Make Marketing Work for You

Make Marketing Work for You

Ask Andi: How do we make marketing work? Other companies get business from their efforts. What can we do better?

Thoughts of the Day: Build a plan. Make it stick. Position your company. Solve customer problems. Be there when they need you. Integrate marketing with sales. Monitor results. Look for small changes that can produce big results.

Make marketing work for you

When writing out your plan for marketing, start with goals. Build a team of part-timers within the company. Hire outside experts as you can afford them.

Think about what you want to accomplish both short and long-term. Include a budget for both money and time. Make sure you have enough resources available so that your marketing team can be consistent.

Exercise discipline. Set a marketing schedule and stick to it. If new ideas crop up, take time to properly vet them. Don’t let the flavor of the week throw your marketing program off course.

Diversity is the key, not just what you say, but where you say it. Get the word out through lots of channels. Social media, seminars, webinars, ads in print and online, public relations, white papers, the list of how to tell the world about what you do is endless.

Know what points you want to get across. Why do your customers care so much about your company? What kind of history does your company have? What’s unique and special that other prospects need to be aware of?

Promote company, products, services

Being influential is more important than being polished. Use marketing to build up devotees. Get the word out that your company matters. Be both professional and social: build a community. Be creative. Don’t worry about getting it perfect. Be interesting.

Look for pools of customers and prospects, then focus marketing efforts on getting connected with both. Make your company the centerpiece of the connectivity if you can. Helping people connect to other valuable resources makes your company more valuable, too.

Identify niches where your company can shine, and use expertise, product mix, pricing and packaging, and connections to resources as ways to stand out. Mirror what you see and hear in specific niches to build relationships. Tell stories people in specific niches can relate to. Romance your prospects. Put your company on display and ask people to engage.

Make sure every lead counts by educating your salespeople on the efforts that the company goes through to open new doors, and mine existing niches. Ensure proper follow-up by providing detailed information on where the lead came from, what similar companies have needed, and who to contact to get optimal play.

Ask salespeople to contribute suggestions on where else to look for leads. Ask them to do research with existing customers and prospects. Make their lives easier by organizing activities like trade shows, lunch and learns, and networking events.

Write and publish regular content

Check-in regularly on all marketing efforts. Record details about where leads come from. Assign someone to keep up on how your social sites are being used.

Automate as much as possible, using social media doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Look into sites that allow you to schedule Facebook posts and tweets. Learn how to use groups on LinkedIn, and find ones that would be interested in what your company is talking about.

Not all prospects are created equal. Go for growth and profit. Focus on targets that are most likely to consistently make high-quality purchases. And look for forward-thinking prospects who can be your customers of tomorrow.

Establish a system to add qualified prospects every week. Add 10 qualified prospects to the database every week, and in a year you’ll have 500 more. Give several people the task of making a few calls every week to gather basic qualifying data on a list of suspects.

Set up regular follow-ups once people do express interest. Don’t give up after one or two tries. Automate follow-up with useful information that goes out regularly. Periodically call to see if now is a good time to talk. Recycle if not, and keep in front of prospects. Persistence builds impressions, builds awareness, and builds familiarity, which leads to opening doors more easily.

Looking for a good book? Do It! Marketing: 77 Instant-Action Ideas to Boost Sales, Maximize Profits, and Crush Your Competition, by David Newman.

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