Focus on your marketing right now to handle whatever 2021 brings.
By Monica Pitts
You probably already know this, but just in case you don’t I’m going to say it anyway. The thing you need to focus on right now in your business to be ready for whatever 2021 brings is to go back to what made you successful in the first place: RELATIONSHIPS. Afterall, isn’t that what marketing (and sales) are all about? The building and maintaining of relationships?
But we have been separated from the opportunity to build relationships traditionally and we continue to be separated. How do we combat that from a marketing perspective?
Build relationships with this 3 part strategy.
There’s no skinny pill to building relationships – not personally, not professionally. There’s no secret mystical way to make relationships out of thin air so you can pad your bottom line with revenue. But you can with the help of your sales and marketing team rekindle your relationships in 2020 so you’re ready to handle 2021 following these three steps: (1) Discovery, (2) Gratitude & (3) Support.
There are many parts of a sale, but they all start at the same place – the relationship. Bonding and rapport. When you hit a bumpy patch go left, go back to the relationship, back to bonding and rapport. And that’s where this rekindling and reinforcing for 2021 starts: with bonding and rapport.
When you meet someone you have to learn about them. In sales we call this bonding and rapport. In marketing we call it target market research. Doesn’t matter what we call it, the goal is to have conversations to re-learn about your prospects, customers and referral sources.
Don’t assume you know them right now. Enter into the discovery phase with an open mind, there’s no room for assumptions here. Things are changing rapidly and so are the challenges we’re all facing.
Now, some of you will want to plan excessively before engaging in these conversations. Others are going to want to do it all digitally using social media, text or email. Take a step away from those behaviors and just pick up the phone. CALL PEOPLE. Engage with them in an effort to understand the challenges that they’re facing right now.
What are the things that they’re facing right now that are holding them back from doing more business? Look for patterns. And in those patterns, you want to latch on to the problems that you can help them solve. And then write them down so you don’t forget them.
This phase has two parts. First you’re going to actually show gratitude and thank people for supporting your company. Second you’re going to plan with them in mind your marketing, more specifically how you will “support” them with your marketing efforts you’ll engage in during step 3.
Show gratitude in the traditional way to continue to stay connected with your prospects, customers and referral sources while you’re planning how you’ll support them through your marketing. You don’t want to lose the relationship you just started to rekindle in the discovery phase.
Showing gratitude used to be so easy. Now you’re going to have to be more creative with it. You’d shake hands at tradeshows, take folks out to a steak dinner, introduce an associate to a few other business contacts in the hope that they might be able to do business together in the future.
How can we turn that into something we can do now?
• Could you mention your referral sources on your website?
• Could you give them a testimonial about how great they are to work with?
• Send an email checking in to see if there’s anything you can do to help them get more business.
• You might send them a thank you card or letter.
• Make a fun thank you video.
Do whatever fits into your company culture and skill set. Get creative and show these people that you really appreciate them.
The support phase is honestly where the real marketing gets underway. Most businesses when they tackle their marketing think, “how can I sell this?” When what they should really be thinking is, “how can I help someone solve a problem?” Because solving a problem will not only sell your products and services, it will build a lasting relationship.
How you plan your “support style” marketing looks different for each business. To figure out what you should do, ask yourself: what were the problems that I could solve for them? And what talents or skills do you have that you can use to support them and help them solve these problems?
Here’s an example: One paving company, Rose Paving, does a great job of using support style marketing on their website. They offer white papers, free PDF downloads covering topics like: Is Your Parking Lot Legal?, 10 Factors That Affect The Outcome Of Any Paving Procedure and Got Potholes? Crack Sealing To The Rescue.
With those white papers they not only support the business owners making decisions about their parking lots, they also support their own sales people and referring general contractors by giving them the tools that they need to share with business owners to sell Rose Paving’s product.
Now support isn’t always a white paper though. It could be a webinar to explain your products or handle common buying objections that are barriers of entry for purchase. It could be an online tool to estimate services or materials. For some people, it looks like a Frequently Asked Questions section. And other people, it’s a blog, podcast, or educational email campaign.
Once you decide upon your support-style marketing tactics build the resource then share that information everywhere you have access to. And most of all, make sure that your salespeople and referral sources are equipped to talk about it. So every time that they hear a person talking about this problem they can present your marketing as a solution.
So there you have it, my three part plan to rekindle your relationships in 2020 so you’re ready to handle 2021: (1) Discovery (2) Gratitude & (3) Support. A little bit of marketing, a little bit of sales and little bit of psychology to keep you on track to keep your business going now and in the future.
Monica Pitts is the founder and Chief Creative Officer of MayeCreate Design. She spends her days constructing a marriage of form and function; creating art with her design team to grow businesses through websites and online marketing. Monica considers herself an artist, marketer and web dork with the ability to speak geek and English.