I saw an interesting tweet the other day from Dr. Mani, but I'm going to give it to you one half at a time. Raise your right hand and repeat after me, "I will not skip ahead and peek at the second half."

Okay, here's the first half:

Success Key: Leverage everything to your advantage...

This is an important concept that's at the heart of what I wrote yesterday. Your business should build on itself.

  • If you've got a mailing list of customers who bought one product from you, promote a related product to them -- whether your own or an affiliate product. Just be sure it's a good product -- you want to leverage the value of your list, not destroy it.
  • If you create software, you've got a free copy, so use it yourself. If it's not good enough for you, improve it till it is. Then it'll be good enough for your customers too. (I'm writing this post in one of my products, SEO Content Factory. Whenever I find myself wanting another feature, I add it, and both my customers and I benefit.)
  • If your existing product could be adapted to a new use, do that rather than creating a new product completely from scratch.
  • If you've got friends in the industry, cross promote each other (assuming their products are worth promoting -- if not, help them improve them or make new friends.)
  • If you've got a strong reputation, use it to launch a related product. Don't launch it under a different name, hiding your identity and looking like a nobody.

You get the point.

Now for the rest of Dr. Mani's tweet:

...in the service of your customer.

When I read the first half, I was already thinking, "yep, leverage what you've got. Absolutely." When I read the second half, the light went on. Not that I don't try to do what's right for my customers already. Of course I do. But the concept in my head made a small but important shift.

Reader Comment:
Antone Roundy said:
How's this for interesting timing -- I just got an idea tonight for a feature I could add to SEO Content Factory to enable social sharing amongst users (inspired by Google's announcement that they're removing sharing features from Google Reader). ...
(join the conversation below)

If you've got a customer list, how can you use it to serve your customers? If you think of it that way instead of "how can I use it to make more money?" would you do anything different? (I know a lot of people in internet marketing who would!)

If your existing product could be adapted to a new use, how could that benefit your customers? You might add a new feature to an existing product and either give it away as a free upgrade, or give existing customers a discount on the new version (depending on how big an upgrade it is).

I know of one internet marketer who's stated philosophy is to never upgrade a product. Instead, create a new one that replaces the old one, and sell it to the same people. I don't share that philosophy.

SEO Content Factory

If you've got friends in the industry, how can you turn your connections to your customers' advantage? You could leverage the trust your customers have in you to help them make good buying decisions when your friends release good products. You could ask friends with different skills than you for help to fill in gaps in your products or services, so that your customers get a more complete offering.

One last point. For the most part, leveraging your assets on behalf of your customers will be profitable -- whether it gives you something else to sell, improves your reputation, or whatever.

But don't rule out leveraging your assets simply to give sometimes -- particularly to those who need it most. You'd like it if someone did that for you sometimes, right? So do it yourself.