Are Today’s Customers Harder to Reach?

Are Today’s Customers Harder to Reach?

The competition today is humongous!

In our history as a nation, for example in the 1800s, all selling was face-to-face. Store owners studied customer purchases to determine their likes and not so likes of goods and services. Sounds simple, because it was, then.

Now fast forward to the present. It is difficult to get a grasp on why and what a potential customer would buy. There is a loss of useful, outmoded communication channels seceded by the internet and all things technology.

Further, the competition today is humongous. Customers shopping at stores is low, B2B company industry shows are trying to make a comeback, trade publications are disappearing or bought out, and a small business is erratic with selling goods or closed for good.

The timing is right getting back to the basics.

When I put my thoughts together for this post, I realized how much has changed since the pandemic reached our shores in the first quarter of 2020. Companies, big and small, had a very difficult time on how to communicate with prospects and customers. Try this, do that, or even maybe this will work.

Hopefully, the time is right for a change. The pandemic may wind down as we approach the summer of 2021. Fresh cases of Covid-19 are at their low and in single digits of deaths in Illinois. People vaccinated twice are slightly over 50%.

Selling to people in the 1800s.

The biggest takeaway from the 19th Century was face-to-face selling. In the B2B industry, a person may sell a high-cost product or service. The salesperson usually receives a lot of objections. A good salesperson studies his customers and their company. He must know how to react to the objections.

With negotiations, both people must know as much as possible about each other. Each person wants to walk away as a winner.

So, what is different today? We have the technology to meet face-to-face. For example, any good salesperson would say, “I need to set the table on why my product or service is better.” A small ticket price salesperson must also set a table to get a sale. It is not what you know or who you know, it is what you know about the person you are selling to. What does he know about you?

Look at what other companies are doing.

To become a useful tool, you must transform data into information that can help drive strategic direct marketing and selling programs, financial decisions, and product development. To minimize manual data collection and conserve resources, a company should focus on metrics for readily available data.

In today’s direct and digital marketing, data will capture information needed to drive decisions. The idea of having a good marketing automation tool to capture more data at a reasonable price is a worthwhile investment. The Pareto Principal comes into play when you collect data. Twenty percent of your customers usually provide eighty percent of your revenue. Buy a CRM or database and build one today.

Adding value-oriented work habits.

When you summarize feedback in charts, graphs, or simple to understand language, you’ll always know the score. You know if you’re winning or losing–and to what degree. 

Go get’em slugger!

Useful methods of setting a table for a sale.

  1. Printed Materials. If you have not printed marketing materials in sometime, there are many knowledgeable printers to help you with paper ideas, paper types, color, black and white, sizes, postal requirement and so forth. Look up a direct mail company who process mail for delivery is a logical choice.
  2. Contact List. Every business needs a customer and prospect list. The average list may lose 20% of contacts each year. You can count on over 20% based on the present pandemic. Before you do any mailing, search your current customers from accounting. Compare each list and update your mailing customer list. That is just a start. See #5.
  3. Direct Marketing Mail. Whether a large or small business direct mail can deliver. For example, get creative with printed materials. Get creative with the envelope or other size package, so when it reaches the person’s hand and eyes, they have creative printed material, such as a call-to-action.
  4. Communication Channels. Besides mail you should add additional communication channels such as email, landing pages, your website, telephone, zoom, video such as You Tube and other digital marketing techniques. Your choices are many, but it all depends on what your contacts prefer.
  5. Data Management. Personalization assumes that you know something about the people to whom you are mailing, emailing, or sending to a landing page and so on. It is an effective way to keep customers spending their money on your products and services.

Summary

Yes, there are more. However, without having a good contact list, your results are not always what they could be. The key point in any of the communication channels is personalization. You need to collect customer data, such as what channel (email, mail, etc) is the best revenue channel.

A database, such as a CRM, will disclose more about your customers and prospects. Think about using segments in your CRM. Start simple. For example, what buyers are in the top 20% of revenue. They may have different copy than the other 80%.

Here is a collection of articles and posts for each of the five tactical tools from the list above.

mdoc@direct2customers.com

Please share with others–except your competition!

Direct marketing copy is like a puzzle.

Sharing my time with you is not over at the end of a post. There are many ideas I experienced in owning a small business. My ideas about using and writing direct marketing and customer-centric copy are intertwined in the marketing, advertising, and selling content, articles, reports based on my philosophy of people learn by reading, then learn by doing.

Please join our Direct2Customers Marketing Community today!

Learning by reading and doing, marketing, and selling ideas, is what you will find in your Direct2Customer Community. Join us today by clicking on the button.

This is what I do and what I love to do.

Thanks again for reading. Questions?

Mdoc@direct2customers.com or 800-251-3608

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I’m looking for answers.

I’m looking for answers.

“If business growth is all about your marketing and sales effort, which one adds more to the bottom line?”

MarketingDoc

THEY BOTH DO!

Throughout my ownership of a small business, I worked with a variety of healthcare practices, higher education, universities, B2B companies, direct mail companies, a proud selling solution provider as a partner, and entrepreneurs like myself.

No one small business I met with was the same as the next, but for marketing their products or services, marketing, advertising, and selling was usually in all the wrong ways.

Hence, I am looking for comments to the second headline of this post. Do you agree or disagree?

Which one adds more to the bottom line, marketing, selling, or both? Please share your thoughts and experience with some examples if possible in the comments below.

Let me Explain

Let me Explain

Most small businesses are excellent at one or the other, but rarely very good at both. Based on experience, depending on which one the management team is comfortable with, well, it could be one or the other. Either will grow the business if leadership makes sure there is a firm commitment to the sales or marketing effort.

However, why stop at one?

Today, the future success of an organization’s sales team depends on the business leadership and their development strategy. The strategy is usually a blend of their marketing and sales tactics they have developed over the years. Logically, that provides results needed to keep a business growing.

But somewhere down the line, business growth becomes stagnant.

Leadership has become complacent. It seems like when a small business finds a new customer, an existing customer somehow disappears. It becomes more difficult to meet business growth goals.

Once contracted, I collect a lot of information about a company’s marketing and sales teams. I ask selected questions and provide examples from my e-Book, Custom-Made Marketing, to stimulate discussions.  Marketing professionals and salespeople love first class business growth and development ideas.

 

Summary -

Build A Direct Marketing Strategy Using the Four Basic Business Building Blocks Below.

When marketing and sales are looking to return to first-class business growth and development.

NUMBER ONE

The business team must have a complete understanding of customers’ and prospects’ needs and wants, and selling the products and services that meet those needs and wants. People change. Markets change.

 

 

NUMBER TWO

A successful selling growth strategy requires a focus on the basic skills of prospecting, lead generation, and face-to-face selling. Add personalization as a goal. Do you need better data? Is your database or CRM up-to-date? Don’t grimace, just do it!

NUMBER THREE

Leadership must define “what is a great sales lead” and what are the steps to take to nurture the lead prospect into a customer. A past customer will require some incentives to establish them as a returning customer.

NUMBER FOUR

Provides a customer service strategy that encourages more and repeat business. Learn more about prospects and customers. I used a storybook type of writing that served as a reminder of the needs and wants of each prospect and customer. Add personalization. Become known as a solution provider.

OK Mike, you asked,

but why is business growth and development more challenging today?

First, let me hear your answers and comments.

I want to get an ongoing discussion session and share with us what you learned by reading and/or by doing. I’ll be happy to share my thoughts and answer all your questions. 

Plus, all answers and comments will receive a free subscription to our Direct2Customers Marketing community and an issue of Direct Marketing+Mail Success.

I will complete this blog post week, February 8th.

Click here to read Part 2 of I’m Looking for Answers

Please share with others – except your competition! Your time is genuinely appreciatedPlease join our Direct2Customers Marketing Community today!

  Learning and doing, marketing, and selling ideas, is what you’ll find at your Direct2Customer community. 

  It’s what I do. It’s what I love to do. 

  Thanks again for reading. Questions?  Mdoc@direct2customers.com or 800-251-3608 

                                                                                                                                                         

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Pick A Marketing Communication Channel, But Not Just Any Channel

Pick A Marketing Communication Channel, But Not Just Any Channel

Then share the most important ideas with the ones that make you money. 

There are numerous tools of the trade you’ll find when using direct marketing and mail. If you have read a few of my posts on using both within a direct to customer strategy, there are an incredible amount of tactical tools to help you reach your end game. 

Considering your customers can be challenging to determine what makes them buy, because one day this, another day that, but sending the same marketing message again latter, you get a different result. Who would of thunk it? 

These are just a few ways the pandemic has uprooted our daily lives to earn a living. Unemployed people and empty company locations will leave your marketing message unread, unseen, or unheard. 

Marketing, advertising, and selling professionals, must remain vigilant to stay connected. For instance, build a customer list of recent purchasers and even others who have not recently made a purchase. Do not be salesly with your conversation but show concern about your contact and their company. Offer to help by stretching out customer payments, free shipping or whatever benefit people love about your product and service. Saving money never goes out of style. 

Small businesses restaurants or a fitness center, and many other companies, are under siege via mask mandates, times or days allowed to be open, losing quality employees or letting them go because of the lack of funds. I am sure you get that point. This is not a good situation.

 So what do you want to do? Stay on the same path and hope for           better results?

 Now is the time to plan your attack but first, read on for other ideas. But   while you study all channels of communication to reach your   audience, write personalized messages n your blog like there is no   tomorrow about on what is to come down.

There’s so many channel preferences people have at their disposal, but the most important ones are what communication channels your desired audience may use. Unless you are one of the few waiting to determine peoples desired channels of choice, I am sorry to inform you, it is up to you to make that happen. 

In the past 25 years or so, I preached to many audiences everywhere to spend time to learn your customer’s habits, needs and wants, and to enter your results in a customer-contact management system. Or, if you sell a product or service, then into your busy book. When the information you collected is entered in a database, you first move is to develop customer segments. Start small and add on what else you learn. The knowledge you get from studying this data will make your marketing messages more relevant.

I created a lot of marketing and sales tools to help a business like yours learn how to analyze the data you collect. For example, how to segment your customers and prospects, start by building an easy form to help you see the big picture for achieving marketing and selling success.

FREE sample segmenting charts now when you subscribe to the direct2customer community. Click below.

The choice is theirs. 

Clients have more choices to buy than just your company. If your business is in everyone’s busy book, how do you stand out? So for instance, a direct marketing strategy is one of the more valuable tools in building an offer. An offer is vital for success. Still, many businesses assume their product is good enough to sell as is without an offer. Guess what? Wrong. 

Why? In one quick answer, the offer causes a person to stop and give your message a second look, a second thought. Is that the way your mind is rolling?

Now, many of you reading this may consider an offer of lower prices. But, if you took the time to learn more about your customers, you may have found a certain percentage of customers and prospects have other values when making a purchase. At the heart of any direct marketing message will always be an offering, whether you’re selling a product, promoting a service, driving traffic to a Website, or taking people to a retail location.

What is an “offer”?  

It is not to love and cherish a product for the rest of your life, but it can be. And no, it is not a discount, but it can be. It could be any number of other things as well.  

On the simplest level, an offer is the “terms of the deal.” It is you saying, “Here’s what you can get. And here’s what you have to do or pay to get it.” It’s the combination of several elements that make up the “deal.” 

Individuals who operate in the direct marketing and mail business understand the importance of creating a sense of urgency in a marketing offer. The value of having the sale happen now is that if it does not, it may not happen at all.  Condition that the sale happens now, it increases the likelihood that another sale will happen later. 

These are just a few tried-and-true strategies to help your customers and prospects overcome the dreaded disease of delay! 

Want to learn more about direct marketing?  For a limited time only, I have placed our most requested white paper, “The Right Notes in Your Direct Marketing, Make Beautiful Music for Your Customer’s Ears and Your Accounting Department”, on our report sending website free for the asking.  

This powerful report can change your opinion on your direct marketing strategy and realize, there is a better way to communicate with your audience – when you spend some time to get to know them! Your messages become more relevant and your customers feel more appreciated. And we both know what that means! 

Thanks for reading.

Remember to get your free ideas on how to get into building segments in just a few steps. 

Get FREE sample charts on how to start segmenting your contacts when you join our community

Please share with others – except your competition! Your time is genuinely appreciated. Please join our Direct2Customers Marketing Community today!

Learning and doing, marketing, and selling ideas, is what you’ll find at your Direct2Customers community. 

It’s what we do. It’s what we love to do. 

Thanks again for reading. Questions?  Mdoc@direct2customers.com or 800-251-3608 

         

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QUANTITY VS. QUALITY…

QUANTITY VS. QUALITY…

(From DMS 17.3, article 2. Download the complete publication at the end of this post)

Which one scores your highest ratings in marketing and advertising?

In the past, having a conversion rate when using direct mail, one percent was acceptable. What was the conversion rate number?

First, let us look at another example. A response rate is an important metric for analyzing a mailing or any other communication channel your customers may prefer. But a high response rate is not always the best goal.

If you’re trying to generate sales leads for a high-dollar service where the contract might be over one million dollars, a single reply that results in a sale might give you a low response rate, but it would likely represent a significant return on investment.

Therefore, your goal is not to maximize response but to maximize profit. Direct mailers in the past century would continually buy more lists to increase their mailing number hoping to get more responses. Hence, the name, junk mail.

Some of today’s digital marketers love telling anyone that listens they have over 200,000 followers. Hence the name, digital flame out.

“Single focused approach, effective utilization of natural skills, creative choices, and self- belief is essential to achieve superior quality.” ©Famous Quotes, on their 1 2 3 Website.

Profit is a good thing.

So, how do we raise our profit? One way is a mindset of delivering an offer, direct to the customer, and add another channel, such email or social media channel, and test to verify your outcome.

Testing allows adjustments which can create a nice increase to maximize your profit.

While there is a lot of creativity that goes into writing and designing communications, testing should be a careful and disciplined process. This is another example of using science in your marketing efforts within our data driven era.

Test one item at a time. 

It may be temptation to test a variety of ideas in every message. If so, it is impossible to know what element is responsible for changing your results.

For example, if you use a new subject line at the same time trying a new segment, which change will affect your results? By testing only one change per message, you can immediately see what causes your positive or negative results.

If you want to improve your landing page conversions, then use Split testing, better known as A/B testing.

For example, use A/B testing with two versions of your landing page that are almost entirely the same but have one specific difference you want to test. For instance, you could A/B test which headline or offer converts more by creating one page with a headline or offer A and the other headline with an offer B. Half of your visitors will see version A and the other half will see version B.

Test against your “control.” 

A/B testing can work with any communication channel you want. Even your control can be an email that has proven to be a winner. Once you have determined a winner, you can test other email messages or formats against it.

This type of testing works like a contest, with the old and new competing against each other. If your control wins, you know you should continue using it.

If the challenger wins, you know you might have a new control and should consider emailing the new message or format instead.

While there is a lot of creativity that goes into writing and designing your marketing communications, testing should be a careful and disciplined process.

Summary

The key takeaway is to test one marketing or advertisement message at a time. Plus, check out your analytics for additional campaign insights for maximizing your profit.

So, by now we can assume, quality pays?

Read the rest of publication DMS 17.3 

Thanks for reading and please share with others – except your competition! Your time is genuinely appreciated. 

Learning and doing, marketing, and selling ideas, is what you’ll find at your Direct2Customers community. 

It’s what we do. It’s what we love to do. 

Thanks again for reading. Questions?  Mdoc@direct2customers.com or 800-251-3608 

         

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Valuable information you need to know to fine tune marketing and selling in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Valuable information you need to know to fine tune marketing and selling in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Are you looking for more business? Or better business? Or a new prospect list?  

You are not alone. The Covid-19 pandemic has turned our business marketing and selling world upside down.

Maintaining your team’s enthusiasm to get people to buy your product and/or your service in our present pandemic is mind boggling at best. Try this! Do that! That never works! And the beat goes on.

It’s always been a challenge to create consistently awesome attractions. But now, it is a overwhelming challenge to earn the attention of potential prospects. The playing field of marketing and sales has changed dramatically.

One such solution is finding a group of marketing sleuths in your organization. Look for people with a variety of ability, such as having a keen sense of solving problems, people in your marketplace looking for change and even good thinking customers. The result is mixing all suggestions and ideas in a marketing blender and spilling it all on a table for you and your team to sort out.  

You need to arrive at ideas which is the right marketing content and communication channels that can reach your contacts and tempt them in ways with a compelling mix of opinions and insight in today’s economy as transformed by the pandemic within your industry. 

So much of the knowledge and thought leadership from the people on your list that works them may also work for your company. You need to stop thinking that the pandemic will somehow disappear, and everything returns to normal. So many of the normal ways of attracting customers are no longer useful. Business’s small and large, are laying people off every day. For example, when was the last trade show you visited? 

Comment and offer at the end of this post. 

Delegate technical customer manager.  

This role is for someone that sees the value of the science of data analytics and the art of marketing. Then, make it in the employee’s job description and might include incentive payGoals could be copywriting, using printed materials, landing pages, personalization, digital, and whatever is collected from prospects and customer segments. Without a single ‘owner’ to take responsibility on marketing, sales activity and response of testing, the investigation is often disorganized, and the results are inconsistent. 

If you are a company who believes in and use some of the concepts of customer-centric marketing strategyyou probably have an advantage with communication channels choice. Conversely, if you are not a fan, you need to start.  

Just the other day I saw these two headlines. 

  • Walgreens Marketing Moves into Mass Personalization  

  • Mercedes-Benz marketing boss: Our customised agency is making us more human-centric 

Customer-centric marketing, or whatever you may call it, is a known marketing strategy that works. 

Experiment with a little bit of this and just a touch of that. 

Think of customer-centric marketing as a consistent delivery of value to each customer. Your company marketing and sales must be centered on listening to what your customers want and have a particular opinion, belief or ideas using more ways for building business relationships with personalization. 

Our second strategy, data driven marketing is also based on personalization. It assumes that you know something about the contacts to whom you are mailing, emailing, or sending to a landing page and so forthIt’s an effective way to keep customers spending their money on your products and servicesby understanding their needs 

Number three, a digital marketing strategy, design solutions for your business to attract and keep customers, get end-to-end visibility into all marketing and selling campaigns, from impression to revenue. You need a customer-focus mentality (personalization) to see and understand why your customers buy or not buy. 

Digital marketing is a good marketer’s choice for the near future. 

Direct mail, websites, email, advertisements, even content marketing, are a few of the communication channels, you may use today. They each have their pro’s and con’s. But this is a challenging time with so many unknowns. 

At this point in time, what works? Marketing and sales? Are the salespeople getting appointments? Are they still making sales? These questions need answers. Staying on the same course may work for now, but for how long?  

Depending on your answers, your new technical customer manager will have her or his back to the wall, to havanswers you need to compete in the pandemic marketplace. Ease in other company contributors with their specialties in the wheelhouseChallenging times can uncover thought provider ideas or insights that may enhance marketing and sales success.  

Summary 

The only known that I am sure of, is not to do nothing. recently read an article on the CDC website that this pandemic may last through 2021. 

Your advantage is what you decide on doing now, going hard after new and present business, will keep working for your company in the new world you are facing when a vaccine is available for controlling and ending the pandemic.  

Could you comment how your company has changed the way they are marketing in the pandemic.? 

Conversely, if your company is facing tough times in marketing and sales, send me a note or comment about your situation and I’ll be happy to share some suggestions. 

Everyone who responds will become a subscriber to our Direct2Customers community. 

Thanks for reading and please share with others – except your competition! Your time is genuinely appreciated. 

Learning and doing, marketing, and selling ideas, is what you’ll find at your Direct2Customers community. 

It’s what we do. It’s what we love to do. 

Thanks again for reading. Questions?  Mdoc@direct2customers.com or 800-251-3608 

                                                                               

 

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