In the article “Marketing? Have you considered these 4 groups of people?” we defined the 4 groups:

  1. Suspects
  2. Prospects
  3. Customers / Clients
  4. Evangelists / Advocates

In this article we’ll discuss the biggest mistakes business people make when it comes to marketing their products and services to the four groups of people.

Biggest Marketing Mistakes!

Too Much Too Soon

Imagine this scenario…

A good friend named Steve tells you that he is desperate and dateless and unsure why his hit rate is so bad when it comes to dating the opposite sex.  Thinking that it may be a confidence issue you ask Steve if he is a tad nervous about approaching women. He replies: “Oh no not at all… anytime I see a young attractive woman I immediately run over to her and sincerely ask: Would you like to get married tomorrow and have 3 kids with me?”

Most of us would recognise that his chances of a positive response are going to be Buckley’s and none.  The more discerning amongst us may highlight that if a woman actually did say yes under those circumstances, he should probably desperately avoid dating her.

How do you tell Steve he needs to change his approach? Harder still, how do you tell business owners that they are trying to market their products and services just like Steve approaches women?

Constantly trying to leap frog from Suspect to Customer, or Suspect to Evangelist in one jump is like our metaphorical Steve giving a marriage proposal on every first encounter he has with a woman.

Ideally you want a system that turns Suspects into Prospects, Prospects into Customers, and Customers into Evangelists. Regardless of whether it is online or offline the system should ensure people are comfortable investing in your products and services anytime they are ready to buy. They should never feel like they have to work too hard to find out if your products and services are right for them. They should also never feel trapped or intimidated by your sales funnel before, during or after the sale.

Too little Too Late

If I was asked to highlight what I thought was the single biggest mistake business people make when it comes to marketing their products and services to the four groups of people, I would have to say it is the following…

‘Spending way too much time, money, resources and emotional energy trying to attract more Suspects and not spending anywhere near enough of anything to turn Customers into Evangelists.’

Too little time spent turning Customers into Evangelists will be too late when one is in desperate need of referrals and repeat business.

A business man named Fred (real name withheld to protect the guilty) complains about how bad his small business is doing. Fred thinks nothing of blowing 10k on an untargeted letter drop even though his spray and pray, shotgun marketing approach barely generates a lead for his business.

Fred laments that he wants more good paying clients and less tyre kickers. You ask him how many key clients he has at the moment. With some pride he tells you he has about 30 clients who have paid him several thousand dollars each over the past 6 months.  As it is coming up to Christmas you suggest that he should be sure to send them all a personalised hand written Christmas card thanking them for their support throughout the year. He looks at you like you’re crazy and says “Why would I ever waste my time and money doing something like that?”

Your challenge was getting him to understand that Suspects are ‘suspect’ because they can result in a lot of wasted time and money, and that turning customers into raving fans is the ultimate leverage for your business.

When I explain to our clients that ‘Evangelists are the most valuable of the 4 groups because they not only pay you, they bring other people to you who pay you as well’ they seldom disagree with me. The challenge is getting them to make this a key area of focus, not just an intellectual construct that is soon forgotten once they’re back to the day to day grind of running their businesses.

Turning Customers into Evangelists is an area all business owners can improve. It is often the most neglected. Note to self: You teach best what you most need.

Questions to ask yourself

Where do you put most of your time and energy? Is it before, during or after the sale?

Are you satisfied with your referral rate and repeat business?

Where did most of your key paying clients come from? Was it advertising or referrals?

Which group does your website primarily cater for? Was it built for Suspects, Prospects, Customers or Evangelists?

Stating the not so obvious

When you put your focus on Evangelists you’ll actually be catering for all four groups by default. No other group gives you the same amount of leverage.

You’ll spend less time pitching to tyre kickers because of higher quality leads. You’ll have better conversion rates and more repeat business. Best of all you’ll end up with more key clients that you actually enjoy working with.

Recommended reading: The Pumpkin Plan by Mike Michalowic