If you’re looking to build a thriving business, the marketing piece is actually pretty simple.
First, there need to be some systems that alert people to your existence. Then there needs to be some systems that help your prospects come to like and trust you over time. And if all goes well, some of these people will eventually decide to pay you.
While the process is simple, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. The principles may be consistent, but the specific strategies and tactics that produce results are always changing. For better or worse, nothing works for ever, and a business that wants long term results has to be prepared to evolve with the times.
Below are three tweaks to uplevel your sales and marketing efforts.
1) Collect “Screenshot” and Video Testimonials
Compelling testimonials from satisfied clients have always been a key resource in establishing credibility in your prospects’ minds. After all, it’s one thing to tell everyone how great you are; it’s another to show the success stories of real-life humans. That said, the best methods for collecting and sharing proof of your expertise has changed.
While there’s nothing wrong with using “pull quotes” with a nice picture of a client discussing their experience (and ideally specific results!), there are two additional arrows that now need to be in your quiver: screenshots and videos.
If you’re great at what you do, it’s likely you get happy clients texting, emailing, or DMing you heartfelt thanks and/or posting about you on social media. That’s a great opportunity to ask your client permission if you can use a screenshot of their kind words in your marketing.
Screenshots of a clearly unsolicited text message or Instagram post are way more credible and compelling than a pull quote testimonial.
And while creating video testimonials are certainly more time intensive than taking a screenshot, happily it’s never been easier or cheaper to create video testimonials. Since most of us have quality video cameras in our pockets at all times, you’ve already got all you need.
Your Six Step System to Creating Great Video Testimonials
- Consider investing in some lights and a microphone to improve production quality. (OPTIONAL)
- Find three to five of your happiest clients who are willing to talk on camera about their experience.
- Schedule the video interviews in 15-20 minute blocks, and ask them a series of questions about their journey working with you. (You can email me at email@example.com and I’ll share the exact questions we use.)
- Send the videos to rev.com to get a text transcript.
- Edit the text transcript to a few hundred words. Now you can edit it down to a 60-90 second cut that covers the arc of their journey.
- Edit the video yourself on iMovie, or to save time, hire someone on Upwork to use the raw footage and your text edits to create your finished product.
Once you’ve got your screenshots and testimonials, post them on your social media, in your email marketing, and use them on your website and landing pages. They can also be a useful part of your paid digital strategy to “warm up” your audience before making an offer.
2) Use Text Messages to Follow Up with Prospects
It’s 2020. We live in a society where texting is king. And once your prospects have demonstrated interest and raised their hands by submitting contact info for your trial offer, following up by text is the most effective way to sell the next step.
Ideally you’re already making some low barrier offer so your future clients can “try before they buy” with the risk removed. (And if not? Check out this post HERE on the key elements of strong marketing funnel for more thoughts.) Before they go to complete their purchase, “gate” the landing page and capture their name, phone number, and email so you can follow up with them immediately.
Asking for the phone number upfront may mean a bit less leads overall as opposed to just asking for an email. However, people who provide their phone number on a path to making a purchase are even more qualified than those who only have to leave an email. Most importantly, now you’ll be able to follow up with prospects who don’t complete the transaction. Research suggests as many as 85% shopping carts on the internet get abandoned (!!!). So it’s important to be able to find a way to follow up with people who change their minds and/or get distracted. And the best way to do that is with text messaging.
To be clear, emails are still a valuable tool and have a place in your marketing efforts. But in today’s day and age, many people have a hard time keeping up with their emails and even anticipated communication can easily get lost in email inboxes.
Now if you have a big email list and a lot of scale, you’ll still get a lot of traction with email marketing. And regardless, regular email marketing can help keep your business “top of mind.” But for more modest sized service businesses (particularly those constrained by geography), this is NOT your best channel for highly qualified prospects. These people have already made steps towards working with you, and a more responsive medium will lead to more successful outreach.
And while phone calls could work based on your demographic, many people have essentially stopped answering their phone. And if they DO answer your call, it will often feel like you’re starting your relationship by interrupting them.
One other note: you probably don’t want to do this on personal cellphones. Texting platforms like Skipio and TextMagic will provide you much of the same functionality as emails, but with better response rates.
3) Follow up. A Lot!
Ok, this isn’t exactly new for 2020. In fact, this has always been important. But since it’s one of the most common issues I see, it’s worth bringing up.
You’ve got to follow-up frequently and consistently to maximize the number of prospects who finally use your services.
Too many businesses make the mistake of following up with prospects once or twice and then totally dropping the ball.
Sometimes this is legitimately a capacity issue. Following up can be time consuming. However, there are few things more important for your business success than to stay in dialogue with a highly qualified prospect. After all, we’re talking about someone who’s given you their contact information on the path to making a purchase. That’s a hot prospect!
But the biggest barrier is a well-intentioned concern about “not being annoying.” You don’t want to be spammy right? After all, might your prospects be annoyed to hear from you?
Well… no, probably not. They gave you their phone number. In response to an offer to work with you. It’s not like you’re spamming a cold phone list with text messages. In fact, most people will be appreciative of your tenacity. A lot of times their radio silence isn’t lack of interest; they’ve just got other stuff going on that’s got their attention.
Now it’s appropriate to escalate the messaging from day to day and acknowledge you don’t want to be a pest, particularly if you’re following up daily for a week or two. You don’t want to send the same text every single day. And of course, if someone opts out or asks you to stop contacting them… no prob!
But if you’re not following up quickly and consistently, your potential client is likely going to go elsewhere. They’re going to work with another business that’s doing a better job of making it easy to take the next step. Shoot for at least daily follow-up for five to seven days after they’ve given you contact info. And while text is king, it’s a good idea to support your efforts with some calls/ voicemails and emails in case they’re in the minority that prefer to communicate via those channels.
The principles of marketing don’t change. All businesses will need to get the word out, convince your prospects of your value, and master the art of influencing them to take the leap and hire you.
But the most effective methods DO change. And what works one year may suddenly stop working the next year. Great business owners are always studying trends and testing different results while tracking outcomes. (Need help tracking outcomes? A simple system for you HERE.)
If you’re not already utilizing the above methods, go and apply them and track your results. Would love to hear how it goes for you!
And if you’re looking for more help with your sales and marketing efforts, check out Business for Unicorn’s 1-Day course, Sales and Marketing for Good Human Beings: How to Grow Your Business WITHOUT Being Cheezy, Salesy, or Spammy. More details HERE.