How to Make a Lot of Money With a Few Customers

Just because you don't have a massive audience doesn't mean you can't monetize it.
How to Make a Lot of Money With a Few Customers
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I wear many professional hats, but one of my favorite ways to work with clients is to help them monetize their customers. And, while I work with some of the largest brands in the world, I derive a lot of personal satisfaction from smaller clients -- the ones whom I have helped make millions with small, niche customer bases.

So, how do you get to six- or seven-figure success? Here are some of my secrets.

Do the math.

How many active customers do you have? For every thousand customers, for example, every $100 worth of products or services that you sell them per year nets you six figures and every $1,000 you sell gets you a million dollars in revenue for the year.

Now, that may seem like a lot, but $1,000 a year is less than $100 a month or $25 per week, so work out how often you need your average customer. This helps you to re-focus your business strategy and tactics.

You may have higher-priced services or products or a smaller customer base, but doing the math gives you a good benchmark to work from.

Related: 10 Best U.S. Cities for Science, Math and Tech Grads

Customize your offering.

Once you know how much and how often you need your customers to buy, make sure you have enough products or services for your customer to be able to hit those target numbers. If you don’t, or if you want to amp up your numbers, think about what ancillary products or services you could bundle with your existing ones or whether there's something you could add to your overall offerings.

Then, get creative (the fun part). Create limited special offers for your customers. You can have exclusive items or services, special deals or products that are available for a limited time or even by lottery.  

Or, think about an incentive for purchases over a certain amount. My company just doubled one client’s initiative year-over-year by offering a special gift incentive that was only available when you bought all items in a set -- it's a great way to collaborate with other brands or service providers that target similar customers with great products and services.

Also, consider upsells, whether you sell online or in person. The “would you like fries with that” tactic that McDonald’s has made so popular works in every venue.

Fill in the gaps with amazing content.

One reason my company has had so much success with our clients is that we don’t just ask customers for money or to buy, but we provide them with interesting content. This makes customers more engaged with the company and its products, they are receptive to opening emails and interacting on social media. That way, when offers do come, they don’t feel spammy.

Depending on the type of business, you can provide anything from educational events offline and/or online to behind-the-scenes sneak peeks, to video content featuring key company executives or product designers or even relevant influencers or celebrities. The key is to be additive to your customers’ experience and think about what they want to know (more than just what story you want to push or what product you want to sell).

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Remind them.

Whether it’s an automated email reminder, a phone call, a text or a subscription service, sometimes getting more from your customers is as easy as remembering to ask or ask again.  

If you have a limited-time offer, for example, let them know about it, but if they haven’t bought, remind them again half-way through the offer and again when it’s about to expire.

If you have a house cleaning service and your customers could use your service once a month, but they are trending at six-weeks, call them earlier to try to get booked more often or put them on a definitive monthly calendar with a set time.

Make it easy to be referred.

While you can make millions from your existing customers directly, they can also be a great source of growth to get you new customers. Since people tend to personally and professionally connect with others who are like them, having a strong referral incentive can be a big win for your business.

Related: 3 Ways to Beat Referral Fatigue in Sales

While some industries have regulation around this, many will be able to follow the lead of Uber, Dropbox, Eat Purely (where I am an investor), Erin Condren Design and others who have built their businesses by offering both their current customers and new customers an incentive for sharing their products and services.

Make the referrals easy and simple to execute and the reward worthwhile. Ask for the referral directly in order to have your existing customers help you build your base of raving fans.

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