When it comes to sales, statistics say that it can take seven or more “touches” until a prospective customer is comfortable with a brand and is ready to buy. It’s easy to achieve that number of touches when it’s a big-name brand and ads are everywhere, but what if you’re running a small business out of your living room? What is your strategy for creating a system of touches?
There are various ways to interact with prospective customers: in person or via postal mail, the Internet, e-mail, social media, or phone. Each of them can work independently, but they can also work together to build a system. I used to work in college admissions, and I remember that on my first day at one job, I was tasked with creating and implementing a system of touches to push applicants down the sales funnel to become students. This is the the same thing I do now for my clients, and I do that through creation of a comprehensive communications strategy. Usually, my part consists of ghostwriting social media updates, e-mail newsletters, Web copy, press releases, articles, or blogs. The idea is that the brand stays in front of prospects so it remains top of mind.
Not all methods will work for all businesses, so be sure you know who your target is. One prospective client told me he was looking to reach small businesses with storefronts in one tiny town on the outskirts of Phoenix—through social media. I told him social media may help reach others, but it won’t be a good way to connect with his target. For that, direct mail, cold calling, and visiting those sites would be best.
So sit down and determine first:
- Who is your target market? Be specific.
- How long is your sales cycle? Keep in mind that big-ticket items usually take longer to close.
- What is your goal? Do you want to increase sales, visibility, or something else?
All of these things together (and perhaps a few more, depending on your business) will determine how, where, and how often you need to be in touch with your prospects. Before you know it, you’ll have built your communications strategy, and then you’ll start to see results!