06 Mar Relationship Building & Marketing Match-Making
I love sending you the patterns in marketing conversations that I’m having and this week was a fun one. And this week is about relationship building and marketing match-making – aligning the best marketing tools for the right buyer types.
There are really two reasons why someone invests in marketing initiatives.
1. Generate quick sales. This is mostly for ecomm and widget selling. You push out an offer, pound the digital landscape (social, websites, emails) and tell people you need this widget, it will solve your problems, and if you buy today it’s on sale. Human capital isn’t as critical because you probably have a fulfillment center and the logistics in place that make a spike in pick and packing easier to complete the purchase and load it on the truck.
2. Long-Term Business Investments. This is critical for the groups that offer a service. It’s not an impulse buy. The purchase window can flex between 24-hours to years. Often times consumers don’t even realize they have ‘the problem’ in which you have ‘the service’ to fix. This ultimately means that you have to educate and nurture your audiences. This can be expensive and time-consuming because you need to really understand who your audience is (your ideal buyer), deliver them content that helps them realize they ‘the problem’ and then educate and nurture them that you have ‘the service/solution’ that can help them fix ‘the problem’. Throw in high-level price points for your solution and now you have to ensure that you are building trust with them at the same time. Whoa! That’s a lot, right?
That all being said, I’m not really jazzed about doing marketing to sell widgets. I’ll leave that to the social media and digital ad masters. They have the user data (the stalker depth intelligence from Google that tells them where buyers are and how to make them click). This is retail and not my jam.
I grew up in a family business where relationship building was a key to our success. Our saying inside the pro shop was, “there are no strangers, only friends we haven’t met yet”. And our internal culture was focused on treating every golfer like family. After all, these consumers were coming into our home (literally, we lived right smacked in the middle between the pro shop and the maintenance garages) and we wanted to make sure every guest had an enjoyable and fun round of golf. Those traits are the roots of my customer service and remain strong with me today. I love not only building relationships with my clients, but I love helping them build and strengthen relationships with their clients.
So the thought for this week for you to ponder is this.
Building relationships for the long-term buying cycle is very much like dating. First, you have to have a general idea of who you want to attract. What characteristics will best match you? Where can you connect with your ideal type? Be where they are. Next, you have to go in easy. Sprinkling content around examples of ‘the problem’ is a way to get their attention. (in otherwords, don’t go in with the sexy dress – save that for selling widgets.) Go in slow and easy. You have to see if they are a match, if there is likeability, and then start to nurture the new relationship.
I have said to a few clients over the last few months, you can’t expect prospects to sleep with you on the first date and buy the $5,000 service because you delivered them a cool ad or gave them a free download. I know that’s blunt, but it’s a chronic passionate business owner dilemma. Just because you know you’re awesome, doesn’t mean they do.
People do good and lucrative business with companies they KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST.
Marketing-wise – what does this mean for you?
If you’re strapped for cash or maybe just need a lite to moderate marketing push, then I’d recommend that you start with your database. Especially if service investing happens over years. Nurture those who you have worked with in the past, share with them updates, new services, features, benefits, case studies, testimonials, etc. (email marketing usually does the trick to get the nurturing engine running).
Another element to prioritize is asking for a referral. Consumers are not naturally wired to voluntarily be your free walking billboard. You have to ask for the referral and even more so, offer a reward for sending you new clients. (Isn’t sweet to get referrals blog post)
- When was the last time you audited your database?
- Is your audience connected to your point of sale system so that you can see the “client lifetime value”?
- Can you organize your database into buyer segments? Active, Inactive, Unqualified, Qualified are just a few ways to tag your client list.
- When was the last time you sent them any kind of information about your solutions for their problems?
- Do you have a referral program in place?
- Do you have a loyalty program in place?
- Can your POS implement and manage one for you? Or do you have to track manually?
Understanding your database is the first step in growing, increasing revenue from within, and saving marketing dollars. You can save 5-6x your marketing budget just by nurturing those who are already in your precious list. Maximize it.