Many of us don’t see ourselves as marketers, but it is something we have to do, and we have to be good marketers to grow our businesses. The only way to be good at something is to enjoy it, so let’s take a new look at marketing and see if we can become enthusiastic about the process.
What Is Marketing?
Marketing is traditionally seen as preparing the ground for a sale, which is how many of us still see it, but many marketers use a much broader definition.
Marketing “is an ongoing communications exchange with customers in a way that educates, informs and builds a relationship over time. The over time part is important because only over time can trust be created,” says Renee Blodgett, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Magic Sauce Media.
Marketing activities provide value to the prospect and help build confidence, and when you start to look at marketing as a giving activity, you might see it differently.
When you break down the definition above there are five components:
- Communication exchange
- Educates and informs
- Builds a relationship
- Builds trust over time
Marketing happens over an extended time-frame. It takes time to build trust in someone who has a vague interest in your services and move that person to become a customer or client eventually.
You need systems in place that can automate some of the early-stage contacts.
You can use web scraping to generate lists of possible leads and then task your team with developing them using social media channels.
Using an autoresponder to send messages to those who subscribe to your email list is a prime example of automation. You do the work once, plan your sequence of enticing emails that includes some of your best secrets, and every subscriber receives the same messages.
You can delegate much of your daily social workload by using social media automation with applications such as Hootsuite or PostPlanner. These tools mean that your employees and freelancers can post to your company Twitter and Facebook accounts, freeing up your time for more personal contacts.
Email is perfect for sending messages, but few subscribers are going to reply to automated emails. You need a better way to engage prospective leads. Social media helps with engagement and is an essential part of the mix, but it is not enough.
You need a medium that encourages two-way conversations.
Webinar software will let you arrange virtual meetings and seminars with contacts from all over the globe.
You can use webinars in different ways:
- Briefing scores of attendees, while taking written questions
- Discussion groups, where the active mic is passed to participants in turn
- One to one meetings, even if you are in different countries
Using webinars for marketing lets you hold two-way conversations with groups of varying sizes. Attendees can type in a question as an issue arises, and you have a few ways you can answer: You or an employee can type in an answer immediately; you can respond to the question as part of your presentation; or you can start a private chat.
Whichever way you choose, the questioner gets an immediate response, and you gain kudos for being the person with the answer. If you opt to start a private chat, then you have a marketing opportunity you can use to build trust and move that person down your marketing funnel.
Marketing that Educates and Informs
Your marketing should be educational and informative rather than promotional. When your prospects take in your marketing messages, they perceive you as the expert in the area. They think that if you are willing to give away all that you do, then your total knowledge must be infinitely greater. Therefore, they think that you must be THE industry leader.
Webinars let you demonstrate your passion, and it is that which will set you apart from your competitors. Passionate business leaders win the sale because the pleasure you take in serving customers’ needs is infectious. Pleasure beats Amazon prices because it is hard to attach a monetary value to the way you make the customer feel.
Building Relationships Through Marketing
Your company is just one among scores in your niche. Build relationships with prospects, just like traditional high street stores in small towns do. The people you build relationships with will feel loyalty towards you. When they are ready to buy, they will come to you.
Use your email auto-sender to inform subscribers of your webinars. Perhaps offer them exclusive virtual meetings with you and your team. Exclusive meetings show how much you value the invitees and move your relationship forward.
Building Trust over Time
It takes time to build trust. Multiple contacts are necessary to convert a lead into a prospect and thence into a buyer.
Email is the skeleton you will use to build your business-customer relationships, but nobody does business with a skeleton.
Webinar platforms like ClickMeeting are the musculature that can give those relationships substance, make your company unique and enable your business to respond to customers’ issues, concerns and questions.