By Will Swayne, an EO Brisbane member and Head of Strategy at lead generation agency Marketing Results.
After the holiday season is over, many entrepreneurs approach January with big customer acquisition and revenue generation goals for the coming year. I know I do. But around seven years ago, I noticed a disturbing pattern in my business, and I’ve since realized that this problem isn’t limited to me.
In our excitement for the new year, entrepreneurs often create new, bigger marketing plans for their first quarter. These might include activities such as:
- Publishing blog articles more regularly
- Emailing our customer list with more content and offers
- Conducting learning events
- Intensifying traffic generation campaigns
…and so on. I’ve found that these flurries of marketing activity did deliver more inbound inquiries and new client engagements to my company…but by March, we were struggling to continue executing our marketing plan on a steady and consistent basis. We had put an unsustainable campaign into motion, and around the middle of the year, it had “dried up.” We had much fewer inbound leads and were desperately scrambling to maintain monthly revenues.
Our ultimate solution was to focus our beginning-of-year marketing enthusiasm on deploying evergreen marketing systems that would continue to work throughout the whole year, without the need for further incremental effort. The first system I chose to employ is called a “Top of Funnel Marketing System.” It is designed to attract ideal prospects, educate them on your services and have them inquire as a “warm lead.” While this strategy is becoming more popular, I still see many, many businesses not following this model (or executing it poorly).
Here’s a model showing how my company set up our Top of Funnel Marketing System – and it can be applied to your company, too:
“Deliver the Resource”: Step 1 is to create a problem-solving resource for your target customer. Common formats include a special report, video or webinar that gives prospects practical tips, without hard-selling your products or services. The format we chose was a video series called, “Double Your Website Leads In 30 Days.” Other examples are, “11 Things You Must Know Before Renovating Your Home,” or “The Property Investor’s Suburb Selection System”.
Place your resource online and collect your prospects’ email addresses in exchange for access to your resource. You can use a service such as Infusionsoft, Marketo, Pardot, AWeber, ActiveCampaign or MailChimp (just to name a few) to deliver the resource and handle the “drip” email campaigns that follow. In your first email, deliver the resource you promised (and resist the urge to sell your products or services).
“Next Step Offer,” Step 2: In the following email, make your “Next Step Offer.” Simply explain what the next step in the sales process is, if the prospect would like further help solving their problem. Typical next step offers could be a free consultation or quote.
“UVP Centric Tip,” Step 3: Some prospects will respond to your “Next Step Offer,” but many will not. So next up, send them a “UVP Centric Tip.” UVP stands for “Unique Value Proposition,” and it’s a valuable nugget of information or advice that ALSO matches the strengths of your business. For example, a building contractor who specializes in high-end renovations might give advice on how investing in more expensive fixtures and fittings when renovating is one of the best ways to add value to a home.
“What People are Saying,” Step 4: Then follow up with a “What People are Saying” email – this is where you publish a few of your best customer testimonials or client reviews.
“Myth Buster,” Step 5: Next, send a “Myth Buster” email. Just as the name implies, this email should expose the biggest myth or half-truth in your industry and reveal the real deal. One of our property investor clients approached this by discussing the commonly held view that a property investment can either deliver strong cash flow OR high capital growth – but not both. They explained that, with thorough research, it is possible to find properties that have both strong growth potential and ALSO deliver positive cash flow. Busting a myth demonstrates your expertise and opens up the prospect to a new perspective.
“Consequences of Inaction,” Step 6: Next, change it up and shine a light on the consequences of inaction – what will happen if they don’t solve their problem right now, or if they end up with a sub-optimal result. For many potential customers, this angle can be a more powerful motivator than talking exclusively about the benefits of taking action.
“Value Bomb,” Step 7: Now it’s time to drop a “Value Bomb” – either another big, juicy tip or a further resource adding genuine value to the prospect’s situation (and rewarding them for continuing to read your emails).
“Are You Still Interested?” Step 8: Finally, in your last email in the sequence, simply ask, “Are you still interested in X?” or, “Do you still want help solving Y?” Wait to see who responds (a percentage will always respond).
And that’s all there is to it! The above campaign features 8 emails, and it can usually be set up in a day or two, depending on how much content creation is required. But the best part is that once this is set up, it will keep working for you throughout the whole year.
So no matter how busy or how distracted you get – or how many vacation days you take – your evergreen marketing system will tick away with as much enthusiasm as the day it was launched.
“Set it up once – profit forever.”
#EOlooksforward to the new calendar year, with posts, pictures and videos citing upcoming technologies and inspiration for entrepreneurs in 2016. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn for daily posts!