Marketing has 2 distinct ‘flavours‘: Passive and Direct Passive Marketing: You set out your stall and wait for people to visit. For example:
Passive marketing typically involves significant up-front investment. To maximise the return from this, it makes sense to actively communicate with your marketplace to let them know about you and invite them to visit/engage. This process is Active Marketing. Direct Marketing: Actively approaching your target customers & prospects
- Email Marketing
- Direct Mail
- Field Sales
A quick digression: In this post, I am focussed on marketing rather sales. Let’s just clarify my distinction between the two.
Marketing is about communicating with customers and prospects to make sure they know you and understand what you offer – to build confidence in your ability to deliver. When they have a need they are more likely to approach you as a potential supplier. Fundamentally it is building your brand.
Sales is about developing interested people (Leads/Opportunities) into active (and hopefully satisfied) customers, generating profitable revenue for your business.
The distinction between Direct Marketing and Sales can be blurred. In the rush for sales revenue, small business owners can try to jump the marketing process and aim straight for doing the deal. Certainly, this approach can generate some quick wins but it is difficult (and costly) to sustain. It is the marketing/brand-building process that develops sustained, positive engagement between your business and your market. Your contacts know who you are. They know what you offer. They have confidence in your ability to deliver. This is the basis for sustained success and growth. Sure, short-term sales revenue is important to pay the bills, but never forget building for the future. How much should you do?
Some business marketing ‘mantras‘…
- No publicity is bad publicity
- At least 7 contacts before a sale
- Any opportunity to market is good.
- Repetition sells.
All of these ideas suggest that you can’t communicate with your market too often, there is no such thing as too much marketing. However, in the modern world of mass communication, I suggest this idea is rubbish! You can definitely communicate too often. It is now so easy for potential customers to say NO MORE! When they do it is vital that you respect their wish. You should aim to stop them saying it in the first place.
My own standpoint
There are 2 groups of people I typically unsubscribe from:
- Companies where there is no fit with my wants/needs/aspirations
- Companies who bombard me – even if I am interested in what they talk about.
The first group is fine. There is no fit so there is no point in the communication. (Actually, it is possible there actually is a fit but the messages I have received didn’t demonstrate this to me.) The second group is a shame all around. There is a fit. I am a potential customer. I just felt overwhelmed by the amount of contact. They were thinking of their own needs ahead of mine! Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because marketing communication is cheap (or free) you can do as much as you like. Don’t take your customers for granted.
How much is too much?
There isn’t a simple answer to this question. It really does depend on your business and your market. What is important is that you never forget that there is a limit for your business. Don’t try to push your customers beyond this. Aim to keep your marketing balanced. Here are my Top Tips for balanced marketing
Use E-newsletters as a platform for your marketing
- Focus content on Quality rather than Quantity
- Typically 4-6 times a year is plenty – you can always add an extra one if you have something particular to say
- Engage with and inform your contacts, don’t just sell
- A regular (but not too frequent!) e-newsletter allows you to plan ahead as a baseline for your marketing.
- Your customers & prospects don’t necessarily want to hear just what you want to tell them.
- Style your messages to get your point across – but in a way that contacts will be interested in and engaged with.
- Be respectful. Every time someone reads your messages, they are giving you their time. Never forget this!
- Did I mention: Quality ahead of quantity!
Mix your media
- Don’t just rely on one communication tool
- Using a combination of e-mail, telephone, mail, face to face (even radio/tv if it suits your business)
- Don’t feel you need to use every tool. 2 or 3 can make for a great balance
Be consistent and joined-up
- Whatever tools you use, make sure you have consistent messages focusing on your proposition
- Make sure your communication is joined-up across everything you do. Confusing your customers is a great way to put them off.
Keep at it
- As well as doing too much marketing, it is easy to do too little – or none at all!
- Too often, marketing is the thing that slips when you are busy
- Don’t try to do too much. I talked above about overwhelming your contacts. Make sure you don’t overwhelm yourself either!
Overall: Develop a marketing communications plan and work it.
Engaging marketing doesn’t have to be difficult – but it often is if you try to make it up as you go along. This is when it is easy to let your marketing focus drift. You will regret it in the long run!
Want to talk? Get in touch…