When you break down online marketing into the most basic elements, then you’ll see there are only 3 ways to increase online sales. Here they are:
1. Increase website traffic
2. Increase conversion rates from website visitor to customer
3. Increase average customer value
That’s it. You only have 3 areas you can focus on: Traffic, Conversion, or Customer Value. Here’s the basic online marketing equation you should memorise:
Revenue = (Traffic) x (Conversion Rate) x (Customer Value)
It’s pretty simple right? Even if you flunked grade school math you should be able to see that you can increase revenue by increasing one or more of the variables. In other words, revenue is directly proportional to Traffic, Conversion, and Value. I just threw that last fact in to impress any math geeks. Of course you can and should improve all 3 areas over time, but let’s be honest here; you can’t focus on them all at once. You need to prioritise. So let’s talk about when you should focus on customer value versus the other two options to increase revenue.
Now, I’m pleasantly surprised when folks know these two data points, conversion rate and customer value because that tells me they have decent tracking in place. A lot of businesses have no idea what their conversion rates are and can only ballpark the customer value.
The math to determine whether or not a traffic source makes sense is again very simple. The number you need to know is your value per visitor or earnings per click (EPC). EPC tells you how much money you generate on average from a single visitor. If you know your EPC is 5.00 for example, then you know you could advertise in Google AdWords on keywords that cost less than 5.00 per click. Or you could pay an affiliate or referral partner up to 5.00 per visitor and you will be profitable.
Now let’s get back to the question at hand: When should you focus on customer value?
The answer is when you meet the following 3 criteria:
1. Your EPC is too low so you can’t find profitable and scalable traffic sources
2. Your conversion rate is solid and you don’t see much room to improve it
3. You’re not using all of the tactics listed in this Marketing Action Guide to increase customer value
If you find yourself in that situation, then your #1 priority is to increase your customer value, which in turn, will open up doors to new, scalable website traffic opportunities.
Before I get to the tactics I want to make sure you understand how much you can really increase your customer value.
Let’s look at an example from one of my our clients who increased customer value 456% over about 4 years. This is the same client who I helped build a business from $0 to $4,000,000+ and that was only possible by focusing on customer value. When they started, their customer value was a measly $27. with a good conversion rate.
By using the tactics listed below in this guide, we systematically improved the value from $27 to over $150. This didn’t happen overnight. As I said, it took about 4 years of methodical testing. But as the customer value increased, we were able to find more and more opportunities to generate traffic to grow the business. The success of that business was a direct result of the work we put in to increase customer value by 456%.
4 STEPS TO INCREASE CUSTOMER VALUE
Here are the 4 ways to increase your customer value:
1. Increase Your Prices
2. Add Up-Sells
3. Add a Referral Program
4. Add a Continuity Program
I recommend you read each tactic below, decide which is most appropriate and easiest for your business, and then take action as quickly as possible.
By far the easiest way to increase customer value is to simply increase your prices. However, this may or may not be feasible in your business. If you’re positioning your business as the cheapest solution, then this probably does not make sense.
If you offer premium products or services, then this is certainly an option. When it comes to pricing strategies, you need to consider two very important factors:
The perceived value of your product/service
Real value of your product/service
Here’s the funny thing with perceived value. Humans are programmed to instantly believe higher prices equate to higher quality. I’m not suggesting you jack up your prices to trick customers. I’m merely stating a psychological fact. Study upon study has proven customers will quickly judge a product or service as “better” if it has a bigger price tag.
In Dr Cialdini’s best-selling book, Influence, he tells the story of the jewellery store owner who, before leaving for a trip, scribbled a note to her employee to cut the price of some turquoise jewellery in half. The jewellery was not selling so the owner wanted to run a fire sale.
However, the employee misread the note and instead DOUBLED the price. When the store owner returned she was not surprised to see all the turquoise jewellery sold out since her note said to chop the prices in half. But she was certainly shocked to learn that instead of losing money, she made a huge profit from the employee’s “mistake.”
How did that happen? Why did the jewellery fly off the shelves when the price was doubled? Simply because the human brain instinctively correlates value with price. Higher priced products or services more often than not are higher quality so customers use that shortcut analysis when making purchase decisions.
So the act of increasing prices alone tends to boost perceived value. Additional factors include:
The most obvious answer is to literally add more to your product or service. However, that’s not always necessary. More than likely you’re not factoring in ALL of the value you provide to your customers. For example, consider the following:
One of the most cost-effective strategies to increase customer value is to set up a customer referral program. Most businesses I talk to rely on referrals so this is nothing new. However, there’s a big difference between asking for referrals and creating a customer referral program.
A customer referral program incentivises referrals so people are much more likely to go out of their way to give you a referral. For example, a lot of real estate agents offers a percentage of the purchase price for any deals referred. Most online companies offer some sort of referral system, consider it as a mini extension of your sales team promoting your business.
That’s the power of a customer referral program. You create an army of customers who are ready to promote your business at the most opportune time. So let’s take a look at some referral program structures:
Whenever possible, structure your customer referral program so that both your customer and the referred customer get rewarded. That will encourage more participation because it’s a win-win-win situation.
We’ve all heard the famous question, “Do you want fries with that?” or “Do you want to supersize your order for only an extra $X?”
In both cases, the salesperson is offering something most customers want. And since the offer is a good deal with noticeable savings, most people feel like the salesperson was actually helpful vs. pushy.
That’s the critical factor in successful up-sells. You need to position the up-sell so that you are doing the customer a favour by presenting the offer. In fact, when done correctly, you should feel like you would be doing a disservice to your customer if you did NOT present your up-sell. That’s when you know you have a winner.
The best up-sells improve your customers’ lives even more than your original product or service. If you’re not sure what to offer, then answer the following questions:
As you can see from the questions above, your up-sell should be positioned to help your customer. If you approach this with the mindset of squeezing out more revenue, then you’ll more than likely end up aggravating your customers. Instead, focus on how you can improve your customers’ lives just a little more.
There are two times when up-sells are appropriate:
1. Point of sale
2. After fulfilment of original purchase
The fast food example I used earlier is a great example of a point-of-sale up-sell. Your customer has already pulled out her wallet out and has committed to doing business with you. This is the ideal time to offer to help her out even further.
However, not everything is appropriate to offer during the original purchase. In fact, you may be better off if you do not confuse your customer with additional options. If that’s the case, then the next best time to present an up-sell is immediately after you fulfil on the original purchase. Make this part of your delivery process to ensure you up-sell every customer.
Every business should find a way to add continuity or recurring revenue. There’s no excuse not to and a laundry list of reasons to do it. If you currently sell one-off products or services, then you know how stressful it is to start at $0 each and every month.
One of my private clients was in that position several years ago. They sold consulting services and each month was either a feast or a famine. The instability was a direct result of their lack of continuity because every customer was a one-time sale. They made the sale, fulfilled on the project in about a month, and then the customer went on here way. Poof! The customer was gone as fast as they arrived.
That’s a tough way to run a business. It’s physically and mentally draining to invest so much time and energy into selling a new customer and then see her disappear.
The solution is continuity. Let’s compare the feast or famine business model with one of our clients who ONLY sells recurring billing services. I’m helping them scale their Google AdWords campaigns which currently lose money generating new customers. However, after just 3 months of the recurring billing, he breaks even and every future month is pure profit. He can invest in new customer acquisition this month, then turn to pause his advertising if cash is tight, and simply coast on the profits of his existing, recurring billing customers. That’s not possible when you’re only selling one-off products or services.
Continuity is simply recurring revenue. Examples include:
Review your current sales funnel and brainstorm different options to include continuity. What can you provide to make your customer’s life even easier, remove stress or anxiety, or upgrade the experience of doing business with you?
Nobody wants to buy continuity and just the thought of recurring billing is scary for most prospects. That’s why selling continuity as a standalone offer is very difficult and often does not work very well.
A free trial is risk-free for your customer, but don’t expect “free” to do the selling for you. Even though it’s completely free to test drive your continuity, most customers are reluctant to start something knowing they will automatically be charged after a certain number of days. So you still need great sales copy to sell a free trial subscription.Bundle
A bundle is essentially an attempt to camouflage the continuity. You can offer your product or service, plus your continuity as an added bonus. In this case, I recommend you combine the free trial with the bundle so your customer gets to test drive the subscription for free.Up-Sell
Finally, you can up-sell your continuity at the point-of-sale or after fulfilment of your original product or service. Again, you can offer a free trial or a bundle. Up-selling continuity is generally your best option because your customers already know, like and trust you. So your conversion rates will be much higher than trying to sell continuity to cold prospects.