Recently a friend told me a story about a woman she knew who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars…
The woman’s husband, a heavy smoker, was having chest pains so they took him to the doctor and discovered he had multiple spots on his lungs…
His cancer was so far advanced, they didn’t do any additional tests.
Five days later he died.
The woman’s husband, who was retired military and had spent his whole life serving his country, had a retirement pension.
But, because he was diagnosed with lung cancer, she was not entitled to his pension when he died.
She later found out that had he been diagnosed with throat cancer, she would have been entitled to his entire pension.
The doctors felt there was a good chance that he actually had throat cancer and that it had metastasized to his lungs, only at the time they had no reason to run further tests.
Unfortunately when she found out about the pension qualification issue, his body had already been cremated.
If only she had known earlier, she would have had an autopsy done. And, if the results had proved it was throat cancer, she would have received 100% of his pension, versus being left with nothing.
The military knew the information, but didn’t offer it to her. The doctors probably had seen similar cases where insurance didn’t pay for something, but they didn’t warn her to check into things or advise her that a complete diagnosis might be beneficial to her.
And of course, it never occurred to the woman that such a thing could occur.
As is often the case, information that could save time, money or frustration, comes too late.
As a consumer, you’ve most likely experienced an “If only I had known” situation.
And as a business owner, you may have experienced that sinking sensation when a customer says something like, “If I’d only known, I would have purchased from you…”
Sometimes this happens because we are too close to our own business to see what is missing. We assume that “everyone knows that.”
But just as a teenager buying his first car doesn’t know that keeping the tires on his car properly inflated will result in him saving money on gas and add months, even years, to the life of his tires, people who are not intimately familiar with your product or service don’t know what they don’t know.
And it may never even occur to them to ask.
To help you avoid potential customers saying, “If I had only known” here’s what to do:
Make a list of your current customers for your product or service that don’t fit in your typical client profile. Look for commonalities among people in this list. For example, maybe there are a large number of parents on your list. Or maybe you notice that there are a number of high-end hotel chains using your service when you normally target mom and pop hotels. Look for clues that a strong target audience you’ve previously missed exists.
See if you identify a potential new segment. In the example, above, let’s say you sell food service supplies and your typical client, the mom and pop hotels, buy their supplies for their free breakfast they serve to hotel guests. However, after looking at your list, you discover that this small segment of high-end hotel chains, purchase much larger orders from you than the typical mom and pop hotels and are less work for you. This might be a segment worth exploring. And one that needs more specific information as it relates to their business. For example, maybe you provide free delivery when orders reach a certain limit, or you can bulk order certain items and give a much more attractive rate.
Make a list of benefits. Start with every benefit you can think of. Don’t forget to add benefits which may apply to your newly identified segment (if you found one.)
For example, let’s take last year’s Info-SUMMITSM.
Typically our target audience is info-marketers. However, after making my list, I found that there were benefits in all 20+ speaker’s presentations that would benefit any type of business…
Because from brick and mortar businesses to online businesses to professional service businesses… every business sells their products and services by providing information.
Information to attract your ideal customer, client or patient. Information about your products and services. Information about how to purchase from you. Information about how to use your products or services. And the list goes on.
That means, if we only target info-marketers, we would be missing out on a huge segment of our target market – businesses that need the information we provide to help them streamline their marketing and boost their profits.
A partial list of benefits include:
- How to get a frantic flurry of activity surrounding your business so streams of customers, income, publicity and more flow to you.
- How to create materials that attract news sources who want to feature you, and can help you sell more of your products and services.
- What to do before, during and after you launch a new product or service so you generate the most traffic and drive higher sales.
- How to dominate the search engines and quickly increase profits using videos.
Rephrase benefits to match your newly identified segment:Again, using last year’s Info-SUMMITSM, here’s how we might have rephrased some of the benefits to gear towards businesses other than info-marketers:
Discover how to use spider-webbing to not only get people talking about you and your business, but to leverage those discussions, magnify them and turn them into streams of new customers, income, free publicity and more.
Media is often viewed as a more credible or believable source than our own websites and brochures. Knowing how to create marketing materials that emulate these, or even attract news sources to want to feature you, can help you sell more of your products and services. Find out how to get to tell a story that the public will be drawn to and that will get you in the news, be breaking news and fascinate your market and audience.
Video use is on the rise. More and more businesses of every kind are using videos—especially B2B companies. 2010 GKIC Marketer of the Year and best-selling author Charlie McDermott shows you how to quickly increase profits and dominate the search engines using video.
Can you see how the language used was more specific to non-info-marketers?
Ask your best customers what’s missing. Send a survey or interview some of your best clients or customers to find out what they wish they would have known from you when they first purchased your product or service.
Determine what information needs to be dispensed that you aren’t currently communicating. What information are you overlooking that you need to get out? Information you may have overlooked might be about:
- How to use your product or service after they receive it.
- Where to go if they need additional support or have questions.
- Who else uses your products and services and what they have to say about it.
- Additional ways they can use your products.
- What the next step is after they’ve purchased.
- Special features of your product or service that aren’t known.
- Special guarantees, offers or limited time bonuses.
Make a plan to get the information out in multiple ways in multiple media. One of the reasons people miss out on information is because it is only distributed one time and maybe only in one type of media.
For instance, let’s say you have a financial services business. In the past, you always sent a letter to encourage feedback and communicate important information to them.
However, the response to these is very low, which means your customers may not be getting all the information they need to make good decisions.
In order to reach as many people as possible, consider adding as many ways as possible to communicate with them and capitalize on the latest information technology that you know your clients use. For example, if your clients spend time on the go and communicate through their iPhones, Androids and other smart phones, consider creating videos they can watch from their phone, social media that showcases eye-popping pictures with links, emails and an app that will take them to the latest information.
Use direct mail to drive traffic back to your website. Use social media posts to drive people to articles and stories about your company. Offer tele-seminars and webcasts. Use the Giorgio letters as described in Magnetic Marketing. Create CD’s and DVD’s to send. And videos they can download.
The more ways you give your customer to consume your message, the better chance you are of hitting his or her preferred method of consumption…which means he or she is more likely to receive the information you are delivering.
Take a look at your products and services today. Are you missing information that could help a segment of your audience? If so, take time now to create a plan for getting this information to them.
When you do, you’ll increase profits by adding a new stream of income, help more people, and potentially add a new stream of customers in the process. But best of all, you’ll make sure you are doing everything you can to avoid a customer say to you…”If only I’d known…”
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