The New Year is here and with it comes hope and optimism for new business, new partnerships, increased profits and overall business success. Some people may ask, is it possible to be so optimistic when the global economy is still in recovery and companies remain in survival mode.
My answer to that is yes it is possible. More importantly it’s time for companies to shift gears from a business that is just surviving to one that is thriving. There is business out there to be had by all, but first both B2B and B2C clients and customers need to know you exist. It all starts with strategy.
The companies who have a strategy for reaching prospects and who have a means in place to continue to speak to their prospects are more likely to come out ahead at the end of the year.
Gone are the days when prospects would see or interact with a brand four times and then take action to make a purchase. In this ever changing age of technology things are moving faster; we’re busier than ever and many of us running on overdrive. We simply don’t notice or absorb marketing messages like we use to. It can take up to twelve touch points before consumers take action. Therefore it is vital that companies implement an interactive, multi-touch marketing communication plan or an integrated marketing communications (IMC) plan.
An IMC ensures that all forms of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, personal promotion, social networking, public relations, and direct selling are carefully linked together to work together rather than operating in isolation.
Although an integrated marketing communication plan requires a lot of effort, it delivers many benefits. It can create competitive advantage, boost sales and profits, while saving money, time and stress.
As a marketer (and in my book that includes everyone in the company), the goal is to sit down with your team and design an IMC that covers both offline and online marketing tactics. Listed below are a three no cost and low cost interactive touch points that any company can implement to reach out and engage prospects.
One of the easiest and low cost ways to promote your business is to get out and share what it is that you do. Avoid falling into the trap of introducing yourself by giving others the What-You-Do speech. Instead give them the How-We-Help introduction that is benefits driven. Collect business cards and follow up immediately with an email, the brochure you promised or schedule that meeting or a coffee to carry on the conversation.
Speaking for free at Association meetings and Chamber of Commerce events gives you the perfect opportunity to demonstrate that you are an industry expert. People may not immediately hire you or purchase from you and that is okay. The goal is to be seen and to stay top-of-mind to prospects so that when they are ready to hire a consultant or buy a product, they think of you.
Too many companies stay away from direct mail pieces because they believe that it’s an expensive way to connect with prospects. It need not be if you make this is part of your strategy and budget for it in advance.
With so many emails, Electronic Direct Mail pieces and newsletters filling up inboxes today, readers have become accustomed to hitting the delete button. It’s one of the reasons why it takes up to 12 touch points as we aren’t opening or reading everything that comes into the inbox.
Engage in Social Networking
Is your company one of those who still has yet to get on the fast moving train called Social Media because you fear clients or consumers may say something negative about your brand on Facebook? Now is the time to get on board. Social media is powerful because it is two-way communication. What better way to learn what your consumer wants, needs, likes and dislikes.
Set up a Facebook Fan Page and engage your fans with quotes, tips, questions, polls, product information and surveys to keep them talking and sharing. Add interesting images to enhance engagement. Include your URL to drive prospects back to your website where you will sell to them.
There is no time like the present to craft an IMC. Craft your campaign today.