Stretch that dollar

Consumption | What It Is, Why It Matters And How It’ll Help Your Bottom Line

Let me start by saying how excited I am to contribute to the amazing Level343 Blog and I invite all of you to comment/question and suggest topics.

Now, let’s get this started.

I plan to cover copywriting, landing page tips, SEO tips and more over the coming weeks but I wanted to get started with an online marketing tip that I don’t see getting a lot of coverage that I feel is important….

Welcome Back Repeat Customers!Learning how to attract repeat business is the most powerful thing you can do to get more out of your advertising dollars and increase revenue.

You may not be familiar with the term “consumption” when it comes to your business, but it is crucial to the success of your business. Without consumption, repeat business is impossible.

I was searching online for new organization systems – ways to be more efficient and on top of the gazillion tasks I juggle each day.  I came across a cool system that promised to solve all my organizational woes.  A planner, a book on organization and a DVD with helpful tips and a program that promised to alter my life.  I ordered it, and with great excitement and anticipation, I waited for the package to arrive.

Finally the blessed day arrived and my package was sitting on my doorstep.  Step one was to bring it in.  Check – that’s not too hard.  Step two is to open the package…and  tear into it I did!  Step three was to flip through the book and planner – not only was it pretty but it was filled with little gems of wisdom.

While still excited about the new system, I did begin to realize I was going to need to make time to watch the DVD and read the book and learn this new system.  I realized that would be a perfect task for Saturday morning when all was quiet.  So I set my treasure aside with the plan to revisit in just a couple days.

As I am sure you can imagine, there it still sits, I now believe it is taunting me and laughing at me on a daily basis.  It sits there, daring me to just use it.  And fingers crossed, I will…. one day.

Can you relate?  How many of you order from infomercials or great websites because the marketing message was so compelling you couldn’t resist?  And how many of those items go unused?

Books, training products, skin care products, supplements and health programs – there is no product that is immune to this phenomenon.  Clothes purchased sit at the back of a closet.  Shoes remain in the shoebox.  And it’s not just impulse purchases.  You may research and plan and actively decide you have a need for a product and still not use it once you get it home.

There are so many reasons why.  We are busy, we have forgotten how that particular product can solve our problems, and we are easily distracted.

As a business owner, this is not something you ever want to hear.  You want your customers to consume your products (and ideally quickly and with much satisfaction).

I know what you’re thinking – “But I made a sale so why do I care what they do with it once they get it home?”Dollars-1024x768There is a reason and it’s a good one.  It is so much easier to get repeat business than it is to get new business.  Your advertising dollars are stretched further if you increase the lifetime value of a customer.

But if your customers don’t use what they bought the first time around, they aren’t likely to buy again.

The problem here is consumption.  People buy products but they often (more often than you would think) don’t consume them.  And in order to get me hooked and get me back in the store/on the website they need to make sure I consume the first product I bought and fall in love with it.

This problem exists in all industries.  Have you ever bought a book and then not read it?  Have you bought a home study course and not completed it?  Bought a tape series and not listened to it?  My overflowing closet tells me I have.  It all ends up in there for me to get to “one day.”

So, we know there is a problem, anyone know the solution?

Start by listing all the reasons that someone may not use your product (list everything you can think of, even if it’s not your “fault” and not something you think you can control).  It will help to understand what roadblocks to consumption you are facing.

Some of the more common reasons will be:

  • They may be confused or unsure of how to use it.
  • They may forget about the product once they get it home or by the time it arrives in the mail.
  • They may be too busy to learn it/set it up.
  • They may have lost the excitement that they had from the original sales pitch.

This is an opportunity to get creative.  What can you do to re-excite them and get them using the product quickly (the sooner they tear into it and start using it, the better).

You can include an easy to follow instruction sheet so there are no questions on how to consume the product.

If they ordered online, you could set up a helpful follow-up Autoresponder series that prepares them for the pending arrival of the product (assuming it was shipped) and give them ideas and suggestions on how to use it, when to use it and remind them why they should use it.

Include a worksheet or something that guides them through the key points of the training series or book (if it’s a training course), or include recipes and health tips if it’s related to cooking, include “how to” make-up lessons if it’s a make-up product.

There are countless creative ways you can share information and tutorials via email.  Send them to short video tips. Get them involved in a contest.  Subtly continue to sell after the fact, reminding them what their problem is and how your product is the solution.

You can offer them a discount on their next order or even some other free gift if they use your product and give you feedback within a certain amount of time.  You are killing two birds with one stone there – you give them the incentive to consume and you are securing a testimonial.

If it’s a physical product that has been shipped, include a brochure or worksheet or something that they can glance at easily that re-energizes their interest.  Again consider contests and encouraging social media interaction after they consume the product.

None of that guarantees they will use the product, but it makes it much more likely.  And short of going to the home of each of your clients and forcing them to consume your product, all you can do is think of the biggest factor that would stop people from consuming your product and try to address that issue.

I can’t possibly outline all the specifics in one article but I wanted to give a few general ideas to get you thinking.

The key here is to realize that if you hope to grow the lifetime value of a customer, you can’t consider the sales cycle complete after the first order.  Just like you created a marketing system to generate the business and convert it, you need a back-end process to encourage consumption and reordering (and you also open the door for upsells and cross-sells).

If you want to comment and let me know what business you are in and what you think 3 challenges are to your customer consuming the product, I’ll pick 2-3 and write a follow up article with a specific plan for those businesses so you can all see my ideas laid out.

I urge you not to overlook this important concept.  Your job isn’t done once you have the first sale.

Once you have them consuming your product – you can sell them other products, sell renewals/refills of what they originally bought and so much more.

Repeat Business Increases The Lifetime Value of a CustomerThe key take away here?  Just because someone wants something – doesn’t mean they will use it.  Teach your customers how and when to use your products and educate them on why they need more of what you offer.

If you focus on teaching consumption to your customers and building your business through repeat visitors, you’ll see those advertising dollars working harder for you.


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108 Responses

  1. Great article i like to read your article very much. I got huge of idea from your post. Thanks a lot for sharing these awesome post with us. I’ll visit your blog again.

  2. You are spot on Jennifer. I see this often even with my FREE offers on e-Books. After a few lead nurturing emails, I often get responses saying “hey, can you send me another copy, I downloaded it, but never read it….”. In B2B, I think business owners are just overwhelmed with putting out the latest fire and often forget the problem. They revisit your site or respond to your lead nurturing email when it becomes a fire once again.

    1. Thanks Jimmy. It’s funny I used to see that a lot with my free ebooks/whitepapers also but I always thought with my paid stuff, people would consume it because they paid. Many years ago I realized that wasn’t true and that was a really important insight.

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