Avoid a marketing meltdown
|Do your eyes glaze over within 30 seconds of looking at your marketing goals? Forget looking at them, what about just thinking about them? Does your stomach drop when a peer says something like, “Our new marketing campaign is getting really great results-how’s yours doing?” (Um, uh, what campaign? Campaign, I thought that’s what politicians do!) “Great. Yes, really uh great! Thanks for asking.”Geez Louise you think. I’m a small business owner wearing a thousand hats, and you’re asking about my marketing campaign! If you relate even a tad to this scenario, this article is for you. We’ll tell you how to avoid a marketing meltdown. We’ll show you how to attract more customers and how to become simply magnetic, in as little as ten minutes a day.
First, jot down what types of online marketing you are doing. Whether you are a seasoned marketer, or a total novice, write these words down: connect, authenticity, caring. (If it helps you remember, write C.A.C. in parenthesis). Write these words on a sticky note, and post it in a place where you will see it daily. There’s nothing magical about the words, but they sure are powerful!If you do these three simple things, you will be doing much more than most of your competition. And you’ll see the rewards in time. This isn’t a quick fix, but it is an old-fashioned, straight forward method of attracting customers, and keeping them.
As a society, we are more digitally connected than ever before. We can tweet, like, email, jabber, Skype, text, just to name a few. We can contact people around the clock, regardless of where we are in the world. But never before have there been a greater number of lonely people. (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/05/is-facebook-making-us-lonely/308930).
The reasons are simple: we are spending way too many hours on our phones and computers, and sacrificing quality face-to-face time. Remember when your grandparents used to sit on the porch, and drink lemonade? They’d talk to one another and their neighbors for hours. Imagine for a moment a couple of old fishermen spending the afternoon in a small boat, waiting for trout. What do you think they are talking about? How are they whiling away the hours? What do you suppose the girls talk about when they go to the day spa? Oh, if walls could talk! This type of rapport looks effortless, but it’s built over time, and requires trust, honesty, and authenticity. These qualities should define the essence of your customer service.
Connect with your customers and show that you care. Get Creative. Spend some time every day reviewing their buying patterns. Then start to segment them in terms of geographic location, gender, etc. You will begin to see trends and emerging patterns. Send out a few thank you notes. Use email, text, or snail mail. Save handwritten notes for the larger purchases, and for customers who have purchased more than once. Thank your clients for their business and ask how they like the product. You might ask them to send or email a picture of themselves using the product. If you are on social media, by all means, use it to engage with your customers. Ask about their hobbies, passions, and goals. Inquire how you can fill a need with your services and products.
Don’t send a canned message to the masses. You can deliver the same message to twenty people without sounding contrived and pushy. Avoid selling. Talk to them like you would a friend. Respond to their questions, concerns and comments. Thank them for their opinion, and start building rapport. Take the time to listen, and connect. Share some personal tidbits about yourself and your lifestyle. You are laying the foundation for long-term relationships.
Set aside ten to fifteen minutes, three times a week, to reach out and connect with buyers and potential customers. Offer free advice or services. Hold an open house. You can offer wine and cheese, special sales, hold raffles, and fun contests. Start to get to know a bit about what makes your target market tick. Look for common themes, frustrations, goals, and plans. Then, tailor an event around one of these themes. For example, hold a Saturday afternoon sale for soccer moms, or a contest for parents who are busy with back to school activities. Start small; this isn’t a fast slum dunk. Start by reaching out to ten people a week. When you have a good handle on that, increase your goal to twenty, then thirty. Keep your numbers small, and your tone will be more personal. Don’t be afraid of criticism in the process. If you do this consistently, people will resonate with you. You will start to become magnetic. They’ll tell their friends about you, and your business will grow, slowly, over time. No need to worry about huge campaigns and marketing meltdowns. Just keep it simple, by connecting, being authentic, and caring. Let the rest unfold.
We’ve seen it work for us. We’d love to hear from you. How have you gone from a near meltdown to becoming magnetic?