By Robert Middleton - Action Plan Marketing
Everyone always asks me, "What's the most overall effective marketing activity I can engage in?"
My answer is always the same: Keep-in-Touch Marketing.
And I also say that the lack of consistent keep-in-touch marketing is the number one reason you are not attracting as many new clients as you could.
Keep In Touch Marketing Defined
Here's a simple way to think of this: If someone is thinking about you and your business there is a bigger chance that they will do business with you. But if they are not thinking of you there is NO chance they will do business with you.
So the purpose of keep-in-touch marketing is to make sure your prospects, clients, and associates keep thinking about you, your services and what you can do for them.
Large businesses have a primary method for making sure you remember them: Advertising.
But advertising is mostly ineffective for InfoGurus. What works better is ongoing contact with those whom you already have some connection or relationship.
And the two best ways these days for keep-in touch marketing are eZines (email newsletters like More Clients) and various social media activities.
If you can only find the time for one, eZines are more powerful in my experience. But for some, social media from Twitter, to Facebook to blogging are also quite effective.
The question is not so much what to do but the best ways to implement these keep-in-touch marketing activities to get the the right kind of attention and response from prospects.
Keep-In-Touch Marketing Essentials
Here are some ideas that I and my clients have found the most effective. Measure your current activities against this list to get a better idea of what you need to do to make sure your prospects keep you top-of-mind.
1. Build your opt-in e-list. Whether it be an email list, friends or followers, if you don't have much of a list, your marketing won't have a lot of impact because your reach is limited.
2. Provide value. Whenever you communicate to those on your list, make it relevant, useful, practical. Give prospects a sample of your ideas and prove that what you offer is worth paying attention to.
3. Be regular. An email sent out to your list every few months isn't going to have much impact. An occasional tweet or post to your facebook page is not enough. You must settle on a consistent schedule for staying in touch.
4. Master the technology. All of these internet-based keep-in-touch systems take time to learn and longer to master. You need to make it second-nature, not a major ordeal to send out a regular eZine or post to your blog.
5. It's all about communication. One of the biggest stops to keep-in-touch marketing is not knowing what to say. You must figure out how to develop relevant topics and interesting content to keep the attention of your audience.
6. Measure your results. What gets measured gets done. And what you can measure you can improve. For instance, do you know the percentage of new visitors to your site that opt-in to your list? If you don't know this, how can you possibly improve your sign-up process?
7. Create systems. Activities where you've developed systems get implemented. Activities that are set up randomly ultimately fall by the wayside. You need bullet-proof systems for eZines, Twitter, Facebook and blogging.
For more information on exactly how you can put all of the above into action, please check out the new audio program "Secrets of Keep-in-Touch Marketing" at:
The More Clients Bottom Line: Keep-in-touch marketing isn't a "nice to have marketing strategy." It's absolutely essential to keep your business in front of your prospects and to get more of them calling you to explore working with you. There is no other substitute for keep-in-touch marketing. The question is, how soon will you put this powerful marketing strategy to work?
What's your biggest challenge with keep-in-touch marketing? Please share your answer on the More Clients Blog by clicking on the Comments link below.
By Robert Middleton - Action Plan Marketing
Below is an email one of my Marketing Mastery Participants, Josie McLean from Australia, sent to me last week. I think it really goes to prove that if you put your marketing into action and persist, great things can happen. She sent this to the members of the Mastery Program and I got her permission to share it with you.
"Yesterday Robert and I had my 1:1 session. The amount of business in my business was drying up. A number of projects that I had put a lot of work into hadn't come to fruition and I was starting to wonder what was wrong with me.
"Robert and I talked about taking some more proactive steps into the 'leadership for sustainability' market and developed a plan to do that. On the way, we discussed an audio logo that sounds like this: "I work with businesses wanting to be more sustainable". (Seems so obvious doesn't it? But my version was embedded in the process not the outcome.)
"So, I hung up the phone and took a message from someone who had been trying to reach me while I was talking with Robert. It was a government organisation I had done a tender for (an advertised request for a proposal to undertake specific work) ... I have never won a tender process in my life, but I had enough time to write the proposal, so I did.
"I sent the tender in over a week ago and never expected to never to hear anymore about it. The phone message was asking me to visit the organisation and talk to them about my proposal and meet the HR people. So I am short-listed.... that's nice. I have probably moved from 1:50 chance to 1:5 now. I arranged the meeting and hung up.
"I started getting ready to leave for a networking luncheon and my phone rings again. Its the CEO of an organisation I have been discussing some work with for awhile. I really had gained the impression that the project, long-term and important to me as well as the client, would not go ahead for various reasons.
"But his call was to let me know he remains enthusiastic and just needs to smooth the way organisationally. We discussed this for a while and I committed to providing an overview of the work to assist the process. Wow... things are looking up!
"Now I am late for the networking lunch I had planned to attend. I get there as quickly as I can but the event has started and I have been bumped off the table I should have been on - and placed onto what I thought of as a 'leftovers' table right at the back of the room.
"I am little down in the mouth - possibly even grumpy about this. Anyway, I decide to make the best of it and I enquire with the woman next to me about who she is and what she does.... She is an influential person within an organisation that may be quite interested in my sustainability work.
"I use my new audio logo when she asks me what I do... "I work with businesses and organisations seeking to become more sustainable," I say. She asks, "How?". I reply that "I work at the intersection of leadership and sustainability - assisting to implement sustainability through leadership and appropriate change processes..."
"She lights up! Then she immediately starts writing in her little book and asks for a businesses card, and would I be willing to meet with her and another person from her unit? They have been looking for someone like me but didn't think I existed!
"Of course, I ask for her card and permission to send an article I have written that she may be interested in....
"Further around the table I notice a woman I have met once before. She was in the audience when I gave a presentation about 18 months ago - she has overheard and leans over and says "We must have a coffee Josie... I want to know what you are doing now".... So I have emailed her today with some times that work for me....
"Well, how things can turn around... for no apparent reason! I guess the secret is to keep persisting. And although things were looking a bit sad, I had committed myself to continue working at it... persevering really. Working through "The Dip" (Seth Godin's book).
"Then one more thing... This morning, the prospective client you had all helped me develop thinking around, gets back to me and indicates they would like to work with us...."
This was a 'blue-chip' organization she had spent considerable time with, preparing a proposal etc. and that never got back to her. She had all but given up on them. It's a big, 3-year project.
So one day, two new pieces of work, some potential work and two people interested in knowing about her services. If you make a commitment to your marketing, take the steps necessary and persist, this is the kind of thing that happens!
Visit Josie's web site at: http://the-partnership.com.au
The More Clients Bottom Line: Don't assume you know what prospects are thinking and what's gong to happen until it happens. Too many of us give up on marketing or do it half-heartedly, when right around the corner may be the next client ready to start working with you.
Do you have a story of a project you'd given up on that came through anyway? Please share your answer on the More Clients Blog by clicking on the Comments link below.
By Robert Middleton - Action Plan Marketing
The following is a "composite story" of several clients I've worked with recently. Let's call our intrepid InfoGuru, Jonathan.
Jonathan combines the services of consulting, training and coaching to help organizations be more productive. When he gets a client, he does great work and helps them work together more cooperatively to produce bottom line results.
Jonathan has made great strides with his marketing. He's recently gotten his website redesigned, is sending out an eZine twice a month and is doing one or two speaking engagements monthly.
In addition, he's gotten much better at the sales process. His process is now organized. He knows what to send before meeting with a prospect, his questions are organized and when he explains his services he focuses on benefits and measurable outcomes. As a result, he's closing a larger percent of those he meets with.
"I'm doing a lot better," said Jonathan, "but I'm still frustrated that I don't get enough appointments with qualified prospects. Yes, my marketing activities are helping, but despite my networking and speaking, not a lot of good prospects call me or want to know how I can help them. What am I doing wrong?"
What I told Jonathan may apply to your situation as well.
First of all, you're going in the right direction. The visibility and value that you get from your marketing activities has long-term value. It often takes a awhile for someone to contact a professional. They just might not see a need right now, even if they like what you say.
So it's important to get these people on your e-list and keep in front of them so they don't forget you. But there's something else you could be doing and this is what almost everyone avoids.
Despite all your activity, your approach has a missing link between the marketing activities and the selling appointment. You're waiting for them to call instead of reaching out to them.
This is a tough one, because we all hate the idea of being pushy and we also don't want to be rejected. So it's easier to market actively but then wait passively for that email or phone call.
You need to approach this strategically. Let me walk through an example using speaking as your marketing activity. But it could be applied to other marketing activities as well.
After a speaking engagement, you want to get the cards of attendees and send them your report and put them on your e-list. I know you're doing this already. But I recommend you make another offer from the platform.
After making the offer for the report, you can add one more thing - a little like Steve Jobs does in his new product launches. "Oh, yeah... there's one more thing..."
After "...one more thing..." say, "Before I wrap up, I'd like to ask a couple questions. Who in this room thinks that if they applied some of the things I talked about today that they'd have a better, more productive workplace? (Get a show of hands.)
"OK, now of those who put your hands up, keep your hands up if you're going to go back to your workplace and implement everything you learned this evening? (most will put their hands down.)
"Alright, listen, what you're saying is that this is something you want but that you have very little chance of implementing - at least on your own. Is that right? (Get agreement from audience.)
"OK, something I offer to companies is what I call a "Strategic Leadership Session." It's a session to explore how these ideas can actually be implemented in your organization. I charge $375 for this service. But what I do after a talk is offer a limited number of these sessions at no cost.
"So I'd like to offer you one of these sessions. To get it at no cost, just look down at your business card and write the letters "SLS" on your card. Then hand your cards in. If you have nothing on your card, you'll get the free report and eZine. But if you write SLS on your card you'll also get the complimentary Strategic Leadership Session. I'll give you a call later this week to set it up. OK, now please hand in your cards. Thank you."
Now this is the first step of this process. The next step is approaching each of these prospects strategically. You want to be prepared to make those calls. Here's exactly what to do:
After you get a card, take a piece of paper and enter the following information: Name, company, email, phone, and web url. Then take a few minutes to look them up on the web. Just get a sense of who they are and what their business is about.
Next write: "Opportunity/Possibility" and jot down a few ideas about how you may be able to help this person. Don't think about it too hard. Trust your intuition and just write down a few ideas.
Then write: "Approach/Plan" and write down how you'll contact this person. By email, phone, both? From the talk, you've already told them you'd give them a call. But if it's from some other source, think of what you might do - such as offer your report and set up a time to talk later.
Finally write: "Conversation" and write down what you are actually going to say on the call. You want to make a connection, refer back to the talk and what they got; perhaps also refer to the report which they will have received by now. Let them know you've been studying their business on the web and ask a few questions to find out more. When the call is warmed up, offer your "Strategic Leadership Session."
This process works amazingly well.
Notice the steps of the process and see that you are currently doing none of them! You are just hoping for them to contact you someday, aren't you? How is that working for you?
With this strategic approach you are getting those who have a need and an interest to "opt-in" for a complimentary session with you and then you are thinking through the opportunities, approach, and conversation you'll have. With this kind of preparation, these calls will be relatively easy, not to mention effective at setting up selling conversations.
Because Jonathan was paying me for this advice and because he was motivated, he followed the plan and took action. He got a lot more appointments than before and converted several of them into great clients.
What are you going to do?
The More Clients Bottom Line: Every step of marketing and selling is a process. Without a process, you drift aimlessly and randomly until a client comes to you. With a process that you design, implement and fine tune, you'll discover that you are not only attracting more clients, you're having fun as well.
What's your process of moving prospects from the marketing process to the selling process? Please share your answer on the More Clients Blog by clicking on the Comments link below.