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Friday, January 30, 2009

Making Millions With Continuity Marketing

Let's talk today about continuity marketing. Continuity
marketing is when your customer commits to buying a series of
items over a period of time. It's a win-win arrangement for the
buyer and the seller. Customers can receive products they want
on an automatic basis without the hassle of reordering them, and
you build a growing list of repeat buyers.

Many of us have purchased merchandise this way. Health and
beauty products are successfully marketed on an auto-ship basis.
Gourmet food items also work well with continuity marketing.
Usually, the customer buys the product at a low, introductory
price. Unless the customer cancels the agreement, she'll
automatically receive new shipments of the product every 4-6
weeks at full cost.

There are different ways you can offer your products. "Book of
the Month" clubs are modeled after the open ended model. This
means that customers buy merchandise with the understanding that
goods will be shipped on an automatic basis. However, buyers
can opt-out of the program at any time.

The close-ended offering works well with a predetermined number
of products in a series. For instance, a customer may receive
one volume of an encyclopedia every month until the set is
complete. Once the set is complete, the agreement ends.

Before you decide to choose continuity marketing as part of
your sales campaign, you'll need to assess whether your product
will work well with this approach. Products where the buyer's
needs remain constant over time usually work well. For
instance, you've probably seen the Proactiv® infomercials on
Sunday mornings. This product line flourishes because acne
sufferers have to use the product continuously to get results
and maintain them. Proactiv® uses the auto-replenish model so
the customer won't run out of the product.

If you offer a continuity program to your customers, make the
terms of the agreement very clear. No one wants to be tricked
into buying products at a regular basis. Because most of these
programs automatically charge the customer's credit card or
debit card, make sure that the buyer gets no surprises when the
transaction takes place.

If you choose to use continuity marketing for your business,
decide which approach will work best for you. If you have a
series of books or films, the overall product may be more
affordable if you send a piece at a time over time. Customers
who would never think of spending $299 for the set may feel
comfortable spending $29 every six weeks for a piece of the set.

If you sell something that needs replenished on a regular basis
— such as coffee, health products, etc. — auto-ship is a good
way to go. You'll build a loyal customer base, and you can also
use upsells and cross-sells to increase your profits.

Continuity marketing is a win-win arrangement between the
seller and the buyer who wants to remain loyal to the product.
This is a great way to build a list of repeat buyers over the
long term, and your potential for backend sales will skyrocket.

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