Keep Your Prospects HOT with an Integrated Marketing Program

by Jennifer Beever, Marketing Consultant
Copyright New Incite, All Rights Reserved

The weather may be hot this summer, but are your prospects staying hot? According to a study done by the Marketing Leadership Council, between forty and eighty percent of marketing leads are never acted upon. In the United States, we spend over $100 billion on leads each year, and much of it is wasted due to lack of follow up. Leads that may start out hot cool off quickly, unless you do something to stay in touch.

One solution to this problem is to have a planned, systematic approach to marketing. Especially if your sales cycle (the time it takes to meet, develop, and close a deal with a new customer or client) averages one month or more, you need to plan how you stay in touch with prospects until they buy. In addition, if your business relies on referrals, you need to plan how to keep in touch with your referral sources on an ongoing basis.

Begin planning by making a list of marketing materials or activities that you use or do on a regular basis. These could be:

  • article reprints announcements
  • brochures case studies
  • flyers survey results
  • seminar invitations white papers
  • postcards trade shows
  • newsletters advertising
  • eLetters telemarketing

Then, order the list in a logical sequence, perhaps starting with overview information first and then getting more specific.

For example, you might keep in touch with prospects by mailing a series of articles that you have published with cover letters. Then you send the prospect a series of three postcards (with a related theme) reminding them of your services. You might also put the prospect on your contact database to receive your eLetter or newsletter on a regular basis. In addition, you send announcements of new products or services, seminars you put on, trade shows you will exhibit at and a case study about a customer success story.

The most important thing you can do in the process is provide regular and frequent touch points. Frequent “touches” through an integrated marketing campaign help create response compression: prospects hear from you frequently so that you are top of mind and they are more likely to respond to your marketing when a need arises. Your marketing materials present the same image and message again and again, helping you create brand identity. The mix of marketing activities provides variety, leading prospects with more opportunities to respond. Your number of responses increases in a compressed period of time.

One of our clients began an integrated campaign by writing articles for trade journals in two industries in which they had established some expertise. We then created direct mail campaigns to contacts in the industries. Many of their target prospects saw the articles they wrote, and soon after received direct mail pieces that reinforced the message. Response compression occurred, and when our client’s phone started ringing, they called New Incite to say, “It’s working!”

Another client was running a small, black and white ad that wasn’t getting much response in a California publication. We created a new, larger, color ad in a national publication with a hard-hitting headline that would appeal to corporations. We followed the ad with a postcard sent to subscribers of the publication that used the same images and messages. Shortly after this campaign ran, our client got a large contract that paid for the new, national campaign ten times over – another example that “it’s working.”

You can manage your integrated campaign by holding regular marketing meetings to check the status of each marketing activity. Work from a written plan and published timeline. The timeline can be in the form of a Gantt chart that shows what tasks need to happen when and who is responsible for them. We produce Gantt charts with Microsoft Project Microsoft Excel.

If your campaign is complex with many activities, automate the process of staying in touch by using a contact management system. Once your prospects are entered in the database, most systems allow you to schedule your marketing activities for all of them at once. Then, you can use mail merge to create and print letters and envelopes and send email. Most of the systems will capture the history of what was sent and when, allowing you to analyze which programs or sequence of materials were most effective.

Repetitive, integrated marketing campaigns work. They just require planning, organization and a consistent image and message. Plan now to stay in touch with your clients, customers and/or referral sources. Soon you’ll be one of those companies that can say, “It’s working!”

Jennifer Beever is a marketing consultant and founder of New Incite Marketing Analysis and Design. New Incite is the outsource marketing resource for growing businesses. The company provides marketing planning, implementation, results tracking and organizational development services for its clients. Contact Jennifer at 818-347-4248 or by email.

This article may be reprinted with permission of the author. Please contact Jennifer Beever at 818-347-4248 or by email for permission. Proper acknowledgement of the author, including name, company, and contact information, must be made with use.