The worst number in marketing is 1

Once upon a time…there was a small stationery shop on the corner of the street where I used to live a few years back. Next to that stationery shop, there was a small family-bakery. 

On the outskirts of the city, the landscape was predominantly shaped by family houses and low-rise apartments, little traffic and people would often know each other.  

Those are circumstances that would allow those two shops to do pretty well (from what it looked like) in spite of two supermarkets being just a 5 and maybe 8 minutes drive away. 

Then this happened.

District’s authorities approved building another big-box supermarket on the opposite corner of where the two shops stood. 

Fast forward six months and there it was. A flat, rectangular one-stop shopping-oasis where all consumer’s dreams come true. 

Cheaply, I should also say.

The next months were an uphill battle for the two little shops that were there ever since the oldest folks could remember. 

The corporate monster would slowly suck the majority of their clients — perhaps except for a few regulars. 

But unfortunately, this wasn’t enough to run a profitable business. 

After a few more months of slow agony, the existence of those little family businesses came to an inevitable end. 

Well…that’s called ‘free market.’ 

Rules are the same for everyone (well…in theory at least)

And there’s a great marketing lesson in that too. 

The living legend of direct response marketing, Dan Kennedy, said it best:

“The most dangerous number in marketing is one”

This case in point is just to illustrate how being limited to one service, one type of assortment, location, opening hours or one <insert your own thing> — can lead to your business falling out of the ring when you face a bigger player. 

The reason the two family shops had to fold up their businesses was that they couldn’t really compete with a giant that would allow customers to get whatever they needed – in one go. On top of that people could also order online. 

You name it…they’d have it.

Breadstuff, groceries, stationery stuff, chemist’s, household equipment—even a pharmacy. 

Thus, the supermarket became a natural choice for busy people who could save some of their time. 

I brought up this particular example because it illustrates the general principle. 

Now, to bring it home,I will transfer this case study to the world of online marketing.

So hold tight, because here come a few bite-sized lessons from this real-life parable.

1. Never have only one product (or type of assortment for that matter).

Perhaps if our bakery had started offering cafe services, they would have had the advantage—offering people a place to sit while eating their goodies or sipping on a freshly-ground coffee. 

So whether you offer coaching services, have an info-product, or run an eCommerce shop—have multiple products to cross-sell, upsell or down-sell. 

And if you’re not able to do so, become affiliated with someone else, sell their products and take a commission. 

2. Never rely on one-off purchases. Customer retention is the heart of every business. Not acquisition. Big supermarkets have learned how to retain customers by introducing loyalty programs, colorful advertising, discounts, and giveaways. Successful online businesses do the same. They often lose money on the first purchase because they’re in the long game of building relationships with their clients—they focus on the so-called Life Time Value (LTV.)

3. Never let one client or a product dominate your entire source of revenue. Diversify. 

The same goes for your employees. If there’s one who makes a disproportionately big contribution to your sales numbers, you’d better double-down your efforts to find someone who could replace them should they ever decide to leave (they likely will someday)

4.Never Rely on a single client’s acquisition channel. 

Be it SEO strategy, FB or Google ads, YouTube, email list (although this one is arguably the safest bet), direct mail or communicating via only one social media platform. That’s how you become vulnerable to changes like algorithm or policy changes you cannot control yourself. Solution? Explore other possibilities. At least you’ll have some sort of a backup. Spread your content across different social media platforms. If you create long pieces of content on FB, cut them into chunks and post on Instagram and/or Twitter. 

Now, here’s the next step you might consider…

If you’ve got a feeling that weird you’re leaving money on the table because people skip past your emails/ads and you want an extra set of trained, brown and charming eyeballs to look at your stuff—I might be the guy you want to schedule for a free copy-audit. 

You can book it here:

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