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3 Proven Ways to Raise the Bar on a Referral Program

Did one of your customers ever recommend your product to a friend?RaisetheBar

If so, there’s a good chance that this friend continues to make purchases.

If not, what was the problem or disconnect?

If the list is many but let us take a closer look.

Whenever a customer tells someone else your company has great products – do you communicate with that customer? Do you communicate with the potential customer?

If there is a pause in your thought process, then your company needs a Referral Cop.Referral-cop.jpg

One. A channel of choice

When you ask your customers for referrals in a nonchalant manner, you may uncover a few. You can significantly increase your referrals when you and your marketing team take obtaining them more seriously.

Some businesses start by using the postal mail. Businesses that deal with products and services where trust is a main issue, find that the mail is a good channel.

An email of thanks is another good channel. Reviewing your customers profile in your database may provide the right connecting channel.

Two. What about the reward

Whatever channels you select, there is no better way to speak to your customers. Then, reward your customers for sending you referrals. Hint: Reward their effort, not just the outcome.

OffTheChartIf the prospects do not buy, it is not necessarily your customer’s fault. Don’t proceed down this path because you will probably not receive many referrals.

Reward your customers who send you names and numbers of the referral. This is called the direct referral. So, what is the reward? You know what your closing ratio is, which tells you how many referrals will turn into sales. In a direct referral, the closing ratio actually goes up.

Imagine being able to send a message, “Your friend, Alex Brown, gave us your name. Alex likes our product and thought you would as well.” You can also use more personalization if you like, but the result is catching the prospect’s attention.

Three. Summary

Your outcome allows you to determine the best reward. You may even determine a few levels of appreciation or depending on your product, an award program.

Referrals are definitely worth the effort. Depending on your business model, you may be able to automate the process. However, if you’re like me, teach your staff to make sure the follow-through is complete. Whenever communication takes place between your staff and a customer, it never hurts to ask for a referral.

Want to learn more? Please visit DMCM products and while there, download a free copy of Direct Mail Success. Please look over the variety of content programs that are available. Yes, there’s more than enough to enrich your lead generating referral program.

Please comment!!!

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Download a copy of a recent edition of Direct Mail Success, by clicking on this link. There are a variety of uses, such as a marketing tool for people in the direct marketing mail industry or people who want to learn more about the techniques of direct marketing and response.

Thanks for reading and please share. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask in the comment section or send an email to marketingdoc@live.com.

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There Must Be a Better Path to Take to Reach Successful Marketing?

There are many paths to choose, but you must be ready to cause a change.

TheRightPathV2

The best starting point is through your customers and their buying decisions.

I’ve worked with thousands of companies in my career and maybe 20% understand the value of marketing. Fortunately, these are good companies to work for. Unfortunately, they are far and few in between.

The other 80% do not have a clue how valuable marketing is for a business to succeed. If you have heard something similar to these comments you have been warned.

“We need better sales people” –

“Lower the price of product A, hopefully we’ll sell more” –

“Run that ad again and wait for someone to call” –

“Email the newsletter to the company list; it has worked in the past.”

If you think, some of these discussions occurred at a small business, think again.

“Kraft Foods needs to develop better consumer insights to support the marketing it puts behind its brands,” according to the chairman and CEO of the packaged food’s business. Seriously?

Another zinger from a LinkedIn discussion group I read this morning.

“It wasn’t too long ago that I was introduced to the new Head of Marketing in a regional office of one of the world’s biggest organizations, who the previous week had been a middle manager in their HR department.” Yes. this happens quite frequently.

And here’s another comment I captured.

“Big organizations have deep pockets and loads of resources to analyze the results from their marketing efforts, and they are starting to put them to use. Many smaller businesses struggling to keep up could play it smart by watching and learning.”

The final word –

People who succeed in marketing have an innovation and motivational gene to make the next marketing tactic work better than the previous by analyzing, watching others, learning and doing. You may not know it now, but learning and doing is the catalyst for change.

Marketing-Tip_CrpdIf you like what you read here, Please Read the Last Six Posts On This Blog Beginning On January 6th of This Year. Each one will enable you to see a bigger picture to determine your path.

However, hurry, some of the data may be decaying at this very moment. Then email your comments or questions to marketingdoc@live.com.

What do you think? Has social media opened the door on better data? Better Marketing? Digital Marketing?

Please comment!!!

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Download a copy of a recent edition of Direct Mail Success, by clicking on this link. There are a variety of uses, such as a marketing tool for people in the direct marketing mail industry or people who want to learn more about the techniques of direct marketing and response.

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5 Marketing Tactics to Super Charge Your Customer-Centric Strategy

redsportcarMarketing is one of those business activities that you are damned if you do or damned if you don’t.

There is no such thing in marketing that one size fits all. Every business has a unique personality because their customers are unique.

Through the years, I’ve met thousands of businesses. So when I’m asked about marketing for success, I’m reminded about the great companies I worked with that planned for success.

These companies built a marketing strategy with the understanding it is centered on  what a customer needs and wants. The strategy is referred to as a Customer-Centric marketing strategy.

One of the many advantages to this strategy, especially for a small business, is to have their customers tell you what they want next. I recommend the management review this strategy three or four times per year.

Strategy Vs. Tactical

It’s easier to change tactics in any given calendar year using a customer-centric strategy. I gave you a clue in the previous paragraph.

Maintaining a focus on customer needs alerts the marketing and management teams that customer changes are occurring and must be addressed.

Ask any small business marketing employee on how to tackle change and the usual response is “today’s customers are never stationary.” Your key employees must brace themselves for change, because it always happens. This is when the marketing tactics can take center stage.

Here are five tactics, which help define what is a successful small business, and a few ideas on how to put tactics to work for you.

  1. Smart businesses that market and promote on a consistent schedule,
  2. The smart business follows a set tactical plan during good times and bad,
  3. Do the best job of maintaining business when business is slow,
  4. Attracting new business when others are not,
  5. And navigating the peaks and valleys so often associated with a small business.

In the first tactic, what is meant by a consistent basis? There’s no excuse not to market and promote daily. There are many social media tools such as LinkedIn, Twitter, or shoot out an email to prospect.

15CalendarMake a phone call or two. There are many other traditional marketing tactics as well. Call a customer to make sure the product arrived on the stated date. Make every day a customer action day. Challenge a fellow employee on who will reach more customers and maybe, the most sales.

Set a calendar on a quarterly basis keeps one focused on the tactics. It’s nice to have a big picture in mind, but prepare for change as well. In the good times take more chances with your marketing. In the bad times, rely on analytics to let you know what is working and what must be improved.

Do the best job of maintaining business. Just like healthy eating is good for you, it’s sometimes hard to stick to the marketing calendar when business is slow. This is a great time for motivating the marketing team members to think innovation. Why are some customers still buying? Why are some not? You’ll be pleasantly surprised on what you learn from their communication with customers.

Attracting new business when your competitors are not is a sure signal the time is now to win over their customers. Asking your marketing and selling team to learn why the competitor is not pursuing new customers?

What can you add to your product that increases value and not adds a cost to make your product more attractive? One client I knew used a tactic that “prices are going up soon, so buy now and save.” It turned out that tactic made the competitionto increase costs first, while my client stole quite a few customers by forcing the competitor’s hand before my client even considered a price hike.

The peaks and valleys of any business, other than a monopoly, will always exist. Frequent communication with customers (see customer-centric marketing strategy) can keep your business on the leading edge. Being recognized as an innovator is very beneficial to a company’s brand. This is another good reason why a small business can have a brand and use the image effectively against the competition.

One final thought…

If you maintain your calendar on a quarterly basis, it becomes easier to recognize that a change in the tactical approach is warranted. Remember the start of the recession of 2008 was a major factor of many business failures on not knowing how or when to react to change.

Now it’s your turn. What does your company do to maintain your business growth?

DownloadItNowSpecial bonus offer for our many, loyal followers.

Download a copy of a recent edition of Direct Mail Success, by clicking on this link. There are a variety of uses, such as a marketing tool for people in the direct marketing mail industry or people who want to learn more about the techniques of direct marketing and response.

Thanks for reading and please share. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask in the comment section or send an email to marketingdoc@live.com.

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Eight signs you are failing digital marketing 101…

And what to do about it today!Failing101

If you realize any sign needs more attention by your company, it’s time to eValuate.

  1. Do you find you’re still searching for a better way to reach your target market? Do you know what your target consists of?
  2. You are using direct mail without a co-channel to determine interest and by whom?
  3. When is the last time you updated your customer profiles? Do you know customer profiles are a good starting point for segmentation?
  4. One of the basic attributes in direct mail marketing is to test your materials before a campaign is launched. Everyone knows that. Right?
  5. The last time I looked at Google Analytics it was reasonably priced. By reasonably, I mean it’s still free, or are you waiting for the next upgrade?
  6. The one statement I hear from many small businesses is they cannot afford a marketing automation platform. Must I remind everyone once more that purchasing a customer-contact management software program will work extremely well if it’s used daily and should be considered an investment? See below.
  7. If your customer-contact management system was last updated in the fall of 2014, you are not using it as an investment. A customer-contact management system is like a blue-chip stock that pays higher dividends. Even when it is returning the response in double digits? Of course, it does.
  8. If landing pages, call-to-action and unique offers are missing-in-action on your company website, you are seriously behind the times. It’s no longer a fad, so what are you waiting for?

Very few people can say their marketing is running on all eight cylinders. This is especially true when change occurs at record speed and customers moving on to another form of competition.

Rethink how you spend your marketing dollars. Would you like to increase your marketing revenue? If you want to move marketing from an expense to an investment, it’s time for you to take a good hard, wide look at your company’s marketing. Learn more about our mcg Marketing-eVal.

What’s a mcg Marketing-eVal?Marketingeval_logo4Web

  • Prior to finalizing the purchase of a new home, you get a home inspection.
  • Your high school child begins a search for a college to attend. You help her study, prepare and plan school visits.
  • Need a new set of wheels? Before plunking down mega-bucks, you take a test drive.

As you guessed by now there are more than eight signs of questionable marketing results. These eight are the most common and there are many other answers than just the few above. Here’s a link to our website for more information on our eVal.

DownloadItNowSpecial bonus offer for our many, loyal followers.

Download a copy of a recent edition of Direct Mail Success, by clicking on this link. There are a variety of uses, such as a marketing tool for people in the direct marketing mail industry or people who want to learn more about the techniques of direct marketing and response.

Thanks for reading and please share. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask in the comment section or send an email to marketingdoc@live.com.

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Offer something of value free is a difference maker in lead generation.

pointersB

A free offer is the heart of any lead generation program.

The offer can be a free brochure, white paper, product sample, information kit, special report, catalog, etc. It can be an item you already have. Or you can print an item, especially for your direct mail offer.

This might just be all you need.

Multi-channel marketing is used a lot with direct mail. It’s easy to get a name and address so use direct mail to get something else. Maybe email addresses? Why not, that’s the second best channel to use in direct mail.

Why should you give away anything? Because the point of this lead generating tactic is to identify prospects, so you need to push them to give up something, such as an email address. Or as a wise old owl commented, “you got to give to get something in return.”

This is FREE today.

By offering something free, you make it easy for people to say, “Yes” and identify themselves to you.

Why not simply mail the free items directly to your list? That prevents you from finding out who is interested and pinpointing those who are most worthy of getting a sales call.

Does the free item need to have a value? That depends on what you are going to offer. If it’s a Rolex Watch, you better have a big budget and a very expensive product to sell.

Try my idea. It has worked extremely well.

I have always believed that any client should get more than what they expect. This is another form of FREE which has worked quite well for me.

I’ve always had good luck with my problem solving method of selling. Customers may or may not know if there is a specific problem holding the company back. When you use a problem solving method, and show the value in an offered solution you present, that is many times greater than handing out promotional items. You gain more than just a handshake.

You gain a better “door opener” than a pen or Frisbee. You start to gain trust. If you are into building a better relationship, that is a factor lasting longer than a pen or Frisbee. Try it.

Let me know what you think. Today is best.

Please share with others, except of course, your competition.
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When you start writing marketing copy, do you get tense?

GettingTenseHere’s how to un-jitter your message.

If you write the marketing copy in the present tense, then you are likely to get a better response. By that I mean, your direct-marketing copy will fall short of the mark when you make far off, distant promises.

For example –

Our product will make your cookies sweeter.

Our concept will make you sell more.

Our program will make you move up the corporate ladder.

The “Right” way

When you use the present tense, you keep the promise and the payoff close to the reader – right here, right now and get it today!

My colleagues in direct marketing always look for words that work for more dollars. The present tense offers the reader immediate satisfaction, now, and not in the future.

Now, look at the simple corrections made to each of the three previous sentences creating immediate action.

Our product makes your cookies sweeter.

Our concept makes you richer.

Our program makes you reach that promotion.

Do it now is better than tomorrow.

Tomorrow it always seems to be here before you know it. The present tense has the most direct-marketing mail potential for record breaking sales because it is here today, ready to sell and to deliver on every promise.

I hope you made sense out of my little play upon the word tense. Remember, direct-marketing copy pulls the reader in and makes an offer to get the sale now.

I know some marketers say, “having a lot of people on the fence waiting to buy would call that a success.” Why have a bunch of waiters when you can have the present tense working for you every day?”

Let me know what you think. Today is best.

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Can data help build a stronger relationship between the CEO and CMO?

CMOvsCEOI agree it can, such as, I have personally witnessed marketing teamwork in a variety of small businesses.

There are so many variables in marketing, from data management down to the final say from the customer, that impact marketing and the corner office. Take a cue from a small business – it’s all about teamwork.

Working with small businesses today, I believe using a customer-centric marketing (CCM) strategy can guide any business throughout all interactions that take place between the company and customers. And, that includes customer data.

For example, a small business has less data but what they do have, is a workable data set. Today’s ability to analyze many of the customers buying points increases a company’s customer knowledge. With this knowledge in hand, a company becomes more efficient using their company’s marketing tactics.

Knowing what a customer wants and likes increases the odds for marketing to sell more products. Even when customers send mixed signals in the analysis of their data, you need to take into account that customer whims can change daily. The analytical situation is not perfect but is heading in the right direction.

There are many different reasons why a customer buys a product. They also have many similarities that can be documented and grouped into segments. Good marketing starts by building customer segments, analyzing them, and updating frequently.

Customers are willing to tell you what they want… but the data you collect can reveal even more.

What is the real culprit of the friction between a small business owner and his marketing team? The answer is centered in the efforts of collecting customer data, analysis, testing, and better data management.

I’d be willing to bet there are many similarities between the CEO and CMO.

It’s a never-ending process that can strain any relationship. The owner and the CEO expect more, and the team believes they are giving more attention to the data.

The truth is you can never have enough good data.

And what say you?

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The biggest Marketing problem most companies have…

is easy in theory, difficult in practice to correct.

CustomerListThe most frequent question I get is, “What is the most important element of a business marketing program?”

As one can imagine in a direct marketing campaign, (today all marketing is direct) there are so many factors that will affect the response and it’s difficult to pinpoint any one portion.

The problem…

Unfortunately, there is one problem I’ve seen over and over since I became a small business owner in 1984. In fact, this problem is so logical, companies still make this mistake on a daily basis.

People spend an inordinate amount of time on the preparation of a direct marketing campaign, and when it appears finally ready, a voice in the back of the room usually says, “What list are we using?”

Yes, the problem is your list of contacts, customers and prospects you hope to do business with. Let me share a story with you from another consultant friend of mine that we recently discussed.

“Having lunch with a potential business client, she told me their website finally exceeded 500 visits from their Google Analytics account. Then rather quickly in the next sentence she said her “email list” has doubled in the past six months.

Before she could get the next sentence out, I asked her what the analytics were on the email programs. She reported less than 7% of the emails were opened, and not a single “click” was directed to their company Website. Their email list was close to 1600 contacts.

Around 93% of the email contacts bounced, remained unopened or were unsubscribed. Even before I could get my hands around the problem, she told me they are now preparing another campaign using the same list of contacts.”

The problem is huge…

First, this is not unusual. I’ve seen it myself so many times I have lost count. When a company spends the time to update their marketing contacts, customer communications suddenly become more effective.

Second, anyone can have a list of names. There’s no marketing value in the word list. A typical “customer and prospect list” may have a turnover rate of 25 to 30% per year!

Something to think about…

If no one reads or does not receive your marketing communication, then you are wasting a lot of time and money.

The best solution is to use a Database in place of having just a list. A Database of customer information which is periodically updated, has a lot of value. Another benefit of updated data means it’s easier to segment your clients and create niche segments.

A Database allows a company to send a relevant message, pertinent to the customer’s needs, personalized and comes with a great offer to buy and can be unique to a particular customer profile.

I refer to our Database of customer information as a Customer-Contact Management System (C-CMS). Even the name sounds important. When a process becomes known as important it will finally get the attention so greatly needed.

If you agree that customer data is important forget about calling it a list. When you add customer data to a list, the list is becoming a database. Here is a definition of a database to help you see this is a valuable tool in marketing today.

What is a database?

A database is a collection of data that is organized so that its contents can easily be accessed, managed, and updated by a particular market niche or a target BigDatamarket based on simple segments, such as demographics.

Think about this; not every customer is the same. Stop thinking customers are all alike.

Is a database the solution?

This database definition is the solution to the problem. Nobody likes to do or has the time to manage and update their data. If you care about your marketing results, you’d better change your mind.

Making someone on your marketing team the person who has the final say on data is important. Without this person, your data can return to just a list.

What to do…

DataManagementIf you fall into the list category, change your thinking in 2015. Think all the data you collect goes into a company asset. Every contact within the database is unique. Having an asset on the books that continually makes your company money is a good thing.

Build your new asset, a Customer-Contact Management System, into a powerful database. You’ll see better response rates, happier customers, better referrals and be a full step ahead of the competition.

Visit our company page on customer profiles and at the end of the page, order our FREE paper brought to you by Romeo and Juliet. A love story about data and the relationships it kindles for a company with their customers today!

Thanks for reading and please share with others – except your competition! It is truly appreciated.

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The TWELFTH of Twelve Re’Market’Able Ideas to Increase YOUR Mar’Ket’Ing Response Now…

- How to React and Make the Most Out of Change.

sale

Number 12

Any small business can beat a larger company with the right marketing…

A small business cannot match the advertising budgets of the larger companies. But a small business can beat any competitor, large or small, by providing the best product and service and to continually take that customer service to a higher level.

A small business with this strategy can hit their marketing targets at the right time with a relevant message. And that gives a small business a lot of great responses. Did you think sales? If so, you’re definitely seeing the vales of Direct Marketing in the Digital World.

The next time the weather doesn’t shine on your parade because marketing and sales are falling like rain drops; stop the drizzle and return to Go (Post #1). Someone may have missed a step. There are many ideas and content to read here that can help a small business get better results from marketing, so your answer is easily accessible.

I hope you enjoyed our list of 12 Re’Market’able Ideas to Increase YOUR Mar’ket’ing Response Now..

Here’s the place to rejuvenate your marketing.

Never bite off more than you can chew. Marketing is a process that takes time. In any of these past 12 posts, no matter which one you think is a good starting point, any result you get is a starting point to build on.

No matter where you start, a good sound decision is to learn more about your customers. If you don’t know where to start, then look at your contacts. Do you have a list or do you have a database? Is your data up-to-date?

If you cannot answer these two questions, then you need to work on your data.

Next Tuesday, January 6, I’ll publish my latest post, “The biggest problem marketers make… And how-to solve it!”

At present, this article can be accessed at the Constant Contact Community Blog, Member Blog – Marketing. I write a blog for them that appears every other week. Or simply visit this blog on January 6th.

If you have any questions about your marketing, try our MCG Marketing eVal. The results deliver the correct steps you need to take for better marketing response. Read more about this fantastic program and sign up today for an initial consultation. And get a FREE copy of our most popular requested report, “The Top Ten Lists of Marketing Essentials Required for Small Business Success” sent directly to your email inbox.

Sometimes a tune-up is all a company needs to get better results.

Thanks for reading and please share with others – except your competition! It is truly appreciated.

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ELEVEN of Twelve Re’Market’Able Ideas to Increase YOUR Mar’Ket’Ing Response Now…

 - How to React and Make the Most Out of Change.

DontTryPerfect

Number 11

Don’t try to be perfect.

What would it be like if you could have perfect insight into your customer’s motivations, their influential relationships, and all the other little nuances that make a purchasing decision?

Without a shadow of a doubt, exceptional customer insight is the path of sales and marketing success started many decades ago. Many miss-steps along the way pointed to more failure than success, and most people thought this was completely unattainable.

Keep in mind that data quality is as much a total business problem and not just an IT problem. Read more from my first of four must-do’s when using direct marketing.

In other words, any organization needs to take it’s time to find a data champion within the organization and make sure the whole company is on the same page when it comes to data management.

Direct marketing in the traditional and the digital world provides you with the information to make sound marketing decisions. If you don’t believe me, look up Garbage-In, Garbage Out in any search engine for best results. Then go back and read the first post in this series of Twelve, “Stop Wasting Your Marketing and Advertising Time and Money!”

Friday, the final post of 12:

Any small business can beat a larger company with the right marketing!

Thanks for reading and please share with others – except your competition! It is truly appreciated.

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