If you own or operate a business, you have probably experienced slow periods where revenue was declining and you didn’t have enough leads coming in. But there is actually a way to market yourself so that you are not at the mercy of the season or economy again.
There are two things that you need to control your revenue year-round: an integrated marketing approach and an organized marketing plan.
Here’s how to do it.
Integration means that each piece of your marketing works together in a coordinated way. For example, an integrated approach might look like this: You have a direct mail postcard campaign that drives traffic to your website. Your website is optimized to convert that traffic into leads by getting them to fill out a form.
Then, that form populates your email database and your leads receive pre-determined emails from you for the next six months. During that time, your sales team follows up with the prospects over the phone.
Of course, the specific strategies that make up an integrated campaign vary by industry, but what follows is a good general outline.
In order to fully integrate your marketing approach, you will need the following systems in place:
- Lead generation. For this, I suggest direct-mail postcards. There are other options such as television, radio, billboards, letters and more. But I have found postcards to be the most cost-effective.
- Lead reception. Receptionists should have a predetermined way to handle callers and gather their contact information. Your website needs to be optimized to gather prospects’ contact information, which is easily done by offering free downloads where the prospect is prompted to fill out a simple form.
- Follow-up. You’ll want to go with an email service for this, because email is the most affordable follow-up option available and usually yields great results when used in this capacity. Postcards and phone calls are also great for follow-up, too.
The Internet is also a great resource to learn more about each of these elements.
It is one thing to have an integrated marketing approach, and it is another thing to have an organized, fully integrated marketing plan.
It may sound obvious, but you need to be intentional and organized about exactly how the pieces of your marketing plan will integrate. For example, how many days will go by before an online prospect receives the first email from you? How many days will you wait until you call your prospects? Does the design on your postcard match the design of your website?
The best way to handle this is to sit down with your marketing staff — or by yourself if you don’t have a marketing staff — and evaluate the process, beginning with lead generation and continuing all the way to the sale. You’ll also need to answer the questions that come up along the way.
Some of these questions you’ll want to ask and answer include the following:
- How am I going to generate leads?
- How am I going to receive these leads?
- Is the method of reception going to immediately let the prospect know they are in the right place?
- How am I going to get prospects’ contact information?
- How am I going to follow up with leads?
- How are my different follow-up methods going to work together?
- How often should I contact my leads?
Once you have built a solid structure for your marketing campaign, you can get to work implementing it. As you do, you will notice that your revenue numbers follow a pattern that correlates to your marketing output. And when that happens, you’ll have confidence that, even in your off seasons, you can get the leads you need by simply increasing your marketing output.
Joy Gendusa is the owner and CEO of direct mail marketing firm, PostcardMania. Joy began PostcardMania in 1998, with nothing but a phone and a computer, never taking a dime of investment capital. Since then, PostcardMania has expanded to offer its clients more services including website and landing page design and development, email marketing and full marketing evaluations — all while continuing to educate clients with free marketing advice. In 2011, PostcardMania reached almost $45 million in annual revenue and the company now employs more than 195 people, prints 4 million and mails 2 million postcards each week, and has more than 53,000 customers in over 350 industries.