Is the purpose of marketing to create leads?
No – it’s to create relationships.
I know you’re wondering what I mean, so allow me to explain: when you build the relationship, the business will come naturally.
Here are some ideas for building relationships through your marketing:
Understand your ideal customer
The first thing you need to understand is who you want to work with – your ideal customer. “I know them,” you say, “and I understand them well.” This is true for very few businesses, however – rarely do they spend time truly getting to know their customers and, by extension, their prospective customers. (You do this with buyer personas, by the way.)
You should know what problem you solved for each one of them, why it was important for you to solve it when you did, and why they chose you for help solving it. What keeps them up at night? What are their goals? What makes them tick?
If you’re asking, “But how do I get this information?” the answer is to TALK to your existing customers! Don’t do a survey – physically pick up the phone and call them or leave your office to visit them and ask them personally. When you know the answers to those questions, you know how to attract other customers like them. Prospects will feel as though you understand them and will learn the value you offer those who work with you.
Above and beyond customer service
Next, you need to provide the best possible customer experience. Not just basic customer service – you must go above and beyond to anticipate the small things that will ‘wow’ customers.
And it shouldn’t just happen during and right after the sale, but months later, too. For example, start with a ‘client bill of rights’ or a start-up gift. As time goes on and your relationship grows, learn what they do outside of work, what charities they’re involved with, what food they like, etc. Then you can surprise them with a gesture months after their initial experience with you – a gift card to a restaurant, a donation to their favorite charity, etc.
Be easy to get ahold of. Answer questions quickly. Become a trusted adviser. How does this help? If people are wowed by you, they’ll tell their friends and family and anyone who needs a recommendation for what you do because they want others to experience the wow factor too. Your clients will become referral sources – and we all know that referrals are the best prospects.
Telling your story
You need to tell your story in such a compelling way that your prospects want to work with you. This can come in the form of talking about how you’ve helped others achieve their goals, or in talking about your “why” – why you want to help others with the problem you solve. Don’t give too much backstory, just tell them in a way they understand what’s in it for them. Too many times we see stories that tell wonderful a company or a person is; they talk about how long they’ve been in business, the awards they’ve won, about their great service. Except … none of that matters to your prospect unless you can explain why it should matter.
A prospective customer needs to feel like they know you and that they want to build a relationship with you. Think about it – when you look at business’s website and feel like they ‘get’ you, you probably want to become more closely associated with the company and their employees. Make sure your ‘about us’ page has your key employee biographies on it, and don’t just list the degrees, certifications, and awards; use personal information to humanize them for prospective customers. Things like what they enjoy on their time off, their pets or favorite sports teams, etc.
Your marketing should be based on the value you provide to your customers – in their language. When you achieve this, the prospects you’re marketing to will begin to feel as if they know you and that you’re the only company/person that can solve their problem.
Need some help fleshing out your ideas? Give us a call – we’re happy to help!