One way to improve our small business marketing systems is to create standardized procedures and communications for activities we are already doing. Creating procedures can help improve consistency, speeds up processing time, and makes it easier to delegate.
The campaigns below focus on common small business marketing activities that you may be doing to one extent or another. Thinking of each activity in context of a campaign helps identify the processes that we can standardize (and possibly automate) along with templates we may be able to create for our routine messages.
While these campaigns can be automated, I didn’t want you to think you have to run out and buy expensive software before you can start your marketing campaigns. Automated or not, you still need to map out the process, decision points, and content that you will need – so focus on doing that first. You can decide later whether you can use the tools you have or if you need to purchase new ones.
1. Free Report / Free Download / Free Newsletter Campaigns – Most business offer some sort of free download or newsletter subscription on their website. However, most “campaigns” consist only of an email confirmation and then delivery of the free item. By adding more messages to your free download campaign you can learn more about your prospects and how you may be able to help them.
- including offers to other resources you have available
- asking a few survey questions to determine interests and needs
- creating follow up campaigns for each question in your survey
2. Free Consultation / Free Quote Campaigns – it is also common for business to offer a free consultation or quote to prospective customers. If you have such an offering, take a look at your processes and identify steps and communications you can standardize.
- Using appointment reminders or phone calls to reduce no shows
- Providing “tips for getting the most from our meeting”, or a list of things you want them to bring/provide for you
- What communications and tasks need to take place if the customer buys
- What communications and tasks need to take place if the customer “wants to think about it”.
- Having a process in place for dealing with no shows.
3. New Customer Campaign – Do you have a standard, systematic approach for onboarding new customers? Standardizing your new customer welcoming process can help get the relationship started on the right foot, reducing problems down the road by properly setting expectations, and increasing your chances for receiving referrals.
- Creating a document outlining “what to expect” or “what to bring to your first meeting”
- Providing a list of names and ways to contact your employees along with a description of how they can help
- Outlining your billing procedures and expectations along with the customer’s payment options
- Sending an unexpected gift early in the relationship
- Including a customer happiness survey after the first 30, 60, or 90 days
4. Customer Happiness Feedback – Having a system in place for regularly soliciting feedback from your customers not only improves customer retention but can also help you get more business from referrals. One strategy you can employ is to determine what is a “passing score” on your survey and then when surveys are received all failing scores receive an immediate phone call follow up while passing scores may be asked to provide a testimonial or referral.
- Sending a testimonial template and/or examples of other testimonials to help them get started
- Providing an online referral form to happy customers, asking if they know anyone else who would benefit from your product or service
- Let them know you want to refer them as well and ask them how you can help
5. Re-engagement Campaigns – if you have a list, you undoubtedly have cold contacts on that list. Re-engagement campaigns can help you determine if you should continue to contact them (and if so, about what topics), replace them with a new contact at the same company, or remove them from your list. The goal is to get the conversation started again.
- Asking if they are still the appropriate person to contact about X
- Sending a survey with questions related to the pains you address, so you can follow up with a relevant campaign
- Asking previous prospects if they were able to find a solution and if so, ask how it is working for them
6. Webinar, Seminar, or Event Campaigns – If you use webinars, seminars, or other events in your marketing mix then you have plenty of opportunity to create standardized processes and communications. Event registration and reminders are obvious candidates, but you don’t forget the follow up.
- Including instructions for attending the event such as directions, accommodations, information about the speaker(s), etc.
- Creating a “how to get the most from this event” document
- Following up with a special offer for attendees
- Creating a communication series for people who registered but did not attend
- Using your event feedback form to gather information to help you determine which of your other campaigns your attendees would be interested in receiving
7. Referral Partner Campaigns – We all like business from referrals and for many businesses, having a robust referral partner network may be all the marketing they need. Creating such a network takes time and effort which means we have a lot to gain by standardizing procedures and communications in this area.
- Creating a standard process, as well as a set of messages, for identifying and approaching potential referral partners
- Standardizing your process for following up with your referral partners. Make sure to have a process for first gaining Top of Mind status as well as a second process for maintaining Top of Mind status.
- Creating a series of snack sized messages that give examples of customers you serve and the problems you have helped them solve
- Documenting your process for making and following up on introductions to your referral partners
I hope this post has given you some ideas about how you may be able to move from performing marketing activities to creating systems that allow you to grow your business.
Bill Brelsford Small Business Marketing Consultant