Marketing – How To Stop Wasting Your Marketing Efforts

Are You Wasting Your Marketing Efforts?

Know Like & Trust

Know Like & Trust

I’m going to presume that you, like many small business owners, hit periods when keeping the business pipeline full is a struggle.

It doesn’t matter if you sell to other businesses (B2B) or if you sell to consumers (B2C).  Chances are there are times during the year, when the flow of customers falters.  It get’s weak.

This is generally the time when it pops into your mind that you need to concentrate some of your efforts on your marketing.

So, what do you do?

If you sell to other businesses,  you quickly look at the next Chamber networking event and pencil it onto your calendar.  You attend, make introductions while passing out and collecting business cards.

You come back to your office, feeling a little better because at least you received some positive feedback from a few warm prospects who asked you to send your materials. You hurriedly put together the packages and out they go.

The other business cards you collected are stored on your desk.  You’ll get around to putting them into the prospect database in a few days.

In the meantime, you attend a couple of other networking events and keep your fingers crossed someone will bite.  Right?

WRONG!  Dead WRONG!

Let’s say you sell to consumers and your experiencing the typical seasonal slump.  You look around at what your competitors are doing and say to yourself:  “Self, I better have a sale like so and so is down the block.  I’ll get some more business that way.  No one comes in any more unless there’s a sale.”

You contact your local area newspaper representative and put in a small, unreadable 2″ X 2″ ad announcing your sale. This is your first ad in six months.  The rep suggests you may want to run the ad more frequently, but you decide one time will do work just fine.

It might occur to you that you should inform those customers who provided you with their email address of the sale.  It doesn’t matter that you haven’t communicated with them in four months.  They’ll understand.  They’ll rally to your boring 20% sale idea. Right?

WRONG!  Dead WRONG!

Why are these scenarios Dead Wrong?

Because neither of these small business owners are seeing the bigger picture. What’s that, you ask?

The bigger picture recognizes that not everyone will be in the mood to buy when your business needs to sell.

The bigger picture recognizes that many will require nurturing and follow up.

The bigger picture recognizes that marketing efforts need to be continuous – not sporadic – and can’t be expected to deliver on a dime.

Know, Like & Trust

In fact, many of the customers and potential prospects in our scenarios probably need a lot of KLT – a know, like and trust campaign before they will purchase what these business owners have to sell.

Dependent upon the product being sold, an effective KLT campaign can translate into at least four touches to even register on their radar.  And THEN these same prospects will need at least another seven or more touches to seriously consider either of these small business owners product offerings.

But no KLT is occurring in our fictional examples.

Plus the B2B person is wasting business opportunities because he/she isn’t following up with the prospects that didn’t request materials.

The B2C business owner is missing opportunities because they aren’t keeping in touch with their current customers and building a strong bond – one that would easily soften seasonal sales valleys.  Rather, this business owner is wasting dollars on advertising that is too small and isn’t being schedule with enough frequency to deliver anything of substance.

Marketing efforts that generate leads, prospects and customers through networking, advertising and email campaigns can only deliver if it is consistent and if there is KLT.

Do you have a KLT program in place? If not, GET ONE.

Don’t know how to put one together?  Consider the following ideas.  Adapt, add to and tailor to fit your audience and your product offerings.  Keep in mind that you want to use every marketing channel available.  It doesn’t just have to be social media.

KLT Program

These ideas can work for B2B or B2C.

  • Send a hand written note the day after you collected the business card or the email address to make a strong impression.
  • Google them and see which social media channels they use.  ONLY if appropriate, consider following, connecting or becoming a fan and request they do the same.
  • With their permission, add them to your email subscriber database and communicate with them on a weekly or monthly basis.  Whatever you do, be consistent in your communications.
  • Do a special “How To” or “Tips” email or snail mailing and don’t forget to encourage them to connect with you online.
  • Pick up the phone and check in with them once every four or six weeks to develop a personal relationship and to find out more about them.
  • Invite a select number of prospects or your best current customers to a coffee or networking clutch.  Ideally, you’ll be inviting those who will have something in common or where the meeting will be mutually beneficial.
  • Hold a special event where you have an interesting speaker.  Invite them to attend and let them know seating is limited.
  • Do a recording of the interesting speaker.  Post it to your website and send email notices to let your audience know it is there for their listening pleasure.
  • Find out their birthday and send them a Birthday card. Big bonus points here.
  • After a year, send them a thank you for listening to you for 12 months.

There are 10 ideas to get you started.

Don’t wait.  Get started now.

Create your KLT program and measure how it delivers to your bottom line.

Then you need to share your results in the comments section below.

 

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Sheila Hibbard

Sheila simplifies marketing and social media for small business owners. She offers straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results. She has four decades of experience in all phases of marketing including communications, research, strategy and social media. Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn |Twitter

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