With technology and the ability to instantly connect with people just about any hour of the day or night, it seems the world has got smaller. And with that, surely it makes it much easier to reach more prospective customers to increase sales.
Actually, if you’re not experiencing easy sales right now then you’re not alone. Many micro business owners feel it’s become much tougher to market and sell to prospects. So I hope this will help you towards understanding why.
Have you ever received a call when you were already really busy and instead of a potential client or customer…it’s a sales pitch?!
In fact, just before writing, that very same thing happened to me. And even when I asked if he was selling something he tried to disguise it as providing me with a solution to a problem he didn’t even know I had; which I didn’t and only served to frustrate me further.
“Assumption is always dangerous and some say the ‘mother of all mess ups’”
What the call did do was interrupt me. And this is never a good starting point for any business because it’s likely to instantly create frustration and rapid prospect revolt. Unfortunately, that’s often what many sales and marketing messages will do, interrupt, catch people at the wrong moment or create overwhelm to the point of total turn off. Cold contacting with lengthy sales pitches has been referred to as ‘interruption marketing’ and that should be avoided if you want to make lasting relationships and create long term business success.
If interrupting people with a sales message is not the way, then how is it possible to ever expand your audience?
First, get their permission.
Of course, this still does involve some initial contact with people who may not have heard of you before, and it does rely on you capturing contact details (such as their email address) and asking their permission to send further communication. But it’s the method and the message that makes all the difference to building a credible relationship with them.
So how can you get on the radar of your audience and entice them to consider sharing their contact details with you? Here are three proven ideas:
1. Direct Mail
As a direct response copywriter I like the ‘old-skool’ way and will always advocate the humble direct mail approach because, for me, it consistently ‘delivers’ high conversions. But my initial mailing to new audiences or prospective clients is never a ‘sales’ message, it’s a much softer approach and serves to provide information, value and guidance. Anyone that says that direct mail has ‘had its day’ is probably taking the wrong approach to it.
Similarly, imagine attending a face to face network event and in the middle of chatting with others someone interrupts your conversation to launch into their sales pitch. Your eyes glaze over and you have the urgent need to politely excuse yourself!
The same principal applies to any uninvited sales message, it must have a way to instantly connect and resonate with the reader to elicit the response and gain their permission to regularly communicate with them.
Here are some great direct mail ideas which your prospect may perceive as helpful and useful as opposed to annoying and a turn off:
- 1-page helpful guide on your subject/prospect’s pain
- Health tips
- Stress relieving exercises
These types of mail pieces instantly lower the barriers for people and they don’t feel they’ve just received a blatant sales letter. Often this type of method produces more curiosity and has the greater potential for being read.
Aside from the softer approach to reaching more people, from a business prospective it must also be optimised to yield. And to get their permission to regularly market to them, a good call to action is essential.
Something as simple as “if you’ve liked this…, you can get more for free just by visiting (website) and signing up for our newsletter, blog posts etc…”. So all the time you’re giving – not selling, and if your initial material is good enough a lot of people will take the desired action, which is to give you their permission for future communications.
Always think of your initial contact as a friendly introduction that your customers recognise as an opportunity to receive something for free or obtain some useful advice or guidance. In fact, adopt the content marketing approach.
…interruption marketing ‘assumes’ someone needs to buy what you sell, this is seldom the case.
…introduction and permission marketing takes people along an ‘add value’ path so when they are in the market to need what you sell, your product or service immediately springs into their mind.
A similar principle applies to email marketing. I don’t know about you but I seem to be on just about every SEO companies hit list for really lengthy sales emails. If they do get through my spam filter then it’s not long before they’re deleted forever!
So to make sure yours doesn’t end up on the blunt end of your target market’s wrath, first think about a subject line that creates intrigue and will at least get opened. Open rates on email have fallen fast in recent years, but there’s still plenty of opportunity to get yours looked at
Made you look…
Some of the best subject lines either contain a question, one of the most powerful words in direct response marketing ‘you’ or the number one most powerful word ever, the person’s name! Or you could combine it, a bit like this…
‘You, a published author, why not?’
This one in particular has been very successful because not only does it contain the powerful combination just mentioned, but it’s what a lot of professionals want and desire, it connects directly with them, and they open it.
So with your email opened, that’s your first hurdle accomplished; now you’ve got to get them to read and take action. Again think back to the direct mail piece. What you include is dependant on your target audience and should be focused on what would get them to take action.
With an email keep it as content rich but as brief as possible, it’s easier to include a link to a free video tutorial or a download on your website for example (remember to collect their details first) so this could be a great option of you to consider.
3. Social Media
Social media has definitely made it easier to connect with people and because it’s done in a less formal way, people are easier to convert. They’re more open to providing their details because they already trust your profile or online presence. You get that all important permission for longer term communication and hopefully a positive marketing funnel to make more sales.
As you can see there are a number of options for warming up your target audience and providing evidence your business is worth a closer look. How do you attract the attention of your potential customers. What’s your strategy for building your list? Let me know in the comments below.
What direct mail piece could you consider sending out to introduce your business and expand your target market?
Write out 3 new subject lines using the guidelines above. Test each one and see which gives you the best results.