This isn’t an article about sales technique. Or client negotiations. It’s about overcoming the biggest problem you’re likely to face in 2016 – the expanding economy.
No doubt, you’re going to be busy this year…and highly successful. The phones will ring, more job orders will come in-and then BAM, all of a sudden, it happens. Seemingly in an instant, there’s no time. No time for prospecting. No time to reconnect with old clients. No time to market.
If you’re committed to maximizing your revenue in 2016 (and beyond), don’t take “NO” for an answer. Don’t let “no time” become an excuse. Make the commitment now to a consistent marketing effort, and develop a game plan for tactics you will execute regardless of how busy you get. To help you get started planning your activities, here’s a list of 25 marketing ideas:
1. Commit to staying in touch with current prospects and clients at least once a month. This can be through calls, face to face meetings, direct mail or e-mail.
2. Aggressively collect e-mail addresses from clients and candidates. Do it now, and this prospect list can save you a ton of time and make you a ton of money down the road.
3. If it’s not already in one, get your data into a robust contact management system-one that allows you to quickly and easily export mailing lists and send targeted e-mails.
4. Set conservative monthly (or weekly) goals for prospecting activities. Make a commitment to a specific number of “touches” (i.e., contacts with prospects via mail, e-mail or direct mail).
5. Become a source of expertise within the community or industry you serve. You know a great deal about your industry that could help your prospects improve their business. Share your wisdom by distributing articles, doing presentations or posting tips on your web site. Nurture relationships with the editors of business and trade publications.
6. Formalize your referral network:
Create an incentive plan to reward people for providing qualified referrals.
E-mail current and former candidates and other people of influence in your community / target industry to be part of your network.
Nurture your network with regular e-mail and/or direct mail.
7. Reconnect with people you’ve done business with in the last 5 years.
8. Keep yourself top-of-mind with clients, prospects and referral sources:
Use direct mail, e-mail or calls to keep in-touch once every 4 to 6 weeks.
Focus on nurturing relationships by sharing useful and interesting ideas.
9. To improve the effectiveness of direct marketing, segment your market into audiences with common concerns, and address their problems directly in your marketing communications.
10. Take advantage of gaps in your calendar to plan future marketing promotions.
11. Repeatedly mail the same mail package to the same people. Repetition works.
12. Form marketing partnerships with other businesses that offer complimentary services.
13. Form strategic alliances with other businesses that already have access to the people & potential customers you want to reach. Ideally, if you have complimentary services, you can share marketing expenses and cross promote.
14. Get out and speak. Every Rotary Club and local Chamber of Commerce needs speakers with your expertise. Better yet, consider a more personal lunch-and-learn training seminar for a specific client or prospect.
15. Set aside 30 minutes at the start of every day to nurture 10 client, prospect or candidate relationships. Share a personal note, a personal e-mail or place a brief call to catch-up.
16. Refer business to your prospects. Because you work with many different businesses, you have the ability to act as a matchmaker, helping your clients and prospects find new business opportunities.
17. Maximize the value of your web site:
Put info on your web site that will help your prospects find solutions to their challenges. As you add new content, use e-mail to promote it and keep people coming back to your site.
Share tips and advice through postings or an e-mail newsletter.
Offer an “Ask the Expert” form on your website.
Create a discussion board for the hot issues in the industry you serve.
18. Hire an intern to conduct a survey of your existing clients – get objective feedback to determine what they like about your services and where you have opportunities for improvement.
19. Use that same intern to develop a list of target companies that match the demographic criteria of your best clients.
20. Develop compelling offers that give people reasons to want to call you. These can include “hard offers,” which are direct promotions for your services and “soft offers,” which offer items of value and are designed to open conversations.
21. Schedule a planning session with existing clients to discuss 2016 needs.
22. Send thank you cards for appointments and referrals. Be unique, send cards for even minor occasions like thanking people for initial phone conversations.
23. Improve the response rate to your direct mail by creating a process that integrates calls and mailings. We’ve found a process of pre-call, mail, and follow-up call to be very effective.
24. Send an email to a prospect announcing the specific time you’ll be calling and include a teaser about the reason for the call. Creating curiosity will improve your connect rates.
25. Get help. If you can’t find the time to keep up with consistent marketing, bring in an intern, temp, assistant or marketing firm that can make sure prospecting becomes a regular part of your business strategy.
BARQAR can help you find the right way to include prospecting in your marketing plan and increase the amount of inbound leads you receive as part of these efforts. Give us a call today!