Grayson, iMark Interactive
I’ve been building and running businesses since I was in high school. From my first lawn care service to my current WordPress support business, I’ve tried a lot of different things in my career. For the past 15 years, I’ve had nearly ten different businesses in a range of industries.
You can learn a lot in this amount of time on how (and how not) to run a successful business.
The one thing I’ve learned in these years is also my current motto, which is “People over Profits”.
It wasn’t until an e-commerce business I created in college that I really understood the power of this idea. When you run a consumer electronics business with high competition and low profit margins, you have to figure out a way to break out from the crowded space. I couldn’t compete on price with the likes of Best Buy or Walmart, but I could do my best when it came to customer service.
People Over Profits
Treating the customer like a regular person and making sure they are satisfied with whatever you provide can propel your business forward. When I started offering WordPress support services back in 2013, my first and only attention was on making sure we provided a superior service to anyone and everyone who needed it. We didn’t focus on money. We focused on how we treated our customers.
My current business is booming because of our reputation on customer service. I’ll be happy to lose money on a project if I can make the customer feel we have done everything they needed and more. While it’s not always good to lose money, if you do it strategically in order to keep a customer happy, it can help more than hurt.
During our ecommerce years, I was told by several marketing professionals that for every one negative review, you lose the effect of at least ten positive reviews. Getting positive reviews from customers is also much harder than getting negative ones.
Why? It’s actually pretty simple to understand. Angry customers are more likely to voice their concerns on social media and to their friends. Happy customers just move on to their next thing.
They are happy with the service, so you have to try harder to get positive reviews.
The Best Form of Marketing
Word of mouth marketing is the most powerful (and cheapest) form of marketing you can do.
When people give others positive referrals about your business, it’s easier to pull in new customers and grow your business. We grew our WordPress business purely on this word of mouth method. It’s incredibly powerful, but you have to be very careful to make sure you nurture your customers and keep their interests ahead of the money.
With the explosion of social media, you should always take time to focus on word of mouth marketing. It’s a great strategy if you use it wisely and to your advantage. The only way to do that is to provide excellent customer service and value. People have to feel they are getting a great value for the money they paid. There is no worse feeling than paying for a service or product and it being pure junk. This applies to every business in every industry. Provide exceptional value to make sure your customers shout your name on the rooftops. A wise social media strategy can do that.
Don’t Be Scared of Free
In the effort to provide some more value, I figured I would provide just one more tip on how you can succeed in business. There are a lot of people out there that say never provide anything for free. Charge what you are worth, etc.
As someone who has built a successful business of providing services for free in order to help people, don’t listen to all of this talk. While you shouldn’t give away everything for free, if you can help someone with an issue in only 5 minutes, then why not do it? That person could become a paying customer in the future.
I used this technique to build our WordPress service business. I provided extraordinary value for people in Facebook groups, through email and other social networks. Since I could answer their questions in a little amount of time, they got this help for free. Based on our tracking, over 90% of these people we helped for free have become paying customers.
Some have never paid for our services, but have referred hundreds of paying customers to use all because we provided them with some free help.
See the power of free? It all comes down to the value you can provide and if you focus on the people over the money, it has a profound impact on not only their lives, but also the growth of your business.
Don’t be scared of providing something for free. It’s a great way to build a new business and customer base. You can’t do it forever, but it’s certainly a viable way to start off.
If you can take away one thing from me, I hope it’s that you will focus your attention on the customer experience and not the profits. Yes, a business needs to make money, but take time to build a loyal marketing machine from the people you help. There is nothing like it.
Check out Grayson here:
I get asked A....LOT (!!!) how I can possibly give so much away for free and yet make SO much money.
That's how. Right there. :)
I make so much money, because I give so much away.
Grayson hits the nail on the head perfectly, "Based on our tracking, over 90% of these people we helped for free have become paying customers."
This is absolutely, 100% true.
When you help someone and you put people over profits, as Grayson also mentions, you grow your business. You're not doing it for the money or the prestige, but you just genuinely want to help people.
People see that.
It translates to them.
Give something to someone free and they trust you.
It builds trust.
I found myself saying, "YES!" "YES!" "YES!" as I was reading this interview. Loved all he had to say. Very valuable information!