How To Boost Your Sales Dramatically Using Dynamic Back-end Strategies

Getting a customer is not easy.

Getting a visitor to decide that he or she wants to buy the product or service you’re offering, getting out their credit card and giving you their hard-earned money is not a piece of cake.

Most visitor’s to your Internet site, 97 – 99% of them if you’re lucky, will not buy your product. They turn away from your site, your offer…and they will probably never return. In other words – if you work hard, if you use the right techniques and if you’re talented maybe you’ll get 1 – 3 % of the people who visit your site to buy. But it’s not easy.

First you need to make sure you actually get enough visitors to your site. And if you use paid advertising, like pay-per-click search engines – this will cost you money. If you plan on getting visitors for free, this will take you time.

You need to make sure that your visitor is persuaded to buy. And if he or she won’t buy the very first time they visit your site, you need to get them to come back again later.

Getting a customer – a “first-time” customer – takes a bit of effort.

But the efforts are worth it. Because once you have that customer, he will be a valuable asset.. Your customer will become your main income source. Why? Because your already existing customers are much more likely to buy from you again and again.

By calling this “customer life-time value”, you’re putting a name to it. And a value. How much will your average customer buy from you over the next 10-15 years? Customer lifetime value. The online businesses that make the most money are the ones that know how to use their existing customer base to maximize profits.

I guess the old saying that you need to take care of your customer, is particularly true on the Internet.

I’ll give you an example.

A guy called John runs a site where he sells a product for $ 100. He gets a small amount of visitors – 100 visitors a day; that’s 3000 visitors a month. He manages to sell to 1% of his visitors, which means he sells for $ 3,000 a month. He gets 30 new customers a month.

After a year he’s earned $ 36,000 from his 360 customers.

His friend Neal runs a site, too. He gets 100 visitors a day and sells a product that costs $ 100 and manages to sell to 1% of his customers. 30 new customers a month; 360 customers a year. What a coincidence, right? Anyway, Neal has got a really nice product. A product people love. He also offers great customer service. Neal’s customers like him very much.

They wouldn’t mind buying from him again.

After his first 12 months online, Neal sends all his 360 customers an email offering a second product. A so-called back-end product.

This doesn’t take him long. After all, it’s just ONE email.

The second product is a little more expensive, it costs $ 300, but it is a product that his customers really need. A product they want. (He knows this because he asked them in a survey what product they would be interested in; what products they really needed.)

Since Neal is a great guy offering great products and excellent customer service, as many 30 % of his customers buy the second product. That’s 108 people.

Now here’s the interesting bit. The second product costs $ 300, which means that Neal has an additional yearly income of $ 32,400!

Look at the figures! Neal has doubled his yearly income just by selling a second product to 30 % of his customers. He hasn’t had to go to great lengths to get new customers, but he’s using his existing customers to double his profits!

John makes $ 30,000 a year, Neal makes $ 62,400.

And the one and only difference is that Neal sends out one extra email!

Neal still only gets 100 visitors a day. He still only gets 1% of them to buy his first product, but he offers them all a second, back-end product. He maximizes the profit potential of his customer base.

Strategies like “back-end offers” and concepts like “lifetime value” shifts the focus from the short sighted “take the money and run” strategy that is so much in use on the internet today. You’ve seen these sites all over. They only focus on getting a massive amount of traffic and then selling visitors an overpriced product that doesn’t deliver what is promised.

Customers feel fooled. Why would they ever want to buy from this salesman again?

The more successful sites focus on building a strong relationship with their customers. And your main goal shouldn’t be to make sure your customers are satisfied…you want them to be extremely satisfied. If you deliver the goods, your customers will trust you more. And if you have their trust, you can sell them anything.

Here are a just few pointers of how you can establish a great relationship with your customers:

1. Delivering a great product

Give your customers exactly what they want. And then some more. One of the best ways to get people to buy from you again and again is to only sell high quality products. If you ever consider selling a crap, overpriced product, ask yourself why you’d want to loose all that future income from your customers.

2. Responding quickly

When you run an online business, you’ll get a lot of email. People will ask you about all kinds of things, and they will expect answers immediately. Set up autoresponders to make sure they get a pre-written email the minute they send you one. Tell them that you’ve gotten their email and that you will read it within the next 24 hours. And make sure you do. When you’ve read it, always reply to them, even if you can’t answer their questions.

3. Taking care of customers after purchase

Too many online businesses forget about their customers once they’ve bought the product. And if they take the time to write to them again, it’s only because they’re trying to push another product. Don’t get me wrong, you want to push that second product, but consider at least pretending that you care about how your customer is doing. Sending an email doesn’t cost a penny. Why not send more emails where you’re not trying to sell them anything. In the long run, this strategy will make you sell more! Ask how they’re getting on with their product, give them tips, give them a free gift, congratulate them on their birthday etc. Care more, and you’ll sell more.

The bottom line? Think long-term. Realize that your existing customers will buy from you again and again if you just let them. Let them.

Rev Up Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

In less than five years, social media has revolutionized not only our communication culture but how we conduct business. The dizzying effect of endless and sometimes unfettered-24-hour access to people and information has transformed the various tools into a game changer.

There is a broad and increasing list of sites, including BlinkList, YouTube, Delicious, Flickr, Tumblr, BlogMarks.net, and the triumvirate of major sites: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. These social destinations have become to business professionals and entrepreneurs what golf is to C-suite powerbrokers – a juncture to strategically network and close deals based on shared interests and personal engagement. But these sites do more by offering users valuable real estate to advertise products or services, create and expand brand recognition, solicit feedback, build relationships, and create community forums. Users also have unprecedented access to consumers, hiring managers, prospective clients, industry experts, and opportunities.

Moreover, social media levels the playing field by allowing anyone access without restrictions on time, location, or social status.

The most diligent and creative players are reaping huge benefits. According to a report from Forrester Research, 55.6 millíon U.S. adults – just shy of one-third of the population – visited social networks at least monthly in 2009, a jump from 18% in 2008. Recent Nielsen research says Americans spend nearly 25% of their time online on social networks and blogs, up from nearly 16% a year ago.

The initial foray into social media can be daunting and bewildering. Newcomers to the space might wonder: Who’s reading? Will I be heard or noticed? Isn’t it all just fun and games? Isn’t it invasive? Making the effort worthwhile requires time, patience, and a work-smart-not-hard strategy. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a corporate professional, the success of marketing your products, businesses, or your personal brand will be determined by how well you engage interest on the varying platforms. In part one of a series on social media strategies, Black Enterprise offers some tips to get you connected.

What Business Owners Should Know

Finding out who your customers are and how they like to be served is essential for the success of any business. Questions and surveys offered on social media platforms can help business owners quickly access that information. Jason Burton, social media strategist and marketing director of Lab 5702, a boutique marketing firm in Kansas City, Missouri, says such data can help you position your product to broader groups outside your initial base of contacts. “Put your product in front of the trendsetters or the next level of users,” he suggests. “Targeted searches let you drill down beneath the surface to find followers and potential influences that can use or promote your product or service.”

Location-based social mapping services such as Foursquare, Google Latitude, Loopt, Facebook Places, and MyTown allow consumers to benefit from their influence. For example, if you visit your favorite flower shop in Tucson and tweet it to your followers, you get $2 off your purchase. The greater the network and influence, the bigger the discount. These services also enable users to find friends and events; share locations, updates, tips, photos, and comments; and share across online social networks and blogs. Loopt has more than 4 million registered users and partnerships with every major U.S. mobile phone carrier and is available on more than 100 smartphones, including the iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android. Google Latitude and Foursquare boast more than 3 million users each. Greater social media interactivity has been facilitated by mobile apps such as ÜberTwitter, MobileLinked IM, and Nimbuzz. According to a Juniper Research report, the number of downloads from mobile application stores is expected to rise from fewer than 2.6 billion per year in 2009 to more than 25 billion in 2015.

What Corporate Professionals Should Know

Carmen Hudson, CEO of Tweetajob in Seattle, oversaw employer branding campaigns when she was senior manager of talent acquisition for Yahoo and has witnessed the shift in recruitment practices. “Companies are cultivating and marketing a brand that attracts and is attractive to certain types of candidates,” she explains. For companies such as Yahoo, Starbucks, Apple, and Microsoft, social media is increasingly at the forefront of that strategy. Recruiters will, for instance, use LinkedIn to create a search stream of attributes to find precisely the type of candidates hiring managers are looking for with minimal time and fuss. Moreover, Hudson adds, “They’re also looking at how many followers you have. Do you have a strong network? If you’re an expert, friends and/or follower numbers are strong indicators of that.”

A Jump Start Social Media survey of hiring managers indicates that 66% go to LinkedIn to find candidates for openings, 23% go to Facebook, and 16% to Twitter. “Job seekers who frequently post and update profiles are nimble and often get to job opportunities first,” Hudson says. “Recruitment officers can execute a well-rounded and more diverse search, through a search stream of attributes because they now can meet candidates where they play,” says Hudson. At the same time, companies can promote the brand and the company message, which gives the job seeker a more informed perspective on the companies as potential employers.

How to Maximize Social Media Marketing to Promote Your Brand or Business

• A blogging platform such as WordPress or Blogspot is essential, advises Warren Laidler, webmaster and creative director of DeLite Multimedia in New York City. Blogs have greater potential for organic leads because their content-rich nature makes them more search engine friendly. Search engines love content-driven platforms and rank them higher than static websites. “Think of your blog as a launch pad or hub for your enterprise. Your social media efforts should lead back to your blog or website, which should be dynamic and informative, providing content and information that encourages visitors not only to return, but to distribute your content to their network.”

• Blogs or websites should contain SEO, or search engine optimized, keywords and phrases that help visitors find the business when they search via Google, Yahoo, Bing, and others. Laidler also suggests pulling in RSS feeds and useful links into your blog. “RSS feeds allow you to import content from outside sources and are a great way to share information that visitors find interesting.”

• Work on engagement and consistency. For example, your Twitter timeline should be a combination of original updates, retweets, or shares from other sources, replies from connections, inspirational quotes, and trending topics. A standard formula is two to four tweets per day. Positive activity can also blossom quickly and create buzz that reaches well beyond a businesses’ core audience. In the virtual world, consumers and job seekers can become influencers and trendsetters by persuading their network to take action or purchase a product or service. Laidler suggests using tools like Klout or Twittergrader.com to measure your social media influence and find out the reach of your Twitter posts.

About The Author
Denise A. Campbell is the Founder and Creative Director of GoldenPen Writing Ink, a multifaceted writing and communication service. This article was originally published at: www.blackenterprise.com/2010/10/15/whats-your-social-media-strategy/