Last week, our blog post contained 9 really great sales ideas to try in 2016. This week, I want to tackle some marketing ideas you might want to try next year. Like the tips last week… they’re all low-cost/no cost, easy to do and – most importantly – have been proven to work…
1. Improve your elevator pitch. Networking at conferences is a great way to build awareness and generate sales prospects… but you need to really grab the other person’s attention. Most people have a pretty bland elevator pitch… “Hi, I’m John Smith. I’m with Smith & Associates – we’re a full-service shop located in Chicago.” And it usually stops there. Next year, try this… at the end of your pitch, add: “and what makes us unique is [fill in the blank].” If you include something truly unique, your message will be more memorable, helping you to stand out from all the others – and making following up with your contacts much easier.
2. Send handwritten ‘thank you’ notes. Everyone says they’ll do it – but almost no one follows through. Be different – get some logo’d note cards and send them consistently! Make it a New Year’s resolution.
3. Don’t waste your email signature. Your email signature isn’t just a “sign off,” it’s a terrific marketing opportunity – seen by scores (maybe hundreds) of people every day. My email signature, below, includes several ways to get in touch with me, links to my social sites, promotes our latest eBook and reinforces our brand with our logo.
4. You can’t manage what you don’t measure. In 2016, pick a few of the fundamental KPIs and make sure you’re tracking them on a regular basis… but no less than monthly. At a minimum, include:
- Website activity (through Google Analytics)
- Email marketing metrics (# sent / # received / # opened / #click-thrus), and
- Social media activity (# connections and engagement level – likes, re-tweets, comments, etc.)
Then analyze what you find, learn from it and keep improving as you move forward.
5. Test LinkedIn PPC advertising. LinkedIn’s Pay-Per-Click advertising is an easy-to-use, measureable, no-risk way of getting your brand in front of the people you want to see it. You can literally set-up an ad campaign in minutes – targeting exactly the kind of people (by industry, size of company, title, even the company they work for) you want to see your ad. Once up & running, you have access to real-time activity tracking. And if they don’t click on the ad and link to your website… you don’t pay anything!
6. Annually survey your clients (and ex-clients). Most firms will conduct a brief survey after each project to see how they did on that job… and that’s fine. But what aren’t asked very often are the bigger picture questions; e.g. “Overall, how are we doing?,” “What else can we be doing for you?,” “What, if anything, makes us unique in the marketplace?,” “Why did you hire us in the first place?” And when you survey ex-clients (and you should), you can also add, “Why did you stop using us?” and “Who are you using now… and why?”
7. Participate in LinkedIn conversations. Start off 2016 by selecting 2-3 LinkedIn groups – where your clients and prospects spend time – and get active in those groups. Answering good questions that are posted shows thought leadership and keeps your name in front of that target audience. No good questions to answer? Then start a conversation!
8. Write through the “eyes of your clients.” If your website is like most, it highlights the services you offer, how great your employees are, your ‘unique’ internal processes and maybe even your mission statement. Sorry to say it, but, “Nobody cares!” Not that much, anyway. Sure, visitors to your site need to know what you do – at some level – but that’s not really why they came to the site. They are there looking to answer two questions:
- “How can this firm help me solve my problems?”
- “Why should I hire this firm vs. all the others?”
Make sure you write from that perspective. By the way, writing like this also applies to your capabilities PPT, blog posts, eBooks, etc.
9. Make sure to include a sales component in your marketing. I see far too many marketing plans that are effective at generating inquiries and new sales leads… but with no concrete plan for following up on them. If you have a salesperson (or team) on staff, coordinate your efforts with them so they take responsibility for the follow-up. No one on staff? Then work with management so that someone – anyone – is assigned responsibility for that follow-up. There’s nothing more depressing than a pile of wasted opportunities!
Remember, “If you keep doin’ what you’re doin’… you’ll keep gettin’ what you’re gettin’!”… so try one or two of these marketing tips in 2016… you just might like what happens.
Got an interesting or unique marketing tip that works for you? We’d love for you to share it below.