The title to this blog post is not some politically correct way to suggest you focus on the AARP crowd. What I am suggesting here is a product or service model that allows you to attract customers with an “easy to try” offering and intentionally move them along to substantially greater offerings in terms of scope and cost.
Software companies, particularly the new online breed of software, are great at this. Almost all software services come with a free trial offer period and, in some cases, a free version altogether. They even include free or low-cost services to take the pain out of moving from a competitor. Of course, the strategy is to then move you up to the full powered version once you’re hooked. In addition, there are upgrades for when you grow with the service and need to add people. And lastly, there are add-on products and services, including some from strategic partners, that make life even greater.
Every business needs to surround their core offerings in this way. If you sell a product, you certainly should be complimenting it with services. If you sell services, there are products out there, including your training manual as a product, that could enhance your offerings.
I’ve written before about what I call the 7 Stage of the Customer Life-Cycle: Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, and Refer.
The goal of a maturing market strategy would be to make sure you have offerings for try, buy, and repeat, and make sure that each of those stages has just the right combination of offerings to move your customers through them.
This way of thinking may certainly cause you to rethink your entire product/service mix, but that’s exactly what must be done. I’ve witnessed dramatic changes in small businesses when they just grasp the idea of creating a trial or low entry point offering. Giving people a taste of how great you are without asking them to risk too much to find that out is a powerful marketing tactic. Having something increasing more valuable and more costly once you’ve gained their trust is the key to building and sustaining marketing momentum.
So, the questions for your strategic thinking on this:
1) What is your free or trial offering?
2) What is your starter offering?
3) What is your “make it easy to switch” offering?
4) What is your core offering?
5) What are your add-ons to increase value?
6) What is your premium – “members only” offering?
7) What are your strategic partner pairings?