If you want to increase revenue, should you focus on getting more out of your existing customers? Slicing your offering finer in order to better appeal to a segment of the existing market?
That's one way.
But how about looking closely at non-customers. Why are all those people not buying what you, or any of your competitors, have to offer? Are there any commonalities between the non buyers?
I'm reading a book called Blue Ocean Strategy. The author offers the following example that illustrates why focusing on the commonalities of the non-customers can be a good idea:
Think of Callaway Golf.
It aggregated new demand for its golf club offering by looking at non-customers. Rather than fighting to win a share of the existing golf market, they looked at why people hadn't taken up golf.
By looking at why people had shied away from golf, they found one commonality uniting the mass of non-customers: hitting the golf ball was perceived as being too difficult. The small size of the club head demanded enormous hand-eye co-ordination, took time to master, and took a lot of concentration. As a result, this was no fun for novices, so they avoided taking up the sport in the first place.
So what did Callaway do?
They built a club with a bigger club-head, thus making it much easier to hit the ball. Not only did this open up a whole new market of buyers, it appealed to players in the existing market who were having the same problem
What Do Your Non Customers Have In Common?
Let's take a look at the SEO industry.
In my experience, a commonality of non-buyers of SEO perceive that SEO simply won't work. They fear they will pay money, and not get any results.
Therefore, in order to convert more of the non-SEO customers to buyers, the SEO should focus heavily on mitigating the risk of non-performance. They should also clearly demonstrate value.
The SEO industry tends to shy away from offering guarantees. This is understandable, given that rankings aren't controlled by the SEO, and therefore guaranteeing a ranking is simply being misleading.
But why focus on guaranteeing ranking? How about guaranteeing that you'll add value, instead?
Ask yourself: can you guarantee to deliver more value to the client than they pay you? Can you increase the value of their business by doing so? If you answer no to such questions, then you'll begin to understand why there are so many non-SEO customers.
Figure out what the customer perceives as valuable, and guarantee to deliver it. After all, what is the difference between a contractual obligation and a guarantee? You need to deliver regardless, but a guarantee just sounds better. It certainly helps mitigate the sense of risk.
Let The Customer Decide What Is Valuable
A lot of SEO sites describe the services an SEO thinks s/he can deliver.
Instead, how about asking the customer what services they think are valuable. You'll learn a lot just by asking such a question. And the more people you ask, the more chances you'll have of spotting commonalities.
How about running an Adwords campaign that asks people to answer a few simple questions about why they don't buy SEO services?
This could work for any good or service, of course - not just SEO.
You'll also see what language potential customers use. It is especially important when stating benefits to do so in the customers terms. Your language should be their language.
They'll feel you understand them.
What would an SEO that spoke exclusively in the language of the customer look like? I guarantee it would look nothing like most of the SEO sites out there right now.
How Bad do They Want it?
When Aaron interviewed Perry Marshall about using AdWords to find market opportunities Perry suggested asking consumers how bad they want something and how hard they are struggling to get it.
Ignore the answers where consumers say they aren't struggling very hard. Look at the answers where the consumers find something extremely difficult, and need that thing badly.
That is good or service people will gladly pay for.
People Who Can't Afford What You Offer
There is a huge, huge market for SEO services. Everyone could be doing better in the search engines.
So you've got to ask - why aren't SEOs getting through to these people? Is the SEO offering simply wrong?
The price will always put some people off. But rather than dismiss these people as non-customers, think about what you can sell them for what money they do have.
Perhaps they can't afford a full campaign, but they certainly might be able to afford a one hour phone call. How about providing a pay-per-minute SEO phone line? How about providing a specific e-book, personalized to the customers site and problem? They can do the work themselves, you just outline exactly "how".
This could always lead to more work when they do have more of a budget.
Customers Who Don't Know What SEO Is
The size of this market is the biggest of all.
The reason this market remains untapped is mostly down to language and visibility. SEOs simply aren't talking the same language, and both parties cross like ships in the night, unaware of each others presence. That's if they get anywhere near each other to begin with.
Why are you going to yet another SEO conference? Why aren't you going to dental conferences? Or hotel conferences? Or any other conference where general marketing is being discussed?
You might be the only SEO there!
All industries have common problems e.g. how to acquire new customers. You know how to do that. They don't. That's valuable to them. They need you.
You need to go where they are, and talk their language. Get hold of their trade magazines and visit their websites. What language do they use to describe their problems? I guarantee it isn't the language you read on SEO blogs and bulletin boards each day. It is a million miles from there.
Look the problems that you can solve, and use their language to describe what you do.
Got any tactics and ideas on how to turn non-buyers into buyers? Add them to the comments.
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