Sell Wide, Sell Deep
by Kevin Nunley
Here's one of the most durable marketing rules, one that's been
around for years. It's good advice for any business. If you want
to sell lots of products and services, if you want to expand your
business with loads of eager new customers--sell wide, sell deep.
Let's look at this timeless rule of good marketing. It's full of
ideas and inspiration that can fatten your pocketbook rather quickly.
The best ideas are ones that help you work smarter, not harder.
Here's how "sell wide, sell deep" works.
"Sell wide" means offering lots of products or services that follow
a basic theme (for example: all things offered by a printer). "Sell
deep" means finding lots of good variations on a successful product.
Let's say you have one product or service that customer after
customer is ready to plunk down money to buy. You start thinking
"If I had ten products just like that one I'd get rich." If you've
got a glazed donut that is the hottest breakfast item on your
downtown lunch cart, why not expand on the idea? Offer a glazed
with frosting. Then offer those frosting flavors in chocolate,
maple, strawberry, maybe even cherry. That's selling "deep."
Now offer different kinds of donuts and related items like muffins
and coffee. Give your customers choices of old-fashioned donuts,
cake donuts, buttermilk, donuts with sprinkles, and donuts that
commemorate an upcoming holiday. That's selling "wide."
Many businesses find a big increase in revenue when they introduce
customers to a low-priced product, then step them up to increasingly
more involved and expensive products or services. Customers are
ready to spend more for more advanced services as they come to
trust and rely on you.
If you aren't able to provide extra products or services yourself,
contract with others to provide them for you. Many web site owners
swear by their "back page" items. You can easily offer your
customers lots of products and services supplied by others at
very little cost to your own company.
How To Find a Winner...Then Go Wide and Deep.
All businesses start out with some idea of what they want to sell.
In the beginning you develop a few promising products and services
and put them out there to gage the public's interest. Some products
work, others don't, and sometimes you get a request out of left
field that turns into your most important profit source.
When I started my business, I thought that handing out marketing
advice would be my bread and butter. Before long, someone asked me
to write a press release. It never occurred to me to be in the
press release business, but as soon as I put "writes press releases"
on my web site, I got dozens of orders. Presto, a new profit source.
I expanded it into lots of customized variations. Press releases to
be sent via email, releases for regular mail, releases intended for
major magazines and newspapers, and releases intended for email
The product line soon went wide and deep, much to the delight of
clients who were looking for just the right service tailored to
Listen closely to what your customers and prospects are saying.
When they talk about a problem they have, think of it has a hint
for another product or service you can offer to solve that problem.
Those unexpected suggestions are your most important opportunities.
Simple Research Gives You A Head Start.
You don't have to wait for customers and prospects to suggest new
products and services. Ask them in clever ways that get them thinking
for you. "How did that work for you? Was it as effective as it could
have been? What problems are you having that we might be able to solve
for you?" Customers can often see things that people inside the
business don't realize.
You've seen people conducting surveys in the mall. That kind of
research isn't very good from a statistical standpoint. You can't
get reliable numbers and percentages from it. However, you CAN use
simple research to get ideas for new products and services. Just
like some restaurant chains, give customers a short questionnaire
to fill out. Have them leave their comments for improvements or
new services. Reward them if you can with a discount or free offer.
Home-grown research, from entry forms on your counter to spending
time on the phone with a prospect, can show you new ways to expand
your successful products and services. Sell wide, sell deep to
make more money.
Kevin Nunley provides marketing advice and copy writing for businesses
and organizations. Read all his money-saving marketing tips at http://DrNunley.com/.
Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or
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