How many customers do you need?
The Super Bowl is arguably the years biggest marketing event. Businesses may spend about 7 million dollars for 30 seconds of time to reach an estimated 208 million viewers. That sounds like a bargain!
Honestly though...how many customers do you need?
It's a real question that many business owners don't ask before they begin a marketing program. Instead they ask "How many can I get?". Then they spend a ton of money trying to reach a ton of customers that they couldn't serve well if they did.
When your marketing is focused on "how many", you will engage marketing tools that reach the masses. You think about how many viewers, total impressions, which social media platform has more people, mass messaging, neighborhood mailing lists, etc. Then, you create messaging that tries to speak to everyone.
Talking to everyone doesn't work, and it's not what you need.
When you ask "How many do I need?", instead of "How many can I get?", you can tailor your messaging and delivery methods in a way that makes more sense, costs less money and brings better return on your investment.
Here's three ways to determine what you need, and how to get exactly that:
1). Get realistic about success
Settle on a number. If you have 100 customers now, then 20 new ones would be a 20% growth model, right? That sounds good! If you have 10 customers now, then you only need 2 more to be killing it this quarter. Now...come up with messaging and marketing tools that talk to those few people.
You don't need 100,000 impressions if you only need 2 customers. And you don't need to post on every social channel to reach a relative few. People ask me if anybody still uses Facebook. Trust me...way more than you need!
When you name your number, you can be smart about hitting it.
2). Look for commonalities in your cream of the crop customers
Who are your best customers? Make a list of the top 20%. Name your favorites, who you love working for and who do the most business with you because of it. (You might even consider telling a couple of them, but that's another article for another day)
Now, lump them together for a moment. What similarities do you notice? What do they all seem to care about, have in common? What industry are they in? Are they more likely to watch football or play cards, drink coffee or bourbon? Questions like this identify ideas that may resonate in your super targeted messaging to reach more just like them.
When you speak the language of those you want to talk to, it's far more likely they will listen.
3). Laser focus your list
Now that you know how many you need and what commonalities they share, you can name your targets. Do this in one of three ways:
If your list is small enough, name the businesses you want to work with. Actually create a list of a handful of businesses you feel you could help. In a world as as large and as flat as ours is today, that is so easy to do. Got your list? Now go meet them at a networking event. Look for ways to engage on LinkedIn. Send a gift (not a pen or a business card, a real gift) to warm up the next call. Whatever it takes to let that one person know you are out there...that's your marketing plan.
If your list is a little larger than that, then find the one or two channels that you think most of them might be hanging out. Are they more likely to be on Pinterest? More likely to use Bing? Then advertise there, even though the audience share is so much smaller. Or consider a highly targeted podcast or newsletter that helps this very small but attractive tribe of potential customers.
Point the laser within. Can you focus more on your current customers and generating better relationships and opportunities with them? Instead of always going after the next new customer? I bet you can.
Bottom line: You don't need to find more people. You don't need to win all of the business. You just need enough to allow your business to grow at your pace, and with the kinds of customers with which you wish to grow.
Bryan Lefelhoc is a 32 year marketing veteran, owner of Bryan Media Strategies. Bryan Media Strategies is a "company of one' marketing firm designed to serve small businesses with back to basics brand awareness marketing. For Brand Building Strategies, done "On Target, On Budget, and On Purpose", schedule some time to talk.