It seems to be a consistent theme among some companies: they are busy doing all the things they are told will get them sales, but no sales are coming in the door. If you’re in that situation, you are either doing the wrong things, or the right things are being done ineffectively. You can blog, newsletter, tweet, Facebook, follow, event, network, and so on, but if you aren’t getting the customer and the revenues, then you need to determine why … and soon.
Recently a company that I crossed paths with was telling me about all the things they have been doing to get business and raise their “profile” in the marketplace. They have spent hours persuading an association to hold a meeting in their local area. They have been running contests for students to generate ideas, designs, and ads so they can blog about the process and run a press release on the results. They have been hosting “lunch and learns” for the local business community. They held a block party as a vendor meet and greet. All of these events and activities were paid for by the company; tens of thousands of dollars have gone to wages, advertising, websites, marketing, press releases, travel expenses and membership fees. Last week I learned they had to let go all their employees because they do not have businesses coming in the door to buy their products and services.
This real-world example illustrates the importance of tracking the results of your efforts and activities. If you do X, then establish a means of tracking what leads and clients actually result from X. If you do not acquire customers, then evaluate what took place to see why. Most often the reasons why are pretty straightforward:
- Your message was not directed at the right people or market segment.
- Your message was “off” —either not relevant or unclear but it was directed at the right group.
- Your market is not interested in your product or service.
- Your message is not getting through: You are not relevant to what is going on in their business or lives at this point in time.
- You are not getting through the noise of other offers.
- You lack credibility in your offer: They see you, but don’t believe you.
- You are saying what you want to say, not what the customer wants to hear.
In the age of electronic marketing, social media and a relatively low cost of using these tools (your time at a minimum), it may seem that doing more is the answer when something is not working. Doing more of what is not working is a lot like deciding to shout your message because the person across from you doesn’t get what you are saying. Saying something louder (more frequently) doesn’t get your message understood; customers may be tuning you out, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t heard you.
In the world—virtual or real—authenticity, connection and meaningful relationships are critical to success. If you do not make a connection through your communications based on a mutual perspective, then it does not matter how many messages you are sending, they are not going to be “received.”
If you blog, tweet or otherwise digitally interact with your prospect markets, do so only when you have relevant information or insight that will positively impact your prospective customer. They do not care if you are eating a loaded hotdog in the park at 2pm on Wednesday. They want to know how what you know and do helps them. Be relevant to your prospects and customers and they will generate revenues for you.
Set a goal for every communication whether it is in the “real” or virtual world. If you post a blog, what do you want readers of your blog to do? If you tweet, what information or perspective are you providing? If you want to meet with someone, what do want to get out of the meeting and what do you want the other person to get out of the meeting?
Define an activity. Measure the results. Every time you undertake an activity or series of activities, then set milestones and timetables—and measure your progress and the results. Since communication via social media, emails, websites, blogs, events and so on are ultimately about relationships, a single interaction will probably not be enough to make a sale (if that is your ultimate goal), but you can measure intermediate results. For example, if you post a blog, how many visits/readers did it get? If you tweeted about the blog, how many retweets did you get? Track the immediate metrics and watch the trends to see how much momentum you are building up. Being busy is not enough. Being busy at activities that get results? That is truly worthwhile.
Author: Lea A. Strickland, MBA CMA CFM CBM GMC
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