The best way to grow your business is to grow your customer base. But finding the time to round up new customers can be a challenge. What time-strapped business owners need is a strategy that lets them attract more customers without logging in more hours at work.
And that's exactly the strategy presented in Mark Satterfield's new book, "The One Week Marketing Plan: The Set It And Forget It Approach For Quickly Growing Your Business" (BenBella Books, August 2014). A marketing professional with more than 20 years of experience working with small businesses, Satterfield lays out a formula for building a marketing system you can get up and running in no time. [See also: Marketing to Millennials: How to Capture Gen Y Consumers]
In a recent exchange with Business News Daily, the author explained how such a system, which marries technology with traditional marketing mores, pulls in new customers, and divulged four steps that will allow any small business to set up such a marketing system in a hurry.
Step 1: Get to know your customers
"Most of us who have been in our respective businesses for any length of time know the fears, hopes, dreams and aspirations of our clients," Satterfield said. "If you don't do a great job of communicating benefits to prospective clients based on what you know they want, then your prospects won't be willing to spend even one dollar."
Knowing what concerns and challenges your prospects face should be at the heart of your business' marketing strategy. Once you have this information, you can use technology— Satterfield recommends InfusionSoft, sales and marketing software for small business— to create a powerful and intelligent "marketing funnel system."
Step 2: Start with a survey
"Any marketing funnel begins with the challenge of how you get people to enter it," Satterfield said, adding that small business owners can attract prospective clients by offering worthwhile information that their customers want access to, preferably in the form of videos, articles or other easily digested media.
Once a prospect opts in to receiving free content, it's the businesses turn to find out more about who that customer is and what they need. One way to do this, Satterfield said, is to ask visitors to your website to complete a simple, one-question survey.
As Satterfield explained, the survey you build should be based on the three to four biggest challenges you know your customers face, which is why step one (getting to know your customers) is so important. To create a survey that will point prospective customers in the right direction, you have to ask the right questions.
For his own business, Gentle Rain Marketing Inc., Satterfield said he asks prospective clients to choose which of four marketing objectives they are most focused on in the next 12 months. Clients then select whatever option they relate to best— from attracting new prospects to implementing a new marketing strategy.
"With a program such as InfusionSoft, you can 'tag' people based on how they answer the survey," Satterfield said. "Depending upon what they select in the survey, you can now send people into a campaign that is specifically designed to address the issue that they most need assistance with. That's huge, especially if you want to stay in touch with your prospects for an extended period of time."
Step 3: Prepare effective content
Once your prospective customers have completed your short survey, they'll be entitled to the information they came to your site to receive. To effectively engage these customers, Satterfield recommends preparing a video based on each of the answers customers might have chosen during the survey.
What kind of video you produce is up to you, but Satterfield points out that there are two main types: the talking head and the narrated PowerPoint.
"As you might guess, the talking head video is preferable, since it enables prospects to get a sense for who you are as a person," Satterfield said. "Next to seeing you live, it's the next best thing. When it's done right, it's very effective."
However, Satterfield said, if you're uncomfortable in front of the camera, you might want to opt for a narrated PowerPoint (or Keynote for Mac users) presentation.
"It's not quite as effective in building rapport as the talking head video, but prospects will pick up a lot of your personality simply by hearing your voice," he said.
Regardless of which format you use, Satterfield recommends keeping each video under 10 minutes and using the opportunity to really provide prospects with valuable information— like a useful tip, perspective or idea. At the end of the video should be a call to action to go to a specific page on your website that offers a free consultation.
Step 4: Address specific concerns
Businesses also have to have a component in place that tracks customers who don't opt in for a free consultation or other service right away.
"If someone does not sign up to discuss your services, then you need to prepare a series of messages that addresses their specific concerns, along with the call to action that repeats the offer of the free consultation," Satterfield said.
If repeated messages don't inspire a customer to buy what you're selling, you still get to add another name to your weekly newsletter or list of potential leads, which you can come back to later. To make follow-up messages and further communications most effective, Satterfield recommends using a tone that is a mix of personal and professional. In other words, don't be too formal, but do make sure you explain why your business is worth patronizing.
Originally published on Business News Daily.