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Is 99% wastage acceptable?

I’ve seen it said that only 5% of potential buyers are actually looking for our product or service at any one time. This is obviously a gross overgeneralisation, as the number will vary dramatically from market to market, but it’s fair to say that the figure is a very low percentage …for all of us.

Now, while we do need to concentrate on the 5% (or whatever) to feed the sales pipeline, there are only two ways to the maximise the proportion of that 5% who’ll consider us. The first is to put out so much sales material that when they’re moving into buying mode, they notice us and get in touch. The other is to ensure they already knew about us when they weren’t in the market, so that they remember to contact us.

It seems to me that too many businesses only really use the first approach, without having the budget to do so properly. They target 100% of the market all of the time, in the hope they’ll ‘be there’ with their sales message at the right time. But they spread themselves much too thinly and only strike lucky on rare occasions.

The second approach requires maintaining the interest of those who aren’t buying at the moment, but will do one day. This needs educational, informative or entertaining content, not a sales pitch, which is irrelevant to those not yet buying. I will admit it’s what these articles are designed to do. If I sold our services every day, you’d have unsubscribed long ago. The hope is that when you do need our services, you’ll consider us.

But anyone can take this approach, in any market, in all sorts of different ways. What can we produce that might interest potential – but not current – buyers?

The old adage that “50% or our advertising is wasted, we don’t know which 50%” is quite amusing, but false. I’d suggest that the wastage figure is nearer 99%.