It wasn’t many years ago that marketing was a lot simpler….Should we advertise in the newspaper, mail out postcards, advertise on TV, attend a trade show or host a seminar for prospects?
If you didn’t have an advertising budget there was always telemarketing where you picked up a phone (land line) and called a company and asked “May I speak to the person responsible for purchasing…”. Or we would go out in the “patch” and cold call on businesses or type up letters and mail them out with our glossy brochures.
Fast forward to 2010 and marketing seems to be more complicated:
|Mobile marketing||Viral Marketing|
|Online Marketing||Video Marketing|
|Guerrilla Marketing||Inbound Marketing|
|Cloud Marketing||Outbound Marketing|
|Database marketing||Relationship Marketing|
|Global Marketing||Search Marketing|
|Niche Marketing||Social Media Marketing|
|Referral Marketing||Affiliate Marketing|
|B2B Marketing||B2C Marketing|
The number of marketing channels has increased exponentially and the one thing almost all of these channels have in common is they are directed at finding new clients. So what really matters in marketing? Don’t look for new business until you have exhausted the opportunities with your existing customers. i.e. Market to the low hanging fruit. Your fans. The people who already appreciate and value your product or service. The ones that refer business to you.
So if you ask me what really matters it is the four Rs and a P.
Repeat Referrals Retention Reactivation Prospecting
Repeat business – Keep in front of your clients and customers. Send special offers to clients showing them their special.
Referral business – Remind your customers that you require their referrals to grow your business and more importantly earn their trust so they refer their colleagues to you. None of your customers are walking around wondering how they can help your business or even know you need business unless you tell them.
Retention of clients – Keep in touch with your clients and remind them you would like their business.
Reactivation of clients – If they have not done business with you in a while send them something to rekindle the romance or remind them you value their business.
Prospecting – All of the marketing channels above.
So how do you back track and focus on the 4 Rs?
1. Consolidate Your Database – It does not make sense to go after new business when you have raving fans eager to do business with you already. That’s right. Your client and prospect list is a goldmine, but to be effective you need to consolidate all of the contacts into one place. I don’t care whether you use Act, Goldmine, Maximizer, Salesforce, Top Producer, Outlook, an Excel spreadsheet or an index card file. Just compile all of the names of your customers, people who have expressed an interest in your product or service and any other people you can think of that might be prospects.
2. Categorize Your Database – It doesn’t matter if you choose A,B,C or Platinum, Gold and Silver or Hot, Warm and Cold, but categorize them.
3. Focus on Your Raving Fans – Finding new clients is the most expensive and time-consuming use of your marketing resources. Instead identify the people most likely to do business with you and focus your marketing efforts on them. Now this varies from business to business and service to service, but I have never met a business owner who did not admit that anywhere from 50 – 80% of their business comes from repeat customers (or at least referrals from good customers which we will discuss later). After you have ensured that the most important customers have received the majority of your attention you can start prospecting for new customers. And the good news is you will have the cash flow to do so.
4. Determine the Value of Each Customer and Turn Off the Life Support for the Bottom 20% – Depending on your business you are probably spending 80% of your time on customers and prospects that provide 20% of your revenue. (Although this might not be the case if you start doing everything else right). Starting tomorrow, reverse the trend. Spend 80% of your time on the top 20% of your customers. Phone them. Write them. Email them. Offer special sales. Send free samples. Give them a gift. Make them feel like they are important.
5. Look Professional and You Will Act Professional – Take a look at all of the points of contact with customers. Does everything your customers see reflect the image you want to convey? Be honest with yourself and audit all of the internal and external points of contact. Are you cutting corners? What doesn’t seem to fit with everything else? It is no secret that I own one of the leading email stationery companies called inboxfx, so I may be biased, but as an illustration of where companies fall flat, why do you send plain text email like everybody else when you can send branded emails with links to your web site for $ 150.00 a year?
6. Do the Obvious – Because Nobody Else Is – By this point you are bored out of your mind and wondering if the advice will ever end, but this one could be the most important. Do all of the obvious marketing things you have read about or heard about and you will stand out from the crowd. I would venture that 90% of us know what we should do and only a small percentage of us are actually doing it. So if you do it you will stand out. A good example is when I receive an online inquiry about email stationery complete with the prospect’s phone number. I send an email right away and tell them I will call at the time they specified. When I do call them, almost without fail they are shocked that someone actually called. I feel the same way when I sign up for something and a person actually calls me to confirm I am satisfied with the whatever.
7. Pick Up The Phone – Have we forgotten how to phone our clients? While email is a quick way to communicate it is starting to be like people asking “How are you” and then not listening for your answer. Email, as much as I depend on it for a living, does not take the place of a phone call. It is impersonal, subject to misinterpretation and frankly a lazy way to communicate. Phone someone out of the blue tomorrow or call them and tell them their order is on the way and you will be surprised how a little human interaction can lead to more business.
8. Have a Business Card That Says WOW! – If people aren’t stopping and commenting on your business card when you are handing it to them you are missing a golden opportunity to make an indelible impression on them. See my post on business cards for more information. A number of years ago I poked fun at myself by giving myself the title of “Big Kahuna” on my business card. Ten years later I have changed businesses completely, but I still have people from the past refer to me as the Big Kahuna.
9. Seek Guidance and Assistance – I would be a liar if I didn’t admit the whole purpose of this blog is to generate business opportunities for myself. I have almost 500 subscribers to this blog and average 700 views a day and while not all of you have used my service I still consider you my customer. Call me at 800-568-8338 and ask a few questions.
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