At certain restaurants I order the same thing because I know it will be good and I'm afraid other things will disappoint me. When I find a pair of jeans that I like, I buy several pairs so that I will have that style for years—until they wear out and I have to buy more. And I hate switching service providers. I've had the same colorist, stylist, dentist, dermatologist, car repair technician, and accountant (to name a few of my providers) for years.
This same mentality carries over into my work. The recent redesign of RainToday.com and our blog made me feel uneasy. I knew we needed to change it if we wanted to attract more members and readers. The dated design, old technology, and limited functionality restricted what we could offer. But part of me liked the safety of dealing with the old clunky system even if it included complaining about its problems.
As Cian McLoughlin would say, however, that safe feeling was risky. As he points out in his article Is Safe the New Risky? just because something feels safe and used to work, it doesn't mean it's working now or will work in the future.
The same applies to a firm's marketing, McLoughlin says.
"By persisting with tired and worn-out communication strategies, you jeopardize the scarcest commodity of all: the time and attention of your target audience. Once the care factor begins to disappear, it can be almost impossible to regain," he says.
Firms that are slow to try new strategies can find themselves isolated and with a message that resonates less and less with potential buyers, McLoughlin adds. And over time they will be affected financially.
"All of a sudden they'll discover that the 'safe' strategies that had served them well for so many years have become the riskiest strategies of all," he says.
Several marketing and selling strategies have created buzz over the past few years. These approaches have been around many years, some almost hundreds of years, but resurgence has returned them to the forefront. And for many they seem new—and risky. They're something to consider, though, if you aren't generating leads, converting leads to clients, or getting follow-on work from clients like you used to.
Here's a look at a few industry experts say to consider.
A lot of providers don't like to give prospects or clients anything until they're officially "on the clock." They say giving advice or resources for free is lost money and doesn't help them win the project. Charles H. Green disagrees. Sample selling can help you get the work because people want a taste of what it's like to work with you.
"We all like to be shown, not told," he says in his article Why You're Not Getting that Follow-on Work. "Clients appreciate those who can show them what it looks like and feels like to work with us, especially when the situation is complex. And the best way to do that is to do a little work with them."
The strategies behind content marketing are far from new. As Joe Pulizzi points out in his podcast interview How Content Marketing Helps Small Firms Win the David vs. Goliath Battle, John Deere started publishing The Furrow magazine in 1895 as a vehicle to give farmers advice and help them be profitable. There are also industry journals going back more than 50 years that service professionals have been contributing to for years as a way to demonstrate their expertise and give people an idea of what it's like to work with them.
What are new are the methods for publishing and distributing content. We have blogs, ebooks, eguides, podcasts, video, and webinars. You can then branch out from those content hubs and share what you produce on social media networks such as Twitter, SlideShare, and LinkedIn.
Those new approaches are what scare people. But if your customers are using them, you must, too.
The term revenue marketer has started making its way into business discussions. Thanks to changing buyer behavior and the new economic climate, CEOs are taking a harder look at marketing's involvement in generating revenue. The ROI on marketing dollars is more important than ever.
To improve marketing performance, studies show companies are integrating full-featured marketing automation with CRM or sales automation, writes Debbie Qaqish in her article 5 Ways to Boost Marketing ROI via CRM-Integrated Marketing Automation. "This integrated foundation allows for the tracking of every lead from top of the lead funnel to the bottom of the sales funnel," she says.
And when you can do that, you can improve marketing ROI. You can target high-value, high-potential clients. You can improve conversion late in the funnel. And you can reduce the loss of potential clients leaking out of the process.
Your thoughts: Are you making any changes to your marketing or sales processes? What new things are you considering?
Photo by busy.pochi
Michelle Davidson is Editor of RainToday. As such, she oversees all of the articles published on the website and publishes the weekly newsletter, the Rainmaker Report. She also produces the site's weekly podcast series, Marketing & Selling Professional Services, and the site's webinars. You may contact her via email at email@example.com and via Twitter at @michedav.
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