After a lengthy conversation with a client about his upcoming direct mail campaign, I began to think about all the ways in which we can (and should) communicate with our clients and prospects. The options are endless: direct mail, e-mail updates, e-newsletters, blogs, virtual articles, web forums, and so forth. Trying to coordinate marketing and communications campaigns can send your head spinning. For me, trying to come up with the next article de jour is sometimes overwhelming.
We are saturated with information, exhausted by the possibilities. And furthermore, most of the uninvited information we receive isn’t even pertinent to us or our business.
With an agenda to stay ahead of the competition, many business owners and decision makers (and perhaps you're one) jump into the vast sea of information pandering, spending thousands of dollars a year on marketing and communications campaigns that utilize “the very latest.”
So much attention is given to timing, finely tuned copy, slick packaging, sales goals, demographics, and so on, that the most important factor is lost: RELEVANCE. We can get so caught up in the methodology we overlook the client / prospect and forget to provide good information.
Providing good information takes time and patience. It requires an attention to the needs of the client / prospect and a disconnection from company ego. Sounds simple, right? It's harder than it seems. So many companies throw away money and time on what turns into "spam" or "junk mail" in the end.
So what's the solution? How do you get around the fact that most people are jaded by solicitations of any kind, passive or overt?
First off, do an investigation. Make contact with current clients and find out what problems they are currently experiencing; what solutions they would like to see; how they would describe their current business climate. Create a rapport if one does not already exist.
Take some time to scan through information collected in client files and make note of continuing themes with respect to client needs and preferences. You may think that the next topic for your web article brilliant, but is it something that would appeal to your clients, based on your sleuthing?
Scan the web for information relating to your target market. Research any new developments or trends that may be affecting them – email those you know with "hot" topics and show your interest in their success. Find the common denominator from that trend and what your business offers and write about it. Develop your next direct mail package from the information you've gathered and post your newfound insights on your blog, or in an article.
The more time you take to investigate and cultivate knowledge, the more successful your marketing and communications campaigns will be.
Conduct a survey to help you figure out your next article topic.
Come to think of it...I should do the same.
What is your preferred format for receiving information:
1) letter / mail
2) email update
4) web articles
5) other ________ (what?)
Until next time, good luck!