We can see any sales or marketing process in the terms of hunting, gathering, or sowing and reaping.
A canvasser or sales representative seeks a target customer and ‘hunts’ for sales or prospects. The process is done in different ways:
- Some sales people creep up carefully like a lion and then pounce with some clever closing technique.
- Other sales people are tactical and set their stall out like a spider.
- Some sales people share a symbiotic relationship where they get repeat business on a regular basis. Like a cleaner fish and a shark.
- A canvasser is more like a honey bee, hoping from flower to flower to see if there is any nectar left.
The problem with most sales systems is that they need to keep going. If the animal hunter stops hunting he stops eating. If the human hunter stops hunting he will also have trouble eating at some point.
Marketing can be a little different, marketing is selling en masse. Instead of trying to sell your goods or service to one person, or to a small group, you market to many. This can be hundreds, thousands or even millions.
The internet contains millions of potential customers. Facebook has found more than a Billion customers. One phrase used in the online marketing community is “drinking from the fire hose”. This is creates an interesting image in our minds. The potential traffic from a successful online marketing campaign can crash servers and wipe out inventory in no time at all.
In reality though, most people that try to drink from the internet fire hose don’t do so well in the beginning…
In fact, even after a few years, the same person can get older, wiser, and still not be very successful online… Some get lucky early on and pick a profitable niche that has little competition. Others do well because they already have a successful business with followers, a ‘Tribe’ that joins them in their online efforts.
The majority of people who try to market online fail and give up. What are the percentages? I’ve heard figures of 80-95%.
Online a hunter might be a ‘shiny object’ chaser, for example they might be attracted to ways of trying to short cut googles algorithm. These schemes have had short term success over the years but often end in disappointment as websites get de-indexed and hard work goes up in flames. Online hunters tend to move from one target to another leaving carcasses of failed ventures behind them.
A gatherer does well when crops are plentiful. Like having an ice cream stand at the beach in summer. A gatherer online might do pay per click PPC campaigns or Facebook ad campaigns. At some point the traffic becomes scarcer or less profitable. Perhaps 5 more ice cream stands pop up near by. With PPC competition drives up the cost of clicks and squeezes margins.
A vegetable or cereal farmer works on a cycle of preparation, sowing and reaping. This might be like importing commodity type white label products from China, or un-brandable niche sites that are propped up with a private blog network (PBN).
A fruit tree farmer faces most money, time and effort at the beginning to get everything set up. Once the trees are a few years old most of the work is is harvesting the fruits of labor. This farmer might do a bit of hunting, gathering or sowing and reaping but this is more likely for fun or for experimentation of new revenue streams. Rather than having to do it to survive.
We like the “fruit farmer” approach to an online business. A good plan and strategy, exercised with some effort up front. After your online presence and strategy has matured a little, revenue is fairly predictable.
The best bit about being a fruit farmer? Those lazy summer days before harvest where you can just relax and enjoy what you have built.