By Carl Weiss
One of the first questions I ask whenever I speak before a group is, “What does WWW mean to you?” While the responses are varied, the correct one for most small owners is, “Why Won't it Work?” Having been professionally engaged in Internet marketing since 1995, I can tell you that the answer to this is no easy matter. Where in years gone by business owners merely had to create an optimized website in order to cash in online, today if you want page one results you also need to busy yourself with an entire armada of online marketing, such as blogging, social networking and video. All this just to get featured on page one of search engines like Google. But what most business people do not understand is that having a page one position will do you little good if you don’t have a way to deal with the responses created by your website. And by system, I mean a comprehensive method of sorting, selecting and feeding prospects and clients the information they need to either make a buying decision.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Does your company already have a formalized touch marketing system in place? If they do, it may not have been created to work with online leads. Many touch marketing systems have been created to handle responses generated from direct mail, cold calls or even broadcast media such as radio and TV. Instead of just feeding your online leads into their system, the best thing you can do to maximize your online results is to create a system specifically tailored to handling online responses. In the first place, web savvy individuals are in a hurry. They are not going to respond to long copy, particularly if presented in written form. So sending them a ten page white paper is not going to get the job done. What you need to do to generate results with online respondents is to employ short copy, snappy comebacks and/or video.
What’s In It For Me?
Once you succeed in getting someone to respond to an offer, unless the offer leads directly to a sale, you need to follow up with something new and exciting. What I mean by this is you don’t want to get a prospect all worked up with your initial offer only to disappoint with the follow up. Emotional attachment is the name of the game if you are trying to create a dependency-based relationship between the consumer and your products and services. In order to create dependency you first need to establish a sense of attraction. Secondly you must inspire loyalty.
While attraction alone can spark a relationship, failure to move the relationship along will inevitably result in its dissolution. What are relationship drivers? Let’s look at the situation of dating. While the thing that brought you two together in the first place was attraction, once the bloom is off the rose it requires effort to sustain and move the relationship to the next level. Successful touch marketing is a lot like that. In the first place there has to be something in it for the prospect. Like offering your date a bouquet of flowers and then enjoying a night of dinner and dancing, prospects like to be wooed as well. If all you do with drip marketing is send sales circular after sales circular, don’t be surprised if you get nowhere with the prospect. Nobody wants to be regarded as easy.
Making the Customer the Center of Your Universe
Properly executed, touch marketing can create and sustain the kind of emotional dynamic needed to woo a prospect. Instead of going straight for the sale, each time you reach out and touch the prospect, loyalty, confidence and continuity should be the goal. Entertain them and make them laugh. Don’t bury them is dry prose. One of the best ways to get a bead on what motivates and drives a customer toward a sale is to evaluate everything from the customer’s perspective. Face it, every customer lives and breathes to satisfy their unique needs and wants. They are for the most part emotionally driven and will purchase from merchants whom they know, trust and like. Many people will shop prices online, which is a battle in which you do not wish to engage. If you want to break away from the herd and distinguish yourself as someone who is worth spending the extra dollar, then you need to let the customer know that you are a different breed of cat from the outset.
The Touchstones of Successful Online Marketing
Fortunately, the Internet is chock full of low cost or even no cost solutions to making touch marketing a snap.
1. Automated Newsletter Providers such as iContact, Constant Contact and Mail Chimp offer a low-cost solution to creating online forms, newsletters and emailable coupons that are template-driven. Best of all, they allow you to set up multiple folders to collate your results. This way you can isolate different demographic and psychographic profiles, test your offers and respond to each group with a unique message or offer.
2. E-Card purveyors such as http://www.jibjab.com/ http://www.jacquielawson.com and http://www.someecards.com provide online greeting cards with a touch of humor. JibJab even has video cards that you can personalize by inserting headshots of you and your staff, or your client or prospect. Never underestimate the value of humor to seal the deal. Remember, one of the cornerstones of relationship building is to get the prospect to like you. Who doesn’t like a card that makes them laugh out loud?
3. Say it with video – Aside from YouTube.com that provides you with editing capabilities for every video you upload, there are a number of newer contenders that can even turn your stills into a compelling video, such as http://animoto.com/ and full-on animation sites such as http://goanimate.com that offer a user-friendly environment in which to create animated clips. There are even services that specialize in video email, such as www.bombbomb.com, mailvu.com and www.iwowwe.com that makes sending videos via email a no brainer.
4. Taking it to the next level with Send Out Cards – Want to automate greeting card and postcard mailings? Like to reward your best customers with gifts? https://www.sendoutcards.com/ is an online card store and customer reward program rolled into one. Who has the time to shop for cards and gifts? With Send Out Cards you can create customized greeting cards and postcards with the click of a mouse. Then you can add treats, gifts or even gift cards that reward your loyal customers. If you want your best customers to feel the luv, this is one service that’s hard to beat.
While setting up a successful touch marketing campaign can be a bit daunting at the outset, remember that once established this system will automate your customer relations program. Now don’t you wish it was that easy with your girlfriend?