In my years of business experience I have found that very few business owners really get this principle. Using the analogy of a bathtub to drive this principle home, let the bathtub represent your retained customers and profits. The tap and faucet on the tub represents the inflow of marketing to your business. How many marketing tactics are you using now? Are you relying on corporate, your franchisor, to do it all for you? Perhaps you are doing some direct mail, or magazine advertising. If the approach I just mentioned is your approach, I’d venture a pretty sure bet your new customer inflow looks something like the following illustration with business SLOWLY trickling in.
This approach will take a very long time to fill the tub, which actually represents your customers, revenue & profits. One of the problems with this method is that it doesn’t apply the rule of 7. As a general rule a person must be exposed to your company, brand, and multiple marketing pieces 7 times to actually bring them to buy from you. Sure, there are exceptions for this, but think about your own experiences. How many ad messages are you inundated with each day? Thousands! So we need to always be marketing.
The other problem with the slow approach is that franchisees also have the challenge of the drain, the “profit drain” that is. Sometimes we lose customers quicker than we get new ones. Reading the lower left corner of the illustration you’ll notice: Profit Drains can include: a poor product or service, lack of follow-up a bad customer service experience people moving out of the area customers switching to your competition poor and ineffective marketing lack of cleanliness of a retail location. These are all reasons you may lose customers. How big is your profit drain? How many customers are you losing? Are you bringing in more customers into your business than you are losing? A lot of this depends on your customer & guest experience. If you are noticing a lot of customers not coming in after that initial visit, you have a profit drain problem…usually an employee training issue. This is the challenge. Not only do you need to focus on increasing the amount of new customers coming into your business, you need to focus just as much on retaining them and keeping them happy and turn them into “raving fans” and referral machines! So how many of those profit drains can you control in your business? Take a look at scenario #2.
First notice the tap. Wow! What a difference! In this scenario, rather than relying on one or two marketing tactics like ORDINARY BUSINESSES, many and varied strategies are used continuously. It has been proven time and time again, the more strategies you use the more new customers you will have coming through your business. Notice also, many of these marketing tactics don’t require a lot of money. That is true Guerrilla Marketing. Can you imagine what your business would look like with this many customers coming in everyday? It’s a numbers game! The more proper marketing you engage in, the more new customers you will attract. This is when business get’s fun…an actual blast.
Let’s turn to the drain itself. In this scenario the drain is mostly plugged up. Only one profit drain factor remains. The rest have been eliminated because they can all be addressed and corrected. You can control the quality of your product or service, your customer service, etc. The only thing you can’t control is that people will move away from your trade area. Or is that really insurmountable? Actually a true guerrilla marketer would be mailing postcards to all the new move-ins in the area to replace those who move, but we’ll get to that a little later. As you learn more about the awesome marketing tools available to you, keep in mind that a combination of at least 5-10 marketing tools must be used at all times to keep that tap flowing strong and steady!
Alright…So here’s an assignment for you. Take a look at your marketing plan…How does it look? (PS if you don’t have a marketing plan, look the blog I did on how to create a 7 step, simple marketing plan) How many marketing tools are you using at once? If only 1 or 2 add a few and then a few more constantly using the most effective marketing tools available to you. Remember with your marketing be committed and consistent and keep the profit drains plugged up and your profits will skyrocket!