April 23, 2014

Sales and Marketing Advice for Florida business

The right marketing information at the right time in the right place

Move your audience through each stage of the marketing and selling cycle as part of your marketing process.

Ron Stein | 12/16/2012

Your audience is looking for information. But, what kind of information?

The simple answer is that people want to know how to solve a problem they have. You’d be on the right path to think that all you have to do is show how you help them blast through their obstacles by providing solid, credible information. Yet, it’s a bit more knotty than that.

It really depends on where prospects and customers are in the marketing and selling cycle. The information you have available to help people move in your direction as well as when and how it is delivered, is more critical than ever. So much so, that it demands its own strategy as part of your overall marketing process.

When companies have the right information at the right time in the right place, they’re prepared to move their audience through each stage of the marketing and selling cycle -- from the visibility and awareness stage, to the development and relationship nurturing stage, all the way to conversion to a customer. And let’s not forget about customer retention -- that requires its own set of information too!

Each of the steps in the customer marketing and selling cycle needs information of some type. What you provide will almost always determine if you successfully transition the people you’re dealing with to the next step.  

Think of information in terms of marketing currency. When done correctly, it buys you credibility and permission to stay engaged. This is the content strategy piece of your overall marketing plan.

Give to get. The need for education among your audience has never been greater. When you give people genuinely valuable information, they appreciate it. Plus you and your business become the go to experts in their eyes. Have an arsenal of information weapons for you and your team to use -- the right information at the right time in the right place.

Marketing currency defined. Today we tend to think that content is delivered through the Internet, mostly using websites, social media, and email. But no matter how your get the content to your audience, it comes in only three forms -- written, video, verbal or audio. As important as it is to have great marketing currency, it’s more critical to know what you need when and how to use it.

Plugging content strategy into the marketing and selling cycle. Your information strategy needs to consider your ideal target customer and where and when you engage them. For instance, unless your have a Internet only based business, the two pieces of content everyone needs that many prospects hear and see first are your brief verbal introduction and business card -- use them to communicate your message and value. Non-promotional written material such as articles and reports can be used for follow-up after an initial meeting or offered on your website as a download to capture lead information -- use these to communicate your message and value. An invitation to a webinar or to sign up for your newsletter can be used to further a relationship, particularly when you have longer sales cycle times -- make sure you communicate your message and value here too. You should even think of proposals as part of your array of content -- have a template that’s ready to go, and as always, communicate your message and value.

Think through all the types of marketing currency you can and should create. Have a “menu” that lists all of the content you have, where to find it, and when to use it.

The written, video, verbal marketing currency a company can have is almost endless -- news releases, blog, case studies, presentations, thank-you notes, birthday cards, and Twitter to name a few. The key is to have content that catches the attention of your audience and then drives momentum forward through each step of the marketing and selling cycle once people are engaged.


Read earlier columns from Florida Trend's business coach, Ron Stein
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Ron Stein is the founder and President of FastPath Marketing (www.marketing-strategies-guide.com). He has more than 20 years experience in sales, marketing, and business development, working positions ranging from salesman to vice president of sales and marketing to CEO of startups with industry leaders such as Motorola, VideoServer, Paradyne, and SercoNet. Ron is a member of the advisory team at the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, a nationally recognized entrepreneurial and startup accelerator for the state of Florida. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or Ron@FastPathMarketing.com

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