it’s simply not cost effective to produce every possible product or service they might want and need.
But, the good news is by collaborating with other great businesses through simple joint ventures and strategic alliances...we don’t have to produce them.
We just need to be smart enough and open-minded enough to see the logical connections. Then we can leverage each others’ strengths so we can all grow faster, safer and cheaper than we could on our own.
So with that, let me walk through three ways that small businesses can increase sales and profits WITHOUT spending a dime on advertising and WITHOUT increasing costs and overhead.
How To Effortlessly Increase Sales and Profits Without Increasing Ad Costs.
One of the most common ways to collaborate with other businesses is called an endorsed mailing.
This is where a company with a customer list, called the HOST, allows another company, the BENEFICIARY, to make an offer directly to its customers.
Let’s take the jewelry store and the spa from earlier. Here’s how it would work...
The owner of the spa (the host) mails a letter to her clients. The letter introduces the jewelry store (the beneficiary) and makes a special offer for her clients only.
This could be a special VIP discount or exclusive access to a new collection.
The agreement is usually that the beneficiary, the jeweler in this case, would share half the gross profits of any sales made from the endorsement back with the spa owner.
This payout arrangement is not written in stone. You should structure the deal any way that makes sense to both parties. Sometimes it may make more sense to make a smaller profit — or no profit at all— on that first transaction if you know you’ll be generating a lot of residual sales.
This is a power move that a lot of SMART business owners use. Give up ALL the profits to your partners on the front end. Then make a killing on the backend.
You partners will be hyper-motivated to build your business for you. Use your joint ventures (and all your marketing) to build your customer list. This is your distribution system. You can them run any offer you choose through this distribution system (including other business's offers. More on this in a minute).
“Never try to make all the money that’s in a deal. Let the other fellow make some money too, because if you have a reputation for always making all the money, you won’t have many deals.” — J. Paul Getty
Now, depending on the strength of the relationship that the host has with his or her clients and the strength and relevance of the offer, you’ll see anywhere between a 10% to 30% response to that offer.
If the spa owner has 4000 people in her database and you get just a 10% response rate, the jeweler would make 400 additional sales.
If the average transaction is just $500, then this simple promotion would generate over $200,000 in extra sales for the jeweler in less than 30 days...with NO advertising costs.
But, more importantly, he would increase his customer list by 400 of his IDEAL customers.
He can now resell to these people over and over again for no more than the cost of a stamp.
The key is to focus on the Lifetime or Residual Value of each customer. Some of those 400 new customers will become customers for life.
Imagine, if only 10 % of those new customers come back each year and spend an average of just $1000, that jeweler will have acquired an asset that produces $40,000 per year — for life — with NO out-of-pocket investment.
And if you understand backend marketing, those numbers will be MUCH higher.
What businesses are already selling to the exact type of people you want to sell to?
Could you put a deal together with them so they refer their best customers over to you?
How To Generate Profits From Past Customers — Even If They Never Buy From You Again.
Now, Let’s take a look at the host.
The jeweler made $200,00 in sales. At a 50% margin, gross profits are $100,000. If he shares 50% of the gross profits with the spa owner, she would net just under $50,000 for allowing the jeweler to make his promotion to her customers.
And remember, this is all pure profit. She doesn’t have any fulfillment costs and wouldn’t have to perform a single service to earn that money—and her clients will love her for going the extra mile to take care of them. Very few local businesses EVER go this far to take care of their customers.
And she could do similar promotions multiple times per year. If she did just ONE per quarter, she would earn, $50,000 x 4 = $200,000 of extra profits...without increasing her costs or workload or over-taxing her staff and infrastructure.
She could now take all that money and reinvest it back into more marketing to build her primary business.
What other products and services are your clients and customers interested in?
Could you put a deal together with the owner to make those things available to your clients?
KEY COMPONENT TO DEAL-MAKING
Before we go any further, here’s a key component to consider, not just in your joint venture deals, but in ALL marketing that you do.
It’s important to consider the incremental customer.
If your business is currently profitable, that means that your fixed costs are covered by your current customers.
So, when your partner sends you a new buyer, your fixed costs don’t change... they’re fixed, of course.
Your lights are already on, your rent is paid, your staff is already working(unless they’re commission based, of course).
The only costs you’ll incur is the hard cost of providing your product or service and maybe sales commissions.
Every dollar you earn is above and beyond your break-even.
So you can actually afford to compensate your partners generously or spend more on advertising to acquire new buyers.
Get Your Customers To Come Back More Often (and Spend MORE Money When They Do)
There is no more highly-targeted and valuable pool of prospective buyers out there than your own customer list.
Unfortunately, most business owners focus almost exclusively on new customers and completely ignore their past customers.
This is a big (and costly) mistake.
Why spend good money marketing to everyone in your community when only a small fraction of those people will ever buy from you?
You’ve already got a whole list of people who have already PROVEN their willingness and ability to buy EXACTLY what you’re selling.
The most expensive part of making a sale is getting your prospective customers over the trust barrier.
You’ve already done that. You’ve already made the investment.
It costs you the same upfront, fixed expense whether they buy from you once and never return, once every six months, every three months or every single month.
Making offers to your past buyers is one of the fastest, cheapest and safest ways to create an immediate surge in sales.
Let’s take the spa owner for example. She could mail a letter, using proven and tested sales copy (not postcards) to make a special offer to her clients.
Instead of always offering massive discounts to get people to buy, which only cut into your profits, why not let an upscale restaurant piggy-back on your promotion?
After all, they’re paying good money to advertise to the exact same people that are on your customer list.
Get them to provide $100 gift certificates to anyone who takes you up on your offer. Any person who buys your $250 spa package would get a free bonus gift worth $100. We call this an “ethical bribe”...and it works!
(This 'Gift-With-Purchase' strategy is what built Estee Lauder into a multi-billion-dollar business. Hard to argue with that.)
Now, this is a great deal for you because it allows you to increase value with bonuses rather than decreasing cost by discounting.
And it separates you from your competitors who are offering the same old bland offers every single month.
It’s also great for the restaurant because not only do they get direct access to a concentrated pool of high quality, pre-qualified buyers but they can do it without having to spend a single dime upfront on advertising. I call this “Customer-Funded Advertising”.
Why pay for your own ads when your customers can pay your marketing costs for you?
So, if their average ticket for two is around $200 and with food costs at about 30%, the gift certificate will only cost them $30 out-of-pocket (30% of the 100 dollar certificate value). But, they’ll more than make up for it from the additional profit from the meal.
And not only will they gain a new customer with no out-of-pocket expenses, many of the people who came in with their gift certificates will bring other people with them.
What businesses in your community would love to provide bonuses to your customers and piggy-back on your newfound marketing genius?
How To Capitalize On Overlooked Distribution Systems
The last example I want to share with you involves capitalizing on overlooked distribution systems.
Around Valentine’s Day, a large flower shop may make hundreds of sales. Think about that. That’s a fantastic distribution channel for complementary products and services.
So, let’s go back to our spa owner. She could create a special spa package just for the florist’s customers. Every time someone comes in to buy flowers for Valentine’s Day, the florist would also offer them their “Special Valentine’s Day Spa Package” as an upsell.
This gives him a greater opportunity to sell and makes him more of a one-stop-shop for his customers.
In exchange for making the sale for the spa owner, the florist keeps, say, 35% of the sales he makes. (Always be as generous as possible. Remember, your partner is building your business FOR you, with his time and his money.)
If 20% to 30% of the people who came in to buy flowers bought this upsell (as a man, I know I would. I hate driving all over town looking for gifts) then this simple joint promotion would generate over 200 sales for the spa owner. And these are PROVEN buyers, not a bunch of discount-hunters on Groupon.
If the spa package was priced at say, $150, then this simple joint venture would result in an increase in profits for the florist of 200 x $150 = 30,000 x 35% = $10,500. And the best part is: he wouldn’t have any fulfillment costs.
All he had to do was sell Valentine’s Day gifts to people who were already looking for Valentine’s Day gifts.
And he’ll get all the goodwill that comes from anticipating his customers’ needs and providing value that no other flower shop was offering.
The spa owner, on the other hand, gets to piggy-back on all the advertising and promotion the florist does for Valentine’s day.
But, most importantly, she’ll add high-quality buyers to her customer list without risking a penny on traditional advertising — and without damaging her positioning in the marketplace by slashing prices on daily deal sites like Groupon and Living Social.
She can then make her own promotions to those people for no more than the cost of a stamp or the time it takes to write an email.
And all she had to do was give up 35% on the front-end and she can monetize those customers over and over again for years to come. Amazing.
Change Your Perspective.
These three case studies are just a fraction of how “collaborative marketing” can save your business both time, money and a lot of frustration. The opportunities are endless, limited only by your own imagination and your ability to communicate the value of the deal to your potential partners.
If you’re willing to open your mind to a new perspective, you’ll see it’s SO much easier to build a business strategically by leveraging already existing assets and resources rather than spending money and taking risks.
Want More Customers?
You don’t need to waste your time and money on untested, speculative ads. Someone else has already done that work for you. Simply put a deal together with them.
Do it right and they’ll very happily hand their best customers over to you. Be generous. Give up the lion’s share of the profits on the front-end. The real money comes on the back-end from residual sales.
You’ll build a massive customer base without ever having to go into your pocket for advertising.
Want to Stimulate More Repeat Sales?
You don’t have to slash your prices or slog it out in the daily deal market. Instead, make your business unique and increase the value of your offer by using other business’s products and services as bonuses. Keep selling to your existing customer list.
Want to Generate Additional Profits Without Increasing Your Overhead?
Let other great businesses piggy-back on your marketing and the relationships you’ve built with your customers. Negotiate exclusive offers or special pricing available only to your customers.
You’ll create a brand new income stream and look like a hero to your clients in the process. And many businesses have found that they end up making more profit from their “back-end” joint ventures than they do in their primary businesses.
I guarantee NONE of your competitors will be doing anything like this.
Ok. Now that you've gotten a little taste of the power of joint ventures, you've got a few choices:
1. Go back to Facebook and ignore me for life. That's ok. I'm an introvert so I prefer being alone. But, it's gonna cost you a king's ransom in lost opportunites.
2. Put the decision off until later and wait for me to 'retarget' you with more Facebook ads. Not the worst thing but, again, how many dollars are being flushed down the potty while you wait? (I have two little kids so we call it a 'potty'.)
3. Or, you could check THIS out...