“We lost our biggest customer nine months ago, and with them, about 25% of our business. We have great word-of-mouth but now we need more.”
This is a virtual company that started selling research paper formatting software to college students about 12 years ago. They grew into the market leader of a small but healthy niche by building a great product and being one of the first to do it. Word-of-mouth took care of the rest and let them focus on improving the product.
But there comes a time for every business when you need more than word-of-mouth; when you want to grow faster than your referrals or the status quo can take you. And this was their time.
They invited me in to be their Virtual Director of Marketing.
I asked a lot of questions, talked to a handful of customers and went through the process of searching for the type of software they build – – including a lot of time using their website as well as their competitors’.
The news was mostly good. Their customers loved them, they had the best product on the market and their website made it relatively easy to buy. But…
Their website didn’t persuade.
If you weren’t there because a classmate said you HAVE to buy their software, chances are you wouldn’t buy their software. They just weren’t telling their story. The Google Adwords campaign had been running essentially unattended since it was first installed. And while it was generating sales, the cost per sale was $26.19 (on a $29.95 product). Ouch!
Plus, they weren’t in conversation with their customers.
No real engagement. They dearly love their customers, they bend over backwards for them, but there was no ongoing communication – – no engagement. No relationship building.
The happy ending is that every semester since we started working together has been the biggest semester in the company’s history (the business spikes twice a year at the beginning of each college semester).
So, how did we do it?
We made a couple of big changes:
- we fixed their website;
- we fixed their Adwords campaign;
- and we started communicating with their loyal customer base on a regular basis.
But mostly, we started chipping away on a weekly basis at all things marketing – – the dozens of little things that make or break the customer experience.
I doubt we’ll ever be finished (are you ever finished?), but what they’re spending on marketing has actually gone down, sales are up and continue to grow, their story is being told much more clearly and more students each semester are telling their friends and classmates what a fantastic piece of software the company makes.
I’d say clearly, the quality of their marketing has caught up with the quality of what they sell. And when that happens, look out!
This company has done a truly amazing job at staying aligned with the changing needs of their customers. And it’s shown in their growth curve. And I’m proud to continue to be part of that exciting, fun and satisfying experience.
If you’d like to know more about this client and how we did what we did, I’m happy to talk with you. If you’d like to talk to the owner, I’d be happy to share his contact information.
Or if you’d just like to talk to someone about what’s going on with your marketing, let’s start a conversation.
Send me an email or call 480-948-0029.