The affluent represent the wealthiest, most sought-after demographics in all of marketing. This was true when the economy was booming, but it’s even more true now as the middle class shrinks and the mass affluent segment emerges as the least affected by price, making them even more desirable than ever.
Who Are The Affluent?
• They are the top 21% of U.S. households (1 in 5)
• These households (24 million households/59 million+ adults)
are typically defined as having an annual income of $100,000 or
• They have 60% of total U.S. income and 70% of total U.S.
• 97% are homeowners; 25% own two or more personal residences
• High correlation between education and affluence
• They are twice as likely to buy, and when they do, spend 3.2
times more than the average household
The truth is it takes no more work to attract customers from the
explosively growing affluent population eager and willing to pay
What Do The Affluent Spend On?
90% of affluent annual spending is in 10 categories:
• Personal Insurance
• Home & Garden
• Apparel & Accessories
• Consumer Electronics
• Leisure & Entertainment
• Charitable Donations
Affluent Consumer Purchasing Triggers
Consumer purchasing triggers are events that cause a buyer to have a clear need, which usually converts into a sense of purpose and urgency in their buying process. They fall into several categories: emotion, value, referral, expectation, and need to name a few.
Emotion is the foremost reason we buy. Fear, passion, joy,
excitement, sadness, hate, and reverence all can lead to
purchasing decisions. How often have you ended up buying
something impulsively or at the spur of the moment? For instance, fear can bring emotion to a purchasing decision fear of gaining weight, fear of a future price increase, fear of growing old all can lead to buying.
Value is another of the strongest reasons that consumers buy.
Quantity and quality can excite and offer incentive for consumers to purchase.
Referral is a great contributor on buying decisions. Recognizing
someone they know or respect has used your product or service
and is happy with it can influence consumers. A buyer who is
happy with the outcome of the sale often can become your best
salesman and provide you with a powerful testimonial.
Expectation is another motivator that works well. Consumers
buy based on the end result of the product or service. They are
purchasing weight loss, not weight loss pills, or a romantic
evening, not a dinner for two at a waterfront restaurant.
Need is one of the most rudimentary buying triggers. (We go to
the supermarket whenever our need arises for groceries.)
Build Trigger-Specific Marketing and Sales Content
Your marketing should communicate your objective,
whether awareness, differentiation, or improving
perception. Your product's/service's Unique Selling
Proposition—is the most crucial step in determining
your marketing message.
Determine What Problem(s) Does Your Product/Service Solve?
What is truly unique about it (no one else has it) that is important
to selling (differentiated enough to make or break the sale) and
matters most to the consumer.
Why Should The Prospect Buy Now?
What action do you want them to take? Call, fill out a form, place an order, arrange an appointment, explore the website, etc. Give them a reason to buy now, but be aware that they may still be early in the customer buying cycle and provide them with a way to begin evaluating your product/service as a solution to their need.
Develop Advertising That Leverages Affluent Consumers Purchasing Triggers
Busy consumers decide within 2-3 seconds whether an ad is worth
reviewing or passing over. The affluent are no different; they don’t
want to search the ad for information or savings, so a clear and simple design is essential to drive response. In those seconds, the ad must communicate its product or service identity, create appeal (fulfill a desire) and motivate the consumer to respond.
When starting a business, your endeavors do not always go according to plan. Although an entrepreneur who is a good planner has a better chance at making his business succeed, if he cannot change plans according to market trends or business needs, the business will certainly fail. A flexible entrepreneur who can switch gears and “go with the flow” has an even greater success rate.
What are some situations where an entrepreneur may be flexible? Here are just a few that entrepreneurs typically experience.
Don’t do it all yourself
An entrepreneur who thinks he can do it all himself is set up for failure. A good entrepreneur must learn to delegate and let others take control of parts of his business. Surround yourself with people you feel comfortable working with. Hire competent help. And don’t forget to reward your team when the company experiences success!
Be flexible with price
You can’t win them all, even on prices for your goods or services. Especially in a tough economy where consumers are tightening their wallets, you may need to be flexible in the price of your goods or services. Be firm on getting what you need for your business services, and don’t get less than you can afford. However, be willing to offer discounts to clients or customers who order large volumes, and even lower prices in reaction to market demand.
Be flexible with negotiations
Flexibility with business negotiations is an art form. In your dealings with business partners or vendors, be professional and not pushy or obstinate. If you are willing to bend on some issues but ask for their concessions as well, you gain respect as a negotiator and as a business person.
Keep your product options open
Sometimes a great business idea is just that – a great idea. It may not work in real life application. Always be willing to be flexible with your product or service development to match market conditions and consumer demands.
Leave your personal life at home
Be flexible with focusing on your business and leaving your personal issues and problems at home. Personal issues can affect your effectiveness in operating a business.
Be willing to admit that you do not know everything. An entrepreneur has much to manage when running a business. Take classes or seminars on business processes. Even a community college accounting course can help you understand the bookkeeping process.
And finally, be willing and flexible to admit mistakes and take responsibility. Your business is important, and making decisions and standing behind them is the way to keep your business operating. However, some decisions may not be the best ones. At times, you may need to change your business direction or offer an apology to your associates or business partners for mistakes you made.
As an entrepreneur and business owner, you bear the full success and failure of your endeavors. Ultimately, your business is your responsibility. Take responsibility and be flexible – and you will find that your business will flourish as well.
Be Clear on Why You want to Start a Business
While the idea of starting a business may be daunting, the fatigue of looking for a job may be even greater. Taking control of your working life by venturing out on your own may be scary, but doing nothing can be worse. If you're truly interested in doing your own thing and you're ready to go for it with gusto, then small business ownership can be the most frustration and the most freeing avenue with the possibility of the greatest financial security.
Determine Your Business Type
You don't have to reinvent the wheel. The best idea for you may be tried and true with your personal twist. Take a look around and you'll see no shortage of repeatable ideas: People buy cupcakes, we all get haircuts, everyone likes some kind of jewelry, at some point plenty of homes need plumbers. Competitors can co-exist quite successfully. You just have to execute your version really well. So nail your idea and keep in mind that a service business (a service you provide based on your expertise) is much less expensive to launch than a product business where it costs money to create a tangible good.
Create Business Plan
Most new aspiring businesses owners think they're supposed to sit down and write a detailed and lengthy business plan, making all sorts of wild assumptions about how much money you'll make in five years, and so on. Some people worry so much about dotting every "i" and crossing every "t" until their plan is just perfect, they never start their business. For a basic business, I favor a business plan that covers what you offer, who you're targeting, how much you'll charge and what you'll do to make it happen. It's a fluid process that will change once you dive in, so keep it simple at the start.
Define Your Target Customer
Determine exactly who your customers are with great specificity. If you're creating a skin cream, don't say "all women" or "everyone with skin" could buy from you. Is it targeted to women who visit a dermatologist for monthly facials or to women who grab anything from the drug store aisles? Your ingredients, process, packaging and pricing will all determine who the customer is. Be specific: I'm going to provide bookkeeping services for restaurants; I'm going to create social media campaigns for self-published authors. The more you can pinpoint your targeted client, the more focused your marketing efforts will be to reach them. You'll be able to ask for the right referrals and you'll know who and what to search for on the Internet.
Refine And Perfect Your Pricing
Your pricing shouldn't just cover your costs; it must also generate a profit for your business. Don't undervalue your time and talent, which is a classic mistake. One option is to work the numbers from the top down: What are you looking to make annually? How does that break down monthly and weekly? How many products must you sell or how many clients will you need to bring in to meet those numbers? What are all of the costs associated with delivering that product or service? None of this requires fancy charts or advanced accounting skills. Plan around with the numbers so you know what's realistic as you get going—and revisit your numbers monthly.
This is where the magic happens. Nothing else matters if you don't have customers. The majority of your time and effort must focus on sales. Having a smart marketing plan to attract interested people, and then convert them to customers is your number one priority. Don't get overwhelmed about how to dive in: just start where you are. Create a list of potential prospects that you'll go after and begin making calls one by one. Build a social media presence for your business where you can engage directly with your target market.
Dreaming about how fabulous your business can be is good; but doing some to get it there is sensational. It's all about the hustle: the decisions you make and the actions you take each and every day – that'll get you where you want to go.
People do business with people they know, like and trust. Companies don’t make decisions, people do. Your professional network can open doors for you that otherwise could not be opened. For better or for worse, it’s not just what you know or are capable of doing, it’s who you know, that’s important for business development and success. You can also learn a tremendous amount from people in your network who have varying experience and expertise.
Here’s are some business networking tips you can use to grow your professional network.
When people in your network get stronger, you get stronger. By helping people in your network get stronger, they may be in a better position to be able to help you in the future. In addition, per the law of reciprocity, people may be more motivated to return the favor.
Share your expertise and ideas. Share information. Promote your network’s work and accomplishments. Be a connector. Business transactions are always mutually beneficial. One person is buying a product or service because it will benefit them in some way, and one person is selling a product or service because they can profit. If you can connect two people you know who would benefit from knowing each other, you can help two people as well as improve the strength of your network
Build a Reputation
In a professional setting, people prefer to build business relationships with people they see as being valuable. By building a reputation as someone who is talented, helpful, and valuable, people will be more motivated to meet you and stay in touch with you. Let people know what you’re accomplishing and learning through blogging, emails, and conversations.
If no one knows what you’re doing, it’s like it never happened. Maintain regular and consistent with people you want to stay in touch with. Communicate via email, blogging, social networking, and of course, in-person.
Meet Lots of People!
The best way to make lucky things happen, is to make a lot of things happen. Go outside. Manufacture serendipity. Ways to meet new people include conferences, events, meetup.com, asking people you know for introductions, reaching out to people directly, personal interest groups, intramural sports leagues, classes and workshops, parties, happy hours, alumni associations, Twitter, and LinkedIn groups.
Go where the people you want to meet hang out both online and offline. Interact with people and build rapport. Share valuable content and spark interesting conversations. Also think about who else spends time with the people you want to meet and connect with them.
Connections open doors, but relationships close deals. Networking is not just about exchanging business cards and connecting on LinkedIn. Networking is most valuable when long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships are formed. Relationships take time to build. Be patient. Stay in touch with people you like.
!When you push yourself, in any area of life, you will inevitably face setbacks. In networking, you will face a lot of rejection. People will ignore your calls and email. They will decline meeting invites, and requests for introductions. Trying and failing is much better then not trying at all. At least when you try you have a chance to succeed. Learn from your rejections and grow stronger for when it happens again.
Listening is one of the most valuable, yet commonly overlooked, skills to have in networking and in business. People love to talk about themselves and appreciate when you take a genuine interest in what they have to stay. Listening will help you to get to learn about peoples’ challenges and get to know them better, which can ultimately lead to more productive professional relationships. Ask open-ended questions, be genuinely interested, and express interest and curiosity.
You never know until you ask, and more often than you think, you will get the answer you want. Ask for introductions. Ask people you want to meet to meet with you. Ask for advice.
Build a reputation as someone who delivers on their promises and is persistent. Follow up with on people who promised to do something for you. Follow up on on emails you send that get ignored. Do what you promised to do for others.
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