Marketing is the first step of the modern selling process. Get this right and your sales will improve. But to get marketing right, you have to first define your brand as explained in my previous article. Follow these two articles in succession and you’ll have a solid plan for driving newfound success.
Putting marketing in perspective
- Marketing is mid-to-long range pipeline filling. It’s great for developing brand and moving buyers toward you, but it takes time to build.
- Sales prospecting is for generating immediate pipeline activity: asking for client and center of influence referrals, cold calling/emails, and networking. Don’t use marketing as an excuse to not prospect.
Agency Marketing Platform
Agencies consistently fail at marketing because they don’t start with brand definition, don’t pick activities strategically, and don’t stick to the plan. We’ve selected the activities for you and divided them into phases. Pick the most appropriate phase for your current situation.
Phase I: Marketing base
Every agency needs Phase I as the foundation of a marketing program. Start here and grow into other phases as needed.
1) Client communications: Regularly send practical, useful tools and information from third party providers (wellness, HR, compliance, etc.).
2) Website: A modern, mobile-friendly site with descriptive text based on your brand definition: Why you’re in business, how you work, what you offer, with whom you work.
3) LinkedIn: Everyone on your team has a profile based on brand definition.
Phase II: Engaging with audience
Move from passive to proactive. Provide educational information, share ideas/opinions. Includes Phase I, plus:
- Website: Share ideas via a blog and collect email addresses from prospects.
- LinkedIn: Become a participant. Share ideas and like/comment on articles, updates or groups.
4) Writing: Get comfortable expressing yourself. Start with 2-3 sentences on LinkedIn updates when sharing an article, work up to writing blog posts/articles.
5) Speaking: Get comfortable communicating your ideas. Host seminars, round table discussions, create educational presentations.
Phase III: Influencing audience
Move from sharing to influencing. Includes Phase I and II, plus:
- Step up all activities: Coordinated company strategy and implementation of content publishing and calls-to-action (1 – 5 above). Involves full-time marketing manager and/or outside marketing firm, plus automated marketing platform.
6) Educational prospect emails: These are emails with original content delivered to an opt-in list of prospective clients. If you’re not comfortable with your brand message, expressing opinions, and creating content, this will never work.
Effective marketing requires a long-term commitment. Honestly evaluate your resources. If you’re not going to devote time and money to marketing efforts, then choose Phase I and do it well. That’s just fine. If you start Phase II or III and don’t stick with the program, it’s going to do you more harm than good.
When you’ve defined your brand and you live it internally and externally, then you are creating a consistent brand that people can believe in. The quicker you get here, the more attractive you will become to prospective clients and employees and the more feared you’ll become by your competition.
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