I’d like to introduce my guest blogger for this week – David Holland who owns EXELA. He is the leading expert and top Infusionsoft Certified Consultant in England! His blog is all about the process you need to use to maximise your business. There’s a lot you can learn from this.
Automating your marketing sounds fantastic. Being able to watch the money roll into your bank account with no effort – happy days.
All you need to do is predict the needs of all your prospects and customer, now and in the future, and set up interactive systems that changes their behaviour based on individual decisions that customer make…in real time…SIMPLES!
If that sounds like a heck of a lot of effort, you are right. Many large corporations employ huge teams of smart people to ponder the complexities and come up with strategies and techniques using advanced technologies. And do they succeed? Well some get closer than others. Companies like Amazon work hard to continuously nurture customer, upselling, cross selling, collecting reviews and testimonials. All done in the most efficient and automated way possible.
But most large companies don’t even try. The idea of an integrated customer experience is so far from their reality that they cannot even begin to plan to achieve it.
Small businesses have an advantage. They can usually visualise the entire customer journey at a high level on a single sheet of paper. Very often a single person is in control if not directly responsible for the customer experience.
So small business have a better chance of implementing Lifecycle Marketing.
What do we mean by Lifecycle Marketing?
This graphic from Infusionsoft illustrates the process nicely.
Starting on the left, your business needs to engage in some activity that will attract people towards you. The Power of Attraction. This old marketing principle is the cornerstone of all successful advertising strategy. It is easier to let someone buy than to sell. So you have to start with people who are interested, or target people who are more likely to be interested in your proposition.
While a traditional advertising approach jumps straight to selling, a modern approach, enabled by technology, begins by capturing the contact details of an interested party. So the objective of the advertising strategy becomes “lead capture”. More about how that will change your approach later.
Once you have generated interest it is essential that leads are captured effectively for the rest of the Lifecycle Marketing process to work. Think about a high street retail store. In most (but not all) cases, effort is put into dressing the window. Putting up posters and an interesting display so that passers-by will stop and look in the window. Some people will go in, browse around and buy. Most who do go in will leave without buying. If only the retailers knew their contact details!
In your business have you got a mechanism to capture the contact details of your browsers? This could be browsers of your website, shop window, magazine article, postcards, bill boards, signage as well as YouTube videos or adwords etc. The lead capture mechanisms need to be engaging and easy to us.
Often the most perplexing stage of Lifecycle Marketing. In the digital world we usually associate this with email marketing. But email is only one of many media that we can use. In the retail store we considered before how might the sales assistant nurture a prospect? When do they approach the shopper; immediately they enter or give them time to browse? Should the assistant ask what they are interested in or just guess? Perhaps there are some sale items available hidden in the back?
In your business, how likely is it that a prospect will buy immediately? What are the pieces of information that you would need to consider if you were shopping your own products? How often do you need to be in contact with a prospect before they become a customer?
We will discuss what to automate and how to automate your nurture process later in the article.
Convert to Sales
If marketing creates opportunities, then sales converts opportunities into money. Timing is important. As is rapport and clarity. In many business sales requires a human to human interaction. But many of the processes that support successful sales can be automated to reduce the cost and increase efficiency and effectiveness.
Are there stages in your sales approach that trigger communications with other team members? Can you look at the statistics of your sales process to forecast production requirements or your own availability? What about cash flow?
The “art” of selling relies heavily on good communication. The process of selling can be mapped, automated and measured.
Deliver & Satisfy
Once that all important order is in the bag, in many cases, the immediately delivery of products and services can be easily automated. Creating tasks for you, your team or a 3rd party to dispatch goods is simple with a computer system
Schedule time in your diary can be achieved using any number of applications including Google. These can be integrated into your marketing and sales system.
When someone orders do you automatically thank them? Do you send them a satisfaction survey or asked them how they are getting on? Is there a way you can WOW your customers with the quality of your service and the integrity of your communication? If there is it should be automated.
What does upsell mean? Sell more stuff! In techno-speak that might be selling them a deluxe product instead of the basic. Think McDonald’s – “Do you want cheese on your burger? Go Large?”
If you have a membership site it might be the gold membership or the platinum VIP Plus package. In a hotel it is a room with a view.
There are also cross-sells. That is to add another product onto the one you are buying. Amazon are brilliant at this. Order book, get a suggestion of another books. Order a computer get a suggestion for monitors.
The very best time to suggest customers spend more is when they physically have their credit card in their hand. If you are taking payments manually then training is key. But how about making it very simple for the customer care person (that would be your then) to suggest an increased order. Build it into your standard procedures. Set up your system to make that slick.
If you take payment online you can set up your checkout process to offer people a series of choices as the progress through your system.
How do you get more referrals? Ask!
It does make sense to test that your customers are satisfied with the product/service and if so to either fix and issue or ask for a referral.
If you schedule in your calendar send Net Promoter surveys by email, call up customers to check satisfaction, and send thank-you gifts, you will get referrals. If you also give referrals you will certainly receive referrals.
Each of the stages of Lifecycle Marketing sound perfectly logical on its own. I am sure you can come up with some really creative things you can do to improve in some of the areas. The holy grail of Lifecycle Marketing is automation. Without automation it is difficult to imagine how a small business can cope with all the little tasks that need doing and the interactions.