Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Marketing to all 5 steps of the buying process

Some folks ask how fast their marketing will turn into sales & ultimately, revenue. I reply by asking three questions:
  • What is your time to sale?
  • What is your level of awareness within your targeted segments?
  • How many happy customers/clients have you created over time?
    Usually, I get puzzled looks as a reaction. A question that they percieved to be simple, was just uncovered as more complicated than they thought.

    There is a principle that's taught in business school - one satisfied customer can yield up to 10 more customers in less time than you could build them one by one, all by yourself. Let's explore the "Why":

    There are 5 stages to building a satisfied customer. They range from some one having no-awareness of your business to having a full blown evangelist that sings your praises from the roof tops. If Branding is done correctly, you'll only have to go through the initial stages of marketing once or twice to build the initial base of satisfied customers.

    This is a foundational principal behind Straight Line Marketing. It helps ensure that you have the strategies necessary to take a potential customer through each stage of the customer satisfaction/buying process.

    #1 Awareness:
    People MUST be aware of your product/service category, your business and its capability. They buy from you if they don't know you exist. It takes seeing something 7 times seeing or hearing something before the majority of humans will remember it. You must put your company out there it ways that the public will see or hear of you often and repetitively. That's not an opinion, it's science. However, if you accomplish this, many potential targets may still be largely indifferent as they may not see a need for your product or service.

    #2 Interest:
    Something happens in a potential customer's life or business for them to move from the awareness phase to the interest phase. You must have raised their interest proactively. To raise their interest, you have to push their buttons... to do that efficiently, you must know them. To recap - a potential customers cannot get to the interest phase if you haven't raised awareness of your brand and/or offering and when doing that, you have to raise their interest by targeting your message to their lifestyle, preferences, needs, etc. This is the point of a process where we would qualify a target as a warm lead and nurture them carefully to build their interest into hungry desire.

    #3 Desire:
    This is the hottest and most volatile point of the marketing and sales process - if you can take a customer through this journey and then identify when they have clearly made it into the "desire" phase of the sales process, then all you have to do is close the deal. But be warned, at this point you have done all of the hard work to build a client's awareness and interest in your product or service BUT if your product or service is not desireable enough (or your competiton is more convincing at this point) then you will lose the sale to someone else and all your effort will be wasted. You must be able to deliver on what you've promised in the first two stages.

    #4 Action:
    This is the point of the sales process where a customer parts with their money. At this point the decision has already made. Here's a good example of this stage in action: you've heard how men don't "window shop" - - well, when men, traditionally, go into a store, they already know what they are going to buy and how much they are willing to pay for it. If you have built awareness of your top-notch product or service and managed to hold on throughout the process constantly nurturing your lead with care, I would hope that you would be closing your sale here. The trick here is to make this stage of the process as easy as possible. You already have them, don't lose them.

    Now this part is most important, once you've gotten a customer through to this point, from a marketing stand point. The reason businesses strive for satisfied customers and not just paying customers is that a satisfied customer is more likely to take the initial step of raising awareness out of your equation for the next round of customers. A satisfied customer will sits around with their connections and makes a recommendation to their peer at a time when their peer is interested and has a need thereby cutting the time investment of the first three stages down substantially. Meaning that they can multiple customers quicker than the natural cycle starting with stage #1.

    The sales cycle is intrinsic to every business. You won't invest in marketing and be rewarded overnight, but if you understand the process you are investing in, it can be a much more rewarding journey, as you wont be tempted to give up half way there. Know that it takes time because you are having to lead potential customers on this journey. But if you are proactive and use a proven process like Straight Line Marketing, you can be assured that it will be the quickest that it can be, the most efficient, and the most effective because you are investing in doing it the right way.... scientifically.

    Let Reformation Productions help you through the marketing process as a local business. Call Rachel Bennett, Director of New Business, at 404.862.8814.
  • Thursday, July 14, 2011

    Welcome Upper Cervical Health Center

    We get the privilege of helping to welcome new businesses into our community from time to time. This week, we helped welcome Upper Cervical Health Center to Hamilton Mill by attending their ribbon cutting ceremony and open house.

    The new business is operated by Dr. Nick Tedder and Dr. Adam Tedder, brothers united in their passion for a healthier Georgia. They are located at 3635 Braselton Highway in the heart of the Hamilton Mill area.

    Upper Cervical care is a specialized practice within the Chiropractic field of healthcare. It is concentrated on clearing out interruptions in the nervous systems communication with the rest of the body at it's source....the top of the spine where it meets your head. Irritations or unnatural pressure in this area of the neck can lead to a variety of health problems.

    The ceremony was a success with several members of the community coming out to show their support. Dr. Tedder provided a tour of the offices as well as taking time to answer questions about this specialized field.

    We heard from patient advocate Donna Starnes, who told her testimony of how she met Dr. Tedder at her church and came to be under his care. She was in the process of shopping for a wheel chair, having been in pain for quite some time, spending over $10,000 while taking 14 different kinds of medication. After starting therapy with Dr. Tedder, she is happily down to 2 medications and is pain free.

    Dr. Adam Tedder then asked for everyone's attention and told of something that was on his heart. He offered everyone that was at the ceremony a discounted initial exam and indicated that the monies received would go towards Heart 2 Heart, a charity set up to help a local resident named Philip Morgan who recently suffered from aortic dissection and had to undergo 8 hours of emergency surgery, leaving him with large medical expenses.

    I like this way this business thinks. I like their compassion for the people in their community. We had a great time helping the doctors with their ribbon cutting ceremony and looking forward to seeing them prosper and grow as a community business.

    More photos are available on our facebook page at

    If you are interested in Public Relations or photography for your next event, contact Rachel Bennett at Reformation Productions, 404.862.8814

    Reformation Productions
    As the marketing department for local business, we specialize in helping Small and Regional Business succeed in marketing their companies using a proven, scientific approach we call Straight Line Marketing. The most efficient and effective way to connect your products or service to your customers - - in a straight line. The next time you think of marketing, Think In Straight Lines.

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    Local Business Guerrilla Marketing Strategies

    OK, so Obama is in office, discretionary income is low, and therefore store front and/or website traffic is down... A lot of consumers have slowed or completely stopped buying non-essential products like home improvement, hot tubs, new cars, etc. and many of the other products you sell... they aren't eating out or going out for entertainment near as often. Well, unless you are ready to throw in the towel, and close up shop, it’s time to start finding new ways to drive prospects to your store/website.

    According to some estimates, the average consumer is exposed to about 3000 advertisements per day. So in order to capture your prospects attention, you must offer something unique.

    Here are a couple of unique ideas to think about...just a few... I'll give you three:

    1 – Co-branding/Joint Ventures
    Contact complimentary businesses that sell to your target market. If you are targeting consumers that suffer from back pain, why not get in touch with a local chiropractor, massage therapist and an acupuncturist and have an open house hosted in your store.

    Create an ad inviting back pain sufferers to a “Lunch and Learn” Back Pain Clinic on a Saturday afternoon. Each of the sponsors sends out invitations to their current list of customers and prospects and at the end of the event, you all get to share the leads that attended.

    That combines two strategic elements: co-branding and event marketing

    2 – Offer Unique Promotions
    If you think that you can rely on the standard “We match our competitor pricing” or “money-back guarantee” to drive hungry consumers to your business, you are sadly mistaken. Those are too simple for hard times...too generic. Customers are already expecting this and quite frankly, in many industries, this the “the price of entry” – in other words, this does not make you any different than your competition.... b.k.a. "everyone does it."

    This is going to get into web design a bit now but stay with me. It applies to brick and mortars also. Every website visitor that you have comes with a problem that they want solved or information they want to find. But prospective customers or clients may be at different stages of the decision-making/buying process. Some may indeed to ready to 'buy now' others maybe, and most are, still in the process of gathering information: finding out why, where, what makes you better, do I need it, etc.

    Regardless of what stage in the buying process the're at, you will need to provide them with the useful information that they are looking for as a potential customer so that they can use it make an informed decision about their purchase. If you don't, they will leave you site "wanting" and that's not good for your brand or your hopes of having them purchase from you when the time comes.

    Selling most products & services these days will requires that your potential customers be educated about what you do, who you are, why you are different and how your products/services can fill their need. This has been deemed “Education based Marketing” but it's a fundamental and critical part of the buying process that you must fulfill... because the educational process IS the heart of the selling process. And that's what you want to do. Your clients are wanting & needing information and they want credible advice. What they DO NOT want ever is a sales body likes to think they are being sold. It has a negative connotation to it. Of course, educating them on why you are better, different, etc. IS sales... so there you go.

    Everything you do on you site should have one overriding objective – turning visitors into sales! No surprise here. But you have to do it in a way that is comfortable and effective FOR THEM. This is the purpose of customer targeting and the focus of the LISTEN stage of Straight Line Marketing.

    Another element that would help in the sales/buying process would be to provide numerous touch points with the prospect while they are considering, researching, and thinking about this purchase. One way set it up where you can verifiably do that is by capturing their contact information, minimally their first name and e-mail address, so that you can reach out to them again.

    What you want to do is get first time visitors to opt-in to something you offer. This could be an email list for future promotions, the opportunity to find you on Facebook, how to follow you on Twitter, or an informational newsletter or blog. In order to do convince them to provide you with their information, you have to offer something they perceive as valuable, something that they want in exchange for providing you their contact information.

    There are several different things you could offer: email lists, blogs, white papers, special reports, etc. Their purposes are all to provide needed information that your prospect couldn’t get anywhere else, thus building value in the mind of your prospective client (many times before you even meet in person). This are just some of the things we brainstorm during the THINK stage of the Straight Line Marketing process at Reformation Productions.

    3– Tie in With Charitable Organizations
    Why not find a way do some good for your business and your community at the same time. Create promotional tie-ins with local charities. Doing so can exponentially drive traffic to your business. How?

    Here’s an example. Hold a local high school football team car wash or blood drive in front of your store or do a charity drive at your office. In both instances, both you and the charity being sponsored can get free Public Relations in addition to any advertising you both do. Effective PR can definitely send traffic to your store especially if a school or charity is endorsing it.

    After the event, invite the charity and the local newspaper or TV station back to your store and have pictures taken of you and the charity along with the oversized check.

    Another example, our company offers event photography and blog write-up to all local charities. We've been known to contribute other things that fall under our expertise, but event photography and public relations is what we put out there. You see our company is passionate about helping local businesses and being charitable. What better way to communicate that aspect of our brand than partnering with local charity events?

    In summary, as a business owner, you know that you have to marketing your business if you want to stay in business. That isn't the question. The question is how to market the most effectively and efficiently that you can in these hard times. When the going gets tough, the tough get strategic and creative. We can help you through all this. Our passion is for local businesses and helping them get ahead in the marketing game...even in this down economy.

    Contact Rachel Bennett at or call 404.862.8814.

    Reformation Productions is located in the north Atlanta metro area of Gwinnett County near the following surrounding areas: Dacula, Buford, Hamilton Mill, Braselton, Winder, Duluth, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Hoschton, and Suwanee.