Posts Tagged ‘email marketing’

When Word-of-Mouth Advertising Isn’t Enough

Friday, December 31st, 2010

The number one way small businesses advertise and market is through word-of-mouth. This works because the owners of the business are almost always involved in the direct day to day business. They are the primary face of the business to the customers and clients.

This works extremely well if you see your customers every day or every week. Membership in the Chamber of Commerce and service clubs like Rotary, Kiwanas, Lions Club, and so forth are one of the main ways of doing this. When the subject of printed apparel comes up, you are the natural name that comes to mind.

This only works to a point. As the business grows, it becomes too much for the owner to do it all. Sooner or later a front office person is hired and they begin to take on some of the customer service duties. As hard as they may try, it just isn’t the same as being an owner. Now instead of seeing the owner every time they do business with you, they may deal with the customer service person.

As the order volume grows customer contact time decreases further. When this happens, you begin to lose the connection to the customer and that constant presence in their mind. If printed apparel comes up in a conversation, you may not get mentioned, or if you are, it doesn’t have the same enthusiastic response it used to have when there was the owner connection.

Over time, the situation continues to degrade, and WOM becomes less and less effective. It becomes an effort to maintain your existing customer base, much less grow the business with any kind of confidence.

To improve this situation, it’s a simple matter of increasing your contact time with your customer base. It today’s economy one of the most effective ways of doing this is e-mail marketing. Companies like Constant Contact are an excellent example. They allow you to create electronic newsletters and follow-up campaigns where you can keep your customer base informed of exactly what is going on in the business and present new opportunities, ideas, case studies, promotions, and so forth. You don’t have to be selling here, it’s more about the contact time.

The beauty of e-mail marketing is the automation of it. The cost is very inexpensive, and done right, you can significantly extend your reach with the existing customers you have. With the addition of “tell a friend” scripts, your customers simply have to click a button, add the email address of their friend, and off you go to someone new.

This is a very simple overview of a very powerful tool. In 2011 you’ll be seeing a lot more posts from me on how to automate your marketing without looking automated and impersonal.