I recently stumbled on the poster below, which is available on condenaststore.com. What’s wrong with this picture?

For a lot of businesses, I expect that’s a pretty accurate representation of your current marketing.  On the left are all the complex systems and procedures you built to attract new leads and sales.  On the right are all the systems (or lack there of) to retain and maximize lifetime value.  Pretty obvious discrepancy here.  But that’s not the only thing that’s wrong with the picture.  In fact, it’s perfectly fine and normal if you’re in this situation.

The bigger issue here is where the business owner is staring. She’s focused exclusively on the left side and is ignoring the right side! Focus is what’s really wrong with this picture.  As a business owner, it’s your job to make sure you and your team are trying to solve the right problem.

For example, if you’re already getting traffic to your website, then searching for more traffic strategies is NOT where you should invest your time and energy.  That’s the wrong problem to solve.  Instead, your bigger leverage point is to find ways to increase conversions from the existing traffic.  It’s almost always easier to optimize conversions than to set up new traffic systems.  Yet, just like the poster above, we tend to focus on the wrong problem.

Let’s take a look at another example from a client I worked with several years ago.


The Customer Gold Mine

I refer to this example as “the customer gold mine” and you’ll see why in a minute.  This client sold a medical device and over the years had accumulated a database of over 25,000 customers.  They came to us because they wanted help with their SEO.  They were already selling the device through big partners and thought the next logical step was to get into the SEO game.  Heck, everyone else was doing it so it must be a good idea right? ;)

But again, they were trying to solve the wrong problem.  They already had traffic from partnerships and other advertising strategies so traffic was not their biggest leverage point.  Sure, more traffic wouldn’t hurt.  But focusing on SEO in their situation was like throwing kindling wood on top of a bonfire.

Their bigger leverage point was the fact that they had completely ignored their 25,000+ customer database!  So rather than help them with SEO, we worked together on a customer reactivation campaign that generated over $15,000 in sales in less than a week. That was a nice little windfall of cash that would have taken a LOT longer to see had we focused on traffic.

I realize not everyone has such a big list of customers, but the concept still applies.  Take a closer look at where you’re focusing your time and energy in your marketing.  Are you trying to solve the wrong problem?  Is your leverage in traffic?  Or is it in conversion, retention, referrals, repeat purchases, or lifetime value?  That’s not always an easy question to answer.  So take your time and critically assess your situation.  Then work on solutions to the correct problems in your marketing.