There is so much marketing noise these days. So, how do you succeed in staying in the minds of your prospects and customers when there is so much competition? Despite the fact that everyone is trying to grab my attention, there are certain people and companies that I want to stay connected with.
What makes me connect with them and not others?
It’s the same when I carry out marketing. I have a core community of customers and prospects who regularly engage with me. Why do they make the effort to stay in touch?
Companies that succeed generally use a four-stage marketing funnel. This funnel allows companies to create relationships that are far more powerful than the average marketing interaction. It allows them to create a strong sales pipeline where people often make contact ready to buy. It means that they have a far better chance of achieving their sales goals.
Companies that apply a more haphazard approach to their marketing will struggle to achieve the same results. Their audience will not feel that they have the same level of relationship. The audience won’t engage in the same way.
Here are the four stages of the funnel:
1. Create great content
Everyone tells you to do this. But few define what great content is. All the content you create must be with your customers in mind, rather than you. Don’t tell them about your presses and your services. Tell them how they can improve their business results. Share great marketing strategies with them. Become a source of learning that informs and inspires them.
Not all your content has to be created by you. Build a library of content and resources from other people to share with your audience. Most people are happy to have their content shared as long as you credit them and share a link.
2. Share your content
The next stage is to get your content out to people. One of the ways to do this is through social media. Ensure you build a list of relevant contacts on LinkedIn that you can share your content with. Build your audiences on your company pages, too. Equally as important, research relevant hashtags that your audience will use when they search. Share other relevant content and your connections will share yours.
Remember to engage with your audience. Check regularly for conversations and respond to your audience. And reach out and comment on what they are sharing as well.
Remember to engage with your audience. Check regularly for conversations and respond to your audience.
3. Drive your audience to a newsletter list
Social media is good, but it only captures passing traffic. The point of your social media activity is not to get people to buy, but to supply their content details and permission for you to reach out to them. Offer them an incentive to sign up for your newsletter. This may be in the form of useful information. Or you could offer to send them inspirational print samples and finishes. If you do this, you also get their mailing details.
Once you have an audience on a list, share the same content with them. It may be via email. But if you have their mailing address, you could also practice what you preach and send them a physical newsletter. That is a sure-fire way to cut through the marketing noise. When you share your content with your mailing list, the call to action changes. Now is the time to tell people to take the next step toward becoming a customer.
This may all seem like an awful lot of work, but the answer is to automate. Right now I have 10 days of regular social media updates all queued up and ready to go. I also have my next emails loaded and scheduled to my audience. Managing this social media activity does not have to be time consuming. Apart from new content creation, I manage all my social media activity in less than three hours a week. And I am extremely active on social media.
When this activity starts to create warmer prospects, the time you spend on it will be more than repaid. It will allow you to spend less time on traditional cold selling. You will find that you have a pipeline of warm prospects. These prospects will have higher and faster conversion rates than cold business.
So what’s the first step?
Think about the type of customer you really want. Who is your ideal audience? Once you have decided this, you will find it a lot easier to understand the type of information that will engage your prospects. Then you can put together some content topics and decide whether to find resources that cover these topics, write them yourself or outsource them.
This first step may not seem as though you are doing a lot, but it is the most important step. Get this right and you will engage the people you reach out to. They will start looking forward to receiving more information from you. They will begin to rely on you as a trusted resource. You will have successfully cut through the marketing noise.
Matthew Parker is the Champion of Print at Profitable Print Relationships. He speaks globally at print events and is the author of “How To Stop Print Buyers Choosing On Price.” Parker also trains and mentors printing companies as well as produces content for them. As a buyer of print, he was sold to by more than 1,400 different printing companies, so he knows what works for customers and what doesn’t. Download his free e-guide to using social media to sell printing and similar services at http://profitableprintrelationships.com/social-media-printing-marketing/