Improve Your Marketing With Seven Steps
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“Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.” Andrew Davis
Marketing is hard- let’s put that on the table from the get-go. While it may be hard, the cost of not marketing your organisation is far greater than trying and getting it wrong. There’s a seemingly endless number of ways to market your business and separate yourself from the crowd when it comes to finding your audience, but today, we’re going to break down seven tips from a business idol of mine. Recently, I’ve had almost everyone in the Best Practice family read Chet Holmes’ ‘The Ultimate Sales Machine’ to refine their skills particularly in the context of sales and marketing. In light of some of the insight and learnings we’ve managed to pull from the book, today we’re going to dive into the seventh chapter of the book where he takes a look at “turbocharging every aspect of your primary marketing efforts.”
Holmes specifically mentions advertising, direct mail, corporate literature, public relations, personal contact, market education and the internet as his seven pillars of marketing, adding that “most large companies are doing all of these already, but often how they are doing them can be dramatically improved. In small companies, you may not be able to afford to do them all, so you have to pick and choose which weapons will get you the most impact for the least money.”
The first of those weapons, according to Holmes is your advertising. “If you have the budget for it,” he explains, “advertising has the broadest reach and creates the most top-of-mind awareness.” The author says that there are four rules when it comes to creating ‘high-response-generating advertising’, the first of which is that it must be distinctive. He talks about those certain ads that ‘stop you in your tracks’ or have your mind distracted in the minutes and hours after you first initially saw it. The second, on much the same note, is to anchor your advertisement with an attention-grabbing headline. “The most effective ads have a headline that follows this important rule: ‘tell me what you want to tell me in 3.2 seconds’. The headline should give a benefit and focus on the prospect by using you or your instead of focussing on yourself by using the word we.” The third rule of advertising stems back to the need to have substantive copy - or the bulk of text - to follow this attention grabbing headline. It’s not good enough to hook the reader or audience in with a headline and then have nothing of substance to follow it up with. The fourth and final rule is the need to include a call to action for the respondent. “A reason to act now is always great: ‘Call us now for a free report (only 100 left)’ or ‘ the first 100 to respond will receive a $XXX bonus,’” for example are ways to spark a call to action and more engagement with your brand.
The second weapon Holmes says will revitalise your marketing strategy is the effective use of direct mail to engage with education-based marketing that offers value, and not just brand awareness. “I had a client who added direct mail to the same audience he was advertising to and his response went up 35%,” Holmes says. “Every magazine will let yuo send direct mail to their subscribers. So if you’re in a trade magazine, try mirroring your advertising campaign with a matching direct mail effort to that magazine’s subscription base.” I think it’s worth pointing out that if you are to engage prospective clients with direct mail, you want to ensure you’re connecting with them via a high-quality educational resource of yours that will reflect well on your operations and knowledge base, and make it personalised with a hand-written note to the manager or CEO of that organisation.
The third weapon of Holmes’ is effective use of your public relations - PR. “Most companies don’t have a cohesive, highly effective public relations effort; yet, it can work miracles for building your fame even if you are a very small company. This is especially true today with the prominence of the internet,” he says. Holmes talks about using fact-driven media releases to inform journalists who will hopefully inform the public of a wider issue that your organisation is linked to improving, otherwise known as the phenomenon of ‘placed news’, which in reality can be extremely effective in raising awareness of your organisation.
Fourth on the list is corporate literature, which the author says should “draw from your education-based marketing efforts and should be a miniature version of your stadium pitch or core story. That means it will have riveting data that sets the buying criteria on your behalf. It will use the same exact graphics that you use in your presentations, advertisements, and direct mail pieces to enhance the cohesion of your marketing efforts.” In the context of Best Practice, we’ve tried to use our Certified magazine to establish the company as an authority on certain topics, as well making sure there’s genuine learning material to take away with every issue.
Next up, the fifth weapon on the list is personal contact; one of my favourites. “You can advertise to me,” he says, “direct mail to me, or send me an article, but now I’m on the phone with your company. This is the most potent form of marketing. None of your marketing efforts will have as much impact on your client as personal contact with your salespeople or customer service reps. This is extremely important for CEOs, directors, managers and people in the sales team- as well as in the marketing team; but the pivotal moment in reaching a deal is often made through a CEO or manager’s efforts.
The sixth weapon mentioned by Holmes is capitalising on trade shows, conferences and market education. “Done properly, a trade show can take you from obscurity to the top of the market in a single event. Trade shows offer an awesome opportunity to really stand out and get noticed, he says, also mentioning that the counter can be true, too. “Done improperly, trade shows can be a waste of money.” Holmes says the three key criteria to ensure your trade show goes well is to first, get noticed, secondly drive traffic and third and finally, capture leads. This is a great opportunity for you to showcase the unique things about your organisation, and hopefully continue to separate yourself from the crowd in attendance. At the very least, it’s a networking opportunity and will highlight certain areas of your organisation that need to be addressed.”
Finally, the last weapon at your disposal is an awfully big one: the internet. “There are entire books on this subject, but here’s my five-pronged approach to tie this together with everything else you are doing here: 1- capture leads. 2- build a relationship. 3- interact as much as possible. 4- offer a webinar. 5- convert traffic to sales.” The best way to capitalise in this space is to use a bit of empathy, and think to yourself- “while I’m visiting this website, would I like to be blatantly sold to, or educated about something?” Research and popular business figures argue the latter, and I’d have to throw my hat in there, too. There are certainly people that want to visit your site purely to make a transaction, but chances are that they’ll make that transaction regardless of what’s on your site. The challenge you want to rise to is capturing the ‘wandering’ browser with something interesting, eye-catching and informative that will help you build a relationship, and hopefully get them to join in on the community that you’re building.
Before I wrap this up, I think it’s worth noting a popular quote from marketing wizard, Seth Godin that really ties what I’m hoping you’ll take away from this article. Godin says that “the cost of being wrong is less than the cost of doing nothing,” so I hope you’ll be energized to implement some of this knowledge into your operations. You’re better off experimenting and getting it wrong than not doing anything, because once you’ve learnt that lesson, you can move into the future with more direction as to what engages your audience.