Today, the most effective marketing is based on attracting clients and customers, through developing relationships with them.
Pestering people into your funnel
It used to be very different. A decade or so ago, marketing professionals were telling people about filling their sales funnels. The idea was that you sent people mail shots, you cold called them, you sent unwanted faxes to them, you pestered them at conferences and networking events. By cramming as many people into the top of your sales funnel as you could, it was hoped that over time, some of them might filter through and buy from you.
The reason enlightened marketing professionals dumped this approach years ago, was that:
- It was an expensive way to do business in financial terms, as all that interrupting people took a lot of time and money. Lots of mailings. Lots of cold calls. Lots of junk faxes. Lots of spam email. That all adds up to lots of money.
- It was also expensive in terms of reputation, because companies using that model often had to junk mail, pester or pursue 500 or 1000 prospective clients, to generate a single paying client. Many would be pissing off thousands of people every week, in the name of sales and marketing! Small and medium sized businesses discovered that after a few years of all that pestering, they would successfully piss off the vast majority of their prospective clients.
Today, some people are still using that approach. They will call you because they have your phone number; even though you never gave them it or permission to call you. They will email you because your address is on a list they bought; even though you hate spam. They will send you unwanted letters, because they know where you live; even though you never asked to be junk-mailed.
Attracting the best quality clients
I wrote yesterday about the value of building relationships with your prospective clients, rather than sending them sales messages. Using this approach, you build a marketplace of informed advocates:
- Informed, because they know who you are and what you do.
- Advocates, because they value the information you share with them, so they share it with their contacts. Think how different that client response is, to the way those same people treat junk mail, spam and pushy tele-marketers!
The old model saw the business start off with a “list” of 100 or 1000 or 100,000 people, and it became smaller and smaller all the time, as people asked to be removed from it. To sustain this model, you need to buy more and more lists, so you could interrupt more and more people. It’s expensive, time consuming stuff!
The new model, which is not that new any more, sees you start off with maybe just a few informed advocates, and it becomes bigger and bigger all the time, as people spread the word and share your content with their contacts. This model sees your marketing universe expand, with every new advocate sharing your message with their contacts. It’s also extremely low cost with unlimited growth potential.