In the first of a series of blogs, Andrew Scott, one of the industry’s leading marketing experts, runs through the 8 must-do’s you simply can’t afford to overlook.
1. Get the basics right!
Before investing a penny, consider how your business looks and reacts to customers. How quickly do you respond to enquiries and customer requests? If a potential customer emails or faxes an enquiry, do you call them immediately to confirm you’ve received it? If you pass an enquiry to the sales or estimating department and it takes a day to get back to the customer, you’re already lost some business before you start.
People do business with people, not products. So be sure the people who answer the phone, talk to customers or deliver your products are warm, friendly and positively represent your company. Delivery drivers spend more time with your customers than your sales people. What are they saying about your business?
Installation companies shouldn’t forget the basics either – clean, sign-written vans, installation boards, drop-cards around current installations, and customer testimonials are more important today than ever before. And when was the last time you reviewed your CRS (Customer Referral System)?
2. Overhaul your website
Over 80% of your potential customers will now check out your website before contacting you – but it’s the ones that look at your website and don’t contact you that you need to think about! For some, a website is a portal between the customer and the company – a resource to find information, place orders, and download brochures. For others, it is simply a shop window. But consider carefully how your shop window really looks.
What if 20% of people who responded to your advertising or promotion didn’t take it any further because your website was poorly designed or out-of-date? What if it was 40%, or 60%? Take a long, hard look at your website. Even better, ask your best customers to do it for you, and let them tell you want they like, and don’t like.
Lets be clear – it doesn’t matter what you think, all that matters is what customers and potential customers think and how they respond. Once you’ve refreshed and updated your website, don’t let it go stale. Add news, stories, updates and downloads regularly. Insight Data has a full team of software and web developers – for advice and a review of your website get in touch with us.
3. Plan your advertising
Press advertising improves your credibility as well as generating enquiries. Quality, well designed advertising planned ahead will dramatically improve your results. Think in terms of advertising campaigns with a clear objective, rather than randomly placed adverts.
Which newspapers or magazines should you consider? Flick through the titles you are considering, contact some of the non-competing advertisers and ask their opinion. You’ll soon know which titles are well respected and read, and which ones aren’t.
Once you’ve selected your advertising medium, the key is simple: invest in good graphic design and good copy-writing. The best newspapers and magazines won’t give you any response if you have a poorly designed advert.
4. Use the power of PR
PR is one of the most potent tools your business can use to build your brand and position your business in the minds of customers. Developing a medium and long-term PR plan will dramatically enhance your company’s image and perception.
It is not, however, a magic chalice. On its own, it will not drive new business. But combine it with other marketing activities and you will see both the quality and quantity of business increase. Your potential customers are more likely to deal with you if they believe you have an established reputation in the marketplace.
5. Create leads from Direct Mail
To generate immediate response, there is no better method than direct mail. It’s personal, exclusive and demands attention. A mailshot sent out today can result in new business tomorrow.
However, a lot of direct mail ends up as junk mail. Poorly designed flyers, labels instead of personalised letters and inaccurate contacts will all lead to your hard work ending up in the bin. And even worse, sending mailshots to contacts who have moved, gone bankrupt or even deceased. So invest in quality, up-to-date data, think about the style/design of your mailer, personalise it and watch your direct mail response double or triple. Insight Data has a dedicated direct mail division.
6. Use Email to communicate
Email offers a low-cost solution to marketing, but with 150 billion spam emails sent every day, you need to think carefully about your email strategy. Spam filters, junk folders and the sheer volume of emails we receive means your email campaign can easily get overlooked.
Email is an excellent tool to communicate regularly with customers and newsletter subscribers, but as a tool to generate new business you will only have a split second to generate interest then it’s gone forever. People don’t want to read long, exhaustive emails so keep it short, sharp, high-impact and use it as a tool to compliment other marketing activity rather than a stand-alone lead generator. And remember, email data degrades at 5% to 10% per month, so it’s vital you keep your email list up-to-date. Insight Data has a dedicated email marketing division and holds data on over 50,000 contacts related to the window industry.
7. Invest in your database
Always use a database to record, manage and update prospects and customers. Just because a prospect says “no” today, doesn’t mean they will say no in six months. So record their details and stay in touch with them. New technology means sales and marketing people can easily manage databases from home or office with little or no I.T or database experience. Insight Data has launched the world’s first online database for the window industry with prospect data already built-in and updated live in real time.
8. Train your people
A company is only as good as the people within it. Better trained, multi-skilled and well motivated workforce can be the difference between a very successful company and a failure. As customers become more difficult to convert, sales training has got to be an ongoing priority in your business.
Getting your marketing strategy right is the difference between an average company and a highly successful one. At Insight Data, we are experts at putting together powerful data-driven marketing strategies that will generate results.
For more information about how Insight Data can help to improve your marketing results, you can email us or call us on 01934 808 293.