A lot of marketing "gurus" would have you believe you couldn't possibly create an effective marketing system all by yourself. One of the problems facing many business owners is they simply don't know the pieces of the puzzle that make up an effective marketing system. That's what you're going to learn today and then, you'll be better equipped to create a marketing system for your business and generate the sales results you need to thrive.
- A clearly identified target market
You need to know who your best prospects are. And, it isn't "anyone who will pull out a credit card and buy my product or service". Without this understanding, you're setting yourself for all-over-the-map marketing efforts that keep falling flat.
Why? Because "beige" marketing won't grab your prospect's attention.
Take a chiropractor as an example. There are tons of chiropractors out there. Now, you can hang out your shingle as a chiropractor and duke it out with every other chiropractor who hasn't clearly identified an ideal prospect target.
Or, as an example, you can focus your marketing on helping people who love going to spin classes maintain a healthy spine. THAT'S your target market. Your web copy, ads, emails and other marketing efforts are all focused on alerting people who engage in this kind of activity about the potential long-term damage they might incur without proper chiropractic maintenance.
And, along the way, you'll pick up additional patients who have other chiropractic needs.
- Approriate media to teach them
Staying with the chiropractor example above, the best way to reach your target might be direct mail. Or, it could be advertising in exercise magazines or your local suburban newspaper. You might find one of the merchant coupon books (with a properly written coupon, of course) is the answer.
There's no good or bad media.
What you're trying to do is figure out which ones give you the best chance of cutting through all the noise and gaining the attention of your best prospects. And, avoid no one-shot marketing. You need to use sequential marketing and a combination of media.
- A complelling message
By this I mean, steer clear of the one size fits all marketing blah blah that you see everywhere else. That's one generalization I have no qualms about using because most marketing messages are weak. Without a message that stands out, you'll get lost in a sea of "look at all my neat products and services" nonsense that make your intended target's eyes glaze over.
- An "irresistible"offer
20% off is NOT an irresistible offer. Nor is "hey if you give us your business, we'll deliver on time.' Really? Aren't I sposed to get that?
Anyway, to get new prospects to step forward and express some interest, give you permission to sell to them, you need a bit of romance. First and second base stuff.
For example, our chiropractor friend might offer a free report titled, 10 Ways Spin Cyclists Can Avoid Long-Term Spinal Damage along with an audio CD of "Interviews With Top Physiologists, Medical Doctors And Personal Trainers On How To Make Spin Cycling Safe.
- A means of responding and "capturing"
This, as they say, is a biggee. It never ceases to amaze me how many marketers drop the ball on this. And, make no mistake, this is a VERY expensive error.
Your interested, 'high probability prospects' need easy, non- threatening ways to respond. Very few are buyin' first time through.
So that means you need a way to open up a line of communication so you can keep marketing to them. Some will be happy to call a recorded message. Fill out a reply card. Mail in a coupon.
And if you're driving people to your web site, be sure you have a way to "capture" at the very least, the prospect's name and email address. Otherwise, how will you ever keep that selling opportunity alive?
I know there's someone out there thinking, 'Hey Gerry, they add me to their Favourites tab.' Seriously, outside of your website, online banking and Google Analytics, when's the last time you raced to the fav bar to light up a website you visited 3 months ago? Next.
- Multi-step, short term follow up
OK, so our chiropractor friend offers the free report on his web site. His offer should carry with it a second "irresistible" offer - tied to whatever next step he wants the prospect to take, such as calling in to schedule a checkup or coming into the office for a free consultation.
Then a series of follow-up "touches" using email, phone, fax are tied to the expiring deadline of the second offer.
This activity engages the prospect who, don't forget, put up his hand in the first place by responding the report, and identified himself as a qualified prospect for the chiropractor's services.
- Ongoing follow up of unconverted leads
There are lots of reasons people don't respond immediately. That doesn't mean they won't do so eventually. You need to stay in touch with them in a meaningful (to them) way so that when they DO decide to move forward, they see you as someone who has helped them in their journey to find a solution.
So, there you have it - basic marketing system.
Now, you may be thinking... those bloody "gurus" are right - creating a marketing system is complicated or that's it's too much work or that it isn't a fit for your business.
But stop and think for a minute.
Shouldn't a system that will free you from random acts and erratic results of mind-numbing cold calling and wasteful advertising FOREVER have SOME sophistication to it?
You don't have to do it all at once. And you don't have to do it all by yourself.
But, if you want to run laps around your competition and leave them wondering what hit them, you might want to give it some serious thought.
By Gerry Black