When a business focuses solely on client acquisition, it creates a churn-and-burn existence that’s ripe for disaster when the business cycle goes south. Rediscover the 100-year old principle that direct marketers use to win regardless of the economy.
Friend, there’s something I want to warn you about…
If you’re like most business owners, when the next business cycle hits the trough your entrepreneurial ride is headed straight toward the jagged cliffs of destruction–and the cliff’s edge is coming quick.
Why do I say this?
Because the odds aren’t in your favor.
The stats about the failure rates of new businesses are touted everywhere; and “established” companies don’t fare much better.
Shoot, even long-term established companies run into hard times.
Look at Sears.
Sears was the Amazon of the 20th century, and now it’s in its final death throes. You couldn’t give its assets away.
But there is a way to insulate your business from downward business cycles.
In fact, it’s the same principle that’s been creating millionaires out of direct response marketers for over 100 years…
I’m talking about the Backend Principle.
“But Brian, I’ve Never Heard of This Before!”
That’s okay because it’s stupid simple…
But before I dig into what the Backend Principle is, let me tell you about my own business and how I was smacked with the obvious truth that made the difference between ending the year in the red and in the black.
I help companies find money in their business that they never knew they could tap.
Nifty trick, eh?
And another thing I do is write copy that sells.
Both skills come in handy, and companies often hire me to do both.
Well, I had a client who wanted to fill the VIP tent at an event that gets foot traffic of about 300,000 people over three days.
The project was good enough size for us that we took it, even though it meant going outside our normal sandbox for aspects of the project.
Then it started happening…
As I wrote the copy for the VIP sales campaigns, my partner noticed ways they could drive more and more revenue for the event–not just the VIP area we were commissioned to fill.
This got the owner excited, and he bought another campaign…
And then another…
And then another…
Then he started recommending us to other people who were affiliated with the event, and even more campaigns started coming our way.
All told, helping this client with the natural “next steps” of the project netted us 50% more fees on the project than we would have received with the front-end alone.
What does this have to do with the Graveyard of Broken Companies I’ve been talking about?
Companies who succeed use the Backend Principle to grow their companies on…
THE MOST LUCRATIVE SEGMENT OF ANY MARKET
And who are these coveted people?
Let’s unpack what this means, and how it applies to your business.
First, let’s talk about the seductive marketing booby-trap that snares most failed companies: luring new buyers.
Yes, new buyers are important to any business–especially startups.
The problem is, this is where most failed businesses stop with their marketing.
They focus on gathering new clients and little else: leaving tons of cashola on the table, and guaranteeing a miserable churn-and-burn existence.
This is no way to live–and it’s no way for a business to thrive.
But once that business begins selling, building its list, and gathering a core of satisfied clients, its focus should shift to…
SERVE THE MOST IMPORTANT MARKET SEGMENT WITH OFFERS THEY’RE ALREADY PRIMED TO BUY
Buyers are buyers are buyers.
Once someone purchases anything from you (and you do a great job), they’re primed to buy other products and services from you again.
And this is where the Backend Principle comes into play.
You’ve already incurred the most expensive part of every business: acquiring a new client.
Now it’s up to you to serve that buyer at the highest level.
Not only is this what you SHOULD do as a shepherd for your clients, but it’s also the most profitable thing you can do for your company.
These buyers trust you. They’ve bought from you. Now it’s time for you to give them everything they’ll need to be successful–and these “next level” products and services are your backend products.
HOW TO KNOW WHICH BACKEND PRODUCTS TO CREATE AND SELL
I can’t remember where I first heard this, but it’s a business truth:
Every product you sell creates a problem for your client.
To serve your clients and give them everything they need to become successful and solve their problems, your job is to identify these problems and offer solutions.
Sounds easy, right? And if you spend a little time thinking about it, you’ll find that it’s simple.
For example, let’s say you sell lawn care supplies and equipment.
Somebody walks into your store and you sell them some lawn fertilizer and weed control.
Well, how are they going to apply it to their lawn?
Now they need a seed/fertilizer spreader.
Now that they’ve applied the fertilizer, their grass is growing like crazy. Their little push mower just doesn’t do the job, especially since they moved outside town and have 1.5 acres of yard. So you sell them a zero-turn mower.
And we can go on and on.
This is true in lawn care companies, and it’s true in yours.
I feel like I’m on a roll, so let’s keep this going…
Take my company, for example.
Somebody’s committing random acts of marketing in their business, and my partner Juliana examines their marketing, looks at their market, and builds them a step-by-step playbook that guides them from where they’re at to where they want to be.
Clients love it! But now they have to implement it…
Do they have a team? If not, perhaps they need our agency services…
Do they need someone to monitor their progress and hold them accountable? Our consulting services could be a fit…
All of this is extra revenue for us, and gives our clients a better return on their investment.
WHY NOT JUST GIVE PEOPLE EVERYTHING THEY NEED ON THE FRONT-END, RATHER THAN MAKING THEM BUY SERVICES AND PRODUCTS PIECEMEAL?
Whenever I talk about the Backend Principle I get this question…
Some people see front-end offers, hear me talk about how each service creates a new problem, and they feel like anybody who does this isn’t giving the whole solution and is basically forcing people to spend more.
If you’re one of those people, I hear what you’re saying. But you have to understand something…
Not everybody is at the same place in their business. Not everyone has the same budget, or level of skill, or experience.
This means not everyone NEEDS everything.
Not everyone can AFFORD everything.
Some people want what they want, and that’s enough.
Offering a front-end offer, and letting them choose from among a number of backend offers gives the client control, and is in my humble but accurate opinion the best way to show clients respect–this puts them in the driver’s seat.
WHY THE BACKEND PRINCIPLE GIVES YOU THE ULTIMATE ADVANTAGE IN ACQUIRING NEW BUSINESS
I’ve spent a lot of time talking about focusing on selling BUYERS more products, and this is where you’re going to do the most good for them and for your business.
In fact, serving buyers at a high level can insulate your business from economic downturns by establishing a relationship with the folks who are proven to spend money–and unless you mess up, if they’re going to spend money with anybody, they’re likely going to spend it with you.
But there’s another advantage the Backend Principle gives you as well…
When you’ve got a solid backend system in place, that means you know what each client is worth to you over the long-term.
This gives you an unfair advantage over your competitors who focus on the front-end, and sell backend products willy-nilly (if they do it at all).
Because when you know what a new client is worth to you, you know how much you can spend to acquire them and still maintain profitability.
For example, if a client is worth $12,000 profit to you, I’d bet you wouldn’t bat an eye to spend $3,000 to acquire them. Maybe you’d spend $8,000. Shoot, even at $11,000 you’d be making a profit.
The point is, when you know your numbers, you have the data to make intelligent decisions about where to draw the line in new client acquisition cost–and it gives you the freedom to do things that your competitors just aren’t willing to do.
So in a sense, your backend finances your front-end and keeps your business growing and growing.
To sum up, business isn’t easy–especially when you’re focused on churn-and-burn opportunities rather than long-term relationships via your product back-end.
Set up your back-end communications to give maximum value to your clients, focusing your efforts on serving BUYERS rather than tire-kickers and looky-loos.
Finally, know your numbers so you can use your backend to finance your front-end new client acquisition.