Hi – welcome visitors from Paul Simister's Your Profit Club!
I hope you enjoyed the interview on Follow-Up Marketing Paul and I did – it was a real pleasure making it for you and I really believe if you implement the ideas we discussed you'll see a big impact on your business.
Remember – the vast majority of time, even highly qualified prospects for your products or services won't be ready to buy from you straight away when you first contact or meet them.
For most businesses it takes multiple interactions before your customers build up the trust and confidence in your capabilities needed for them to feel comfortable working with you. And in many cases when you first contact them, they don't feel an urgent need for what you have to offer – yet. Your job is to stay top of mind so that when they do feel that need strongly, you're the first person they call.
Follow-Up Marketing is the marketing you do after your initial contact with a prospect to build up to the level where they're ready to buy from you. It's much less glamorous than all the exciting marketing you do to make “first contact” – but it's equally – if not more – important.
Here are my top tips for successful follow-up marketing:
In order to follow-up effectively, when you first meet a prospect you must do two things.
- Firstly listen and find out about them rather than talking about yourself and pitching your services. The more you know about them, the more you'll have to talk about and contact them with when you follow-up.
- Secondly, you must capture their details and get permission to follow-up.
Face to face that means getting a business card and asking if it's OK to send them the odd email with useful information.
Online, it means getting their email address and permission to contact them – perhaps in exchange for a free report or video.
The same applies to other media – for example, with direct mail – rather than trying to sell in your letter – invite them to download your free report on your website in exchange for their email address. That way you know who's interested and can focus your communications on them.
Focusing your Follow-Up Efforts
For basic “manual” follow-up, I recommend reviewing your prospect list and dividing them into categories:
- A = prospects who could become one of your very best clients (the right sector, right needs, right size – and they could bring you lots of business).
- B = not quite perfect clients – usually because they may be too small to bring you lots of business.
- C = unlikely to be great clients.
Every week review your list of A category prospects and think through: what can I do to help them and build my relationship with them this week? Who can I introduce them to? What useful information can I send them? What event can I invite them to? etc.
Do the same with the B category prospects every month.
You'll probably only have enough time to have a handful of A category prospects and the same again for B category prospects. Because they could be great clients should you win them, you can afford to invest your time into deliberately nurturing your relationship with them.
With C category prospects you'll try to automate the follow-up.
For basic “automated” follow-up for C category prospects, use a regular newsletter. But make sure it's filled with useful ideas and tips for your prospects (in the areas you or your products can help them with) rather than being news about you or sales pitches. Make sure you snd it out at least monthly (otherwise they'll forget you) and absolutely make sure you have permission to send it to them. Don't add people to your newsletter list just because you found their email address or got their business card. If you haven't got permission yet – send a sample copy with a link to sign up from.
For more strategic follow-up – think through in advance, what “state of mind” must your prospect be in before they'll be ready to buy from you? What must they know and feel about themselves, their situation and you before they'll be ready?
So, for example, if you're a consultant, they'll probably need to know they have a real problem that needs solving urgently. But they'll also have to feel there's hope of a solution. And that you understand their situation and have the specific capabilities to help. And don't underestimate how much they'll need to feel they can trust you and work with you.
It's then your job to “prove” all those point to them over time as part of your follow-up marketing.
For example, could inviting them to a seminar you're running on a relevant topic demonstrate your capabilities (and a bit of what you'd be like to work with)? Quite probably.
Would a case study showing how one of your clients solved a problem similar to the ones they're facing build your credibility? Very likely. And if handled correctly, it could also open their eyes to the impact of the problems they have.
Over time, you'll identify a small subset of common problems and challenges your clients face – and you can then build standard “sequences” of things you can do with and for your prospects that address those challenges and ensure you tick all the boxes needed so that they feel comfortable buying from you.
Strategic follow-up also translates directly into the world of email marketing. Using “autoresponders” – pre-programmed sequences of emails – you can take prospects who've signed up for communications from you on a step by step journey using emails and links to resources on the web exactly the same way as you would if you were manually nurturing a relationship. You can share case studies, videos you've made where you share insights on relevant topics. Articles you've written.
And with email – because it's coming direct to their inbox – you can also build a more intimate relationship. Share some of you own story and how you faced some of the challeneges they're facing. Infuse your emails with your personality – and prospects will build up a picture of what it would be like to work with you.
By treating follow-up strategically like this you can ensure that prospects gain insight into the urgency of their challenges, they realise how well you understand their situation, and that you have all the capabilities they're looking for.
And that will put you in pole position when they're ready to buy.
For email marketing I personally use a system called Active Campaign. It does advanced email marketing with tagging, sequences, list segmentation and integration with many other systems.
Other email marketing systems to look at are GetResponse, Aweber and Mailchimp.
For my comprehensive guide to follow-up, click here:
>> The (Almost) Ultimate Guide To Follow-Up <<