Old Customers: The People-You-Know Sales Strategy – part two

Missed Part One?? Read it here

 In part one we reviewed why old customers, friends, and vendors are a great source of sales and a must for every sales strategy.

Part Two: GETTING READY FOR A PEOPLE-YOU-KNOW-CENTERED MARKETING CAMPAIGN

First, make a thorough, exhaustive list of all of your current and old customers and every person you have ever met in your business life. Create a spreadsheet, or table, in a document with the following columns:

  • Name 
  • Company 
  • Last Contact Date 
  • Notes from Last Contact 
  • Next Contact Date 
  • Notes of Next Contact 
  • Who Is Responsible 

Our engineering company example found that they started out with 58 names. This included a mix of old customers, colleagues, and vendors. They keep this on the web in Google Docs. Others use BaseCamp or Microsoft’s Sharepoint.

Your Website –  required infrastructure

Your website must be fresh and up to date. If your site is stale, just a big pile of product listings with prices, three year old announcements, etc., get to work. A marketing campaign with a moribund website is not bound for glory. The very first thing people do when they are contacted is to look at your website. If you don’t have fresh, useful information, stories about how customers are using your products and services, anything really that will engage, get to work on this. Even if you are starting from scratch you can build a website that you can maintain and turn into an marketing tool and important element of your slaes strategy for you for well less than $1,000. Take a look at WordPress-based sites for example.

How Fresh Is Fresh?

A common question about websites is how frequently the information needs to be updated to be “fresh”? No single answer is correct. If you are using your website strictly as a “flag on the web”, a reference site to provide minimal product or service information and a means for customers to locate and contact you, the answer is not very often. The key to reference websites is to keep all dates, including the ubiquitous copyright statements in the footers, off the pages. On the other hand, for most uses where you are actually using your presence on the web as an important component of your marketing campaign to inform and engage, the frequency of updates has more to do with the relationship you have with your customers. If it is intense, meaning your web visitors come back anxiously anticipating your latest pronouncements, then weekly or daily may be the answer. If you have an active dialogue through comments or discussion boards, you will be participating daily. The answer then is tied up in the character of your products, services, and your special niche. If your ideas are longer lived, more a subject of cogitation, like winter squash, the pace will be slower. On the other hand, if you are in a trendy, faster paced marketplace, then, like fish, day old will not do.

As you move forward with your people-you-know marketing campaign you might think about tools that you can use to keep the dialogue going. Newsletters are easy to do. Take pictures of people using your products or services. Write little pieces (300-400 words is optimal) that will become regular additions to your website whether as blog postings or application notes, or a funny thing happened to me on the way…. if you aren’t good at writing hire a writer. You will be surprised how many writers are waiting for you to ask them to write at very cost effective rates. Before we leave this little pause on web marketing, note that all of this work should be reused, usually with little alteration on Facebook and Twitter. This is a simple as a push of a button. 

In Part Three:

  • Polish Up Your Elevator Pitch
  • Changes in Marketing – less Push, more Interaction
  • Next Steps – putting the plan into action