A powerful marketing system.
Does this ring a bell?
You wake up in the middle of the night with this brilliant sales or marketing idea? Or, you read a blog post about a great marketing idea and think WOW, I have to jump on this? You think it sounds perfect for your business, so you make a note or bookmark the web page to remind you to go back to it so you can add it to your marketing program. But you never do, and the idea fades away.
Sadly, I talk to hundreds of contractors that had those moments or epiphanies and never followed through. The fact is the idea may really have been excellent, but what’s usually lacking is the strategic system to make it happen with full accountability and measurements.
You are not alone if you've done that. Business people (owners and managers) are particularly susceptible to it, as they're doing everything for their business and there is only so much time in a day. How can they add something to their already-busy schedule? They can if they have a someone that can help develop a marketing system and make the new item part of their routine.
Half the battle for marketing success is getting organized, creating repeatable systems, and measuring the success. When you have systems in place, you have a workable, sustainable, process that establishes accountability. Without accountability, your ideas will rarely materialize to the level you want or need. Sometimes it means you need to break the process into bite-sized pieces. (I know of one system where the contractor has broken the steps into 600 bite size pieces with full accountability - and his call back or complaint level has dropped to almost zero!)
Attempting to implement a new system will almost guarantee many of your staff will fight and resist it. First, people hate change. Second, many people hate accountability. Systems help you eliminate objections and resistance by creating the conditions and procedures that enable the steps to be done easily. Maybe you decide to send SMS (text messages) to clients and prospects, but internal resistance prevents you, you keep missing your deadlines, and you have a hard time knowing what to say or promote. By having an easy-to-follow system the process becomes doable and a whole lot easier.
My clients routinely ask me what to put in their Marketing Plan, and the short answer is: most of those key points are determined by ROI. However, even though good ROI is always important, it really must factor in the style and culture of your organization as well as the ultimate goals you have targeted.
I’ve had clients say to me “my targets are so radically different that I just don’t see how I can have a system that will work.” The exciting thing about systems is they can be designed for the oddest or smallest task or project, and the more simple and clear the steps, the more effective it will be. It begs the old question “if it’s worth doing, isn’t it worth doing superbly well?”
There are plenty of strategies you can use to market your company and your services. Ultimately the campaign you decide to use depends on what your prospects like and what you like to do. One thing you should keep in mind, however, is you should offer something for everyone - even if they don't buy your service. Prospects who buy from you get a complete meal with dessert. Prospects who don't buy from you should also get something of value just for showing interest. It’s the right way to continue to build good will.
Don’t let them leave hungry:
Make sure no prospect leaves hungry, but also make sure that they may want to come back for a full meal! "So, your clients who pay you all this money, they get a seven-course meal. Even your prospects - people who do NOT buy from you - should still get a snack. So, nobody leaves hungry."
If they just read your blog for free, they should say, wow! That was a great blog. That can really help me in my business. If they just download your white paper - they never paid you a penny but they have your white paper and it's got specific strategies, tactics, templates, tools, scripts, actionable ideas they can use to improve their business – that’s a snack. Often, those snacks or appetizers are just that – intended to make them even hungrier so they will come back and buy.
Through your content you should also invite people to engage with you. Make it a two-way conversation. Your LinkedIn posts, Blog posts, Facebook posts, etc., should always be compelling and encourage people to comment. If you want people to comment, share your post, or opt-in for your SMS list, be sure to ask them. You have ask for what you want. Too many people feel it is being to bold or aggressive to ask for what you want the prospect to do. If your content is of real value, a gentle prod is very appropriate. It only becomes offensive when you are posting a blatant commercial – people don’t like commercials.
Ask the reader a thought-provoking question that will entice them to contribute a comment. Articles on your website that have multiple comments lend more credibility to your site." This has been said many times before, but again… be sure to respond quickly to their comments on your posts!
You have to Give to Get:
Also: the more you give… the more you will get back. Most information products (your articles and blog posts) are about solving problems. The more problems you solve, the more the perceive you to be the expert and start thinking of you as the go-to resource and expert. If you have attended my Ramp It Up Now programs, you have heard me relentlessly talk about “resource documents” and developing a relationship with clients and prospects that is always about them or their industry and never about you.
Demonstrate your Expertise
With buyers turning to the web before even talking with service professionals, (Google searches, Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, and others) the content you create for your marketing goes a long way toward demonstrating your Expertise (knowledge, skills and credibility).
The time to show your smarts is before you meet. Show it in your resume or profile, qualifying documents, articles and blog posts, and your website's "About Us" section. That's because expertise is the only kind of smarts that are potentially embarrassing to the client. The client doesn't want to be over- or under-estimating you in real time; they'd prefer to know what kind of person they're dealing with up front, in advance of meeting you. That way they feel much more in control, which is a good thing.
You also want to demonstrate a little bit of subject matter expertise and industry smarts, before you meet or interact with a prospective client. Through published content you can help assure them they won't be wasting their time and that they might well benefit from meeting you. Testimonials, especially short video testimonials from happy customers, is one of the very best ways to reassure the potential client.
So, bottom line: A coordinated, ordered plan or set of procedures designed to help you market your business needs to be flexible for your niche market.
Dick Wagner - Sales training specialist