A while back I wrote an article about what rugby can teach you about blogging. Now that I’ve pondered that for a long time, I reckon you can interchange “blogging” in that statement with just about any asset building activity.
The critical thing about building something into an asset is of course that people pay you for the use of it from time to time. Finding those people isn’t always easy, hence the predilection most of humanity has towards becoming a slave (employee) for someone who has done the difficult bit and found the customers already.
It makes sense then, that if you’ve gone to the sometimes excruciating bother of finding a customer that you don’t instantly start to neglect her as the drama of hunting down the next one begins. Indeed, she is probably your best potential source of the next one if you apply the right thinking to this business business.
The rugby analogy is hidden in a seemingly un-structured rabble of 30 big guys knocking 7 shades of shit out of each other. Rugby has been likened to Chess and Military Campaigning in that it is actually a very structured, intelligent and tactical game where you just happen to be allowed to knock 7 shades of shit out of each other too 🙂
The key point I was making in that analogy is that to the uninitiated the behaviour on the pitch looks bizarre. You’re only allowed to pass the ball backwards (against the direction you want to go in) and when a player gets the ball, instead of running or kicking it towards the goal line, he or she invariably returns to the pack of forwards (the biggest guys with the deformed ears) for protection and the acquisition of ground goes through phase after phase of this until the time is right to release the ball to the backs (the slightly smaller, faster guys with nice ears and hair).
The reasoning behind all of this seemingly slow process is that the object of the game is largely about keeping possession of the ball while gaining enough ground prior to launching an attack on your opponents try line…easy eh?
To complete the comparison I want you to think of your existing customer as your forward pack and your quest for new sales as the try line. By returning to your pack frequently you can build momentum, trust and ground, making every subsequent sprint for the try line (sales campaign) more likely to be successful.
Into the bargain, each of your existing customers will buy more stuff from you if you make the offer compelling enough. An example:
I have a website where I have the following going on:
- a blog with 300 (and growing) free articles to help readers with their main issues. Some of these are partly protected so that you need to have a Free membership to read them in full.
- 4 Free eBooks to whet the reader’s appetite for my premium offerings and encourage them to join as a Free member which sees them added to my email list.
- 5 paid for eBooks and some paid for services in my store
- An email list of 550 members
- A weekly news letter that goes out to all 550 members to update them on additions to the site and offers.
That in and of itself guarantees about £200/month of income which is nice, but it’s only the beginning of what you can do with such a set up.
Each time I send a newsletter I generate sales, comments on posts (opportunities to interact) and emails from readers asking for help which I provide for free.
Some of the emails result in a chain of replies that can quite often be re-purposed as a new article for the site.
The main benefit however, is that I’m engaging and building a reputation for being a helpful expert and it has paid off so far financially and in terms of building the site’s popularity.
The future opportunities to return to this particular pack for further sales and readership growth include:
- a Paid “gold” membership level offering an always growing bank of extra premium information products for a monthly fee.
- Academy; a growing series of online educational courses that can be charged for and certificated.
- Further digital and physical products
- Recommended suppliers who I’ve vetted and who pay to be recommended to my readers
- Commission from “recommended product” sales by third parties
Returning to your pack is the opposite to what most high street, big businesses do. They are always on the hunt for more new customers. You can capitalise on this by looking after your existing clients, encouraging them to bring their friends along and becoming your close allies in helping you to develop further assets that benefit both of you.
Go to it and let me know what you’ve come up with in the comments below.
And yes I know Scotland is still crap in the 6 Nations thanks!