Expanding and growing your business is as much a matter of mindset as taking consistent action steps toward your goals. In this podcast, Nicole Tobiassen, one of the top-ranked coaches in the world, will teach you how managing your thoughts, creating a positive culture, and dreaming BIG will help you create a business that outlasts you and supports the life of your dreams. As the co-founder of ActionCOACH NM, Nicole has helped hundreds of business people achieve and exceed their goals.
Word of Mouth Blog
Want to get more out of your business?
Pick the low hanging fruit – customers who already know you. Stay top-of-mind with regular, valuable communication and easily generate repeat business and create referrals.
It’s what the winners do: when you’re a customer of a major brand, they constantly stay in touch, building their presence, making sure you don’t forget them.
Email is the best way to do exactly that, generating 40 times more customers than Facebook and Twitter combined, according to a study by ExactTarget. Everyone has at least one large brand they interact with via email. It is the most desired form of communication by consumers for receiving communications from brands and it is the most effective.
How do you deliver information in a way that keeps you top-of-mind?
First, you will want to put together a content schedule and decide how often to contact your list. A good rule of thumb is to send an email every two weeks. If your sales cycle is more frequent and your customers buy more often, you might want to send an email every week. You will want to pay attention to trends in how your audience reacts. Remember: When in doubt, test. Every now and again try sending an email in the morning instead of the afternoon, on a weekend instead of the weekday, test out different email subject lines. Take note of the results and change your strategy based on the data.
Next, fill your schedule with the information that best meets your customers needs by educating them about what you have to offer and how it differs from your competition. Your current customers are the most likely to be interested in promotions and specials and are your best bet for buying new and improved versions of your products. Just remember to keep your communications benefits based. You know your customers needs and concerns. If you maintain a focus on helping them address those needs and concerns you will be more likely to catch their attention.
Then, share your email across your social media platforms to increase your reach. Social media shares aren’t likely to result in direct sales, but in this age of educated consumers, you can count on your customers scanning your social media to research your brand.
Plan on 3-5 hours to develop each email campaign, including compelling visuals and the right mix of different types of content
Getting and keeping the attention of your potential clients long enough for them to understand what you have to offer is critical in any business, but what if you have to stay Top-of-Mind for 6 to 15 months?
Las Ventanas Homes of Albuquerque is an award winning custom home-builder and client of boomtime. They have won numerous awards for design and sustainable home-building and are considered one of the best in the industry. That’s because the owners of Las Ventanas, including owner/operator Scott Ashcraft leave no detail of their business unattended.
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With three generations of experience, Las Ventanas understands long sales cycles and the importance of staying in front of their clients from first contact to closing the deal. After all, there are an average of 52 touch-points between a home-builder and a potential buyer before the potential buyer decides to make a purchase. Being a responsible seller requires that they nurture a potential client – for upwards of a year – to give them the resources it takes to make an informed and worthwhile decision.
How does Las Ventanas stay Top-of-Mind during such a long term buying cycle?
Staying Top-of-Mind long-term is not easy. A potential home-buyer requires a lot of information. Most will use every resource at their disposal to learn about the home-builder and building process. After all, buying a home is the largest investment most of us will make in our lives.
For Las Ventanas, Top-of-Mind awareness starts with a beautiful, mobile responsive website. We built a website that captures the feeling of the modern spacious homes they produce. It serves as a 24/7 member of the sales team constantly collecting referrals, and providing important information. Prospective buyers volunteer their contact information in exchange for a valuable home buying guide. This tells Las Ventanas who is interested in buying a home and starts a conversation.
Then, we help Las Ventanas stay in touch with potential buyers through email, educating them about their process and business practices along the way. This is how we help our clients build lasting relationships with their customers. Through a long-term, transparent view of the business, customers learn exactly what benefits Las Ventanas has to offer and what sets them apart.
Regular communication not only educates their potential buyers, but it also puts them at ease, setting the right expectations before the buying process begins.
Now you know how to construct an “Introduction” letter. What’s next? As discussed in the last post, your potential customers know your business on a human level through your “Introduction” letter, now it’s time for them to get to know your business on a professional level. You need to follow-up your “Introduction” with a “Transparency Statement”
The Transparency Statement is usually sent one day after The Introduction in your automation. In the Transparency Statement email you want to lay out the facts of your business, your processes, and your prices (if the latter makes sense for your business). The email should lay out the reality of your business and give your potential client the tools they need to evaluate you. Just like your Introduction is used to build trust, your Transparency Statement is your opportunity to be up-front with your potential clients and build credibility.
An example boomtime Transparency statement might read as follows:
It starts with an in-depth Business Analysis, a proprietary consulting process that uncovers the drivers in your business. We use your time judiciously while your new boomtime marketing team puts in all the hard work to plan out your new Word of Mouth marketing program.
Then, every month your boomtime marketing team analyzes the data, updates your marketing plan and focuses on amplifying your results. Imagine having a whole marketing team, always at your beck and call!
Your existing referrals feed the marketing program, which is focused on getting even more people talking about you, which generates more referrals!
We knew it wouldn’t do any good to build another marketing program that was priced out of reach to small business. With four years of development by one of the best digital marketing teams in the industry, we’ve built the automation that allows us to deliver amazing services at an affordable cost.
Finally, the Transparency statement should have a “Let’s Talk” call to action. Though the Transparency Statement isn’t in itself a sales proposal, your “Let’s Talk”
call to action will open the door for anyone who is ready to contact you. Also, by proposing a conversation you’re creating another level of intimacy with your potential clients by presuming the
right to ask.
Are you ready to take your Word of Mouth Marketing to new heights? Let’s Talk. I’ve got an offer your guaranteed to love, but only if you email me right now.
Your “Let’s Talk” call to action is just that, an invitation to open a conversation about your business. The letter is structured in a way that allows your potential customers to internalize your offering and capabilities and make a series of emotional and mental micro-commitments in the process. Your opportunity to close will come later in the Call to Action letter which I will explain in the next post.
You’ve got more customers coming to your site and you’re capturing their emails with your compelling offer or “The Reward”. Now you have to use email automation to take your new contacts, walk them through your process, and convert them into paying customers.
Automation allow you to talk to your potential customer at the best possible time, when THEY are ready. You need to set up your automation to trigger when a potential customer takes an action on your website, your ad, or through your email. The first step of your automation process is your compelling offer. Your potential customers will see your offer and give you their information in exchange for an email containing access to that offer. After they receive your compelling offer or “Reward” is the perfect time to introduce yourself.
95% of those who opt into email messages from brands find these messages somewhat or very useful.
These kind of email automation turn what could be cold repetitive emails into an active story that leads potential clients on a path to conversion as they go through the process.
The first step in this process is writing what I call, The Introduction. The Introduction is an email designed to create a connection with your potential customers by telling your story in a way that connects with them on a human level. There are a couple of ways to do this, but your Introduction should always start by literally introducing “the face” of the business. This should be a key person in your business like the CEO, Co-founder, or your head salesperson. It needs to be someone who your customers will trust to speak with authority on behalf of your business.
Below is a typical layout for The Introduction email:
- Introduce “The Face”
- State “the Why” of your business or give a brief history of your business
- Tell about what you do, and what your business does in broad terms
- State the problem that your business solves and relate to a personal experience of “The Face” of the business
- Tell the short version of how you solve problems in your business
- Make a promise
The goal of each one of these steps is to make your company more approachable and more human to your prospective customers and current customers. Remember, you are starting a conversation with valued customers and you want to create a sense of familiarity so you can continue that conversation in the future. The best way to accomplish this is to use a relaxed conversational tone in “The Introduction”. Once your customers and potential customers meet your business on the human level, establishing credibility and authority will become much easier.
“82% (of marketers) use word-of-mouth marketing to increase their brand awareness, but 43% expect word-of-mouth marketing to improve their direct sales.”
You’ve done the work to ensure your Google+ profile is current, and you have a steady stream of good reviews, now it’s time to capture the Word of Mouth referrals coming to your website. As I mentioned in my last email, you can capture a much larger portion of your Word of Mouth referrals by turning your website into a 24/7 sales person that is constantly engaging new website visitors with a compelling offer. What do I mean?
Well, you have to design your website so that it will pro-actively offer help, capturing your potential customers email addresses in exchange for a reward that gives them a reason to try your business. In turn, you will use that email address to deliver a reward in the form of a compelling offer that provides value to your potential customer.
Most often, rewards are presented in the form of a “lightbox”. A lightbox is a window that appears when a first time visitor arrives on your website or takes a certain action on your site that prompts a pop-up to appear, presenting them with an offer.
Remember, not just any offer will do for your reward. At boomtime, we put considerable effort into crafting great offers with each of our clients. You should spend time creating your reward, taking into account who your customers are and what they value about your business. Ultimately, the type of reward you offer depends on your business. There are two general categories most rewards will fall into: Information Rewards and Value Rewards.
Information rewards show off your expertise, demonstrating a solution to your prospective customer’s problem. For example, an accounting firm can provide a free report, 2017 Tax Guide for Small Business.
Value rewards provide a tangible value for the potential customer. A restaurant can offer a coupon (free lunch entree when you bring a friend!).
Your prospective customer’s email address IS valuable – that’s why it is only fair that you give them something of value in exchange for that email address. Remember, your website visitors will arrive at your site because they have a need. They have a problem that needs to be solved and they are ready to take action. Whether they need professional services or they are looking for a new place to try for lunch, your offer should solve their problem. When you have a compelling offer that hits the mark and presents the right solution, many more potential customers will be happy to give you their email address.
It’s simple! A more compelling offer results in more potential customers claiming that offer and more new customers trying out your business.
At this point in the process, you’ve gotten the attention of your potential customer and they have volunteered their information in exchange for a compelling offer. This is where most businesses stop, being content with getting their promotion into the hands of more of their website visitors, but it is only the beginning of the process. In the next post, I explain how you should communicate with those on your email list and use marketing automation to increase repeat sales.