Make Follow-up an Obsession – for Online Marketing Success
Ah, the mundane stuff: following-up. What a pain. No pain, though, no gain. Even if you do just a pretty good job of Web Content and Web Location, you can kill the competition with better Follow-Up. It seems nonsensical, but a huge majority of web players who invest significant time and money in their website and getting seen online fail miserably when it comes to Follow-Up. You can do a LOT better.
- Be faster
- Be more professional
- Be more persistent & consistent
…than your competitors
- And measure your results
Ecommerce sites must flawlessly and quickly handle orders, transactions, confirmations, shipping tracking, and then deliveries…at a minimum. Non ecommerce "marketing" sites need to respond to inquiries, too, if not within the hour...at least the same (business) day by email and/or phone. Remember: web contacts have short half-lives and are quite perishable -- unless you respond ASAP.
We are not talking just about just auto-responders (automatically generated emails that indicate that an information request or order has been received). Those are good, but you need to get them the "goods" (actual products or services if they´ve paid) or whatever you´ve promised (in return for their contact information) ASAP.
Your visitors are likely checking out other sites, as well to look for what they want. Your ability to respond quickly is the first indicator of the competence and quality of your business. Get them the information they want when they want it – NOW. Send them that white paper (or link) NOW. Schedule that demo NOW. Get that custom quote out NOW. Make that phone call follow-up NOW…not tomorrow or next week after several competitors have beaten you to the punch. If you respond quickly, you´ll be way ahead.
It´s all about the quality of the response itself and not just how fast it is delivered. Do you provide exactly what you promised (without any tricks)? Are you polite? Is your response "customized" if possible? Do you offer help if it´s evident your product or service is not up their alley (or vice versa)? Would you, as a person inquiring about your stuff, be impressed with how your company handles an inquiry? Has this function been delegated way down the line to inexperienced staff who have little idea how to communicate with the inquirer? Or worse, offshore…to folks who do not know jack about your business…? Are real people available by phone if prospects or customers have questions – and ideally NOT outsourced folks from another country or planet? Be a pro online and on the phone, and you´ll dazzle your prospects/customers compared to your competitors
One follow-up is never enough. Try at least a couple initial follow-ups by email and/or phone as appropriate—and then more over time (always letting people opt out e.g. of emails or tell you flat out that they are not interested). Use some common sense. This does not mean spamming your customers or pestering them daily phone calls. But you need to be persistent and consistent in your online and offline follow-up to get the maximum online marketing results. Your customer list and your prospect list are pure marketing gold if you put them to use, regularly, and creatively. In fact if you have multiple things to sell, it will grow be your best source of ongoing business. You need to stay in touch with prospects and customers at least on a monthly basis.
Measuring your results (contacts, sales, sales $ by client, type of client, online campaign, keyword, etc) is part of Following-Up. There is no perfect way to measure exact marketing results, but it´s easier to measure online results than other offline marketing efforts. You need to use a website traffic monitoring tool (a free one like Google Analytics or one of good ones out there that aren´t too pricey like www.sitestats.com), Google Adwords (and other Pay-Per-Click) conversion code (that automatically tracks PPC results for you), toll free number(s)/e.g. with operator numbers, etc. specific to your online offers; online and offline referral questions; etc.
The whole online marketing thing is about getting a positive Return-on-Investment (ROI) – have a pretty good idea what your online marketing costs over time and what sales (and profits) were generated. Worrying about exact ROI is nuts, but measuring to the best of your ability the results of your online marketing – will optimize your investment now and in the future.
If you have any questions, please contact Tom Ranseen by email or phone: 615-661-6042.