Growing Business Through Advertising Strategies – “Using Follow-up Systems”

In Branding, Marketing Basics, Marketing Strategy by Tarun GuptaLeave a Comment

In today’s fast moving world, using innovative advertising strategies has become an imperative. You can’t survive by just working in silos, without letting the world know what you are up to. It’s a common practice that people usually carry a business card while they go out somewhere, so that they are able to leave a token of their remembrance with the other person. That’s a very good advertising strategy, I must say, but the general fate of a business card, is what really bothers me. You just tend to oblige the person by taking it from him, you feel it and then it simply goes into your pocket. See with this, the whole idea of your well framed advertising strategy piece goes wasted, by just this simple ignorance of the other person.

A time may come when it becomes fateful enough to take it out of your pocket, you touch it again and you may now think, ahh finally the advertising strategies will pay off, but what happens generally is that, it is just put onto your working desk and then when you see it again, you again put it in your big bucket of cards.

Now you’ve seen how a well structured framework of advertising strategies also fails in situation where the other person is just bothered or we may say completely informed about the importance of what you have given him after so much thought. This is how the business card reaches its so called destination “the bucket of cards”, during this cycle one gets so multiple opportunities of exposures to these cards. But, what you actually do with these business cards once you have them is all the more interesting. You don’t even bother to make note of the important details like name, phone no. etc.

Start Executing Your Advertising Strategies

Well, if you ask me how I myself execute these advertising strategies – what I do with them is I first put them into a system, to input the information into a database. I do not use a most sophisticated “CRM”, customer relationship management for this. I normally use my email, my Gmail for this purpose. This in turn helps me make a stronger advertising strategy to make my business grow. What I do is, when I take a business card and I take the name, email, and the phone number from it and I type in all the details myself into the system, I don’t prefer any secretary or assistant or an intern or even a scanner for this purpose, probably it may not be the most efficient way to take out the information. But one advantage that I get from this activity is that I am able to remember most of the names from whom I had taken these cards. It helps me connecting with those people well by just remembering their names and the last time I had met them. I make it a practice to take cards from all the people I meet during any of the events I go, but I don’t stop this process here.

The most important step in this process is to do a “Follow up”, without this step being done properly all the advertising strategies efforts which the person had made previously, would go wasted. So, I always make it a point to send all of them the follow up emails. Doing this is not at all easy. It requires discipline and requires commitment, since the follow up has to be religiously done the very same day I get the business card. Although, it takes just 5 minutes to write an email the same day, as it would take after two weeks. But the “value” starts to diminish exponentially with time, say if this activity is delayed by some days or several months and that is where you realize how good was your advertising strategy which became an integral part of your growing relationships and thereby has brought you some good business.

Most Integral Part Of Your Advertising Strategies – How To Make It Right?

Now the question arises, what to actually write in this follow up. What you need to write in this is just simple – what you actually talked about in the event with the person. If I had talked about something interesting, I’ll definitely mention it in the follow up mail, so that it’s easy for him to remember me. But at the same time you need to be creative and smart enough while reciting the same otherwise your audience won’t be interested in it. You may write something like this to remind them, “Remember we talk about….”, “Remember I was the guy with the red tie…..”, keeping your positioning clear.

If you do this religiously every time you get a new business card, your contact database would be your biggest asset. And even if you move to a different business, you would always have a ready made contact database with you. But you would wonder, how would this help me, why should I invest so much time in this, what would be the returns for me? All these questions troubling you would be answered soon. I’ll just tell you a real life example. Once, I met a guy who was a sales person, but was out of the business for couple of years, worried about this current situation, he was looking for some person who could help him get a good job. I asked him, why he did not use his database contacts, he was a sales guy; he must have had relationships with many people/consumers and suggested him to explore those contacts rather than asking people to help him reach to the person who can actually help. In response to my suggestion, he said, “my entire contact list is cold, I need to start from scratch”, that’s the belief he had, with which I didn’t agree at all. According to me, he had already done the biggest mistake of his life by being out of the business, and not keeping the contacts fresh and alive, ignoring the strategic aspect of maintaining those relationships. But, you should never do such a mistake otherwise you won’t find a way back.

All you need to do this is to strategize and maintain an active contact database.

Moving Ahead With The Follow-up Advertising Strategies

To start with, you need to categorize your customer list on the basis of their importance. This you can do in many ways using your creativity, one is you can start by making 3 categories – most important, second most important and least important “everyone else” group. In general, around 75% of the people in your database would come under the “everyone else” group. This categorization would help you in setting up a timeline for yourself for different groups. For example, I would like to keep in touch with “everyone else” group once a quarter or once every 3 months. Around 20% of the people in the database are the ones who likely know and trust me, so I would like to keep in touch with them once a month and then there would be 5%, whom I call my “key success partners or target consumers”. These are the people, who are most likely to help me achieve my goals today and tomorrow. Some of these people, would include my close friends and family, some clients, or may be some active business partners as well. This would be your main market from where you’ll get your business, so keep good focus on their developments. It’s the kind of advertising you do with this group will eventually make difference in your business. I would like to keep in touch with these people once a week to maintain strong connect and a good brand presence with them.

Reviewing & Pruning – An Important Aspect Of Advertising Strategies

Then comes the time to start “reviewing”. I start off with a Friday Review, wherein I scan those 5% of the group. I cross check if I have touched base with all those people, if not I will shoot them an email. This is how I complete my weekly review. In my monthly review, I pull out my 20% of the group, while in the quarterly review I go through the whole thing. Along with these reviews one of the thing I do on a regular basis is to prune-off the poisonous people from the database. These are those, who are negative accounts and are no long in my email lists/contact lists. People whose energies are not viable with me, are always comparing, bad customers, I just prune them. People to whom you may be giving your time and energy, but they are not giving you anything back in return, can certainly be considered in the poisonous group and are not be considered in your top 5% or top 20% list. If you are able to identify them, and the quicker you move away from them, better it is. My father once told me, when he moved from School to College, he used to spend his time with positive and vibrant people. When I asked why – he said “Because I always wanted to have good grades, so I preferred hanging with people with good grades only, and stay away from the company of the bottom scorers. This would help him stay in the contact of the intelligent group, and to stay competitive at the same time.

One must always focus on the most valuable relationships.

Apply The Pareto’s Principle In Your Advertising Strategies

Here, I would like to focus on a very important rule “80:20 rule” of marketing which will help you in executing your advertising strategies. It says that, one must always focus on the most valuable relationships.

While, the biggest mistake people make while networking is, they say “I do not know enough people whom I can tell about my product, I need to make fresh relationships”, instead of saying “I need to network with the people I know now, the people that are currently in my contact database to tell them about the products I have”.

Going Beyond Emails – Adding Personalization And Being Creative With Advertising Strategies
My mother used to always say that thank you cards, emails and thank you SMS are worth their weight in gold. The mail space is getting less and less crowded as digital space is getting more and more crowded. To stand out in this crowd, you really need to be creative and do something different, like writing a thank you card, hand written with real signature and stamp. I myself have written a lot of thank you cards and believe me it actually pays dividends which are huge. So, do what you can do to stand out, do something physically- add a touch of personalization. Always remember, the person out there would be going to touch and feel your response, so in order to make your mark in his mind it should be something special. If they find it special, they may even keep your thank you notes for rest of their lives, some people do so. They may pin it up on their walls, may talk to someone else, that “I got thank you note from that guy”. Just imagine how good you would feel them. And if it’s just an email, they will see it and delete it, without thinking for it ever again.

Social Media – Yet Another Way To Achieve Desired Outcome Of Your Advertising Strategies

Another way to stay in connect with contacts that reside in your database, is “Social media” which can help you in achieving the desired outcomes of your advertising strategies. I use it generally to communicate that is public, especially for generic advertising. Once I had a conversation with somebody on Facebook. He made a post and I commented on it, and in response he replied back saying ‘’hey how are you”, “what’s going on”, “what’s new” etc. I responded “I to coming to Mumbai (this man I am talking about was also from Mumbai), hearing so, he sent me an invitation to his event, which I accepted and we later exchanged a lot many messages. Then I realized, hey, my conversation with that person is pretty much available on my wall for all the people to see, as well on his wall. I could also connect with people who were linked to that post of the person at no extra cost but this all is too personal. “Social media” can be also be a passive way of following up different people at no additional cost. Your work as an advertiser becomes pretty much easy. Rather than being into one to one relationships through emails, you are able to make one to many relationships in lesser time with wider reach.

One of the most promising social media platform for communication in today’s age is Twitter, which is becoming an increasingly important part advertising strategies. Through it you are able to easily remind people that you exist and remain at top of their mind. That’s what your aim should always be “To have a distinct position for yourself in their mind” That’s how, I use social media. I admit my understanding of it is not super deed, but I am definitely able to connect well with people on it this is what I can assure you from my experience. But since, it’s too public, one word of caution that should be kept in mind always wherever social media is concerned, i.e. you should carefully decide your target group and the kind of advertising strategies you would use keeping the actual intention subtly hidden and covered under wraps.

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