Know your target customer. Know your target market. These are very basic Marketing 101 lessons that you’ve probably heard. This is essential since the more you know of them, the more you can cater to their needs via your business. It’s like knowing your girlfriend or wife so well that you know how to turn them on, you know their sweet spot (in all aspects I mean). But we must realize that the getting-to-know phase is a constant process, not just with girlfriends or wives (by the way I heard No Other Woman was good), but this is also applicable to businesses. Here are some of my realizations in the eloading business.
During planning stage, I already identified my target market as those people who I encounter and meet wherever I am, who are in need of load. Mostly in offices, at home, in gimik places, outings, tours, etc. That’s how mobile my business is. As long as I have my phone, I can sell load to whoever needs it. But at that time, I did not think that people are actually willing to spend Php1-2 to text me, to buy load. You see, I’m not that type. As much as possible, if I need load, I will walk to a nearby store to buy prepaid credits. I will not spend an extra Php1-2. Unless of course there is no nearby loading station. You see, I am not that type. I don’t think my time to go out and buy load is precious enough to cost me Php1-2. Or kuripot lang talaga ako. But years in this small venture, I have become open to the fact that indeed, people are willing to spend an extra Php1-2 to text me and say that they need load. Either there is no nearby loading station where they can buy, or even if there is, they find that it’s not worth their effort and time, and that it will be more cost-efficient to just text me once or twice.
Knowing your customer at planning stage and at actual implementation stage is crucial because they can give you different results. And if different, you need to be able to adopt and cater to that part of the market, especially in this very mobile-driven world.
People are willing to text you to buy load. And in eloading, your target market is not just people you meet, who are in physical and in spatial contact with you at the moment, but people who can contact you however possible (I’ve had customers who email me or message me in FB to buy load!). That’s mobility for them and that’s good sales to me.
Further, because customers are not always around (in the same floor, area, etc) but they can be miles away (at home, on the road, abroad), and they just texted, emailed or messaged you for load, you must also be open to the fact that the prepaid load you are selling may now be postpaid prepaid load. You load them with prepaid now, they pay you some time later when they’re around. As such, you must be discerning and confident enough that the people you sell to will pay eventually, as this is some sort of unsecured micro-credit. It’s as if you lend them with prepaid credits for now. And of course, collections is another issue.
And again, given this very mobile lifestyle of ours, it is not just contacting you that needs to be mobile and on the go. Your payment channels must also be expansive, and better if on the go. If you are into eloading, you better be open to money transfers, bank deposits, pouched cash, and not just to the old school pay-cash-as-you send the load transactions.