Another key to success when implementing the Duct Tape Marketing System in a professional service firm is creating a strong follow up system. I include lead nurturing in the broader category of a follow up system. Lead nurturing is essential, but there are other types of follow up that are just as important to the success of your marketing system. I believe that the fewer tools you have to manage in your system, the greater your chances of successfully implementing and maintaining them.

People

Identifying the people you will need to follow up with is an important first step in setting up your system. You need to evaluate your particular situation, but here is a typical list of people you may want to follow up with:

  • People you meet in person that express an interest in your services.
  • Telephone inquiries
  • Web site visitors
  • Connections made via social media
  • Existing customers
  • Referrals
  • Referral Sources
  • Members of the press

Each of these groups has different needs and interests. Rather than trying to create a “one size fits all” set of messages, tailor your system to allow you to send timely, relevant messages based on their interests and needs.

Communication Vehicles

Next consider the tools you will use to communicate. There are lots of ways to stay in touch with people, so don’t be afraid to mix it up. In addition to staying in touch via email you can:

  • Send a note. Hand written notes can make a big impression in today’s digital world. Attaching an article or some other resource that the other person will find useful is another nice touch.
  • Connect via social media. Search for and connect with them on social media. Take a few minutes to learn about their interests, compliment them on an achievement, or comment on their blog post.
  • Pick up the phone and give them a call when you have something to give, rather than just when you have something to sell.
  • Take them to an event – you don’t have to always take them to lunch or out for golf (but take me out to golf <g>). Invite your customers to a networking event. Bring a strategic partner along to your next continuing education seminar.

Canned responses vs. reminders

As I’ve mentioned in the past (canned emails and copycat marketing), I believe it is important that a follow up system, particularly in a professional service firm, provides reminders and templates as well as automation.

For this discussion, when I mention automation, I mean a system that automatically sends out a message. The message may include “personalization” by including names and other database fields, but is pretty much a “canned” message. An example would be having a system that automatically sends out a birthday message to your client without you having to do anything.

Sometimes this type of automation may be exactly what you want. There are other times where it is more appropriate to receive a reminder to send a message and maybe even a template or starting point to help you create your message faster but taking the time add a personal touch will make all of the difference in the world. If you have ever received a message from someone that you have known for a while that sounds like they have never met you before, I think you know what I mean.

Automation is typically more useful in newly developing relationships vs. established ones. Using a predefined drip campaign to a brand new visitor to your web site may be appropriate. Sending canned messages to your existing customers or members of the press with whom you are trying to build a relationship with probably won’t work so well.

“Set it and forget it” systems may sound appealing, but make sure they are helping, rather than hurting, your relationship building efforts.

 

photo credit: BinaryApe on Flickr

Bill Brelsford Small Business Marketing Consultant