For most people, marketing consultants spend most of their time coming up with creative TV adverts, building websites and talking (over long lunches) about “brand”. Thanks to programs like Mad Men and the Gruen Tranfer this reputation is further enhanced. But in reality, this is a distorted and potentially damaging view on what marketing is.
Brochures, radio or TV advertising, newspaper advertising and even websites are what we call “passive marketing”. You might spend time and money on producing these great marketing activities, but it requires a prospective client to find it when they are already being bombarded with thousands of messages, to read or listen to your messages and take the effort to contact you.
Once your passive marketing activity has been completed your job is done: it’s then up to your prospects to do the rest of the work. This might be effective for massive brands like Coke-Cola or Apple, it’s not as effective for your business. Why? Because passive marketing works over a longer period of time: building a brand awareness that makes a prospective customer want to contact or act.
For the rest of us, we don’t have the budget or the time to make passive marketing effective. We need “active marketing”. By active marketing I mean you focus your attention on proactively seeking out new prospective clients, keeping your message in front of them regularly in the places they go to get educated.
Active marketing is even more important for b2b marketing, where buyers have the power. You have to target your marketing to when they’re in their buying process, which is a lot less often that when they’re buying a soft drink. As a result, to acquire and attract new prospective customers you need to keep reaching out to them until they’re ready to buy and listen to you.
Here are 5 active marketing ideas that cost little more than your time to implement (plus a bonus):
- Start a newsletter – Paste a few interesting news articles you’ve read, add a your comment on them and an optional company announcement and you’ve got a newsletter. There are a host of email marketing tools, such as MailChimp or Campaign Monitor that are cheap and easy to use. You can start mailing your current contact list and then build from there.
- Present – You have a number of things of value to offer prospective clients. Why not convert some of your knowledge and experience into a presentation or seminar for a relevant group or association? It could be live, online (as a video), or both. Great ideas are to share tips, case studies, or general advice that is useful to your audience.
- Ask for referrals – We all talk about it, but asking for customer referrals is critical. Most of your customers would be willing to provide a referral if asked, but very few actually take the initiative to do it on their own. Referrals make it easier to get in the door with new customers. In fact, a referral is 71% more likely to convert that any other prospect.
- Leverage your ideal customer – Who is your ideal client? Think about your current clients and try to get a picture of what they’re like, what they’re in to and how they spend their time outside work. Then search for opportunities to get in front of your customer with your marketing message.
- Post A Video – YouTube is the number 2 search engine in the world. Considering the monopoly Google has had on web search over the last 10 years, this is significant. Add this to the fact that more than 90 percent of online traffic goes to video content and you have a considerable number of potential customers to target. Interview a customer for a testimonial. Present your knowledge or expertise online. It doesn’t have to be Hollywood quality: it’s just about the video content.
- Final note: if you can’t measure it, don’t do it – most marketing is about trial and error. No matter how good you execute your marketing or how much thought you’ve put into it, it’s impossible to tell whether it will be successful. Test everything to see whether it’s worth doing again.
Need help from a marketing consultant with your b2b marketing or lead generation campaigns? The Lead Agency has over 15 years experience in b2b marketing strategies and lead generation campaigns. We know that best results are based on building great marketing conversations. The more you engage and communicate with your customers and prospects, the more likely they will understand, need and value what you offer.