This is a guest post from one of my favorite people. David Perdew is one of the most earnestly real marketing mentors you’ll ever meet. He is always willing to learn and grow and never presents himself as someone who has ‘made it’ – though from the perspective of most, he certainly has. Enjoy this stop on his List Building Challenge blog tour!
I used to do a little merger and acquisition integration. And I was able to sit in on some pretty strange conference calls that involved a lot of lawyers and highly paid corporate executives who dealt in millions of dollars.
They were always looking for the elusive low-hanging fruit.
At one merger meeting, an exec was discussing the cost savings of putting single-ply toilet paper into the bathrooms of the acquired company instead of the two-ply paper.
That low-hanging fruit, he said, plus the savings from reducing the quality of the paper towels in the bathrooms, would save the company about $3 million per year.
There was silence on the phone.
Finally, one of the VPs spit out, “Good. Then they’ll be as miserable as we are.”
I laughed out loud at the absurdity.
Corporate America! Wow
When companies are sitting on millions (sometimes billions) in cash, I think it’s funny if not completely disingenuous to talk about picking up the low-hanging fruit in the marketplace.
Here’s the difference between small companies like us solopreneurs and big companies with thousands of stockholders.
- Big corporations are focused on reducing expenses – code for reducing labor costs.
- Small business folks like us are focused on producing revenue and growing companies – code for creating jobs.
Low-hanging fruit is a metaphor for easy pickings. But in the two worlds, they mean something completely different.
In the corporate world, low-hanging fruit makes bathroom trips more painful with lower quality toilet paper only to save money they really should pour into research and development. A balanced, happy work life doesn’t matter. Innovation doesn’t even matter much. Keeping the stock price up with higher and predictable earnings is all that matters.
For the little guy – small businesses under 100 employees, low-hanging fruit means getting the most done to yield the best return on investment with the simplest processes. Being efficient and cost effective is important because it’s usually coming out of your pocket, but even more important is growing that prospect pipeline.
Find the prospects that are looking for you!
That’s low-hanging fruit. Couldn’t get any lower.
Prospects want to buy what you have. But if they can’t find you, they can’t. They’re struggling to wade through the clutter of missed marketing messages coming at them from all directions.
That’s why it’s so important for you to find them by focusing on the right market with our list building efforts.
I ran a Facebook contest to get “Likes” and opt-ins last fall. But I didn’t target it properly. So, I spent about $1400 on Facebook advertising and got about 2700 “Likes” and added maybe 25 percent of those to our mailing list.
But another 25 percent of those were NOT my target market.
They didn’t engage.
They didn’t post.
They didn’t buy.
They didn’t do much of anything – except occasionally spam my Facebook page with offers or posts that totally went against the values that sprouted up around MyNAMS members.
Those 25 percent were getting in the way of the market I really wanted to communicate with.
Luckily, Facebook has a way of dumping folks that you don’t want.
We did that.
In about 30 minutes, we dropped about 700 people and focused our market.
The lesson, of course, was to target your list building efforts to find people with like values and dreams who share the same goals. Facebook makes that pretty easy to do these days.
The $1400 was money well-spent on a very valuable lesson.
Our targeting is getting much better
In March, we did our first customer survey. It was gold. With a single Polldaddy survey with just 7 questions and a 42 percent response, I got more insight into my customer base than I had dreamed of.
They told me who they were and what was important to them.
And even better, they told me what they liked about our membership site and how it could be better. They told me what training courses they wanted to see next and what they’d be willing to pay for.
That is low-hanging fruit.
Our community demographics opened my eyes to missed marketing opportunities:
- Gender = 61 percent women
- Age = 84 percent older than 45
- Income = 39 percent over $60k per year and 36 percent under $40k per year
These numbers are very different from most online business training companies. Because I run the NAMS workshop (NAMS10 is coming up in August), I decided to visit a few other events this year to see if what we’re doing is that really that different.
How different were we really
I attended one event just a couple of months ago and I was blown away by how different we really are.
Out of 150 or so folks in the audience, I bet there were less than 10 women. And of that same number, probably less than 20 were older than 45.
I knew exactly who our target market was and who in the audience would resonate with our message because of the first three survey questions.
But the other survey questions helped us focus on what they wanted! This question was especially effective:
“What’s the number one reason you joined MyNAMS?”
Of the dozen or so choices I gave them (including “other”), only two were clear winners:
- “Step-by-Step Training” that’s available in the membership dashboard got 42 percent
- “The Complete Tutorial Library” picked up another 26 percent.
Sixty-eight percent of my membership joined because they wanted training.
Okay, so how can I leverage all that information?
This month, we’re doing the MyNAMS 30-Day List Building Challenge. We have a couple of hundred people engaged. (It’s not too late!) My goal for them is to add at least 1,000 new subscribers to their list – EVEN if they don’t have a list going into the challenge.
Our list is the foundation of our business. Period. End of story.
The right list, the prospects and potential customers who match your target market are the low-hanging fruit, the easy sell. They’re already looking for what you have.
We’ll stay focused on that market primarily during the challenge.
My goal, by the way, is to increase my list by 1000 percent. We’ll see. All I have to do is find the right orchard and pick up all the fruit on the ground…
The MyNAMS 30-Day List Building Challenge is an ongoing challenge. It’s live right now, but anyone can join at any time to start their own challenge. You’re invited to come in and succeed today. David Perdew is the founder and CEO of the Novice to Advanced Marketing System and MyNAMS.com and produces two intense workshops each year, including NAMS10 coming up Aug. 9-11. As part of the challenge, David is touring the blogosphere and posting marketing and list building insights on different blogs. You can find the complete schedule of all the blog posts – past and future – here.