Tuesday, September 10, 2013

If you don't know this... all your marketing is a shot in the dark

re: how to avoid marketing frustration

by Tammy "Grouchy Marketing Lady" de Leeuw

Over and over again I see it...
Recalcitrant business owners unwilling to spend a dime on marketing themselves. 

Or, even worse, business people who allow themselves to be sold epic marketing packages that keep them forever broke, always behind the eight ball, and still frustrated by their lack of customers.

I've talked with dozens of these business men and women and have come to this conclusion:

The number 1 reason most business owners balk at the idea of doling out cash for marketing consultation, tools, advertising, or wind up panicking and buying expensive, yet often useless marketing tools is...

They simply don't have an accurate idea of the lifetime value of their customers.

I conducted an informal poll of some local business owners recently, asking them the question:

"What is the average lifetime value of your typical client or customer?"

Not surprisingly, only one out of the ten I asked had any idea of how to answer that question.
From a purely mathematical  point of view, LTV looks like this.

However, computing a client's value to your business is more of an art form than a immutable exercise in math.  Unlike pure mathematics, there are variables which don't compute nearly into a  formula.

Let's say you own a dry cleaning store with a repeat customer named Sam.  Sam brings you a stack of shirts each week that, after subtracting costs, nets you $7 in profit.  Allowing for Sam's yearly 2 week vacation, and knowing that your customers stay with you and average of five years,  it would be tempting to assign Sam a lifetime client value of $1,750.00

But what if Sam was really worth MORE than that?

Sam is a salesman and he knows everyone in town.  He loves the way you clean his shirts and he can't stop talking about your shop to others.  As a result of Sam's praise, you get  4-5 new customers every year.

Now, you could safely assume that Sam's worth is at least double your previous estimate. 
So spending $500 to acquire one more customer like Sam would be worthwhile investment.

Caveat: Don't Get Hooked on LTV Or You Could Wind Up Way Over Budget

LTV is simply a planning tool to help you plan your marketing budget.   It is not a license to spend like the government.

I  agree with Bill Gurley, a  general partner at Benchmark Capital in Menlo Park, California, who wrote an article in Forbes magazine warning against Lifetime Value addiction.

Writes Gurley:

 "Some people wield the LTV model as if they were Yoda with a light saber: “Look at this amazing weapon I know how to use!” Unfortunately, it is not that amazing, it’s not that unique to understand, and it is not a weapon, it’s a tool. Companies need a sustainable competitive advantage that is independent of their variable marketing campaigns. You can’t win a fight with a measuring tape."

To sum it up:  

No matter how large or small your business may be, it does pay to have an idea of how much the average customer brings to your bottom line.  

That being said, however, you don't want to go around chasing unicorns; looking so far into the future and trying to determine what MIGHT happen that you overspend on marketing.  A steady, conservative, and realistic approach to ROI is the best way to go.

The very best way, after all, to acquire new clients is to work on bringing uniqueness and value to your business and building a sustainable advantage over all your competition.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Riding the Wave of Obamacare Publicity

re: Obamacare could mean free PR for your business

7 Ways to Use Obamacare to Get Clients for YOUR Business

by Tammy de Leeuw
Blended Blogger

1. Are you a good speaker? Then take the Obamacare Bootcamp (anyone can use this information), read as much about the Affordable Care Act as possible and start offering to speak.  You can speak at senior groups, civic and service organizations, and professional associations.  Email query or write an offer to speak for free in your local area.  Be sure your speech does not get too political or theoretical, but instead focuses on the FACTS about Obamacare.  Watch the webinar we did recently and you will get an idea of the kind of speech you should write and deliver.

2. Write and publish a free report on Obamacare basics that you can offer online and offline to people who opt in to your list.

3. Offer a free workshop at your place of business.  Bring in an Obamacare expert to present solutions and practical advice to your customers. 

4. Research and publish a blog dedicated to the Affordable Care Act. Example: www.obamacareamplified.com

5. If you are an insurance agent or financial advisor with some knowledge of healthcare insurance and benefits, offer to do a free insurance audit for your clients.  Provide solutions to saving money if they choose to offer health insurance.

6. Start offering medical access/discount cards to your clients.  These plans, while not insurance, do provide access to telemedicine.  Access to primary care doctors will be harder and harder to obtain once Obamacare is fully in play.  Having a licensed, board-certified doctor you can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week will be invaluable.  In most states, anyone can offer these plans, since they are not considered insurance.    Be sure to get one of these plans for yourself.  You will be glad you did!

7. Let local media outlets know that you are an EXPERT.  Get invited to speak on radio, television, and as a guest blogger or columnist.  Not only will this cement your position as the local go-to person on the Affordable Care Act, but you will also create some content you can use on your website or blog.  Here is an example:


Millions of dollars is being spent on Obamacare publicity, but if you play your cards right, you can get some of that good press for YOUR business. for free.