Are you tired of spending all your time trying to sell your products or services to people who seem like they wouldn’t buy water if they were on fire? Well, I know what you mean. And I, like most business owners, have been there at least some point in my life. So, if you’re like the many business owners and employees out there that struggle with sales and marketing, here is one potential reason: You are probably giving away your business profits because you’re not focusing on your niche market. In business terminology, you are not adhering to the 80/20 rule, also known as Pareto’s Rule, or Pareto’s Principle.
Pareto’s Rule in Detail
What Pareto’s Rule says is this: 80% of your business profits come from the top 20% of your customers. In short, a narrowly-defined niche market is the most important group of customers that you have. In laymen terms, they are the buyers! In even more plain terms, they are the ones who pay your bills, keep you operating, and allow you to move your products and services. Do you want more business? Find niche markets that are most likely to buy from you in order to resolve their problems.
Now, I’m not saying that the other 80% of your customers are not important. I’m just saying that the 20% of your customers are the most important to your sales and profit. That said, are you making sure you take care of the top 20% of your clients? If not, that is definitely something you want to hop on immediately. Here are a few ways you can do so.
10 Niche Marketing Strategies to Satisfy the Top 20
Finding a niche market is the first step to increasing your sales. You then have to nurture your relationship with your niche and ensure you are effectively meeting their needs. Here are some nice niche marketing strategies to retain and satisfy the top 20% of your clients.
· Focus 80% of your business on serving the top 20% of your customers. Since 80% of your sales come from your niche customers, you might as well focus the majority of your business activities and resources on serving them. For example, 80% of your marketing dollars should probably go towards reaching them. Likewise, 80% of your time should be spent serving them. Spend the most on those who spend the most on you and your business!
· Survey them and assess or reassess their needs. Surveys are a great way to get customer feedback without causing your clients to feel uncomfortable by being blunt with you. If you want to get your clients’ opinions about your business, administer surveys where respondents can remain anonymous.
· Follow up with them from their last sale. Check with your top customers to see if everything is alright. How was the quality of the product or service they received? Did they appreciate the value they received? Do they have any recommendations for improving the quality? You should make a habit of always following up with them, whether for good or bad reasons (Ex. poor service).
· Upsell them on your other products. You more than likely already know what your customers’ buying habits are as well as what other products or services will match their interests. By all means, upsell them those products or services. In doing so, you will be helping them resolve their problems or meet a need even better than the other products had helped them. Give them more of you and your business! After all, that’s why they’re in the top 20%. They value what you sell, and they want more of it.
· Thank them for their business. There are many ways to thank a customer for their business. You can mail them a card with a special gift (such as a gift certificate) inside. You can give them a courtesy call to ‘check on them’ and thank them for being a loyal customer. You can even send them an email thanking them for their business. The sky is the limit with thank-yous. Make sure that your best customers feel appreciated. Do that, and I can almost guarantee they will be back for more of your products and services. A little ‘thanks’ goes a long way.
· Ask them for referrals. If they’re buyers, and not window shoppers, you’d better believe they probably have like-minded peers who are also buyers. Besides, their personal recommendation of your company would probably entice even the most reluctant of their friends to make a purchase from you. Ask your top clients for referrals. People love to refer admirable companies. For some reason, giving referrals makes people feel like rock stars who happen to know the best ________(insert whatever type of business you have here) around.
· Inform them of upcoming products or service launches. Tell the top 20% of your customers what new things to expect from your company and when. Keep them in the mix with regards to your products or services. Who doesn’t want to be the first to have the newest version of your product? That gives your customers certain bragging rights with their friends and cohorts.
· Make your best clients feel special. Hey, they’re in the top 20% of your client base. They are rock stars! Accordingly, you need to make them feel like rock stars. For example, give them the first notice of the goings-on of you and your company. As mentioned above, let them be the first to hear about new products/services. Invite them to special, exclusive company events. Give them special discounts based on the amount of time they have been a customer or the amount of money they’ve spent with you. You can even send them a special surprise gift via mail. Who doesn’t love surprises? Everyone does.
· Distinguish them from your other customers and make them feel even more special. Special titles, or special access to a certain part of your site are great ways to bestow an elite tag onto your top clients. Make them stand apart from the masses. Chances are, your other customers will probably want to become elite also. That will equate to more sales.
· Allow them to help shape your company. Get their input on your long-term business strategy. Tell them where your company may generally intend on going in the next 5 years and get their feedback. Customers know best what customers want!
The list goes on. However, you should consistently try to find the right niche markets, make them a part of your customer base, and retain them as lifelong customers.
The 80/20 rule, or Pareto’s Rule, can be described in one simple phrase: niche marketing. If you ever wondered why companies spend so much time and marketing dollars on developing a niche market, now you know. That’s where the money is! Hopefully, the tips mentioned above will at least put you on the road to serving your core clients more effectively. Take care of your niche market and you will undoubtedly have buying customers for years to come.
The Pareto Principle: Does the 80/20 Rule Apply to Your Life? Retrieved 2/21/12 from www.sitepoint.com