There’s an old business saying that claims, “Nothing happens until somebody sells something.” The fact is, that’s only part of the story. In reality, a lot has to happen before anyone sells anything—and a big part of what has to happen is marketing. Marketing, however is more than sending out a single mailing and praying for results.
You’ve got to be committed to the process and you’ve got to keep at it. I recently spoke with a business owner in a depressed industry who had seen little or no growth in his business for quite some time. Last year he made marketing and sales his first priority. He didn’t just give intellectual assent to it—he practiced it. And he saw a 25 percent increase in sales by the end of the year.
One of the ways to do that is to touch potential clients repeatedly—and use a variety of channels. Industry experts say it takes 9 to 12 marketing touches to get through to your prospects in today’s market before you can expect to convert them into customers.
That’s because it’s a crowded marketplace. There are lots of ideas and claims vying for attention. It’s easy for your message to get drowned out by competing messages. So you have to look for ways to repeat your message—and sometimes change up the delivery slightly without losing your message. It’s why television advertising is repeated over and over. The advertisers want to make sure you remember their product.
But have you noticed that the ads you see on TV sometimes change a little bit? The first few times you see a commercial it might be a 30-second spot. Then all of a sudden, you’ll see the commercial run and it’s just a 10-second spot. It catches your eye (and ear) because it’s different—yet familiar. And the other thing that happens is that your brain fills in the gaps. So the advertiser gets the benefit of a 30-second commercial while only paying for a 10-second one!
Direct mail can do the same thing. Repeated touches can make your prospects familiar with your message. Then another slightly different touch can remind them. But you’ll also want to integrate your direct mail with other marketing efforts. Maybe you have a great online campaign going—and then you can do a simple card mailing (with the URL to your campaign prominently displayed) to drive people to your online campaign.
How many touches will it take to reach your potential clients? It could be 9 to 12. It could be less, or it could be more. You have to keep trying until you find what works. And you have to try different platforms to find out where your clients hang out and look for information.
If you want sales to happen, you have to keep the touches coming.