NEWS – People tend to become more extreme in their actions when they are presented with uncertainty. This applies to social interactions, including politics, business and sales. Small retailers have taken to social media to alleviate the uncertainty of their sales channel. Although social media is a good marketing tool, it still can help to take a wider approach and to promote your products face to face.
Write an Integrated Marketing Communication Plan
According to the American Marketing Association, integrated marketing communication (IMC) is a process intended to promise that all brand contacts received by a customer or prospect are relevant to that person and consistent over time. As an entrepreneur, you are always marketing, so your message needs to be robust and consistent. Having a written IMC plan helps you identify your main ideas. Whether you are posting on Facebook, sending an email or meeting a prospect in person, everything you say needs to agree with or expand upon your earlier messages.
Pick Your Channels
Some marketing channels are more appropriate than others. When deciding on the best marketing mix, ask yourself which mediums or platforms your customers use. Create a mix that includes widespread advertising, social media and some form of face-to-face contact. For example, trade shows are a good place to anchor your IMC plan. Most conferences, like this one for Apple Rubber, give you a list of attendees in advance, which means you can send introductory information to your prospects so your face time can be more impactful. At the conference, snap pictures with vendors and prospects to post on social media. This personal link allows you to easily follow-up with a potential client. This integrated communication gives your company’s rep and the prospect the opportunity to create a relationship that can last for the life of the business.
Phase Your Messages
You want your company and your product to have a positive perception in your customers’ minds relative to your competition. You can do this by phasing your messaging with the following steps:
- For a completely new prospect, start by sending product specifications via email or regular mail. This serves as your introduction.
- Follow up with an email or telephone call with the sole intention of creating a relationship with the prospect. Use this phase to find out what the prospect needs and wants so you can deliver it when you meet.
- Finally, make your face-to-face time social but direct. You want to be a retailer to this person, but you don’t have to rush or force the relationship.
Get Everyone on Board
You need to get everyone on board with your marketing plan — this includes your team and the team of the prospective customer. All of your people need to deliver the same message in email, social media and in person. They need to be sending this IMC consistently to the appropriate members of the prospect’s organization. Especially if you are a larger organization and do not have a single decision maker, you need to make sure everyone is on the same page. Use an integrated message to get them there.