By Brenda McCurry, Vice President, Merchandising
Marketing can do a great job in helping you keep new business coming in and nurturing existing customer accounts. When you tie your marketing to growth in these accounts, future campaigns become smarter and your sales team is truly extended by your marketing efforts.
Knowing where to begin can be daunting, like boiling the proverbial ocean. Select a few areas where you can start and move forward from there. Even with tight budgets, there are some cost-effective tactics you can focus on while you build your case.
Here are a few that we like:
BLOGS: Blog content can drive site traffic, be repurposed into promotional content, and act as valuable reminders to your social media followers. Be concise, but they do need to be insightful. Focus on solving business challenges.
VIDEOS: Five years ago, we published a “how to” video that still ranks as one of our most clicked videos on our website. Videos are one of the best ways to tell a story to compel an audience to action. Showcase some of your best expertise in a targeted video.
LINKEDIN: LinkedIn can be a great tool to help generate new opportunity. Take an in-depth look at all the features and functions available on the site and make a strategic decision whether you want to use it to recruit or to sell to achieve maximum success.
REFERENCES: Use references from your best customers and add them to your website and marketing materials. Customer referrals will turn into word-of-mouth marketing internally by your sales staff and externally by your customer.
KEEP IN TOUCH: There is no better way to stand out from the competition than writing a personal note to your customers. People work with who they know, like and trust. Find reasons to stay in touch. Remember birthdays, send holiday cards and thank them for their business. Don't be afraid to send them an idea in a card.
To many resellers, MDF and co-op funds may be available through your vendor and distribution partners, if you are willing to give your vendors some due promotion. No matter how you plan to finance your marketing campaigns in the future, you should view marketing as an investment. And like a good investment, your dollars should work for you as an extension of your sales team, pushing prospects through the sales funnel until they are ready to make a purchase. Your marketing should also act as a brand advocate, informing others of how you can help them. If you can show success here, making future investments in marketing won’t feel so daunting.