Do you want to know why a lot of small business owners struggle these days?

Don’t worry – this post isn’t going to turn into a pitch – just pure helpful content…

Too many business owners simply want to master their craft and that’s it. I see it all the time.

Graphic designers want to create designs. Carpet cleaners want to clean carpets. Dentists want to pry open peoples’ mouths and insert a bunch of barbaric, pointed instruments.

They don’t want to learn marketing – not the kind of marketing that goes beyond simply “getting their name out there,” anyway.

So they rely on things like Yellow Pages that list their general info, networking events where they spend LOTS of time trying to put themselves out there, and the occasional foot traffic… and THAT’S IT.

With such feeble marketing, it is any surprise why so many small businesses struggle (and indeed, why so many go out of business!?)

Well, perhaps the problem here (and simple solution) is not one related to marketing “tactics,” but rather a shift in marketing strategy.

For starters…

Focus on your back-end sale to increase profit.
I think that there’s a hidden concept here that hasn’t been addressed AT ALL and that no one even stops to think about.

Let me tell you about something that worked for me, and you can go ahead and begin this same strategy in your business ventures, professional practice, consulting firm, whatever…

My business didn’t really become profitable for me until I implemented a customer service / client loyalty program. I was working from project to project, paycheck to paycheck before that. After each job I had to start a new relationship with a stranger, and start all over again.

So one of the big breakthroughs for me was when I sat down and actually drafted up a “customer care system” for my company so that clients feel appreciated, have no anxiety, will want to do business with us again, and perhaps most importantly, enthusiastically send referrals.

This includes things like sending a congratulatory letter to their address when they become a client, a complimentary Starbucks card when work commences with a nice letter, a gift basket after the project is over, that kind of stuff. Different milestones, different “small gestures” that – all told – finally turned my business around and made it profitable without me having to work 80 hours a week!!

While I could go on and on about the “tactics” involved to make this happen… the important thing that you take away from this is the “strategy,” and how you can shift your “strategy” of marketing to channel more profits from your business.

Focus on customer satisfaction before profits.

Pop Quiz: When businesses actually DO invest heavily in marketing – what do they spend most of their time, money, and energy on?

Getting new customers.

Most of the money is spent on trying to draw in customers on the front-end… so they advertise to a wide swath of people, and maybe a tiny percentage of them spend money and buy the product or service, should they find themselves with a need for it.

The problem here is that this type of marketing is NOT nearly as profitable as the other kind of marketing: focusing more energy on your back-end (read: your past, and current customer base).

Because… here’s the million dollar secret…

Customers who have already BOUGHT from you are something like ten times more likely to buy from you again, if you’d only ask.

Or better yet, if you had a plan in place to keep them coming back for more, again and again (and bringing their friends along too).

So how can you start implementing this immediately?

Well, here’s a thought: if you’re a restaurant, why not collect some general information about your patrons, like… their date of birth, for example?

Then, two weeks before their birthday, you can send them an offer with a free meal.

Oh yeah… and no one goes out to eat by themselves on their birthday. They tend to bring their friends (you can collect their info too, by the way).

That’s just a quick example. But do you think many businesses are doing things like this? You know… the type of smart marketing that’s easy and profitable?

I know a few… including several that are actually growing in this economy… but I’ll leave the case studies for another post.

Do you have a pearl of wisdom you’d like to share?

Please leave a comment in the section below!

Yours in Knowledge,
Danny Flood, VP of Strategy and Client Services for LavaLink

Post By Danny Flood (18 Posts)

Danny Flood is the co-founder of LavaLink, and the brainchild behind this website. He has been an online marketing consultant for hundreds of small businesses and entrepreneurs, and is a frequent speaker on wordpress design and web marketing topics.

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