I built my launch schedule in EXCEL. I’m sure it could exist in several other formats as well. Here’s a snapshot of the first few weeks. As you can see the LinkedIn status is changed to alert the connections announcing the 101 Ways to Generating a Truckload of Targeted Leads eBook on November 11th. Those recipients in the address book receive a similar announcement in an email. Tweets go out all week. Remember, people are not listening to their Twitter stream all day hence the repeated messages on different days at various times.

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Week two takes a slightly different tact. The marketing focus switches to announcing the free bi-weekly newsletter marketingSNACKS. The announcement goes out to four groups or audiences the LinkedIn connections, those in the address book, plus the Twitter followers and the blog readership. The announcements go out on Wednesday. People are usually the busiest on Mondays and Fridays.

So far you can see that we have developed our marketing launch to involve four different audiences being offered two different marketing pieces the eBook and the newsletter. Most people will likely opt for one or the other a few will take both offers.

The strategy here is that some people will want more information while others will be satisfied with less. The goal of any marketing campaign is to hit the right chord to uncover what interests people most.

Here’s a look at Week 6:

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As you can see the marketing campaign is turning into a well-oiled machine.

As our 90-day Marketing Plan develops we’ll add two more audiences those that visit the company website and those that will receive a direct mail piece.

For those visitors to the website, the marketing effort will include two strategically placed ads one for the eBook and one for the newsletter. Those interested will be directed to separate landing pages so we can track their involvement.

As long as we have our marketing plan humming along on the Internet why not try a piece of street mail to see if we can garner any enthusiasm.

Here’s how we when about identifying potential prospects. First we made a trip to the local library. Okay, we could have called by phone but we wanted to start building a relationship with the person that compiles all the business references. Once there we looked into the different business listings that were available and compiled a list of 150 potential companies that fit the characteristics of our ideal client. We’d like to end up with 100 good names so we took more than we needed because invariably some companies will fall off our list for one reason or another.

The next task was to write a great introductory letter. Ours included a few shocking quotes to catch their attention followed by a problem, our solution and the benefits they would derive from using our approach. The letter closed with a short intro of who we are and a mention that we would be following up in a few days to make sure the letter reached their desk and to answer any unanswered questions they might have about what was said.

The letters will be sent out in batches of 10. Ten calls are all we can follow up with and still keep working on current projects.

To close let’s remember that launching the marketing campaign whatever it looks like and sticking to that commitment is what matters most. We won’t learn as much if we just run the campaign for a few weeks and then move on to the next shinny object.

Let’s not make a major mistake many businesses do when launching a marketing campaign. They treat everyone the same. Whether the recipients are past or new customers, current clients or potential prospects. Everyone receives the same message in the same manner at the same time.

People are different. Some read blogs or newsletters while others rely on videos or webinar to gather their information. Some respond better to a phone call while others prefer contact by email. Then there’s social media, a whole different animal.

The marketing methods have to match up with the way a particular audience prefers to be reached.

Let’s suppose we’ve identified five different audiences for our 90-day marketing campaign. They might people from our address book, LinkedIn connections, Twitter followers, blog readership and businesses we’ll target with direct mail pieces. Each of these audiences will have to be treated in similar yet different ways. Various tactics will be employed with slightly diverse marketing messages.

Here’s how the process looks broken down:

The Address Book Contact:

Two emails will be sent using MailChimp an email service. One email announces the offer a free eBook. A second email will be sent a week later offering a free biweekly newsletter. Recipients will be sent to two different landing pages so we can track which offer works best. The statistics provided by MailChimp will tell us the success rate of the two email campaigns. Those that take the eBook offer will automatically be subscribed to the newsletter. Of course, the newsletter provides an opt-out option. Spamming people won’t get them to change their mind.

The LinkedIn Connections:

The status section on the LinkedIn page will be used to announce the eBook and the newsletter. One offer will be broadcast one week with the second offer coming the second week. Two weeks after the initial offer was announced, the LinkedIn email addresses will be exported and imported into MailChimp. This gives us the ability to send two emails to those that are not monitoring the status lines of their connections. Recipients will be sent to two different landing pages so we can track which offer works best. Again, the statistics provided by MailChimp will tell us the success rate of our two email campaigns. Those that take the eBook offer will automatically be subscribed to the newsletter.

The Twitter Followers:

The Twitter followers need to be treated differently. They’ll receive three tweets per day Monday through Friday at eight-hour intervals. This will give us global coverage. HootSuite a social media desktop will manage the tweets sent out. One week we’ll offer the free eBook. The second week we’ll offer the free biweekly newsletter. Twitter followers will be sent to two different landing pages so we can track which offer works best. The statistics provided by HootSuite will tell us the success rate of the two campaigns. Those that take the eBook offer will automatically be subscribed to the newsletter.

The Blog Readership:

The Blog Readership will also need to be treated in a different manner. Two ads will be designed and posted on the blog to announce the free eBook and biweekly newsletter. Blog posting will be excerpted from the eBook and newsletter to create interest. Google Analytics will be used to track the ads and posts effectiveness. The readership will be sent to two different landing pages. As in the past, those that take the eBook offer will automatically be subscribed to the newsletter.

The Direct Mail Recipients:

Don’t discard direct mail as a way of reaching new prospects unless you have empirical evidence it won’t work in your specific situation. Everyone receives his or her fair share of what might be termed junk mail. Let’s face it. These companies are not sending ads out knowing they will have no affect on potential consumers.

Here’s a process you might consider. Visit the local library and build a list of 100 businesses in your city that meet the requirements of your ideal prospect. Then develop a compelling letter perhaps include something free, along with introducing your business and your products or services. You could just offer to sit down with them for a cup of coffee. Follow up the letter with a phone call. Make sure to tell people you will be calling them and when.

These tactics will get us started, but these tactics just discuss the initial touches of the marketing campaigns. Multiple-touch strategies also need to be in place.

In our next installment of the 90-day Marketing Plan we’ll look at the different ways to send out your marketing message. If you missed the last posting here it is: Turning Marketing Goals into Measurable Metrics.

Not everyone reads newsletters or does social media. How are your target audiences staying informed? It won’t do any good to design and write a powerful newsletter if the people you send it to dispose of it before reading your brilliance. Here’s your next assignment. Do some digging to find out what types of marketing collateral your target candidates follow. What types of messages make them take action?

Do they watch webinars, subscribe to email blasts or newsletters? Are they on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube? You’ll need to know where they hang out before developing and launching your first marketing volley.

You’ll need a variety of marketing methods as well as a series of campaign tactics to be successful. We’ve all read the marketing books that tell us prospects need multiple touches before they respond to an offer. How many touches? That’s the age-old question. A question only you can find the answer to. It might be seven touches for one company while another has to touch its prospects eleven times. There’s no hard and fast number for all businesses.

I can’t tell you the number of companies we deal with that tell us, “Oh yeah, we did a direct mail campaign last year. It didn’t work.”

There are probably two glaring reasons their approach failed and their money was wasted. First, they did one direct mail campaign and that was all. Second, the people they sent the mailing to probably don’t respond well to junk mail in the first place. No research was done ahead of time.

There are two parts to choosing the right marketing materials for you and for your prospects.

  1. What marketing tactics are you most familiar and comfortable with using? For instance, if you love writing then publishing a newsletter or blogging might be in your wheelhouse. Perhaps in your personal life you’re a social animal and love connecting with people. Then doing social media in your business would become second nature. Let’s assume you have a passion for video and do it well. If that’s the case then doing brief videos and posting them on YouTube or Vimeo might be a fit.
  2. What types of marketing materials do your targets read? You have to do some serious investigation. Of course, the competition will not tell you how successful their marketing campaigns are so you’ll have to do some educated guessing. If the competition can be found all over the social media channels then it’s a good bet your target prospects are there. If they are offering newsletters or doing email campaigns then let’s assume they work, at least at first. Here’s where prototyping comes in. The best way to spend your marketing dollars is by prototyping small campaigns to measure the response. Try launching a newsletter and measure if people take action based on your calls to action. Just because people open and read your newsletter—that’s not the end game. We want people to take some action. Buy something. Call us. Subscribe.

How do you come to a decision on what to use? Strike a balance between:

  • What you’re comfortable using
  • What you do best
  • What you can afford
  • What you have time for
  • What methods produce the best results

There’s loads of research out there on the Internet that will tell you email campaigns work great for some audiences. Social media is a marketing monster for certain groups as well. You’ll have to figure out what works best for you and your target prospects.

Of course, if a particular marketing tactic is not something you do well and you know it will produce the desired results then you’ll have to hire the job out.

Do your research. Try things. Go get ‘um.

In the first installment of our 90-day Marketing Plan we discussed choosing a dollar number to chase. In that example we talked about increasing our revenue in the coming   12 months by 100K. If you missed that posting here’s the link: Developing Attainable, Realistic Marketing Goals.

Now that we have a dollar goal we need to reduce it to measurable numbers and percentages so we can track and adjust our trajectory to make sure we reach that monetary plateau.

The first question we might ask ourselves is, “How many deals do we have to close to generate that 100K?” In order to come up with that number we need to know our average deal size. Let’s say our average deal over the past 12 to 24 months has been $11,000. That means we’ll need to close 10 new deals to reach our goal of making 100K. Nine deals would bring in 99K but let’s not undersell our selves. There’s nothing wrong with making $10,000 more than our stated goal.

Now that we know how many new deals we have to close it’s time to think about how many appointments we have to set to win those deals. Let’s suppose our close rate when making a presentation to a new prospect is 33%. So if we need to close 10 new deals and our close rate is 33% that means we’ll have to sit down with 30 qualified prospects. The emphasis is on “qualified.” Let’s recap our numbers so far:

Goal for the next 12 months = 100K
Number of new deals = 10
Number of new appointments to set = 30

We have some good metrics to shoot for. We’ve used sound logic and the numbers are measurable. We haven’t used any guesswork or gut feelings. What other numbers do we need to develop?

We’ll have to find out how many leads make up those 30 needed appointments, how many opportunities comprise the missing number of appointments and how many people have to be reached to generate that number of leads. Let’s talk about how those numbers are decided upon.

In our example, let’s say 20% of our leads turn into appointments. That means we do a pretty good job of marketing to the right crowd, with the right message and have attractive offers. Now that we know our percentage of leads that turn into appointments we can come up with one more metric that needs tracking. If 20% of our leads turn into appointments and we need 30 meetings then we’ll need to produce 100 leads.

How many opportunities become leads? That’s the next question we have to answer. For this conversation we’ll say 33% of our opportunities turn into leads. That means we’ll need to produce 300 opportunities.

So that we’re all on the same page, let’s define an opportunity as someone who takes an action such as registering for our webinar, subscribing to our newsletter, downloading a white paper or signing up for a free trial. The person, opportunity, has to take some action to move the relationship to the next level. Just because someone follows you on Twitter or connects with you on LinkedIn does not fit our definition of an opportunity. They have to show interest in what we’re selling.

The last number we need to develop is how many people we have to touch in order for them to become opportunities. Let’s say for this metric 3% of the people we market to become opportunities, they take some action when we send them an offer an invite to a webinar, a newsletter subscription, an email blast or some other offer. If 3% of those we touch take action then our marketing campaigns will have to reach 10,000 potential prospects. That does not mean our marketing campaigns just have to reach 10,000 strangers. There 10,00 people have to be “ideal” prospects people that have an interest in what we’re selling.

Here’s a recap of the latest numbers we’ve put together:

Number of leads = 100
Number of Opportunities = 300
Number of those to reach = 10,000

Now we have all the numbers in hand to measure our progress as we move toward our $100K goal. As our efforts miss those numbers we’ll be able to increase our marketing efforts where and when necessary.

If we don’t take the time to come up with goals, we’ll never know if we reach our destination or ended up some place else. This advice sounds a lot like something Yogi Berra once said: “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” [For those readers who are not lovers of America’s pastime, Yogi is a Hall of Fame catcher who worked behind home plate for the New York Yankees. His baseball career spanned 1946-1965.] Now, back to marketing.

If your current marketing efforts are bringing in so much business you can’t keep up with the new client kick-off meetings you’ll probably want to bail from this article series, so here’s the unsubscribe link. Nice meeting you.

The best goals to shoot for are those that are reasonable and attainable. There are a few things to consider when developing marketing campaign numbers that are reachable.

A good measure of an attainable goal is to look back at the average deal size of past successes. Then set a number. Done. Let’s imagine these numbers are not available, now what?

Let’s further suppose other issues exist that make it difficult to come up with a numerical marketing goal.

First, let’s suppose you’ve been working for the same client these past dozen or so years. It’s been a good gig, but it’s not growing your company. You’re thinking we’ve been out of the marketing game so long our skills are rusty heck they’re nonexistent. Besides, the marketing scene has changed dramatically in the past decade.

Maybe you’re thinking business has been good and bad up and down. It’s going to be difficult to come up with sound numbers to shot for.

Let’s consider a third scenario. You’ve been chasing all sorts of business delivering what ever services the client demands. Perhaps you’ve even bought business thinking the client will send more business your way, which in my experience never happens.

So to come up with numbers isn’t going to be easy.

Okay, we’ve outlined all the good reasons for procrastinating about launching a new marketing plan, now let’s talk about developing some marketing goals we can go after and get this marketing plan underway.

The best place to start is by throwing out a number any number. This practice gives us a starting point, a place to begin a discussion. In this example, we’ll use 100K. One hundred thousands dollars, is the amount of additional revenue we want to generate in the next 12 months. You might be thinking of a number that is half that or your number may be in the millions. The important point here is that the number you come up with has some connection, some relevance to past performance.

If your business has never generated more than forty thousand dollars in one year then 100k is not a realistic, attainable goal. Change the number. If you get half way through the execution phase of your 90-day Marketing Plan and have not come close to raising 50% of the goal then change the number. Consistently missing the goal week after week only serves to demoralize.

Remember the most important part of goal setting is actually setting the goal itself. An achievable goal excites, motivates and instills confidence in those working towards the finish line.

When our kids were young the whole family was immersed in America’s pastime—baseball. Over those ten years, I coached dozens of Cooperstown wannabes. What interest me are the conversations we had at the baseball field versus those I have when speaking to a business prospect.

Not one of the players ever asked me, “How do I hit a home run?” The question was the same from every player, “Is it my turn to bat?” They instinctively knew it would take loads of practice, foul tips, strikeouts and ground balls before they hit one over the outfield fence.

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Most times, people do things when they have to. Why do we change a car’s oil when the odometer clocks another 3,000 miles, pay our taxes on April 15th, or take a family to a doctor’s office or hospital emergency room? For one reason—we have to?

Many business owners work the same way. Supplies are not ordered, additional employees are not hired nor are marketing campaigns launched until they have to. When people believe they have to act they do.

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Why is it that some of us become dumbfounded or suffer a momentary case of dry mouth when asking prospects questions during an initial sales meeting, questions that undoubtedly determine the course of the relationship going forward?

If you ran a marketing company and were seeking an engagement with a decision maker over lunch, wouldn’t it be natural to ask the person “What do you look for when hiring a marketing firm?” an obvious, second nature question that rarely gets asked.

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Tip #1: Determine To Deliver More Value—Then Do It!

Are customers leaving voice mails on the customer support lines, unanswered emails pilling up in company in-boxes, or promised improvements or fixes to products or services going undelivered?

Customers have two choices when being frustrated or ignored by their vendors. They can sit on their hands and wait for attention or they can look for a vendor that will put them first. Which choice looks better to you? Your customers would probably make the same choice.

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A trusted friend once looked over my shoulder and asked me if what I was doing would help grow the company? I still reflect on that question frequently. It’s easy to get bogged down in work: details, hoops to jump through, deadlines, meetings, keeping up your social persona. But is everything you have scheduled today going to affect the growth of your company in some way—large or small?

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