Remember the person you wanted to date and she was playing hard to get? Maybe it took hanging out by her locker, writing her a note, (or sending her a social media message in today's world) and perhaps even a few calls. When it comes to business, gaining the trust of your audience is kind of the same thing.
When you are marketing B2B, you set out to increase your brand awareness in the marketplace, sell your product or services and gain loyalty – all of which ultimately leads to referrals. Simple, right?
It would seem so, yet the greatest flaw most businesses have is the failure to follow through. If you ask most business owners if they believe they deliver on their main business, they will smile and answer: “Absolutely.” Many also expect their customers to share their success stories here and there with friends and family. However, most businesses drop the ball on moving through the sales process. Sadly, too many make one tiny touch with a customer—then they don’t call, they don’t write—and seem to expect the former customer to do their ambassador work for them.
It ain’t going to happen.
There has been significant research on this very subject. Reports on this research vary in results, but the bottom line is, it takes more than one contact to convert most leads. Some reports reflect 5 touches and others as many as 12. If you are targeting executive level clients, heap on an additional 4 or more before they notice.
So how can a business be sure to “touch” their audiences, current customers, contacts and leads frequently enough and meaningfully enough without becoming a pain in the you-know-what? (?neck?) Here are some ideas on getting it done.
Systems are a MUST! A multi-touch marketing system can appear to be onerous at first. It isn’t complicated but it does require a system to manage varied mediums of touches (phone calls, text messages, postcards, emails etc.) Many businesses opt for a CRM web-based program to help automate some of this. A popular one is Infusionsoft. It isn’t required, yet the value of these touches cannot be underestimated, and keeping up with them without a strong tool can be difficult. To help make it a little easier, you may catalog all types of art, content and pieces so they may be reused, repurposed and touched up from week to week, month to month, year to year. Use every tool you have to offer great content, a friendly hello or a bit of education.
Time Well-Spent. Once your plan is set up, implementation will take a bit of work. When you have the system in place to assure your customers are being “touched” regularly, the benefits are plentiful as they will have you and your firm freshly in their mind’s eye. The result is: more referral and delayed conversions as they move from being “not now” leads to “I’m ready” leads.
Where to start?
Will your first touch be an email? A phone call?
Make a decision which communication channel to begin with. Both have pros and cons.
Let’s take a look at email. First, it is visual. It allows the prospect to spend time with your words and think through the message. It can be saved, bookmarked and placed in a folder for later, forwarded and shared.
The downside is this: we are bombarded with scores of emails every day. How many of them do you even read? The subject is the key. How compelling it is decides whether or not it is opened and read.
The Phone. E-communication can lead many to forget the phone. Taking a moment to speak directly to someone can be powerful. When you reach them, it is personal and direct.
But, and there’s always a “but”, voicemail is ever-present and is collecting messages that may be deleted faster than clicking delete on the email. And while the email trash can at least be retrieved, the erased voice messages are gone forever.
Mail. Postcards, birthday cards, holiday greetings and shock and awe packages to alert your “sleeping” contacts are another helpful means of staying present with everyone you deal with. Again, automation is possible with vendors who will whisk off your birthday or holiday cards without much effort from you.
The point of it all is to stay in touch. Depending on your practice area, your prospects may not call you until the pain has gotten so bad they can’t sleep. Others have friends who need your help but fail to think about how to get in touch with you. These little reminders tell your audience that you haven’t forgotten them, that you are still ready to help them and their friends and family; and these little reminders supply a gentle nudge to them to reach out and give you a call.
The truth is that what may seem like something “nice to have” is really an essential to repeat business and strong referrals. Make your plans to touch your list regularly, and you will soon be able to measure the results that flow after you connect often.