Monday, February 11, 2013

Are you selling to the wrong customers?

You may be thinking “There are no wrong customers.”

That’s true. 

Perhaps a more apt title is, “Are you trying to sell to people who aren't ever going to be your customer?”

Many businesses make this mistake, and don't realize it. I used to work in one of the most frequently offending industries, home health care. Almost every home health care company whom hired me made this same mistake on the first generation of their website. 

Home health care agencies primarily serve seniors by providing high quality and sometimes highly technological health care in the comfort and privacy of the homes. All the websites focused on the caring, comfortable nature of their work.

Unfortunately, infirm seniors aren't their customers. They don’t buy services. Generally speaking, the patient was recently discharged from a hospital and the referral was made by a physician or medical social worker. The payment comes from Medicare or health insurance. Most of the customer service interaction general care management is done by family members of the patient. The patient is typically about fourth on the list of most important “customers” and the least likely of any of these people to visit the website prior to admission.

One of my biggest challenges was convincing home health care company owners and directors to completely rewrite their website, putting principle focus on physicians and medical social workers, their primary referral sources. Most of these companies have multiple sales people in the field with high five figure salaries yet were reluctant to invest a few hundred dollars to rewrite copy and buy some new stock photography to improve the focus of their website.

When I was successful, the companies that reworked their websites to focus on their true primary customers had immediate and significant results. Not only were they answering the questions real customers wanted answered, but they had established competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Most home health companies focus on patients. The ones that focused on providing information to their customers were so rare that it set them apart in the minds of doctors and discharge planners.

Lots of businesses make this mistake.
  • Independent musicians cater to fans, when they should be offering information to the venues that hire them.
  • Small manufacturers promote products to the end user, when they need to focus on distributors or wholesalers. 
  • Charitable organizations may focus on the recipients of their services, but fail to use their website to encourage philanthropy.  

Even bloggers make this mistake. Many of them do a good job writing for their audience, and hope that magically an advertiser will drop by and start writing checks.

Confession time…  I’m guilty. I've written lots of blog posts about how to earn money as a blogger or generate free marketing for your business.  Most of my income, however, comes from small to medium businesses who pay me to guide them. In the past, much of my writing hasn't been focused on the businesses that actually write my checks.

You may have noticed a change in this blog. Earlier this year I gradually shifted the tone toward more established businesses, and started offering guidance on growth rather than advice for start-ups. 

Whether you've been in business five days or five years or fifty years, the advice I offer is sound, however I will be focusing most of my future writings on those companies with marketing budgets and commitment to growing their marketing ROI.

Shameless plug time:  If your business is looking for growth, and have revenue between $500,000 and $5 million then you are my target customer. I want to help you take your business to the next level. Please call 215-253-3737 and let’s get to work.
Post a Comment