Lead Nurturing is more than Just Email marketing

Companies who nurture leads generate a better ROI. In fact, research shows that 20% more opportunities are created by companies that nurture their leads, vs. companies that don't. Every organization should have an active lead nurturing program, but if you are only communicating via email, you’re missing a big opportunity.

Here are some Facts:

  • Only 25% of leads are considered Sales Ready.
  • 50% of leads are qualified and handed over to sales, but are not ready to buy.
  • Lead Nurturing or drip marketing programs get anywhere from 4-10 times the response rate of unstructured standalone email blasts
  • Up to 50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first.

So, What is Lead Nurturing?

Lead Nurturing is a system that allows you to send an automated series of emails, also known as Drip Marketing, to early stage leads to pre-qualify them.

The first step in setting up a lead nurturing program is to understand your buyer persona and buyer profiles, their timing and needs.

If your average sale cycle is 3 months then make sure you are spreading out your communications to keep them engaged throughout the entire cycle. This approach educates and qualifies the lead over time. It can shorten the sales cycle.

Top of Mind

By staying on top of mind you build thought leadership. People engage with and buy from people and businesses they know and trust. The first interaction via website or email is just an introduction. There is very little likelihood that they really know who you are and why they should do business with you. 

Lead Nurturing is an opportunity to show that you are an expert in your field.

Consistent Communication

Lead Nurturing allows you to maintain consistent communication with leads, which is a key influence in choosing a solution provider. 

Behavior Analysis

Tracking and analyzing Lead nurturing emails allows you to learn about your leads - their aspirations, their afflictions and challenges. The more you know about them, the better you will be able to educate and nurture them.

Precise Targeting with Marketing Automation Tools

As mentioned above analyzing leads allows you to offer more precise targeting. Targeted and segmented emails perform even better. Lead Nurturing campaigns tied to various branches of drip campaigns segmented by behavior can be fully automated using good Marketing Automation software tools.

Social Media is NOT Media

Social Media implies 'media'. Media means - 'Push'. Traditionally, media is a way to push your message out through various channels, be it television, newspapers, direct mail, radio and now online - via Tweeter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Social Media, however, is not media. It is an Action. It is a conversation with two more people. It is not just a website. Facebook without a conversation is nothing. So, Social Media broadly defines how you converse online with others - be it customers, colleagues, or influencers.

Taking the example of Twitter as a platform for social media, if you use it just to send out ads and other company updates, it is just media - not social media. Otherwise, you are just crashing a party and handing out flyers.

If you are writing a blog, however thought provoking, if it does not have the ability to invite comments, it is not 'social'.

Customer Evangelism is a Goal that Never Happens

You have read about, attended some talks and to a large extent agree with creating Customer Evangelists. I have looked at most EHR Software companies. I do not see any company whose Customers are Evangelists where the company spends next to nothing on marketing, or does not even have a sales force. Why is this? Is Customer Evangelism just a pipe dream that remains on paper - unfulfilled?

Customer Evangelism is an Extreme Goal, as is the goal of selling products without worrying about Customer Satisfaction, just volume and numbers.

Most realities are different - there is always a compromise somewhere in the middle. We are forced to compromise to the middle because of real world situations. Compromise is not the goal, it is a temporary tactic that gets us closer to the goal.

Center exists because there are extremes. If we don't strive for the extremity of Customer Evangelism, there is no center to be at, there is nothing to strive for. We make difficult choices every day. We choose one thing over the other that moves us closer to our Goal. Choosing and embracing Customer Evangelism as an extreme goal makes us successful as an organization.

Who are your EMR Software customers?

Read this blog from Seth Godin. A very innocent sounding title. All you need to do is to run a report from your CRM. Who are your EMR software customers?

Results can be analyzed. 78% Internal Medicine, 14% Orthopedic etc. and further, 46% Solo practices, 36% 2-5 providers. If you are capturing data well, you can even slice the data by demographics; 46 year old, white, male buying your EMR software.

If you had this information, how can you use it to target your market? Marketing managers enjoy plotting graphs and presenting this data. Will this data alone help you generate more leads? If so, how?

I don't need to write the cli·ché - people buy with emotions, justify with logic. How do you capture the emotional aspects of your clients? Seth has asked a few questions you need to ponder:

  • What do they believe?
  • Who do they trust?
  • What are they afraid of?
  • What are they seeking?
  • Who are their friends?
  • What do they talk about?

Your product marketing and presentation must capture all these emotions.

You can only do this if you are in constant touch with your EMR software users. Establish an open dialog they will tell you things you never knew about your own product.

Attempting any marketing without knowing your customers is a waste of time and money.

Can't Ignore Marketing Automation, but beware, it's non-trivial

Christmas is time to avoid business talk but sometimes you just can't avoid it when you meet someone that is as passionate as you are about your work. Standing at the kitchen island, conversation started with an innocent question - how's your Marketing Automation Software working out? I did not realize how potent that question was.

marketing-automation-infographic
marketing-automation-infographic

This was a conversation with my nephew. He runs a very successful healthcare company that is growing by leaps and bounds. He had instituted Infusionsoft almost two years ago.

He paid quite a bit of money to get started including consulting to help him get organized. He even went to their annual conference in Arizona. I thought he would answer - Great, Fantastic. I hoped he would rattle out statistics how Marketing Automation software has helped him with his sales.

Instead what he said was, he's about to hire a consulting company and spend two days with them to help with the workflow and put process in place.

What? Why?

So what has he been using this expensive piece of software for? In short, just a glorified automated email system.

Objectives

It was definitely not about the Objectives - because he knew the potential of such technology, what can and should be achieved.  It was clear that he wanted to know who was on their site, and where inbound leads came from.

He knew lead nurturing was important. Yet,  so far it has been a hammer used to crack a nut.

Marketing Process

There was no well defined marketing process to automate. I should step back - there was a process. Actually data was integrated with his business software. However, Marketing was more tactical in nature.

If a list was acquired, marketing to that list was more ad-hoc and not guided by a well defined process. A clear Process for content creation that can be used for demand generation wasn't there.

Clear process to nurture leads via Drip Marketing and Nurturing wasn't there. Leads were not properly recycled according to a well thought out process.

New Business vs. Repeat Business

All businesses have client 'dropoffs', but with proper nurturing and drip with great content, it is certainly possible to be at the right time in the right place and on top of mind - when a client is ready for repeat business.  Again, a clear strategy was lacking.

In Short

I have written here before about my efforts at Marketing Automation - and how I had put in over two months of effort before I got a good system in place with proper process. More importantly, these processes are not etched in gold, it is and must always be work-in-progress driven by metrics and analytics to strive for continuous improvement.

As I always say, it is just a tool. Business is about People, Processes and Tools (Tools being last in the cog).

Predicting EHR Software Buyer Behavior - Lead Generation

EMR and EHR Software Lead Generation has become a hot topic among EMR software marketing companies. The reason is simple - the market is limited and fixed. Number of competitors had skyrocketed, pricing pressures have increased. Almost all vendors' websites seem to say the same thing, there is nothing different. There is no way for a buyer to distinguish one vendor from another.

Let's face it. While no two buyers are the same, no two vendors are the same. The challenge is to find a good fit. Vendors need to gain a better understanding of 'buyers' to improve lead generation and ultimately higher revenue. Companies need to shift attention to 'Buyer Behavior" to improve their lead generation efforts.

I am sure you have read the book Google wrote on Zmot - if you have not, read it. Here is the link.

 

Sales by Listening

Marketing is about Trust. Never forget that. It starts with a primary seed of credibility. When prospects like what they see, next instinct is to want to be assured. It either gets destroyed or built upon by what they see on the website. As we start generating leads, we think we have the right to earn their business.

We fail to focus on the long-term trust building exercise of listening to our customers. We fail to focus on our goal of building confidence, earning trust, permission and familiarity that can lead them one step closer to sales.

But along the way, we get self-obsessed with our products in the belief that because we are spending money on marketing and generating leads, we have the right to demand their attention. We 'bought' the lead, therefore he/she must listen to me.

Listen

We falsely believe marketing is about us, not them. We don't listen - why did they raise their hand to seek information from us? Did we listen to them to earn their trust?

Listening worth its weight in gold, and must be cherished.

You cannot ignore Marketing Automation Systems

Revenues for B2B marketing automation systems will grow 50% to reach $750 million in 2013, according to Raab Associates’ recently released B2B Marketing Automation Vendor Selection Tool (VEST) report. Why should it matter to you?

Successful marketing to Doctors involves developing a personal rapport. How does reliance on automated emails gain importance when you need to focus on a personal approach?

Marketing automation systems are not meant to replace personal engagement. On the contrary, they allow you to maintain that personal touch and remain in constant contact with potentials; doctors and providers. When you want to remain in constant contact, you want to be relevant and on time without being a pest.

What is Marketing Automation?

One simple term I use to describe marketing automation is the ability to 'nurture' a lead. EMR sales has a cycle that can take up to 3 months for small practices. Nurturing is a gradual process. It can take a series of emails to lead from 'interest' to a more detailed engagement mixed with phone calls at appropriate times.

In its very simplest form, marketing automation can handle some of the menial tasks that can take up a marketing department's time. At a more sophisticated level, marketing automation allows you to Score Leads to determine who has the most likelihood of graduating from a lead to hot prospect, and therefore deserves more time of the sales person.

Why should an EMR company use it?

Marketing automation systems are more more sophisticated than automated email service providers. There are three levels of Marketing Automation.

  1. Interactive Marketing Intelligence - tracking the behavior of providers interested in your EMR software to gain a measure of their intent. This allows a more accurately targeted response and therefore development of a nurturing program targeted towards their interest. Is it the price, service, features that interest them?
  2. Marketing Automation - moving leads in the funnel, making them sales ready before handing over to your sales team.
  3. Advanced Workflow Automation - automation of internal processes that are intricately tied to your CRM system.

Using such tools have proven over and over again that it works and the return on investment is certainly there.

It has helped me create a faster and more predictable revenue cycle, increase profitability with tactics that result in higher conversion rates and align my marketing and sales to substantially increase top line revenue growth.

 

Small is Beautiful - Really.

It has been a while since I've seen a blog post that was so short yet, so powerful that it made me think and I spend more time on this short blog than any other - in a long time. So, here is that blog from Seth Godin.

The sound of a small bell during a dark night

sib

Pay attention to the line - "Surprise and differentiation have far more impact than noise does".

In our wonderful world of EMR and EHR, there is truly so much noise. Let's be honest - No one, I mean no one has a true differentiation from a provider perspective. Just ask a real doctor - not your clients, someone you don't know that is looking for EMR software.

Look at those two words - Surprise and Differentiation.

Differentiation

Do you really have a true differentiation or is it a perceived differentiation? I really don't care, as long as your prospects believe you have a differentiation. For example, if your differentiation is that 100% of your clients are happy and no one has left you, your job is to present it such that prospects believe in it. The reason I say that is because all vendors say - 'we have the best customer service'. Your challenge is to sound the bell that says, here is why we say what we say.

Surprise

Take a look around you - is your website and brochure truly different from someone else? Remember the first days of Google? A white page with one box in the middle, that it. Google had a differentiation - a phenomenal search algorithm. Do you think it would have worked well if their website was just as cluttered as others?

Perhaps, but it would have taken a long time. What worked was the combination of two elements of Surprise and Differentiation.

Both elements MUST work together. I remember those days. The element of surprise in the white page prompted and encouraged me to try it. When I tried, I was then presented with their differentiation.

Conclusion

Make effort to find out your true differentiation - don't ask yourself or your staff, ask your clients. They are in the best position to tell you. You must ask in the right way and you should know how to ask. Then, experiment with the element of surprise. Some things may work some may not, but you need to try.

Great Customer Experiences are Hard to come by

I was at a Michelin Star Restaurant in Manhattan yesterday with my family. We wanted to go to this place since one year, something or the other prevented us from making it happen. Lots of expectations were built up. For me, I just found the food mediocre. My expectations were not met. It is not the first time this has happened. I've gone to places with great expectation, simply to be let down.

Big Promises - Unmet Expectations

Sometimes, Big promises can lead to mediocre, if not poor experiences. Big promises by who? The restaurant did not make that promise to me explicitly, but it was my mind that made the promise to myself.

This Expectation was a culmination of it's 'rating' by a respected body (Michelin, in this case), my friends, peer, online reviews etc. built up that expectation. This expectation changes the way we experience a product and/or service.

So, Big expected promises can sometimes fall short leading to experiences that are not up to mark, even if in our own minds. If the company does not live up to that expectation we tend not to trust that Company quickly and broken trusts are hard to mend.

Companies will therefore be afraid of laying out grandiose expectation and promises. It is obvious - if we make these promises, we are afraid of owning them and then afraid of the 'what-if we fail in delivering'? When we create our own Big Goals in life, we sometimes keep them to ourselves afraid that if we fail, we don't want our loved ones to perceive us as a failure.

Expect Better - Experience Better

On the flip side,  We have better experiences when we expect to have better experiences.

An expensive wine tastes better because we paid a lot for it. That's just how our mind works. Classic Coke just tasted better because we wanted it to taste better.

So, it would be unwise for companies to hold back from laying out high levels of standards and expectations. The expectations don't have to be pretentious. You don't need to make huge statements and buffer them with fine print. Experiences are just those small things - one step at a time. How you are greeted and treated by your salesperson, by every employee of a company, the way a customer service representative answers the phone, or even the look and feel of an email you receive from the company.

Customer Delight

Finally, customer service is not a 'milestone', it is an ongoing experience. Once you get started on a relationship and journey with your client it must get better with every encounter. Even if it does not get better, at the very least it must not deteriorate. Customer experience must continue to delight and sometimes even surprise. Only then you will have your client do the 'selling' for you by using social media to spread the word for you and build a level of expectation for your next prospect.

Easier said than done, this is the hardest act to follow for a company, but worth every penny and drop of sweat. Effort well worth spending on.

How to Increase EMR Website Conversion?

Have you gone to the ONC HIT Website lately - to check how many systems are certified (Both 2011 and 2014) for Ambulatory Practices? I just did that today at 7 am. I wanted to see the total number, thinking it will be in 'hundreds'. 3953 ! Whoa!

Granted, this contains Modular, various versions of the same system etc. But my point is, imagine what this does to a Provider that is searching for an EHR system.

Challenge

You - Mr./Ms. Vendor are seeing the effect of this.

  • Decreasing Leads
  • Decreasing Sales
  • Rising Cost of Sales

So, as one of your strategies, you upgrade your website, assemble a team of designers (in-house or expert consultants) to revamp your website. You do the Marketing essentials -

  • Target
  • Branding
  • Messaging
  • etc.

Yes, after countless hours of that, tons of money spent, here's what a provider that visits your site says -

You look just like everyone else. All EMR/EHR is the same. How much is yours? 

After all this, you are still perceived as a Commodity. Not only that, your Online analytics, statistics are the same. Same number of unique visitors, same number of 'conversions', i.e. number of people filling out your webforms and/or calling your sales line.

Why? One Word - TRUST

My son is an Interactive Designer. When we were talking about what he does, he said, 'People think of us as Graphic Designers. Many clients think they know what they want. They just want us to create nice looking website, fancy graphics, something that is cool and attractive. What they need is a Graphic artist, not a Graphic Designer or Interactive designer. My job is to evoke online Trust, which transcends pretty pictures. I spend a lot of time with my clients getting to know their company, their products and more importantly, their clients. That's when my work starts'.

Very interesting because why would your online (or email) visitor decide to click and interact? The work of the website is more sublime than the written text. Before your site visitor does anything, there is already something in motion. Those factors are a combination of:

  • Have they heard of you before?
  • Does your site evoke trust in the first split second? Don't wing it.
  • Tone of voice of the written words must be genuine and conversational.
  • Do you have anything of 'value' to offer your visitor?
  • What have you done to allay Fear?
  • Real people and the visitor's peers talking about your products and services - real testimonials.
  • Transparency, or at least a perception thereof.

In the first Second, you will be evaluated and judged - so, unless you do something to make sure you pass this initial split second 'judgement', you might as well kiss goodbye to your hard earned marketing dollars.

Best EMR Software in the Market - Who is it?

  There is probably not one EMR software vendor that truly believes theirs is NOT the Best EMR software in the market. And oh yes, there is always a 'Best'.

I just want to be sure we are clear - I do not equate Best to the most expensive. Best is in the eyes of the beholder. Best is determined not by you, but your customer. Not prospect, but Customer. By implication, your customers know more about your EMR Software than you do. They can (and will) tell you the reason(s) why.

Most vendors make the mistake of pushing what they think are the reasons why their software is good and best. Your logic may not be  the reason why your Customers buy from you.

Ask Your Customers

If you've been reading my blogs, you will find this a common theme - your Customers know better than you. They are your 'marketing consultants'. Engage them in a dialog.

With a sea of EMR Competitors, your prospects are drowning in the madness and chaos of products that range from absolute 'disaster' to 'Brilliant'. If you genuinely think your product is the Best EMR in the market, then rather than spending millions to shout from Roof tops, figure out a way to have the people that care - your clients - talk about it.

And now, the Toughest Challenge: 

What does 'Best' Mean?

Again, Beauty is in the eyes of Beholder. Talk to the Beholder, she will tell you!

Can't compete with Free? Think again.

Consultants and experts will tell you one of the ways to compete with Free is to make and offer something better; a better product, better services, better everything. They say, make a product or service that is perceived as higher value for your clients and they don't mind paying for it. Easier said than done. I'm not saying it is easy to compete with free. You need to tackle it head-on.

But before talking about what you can and should do, here is what you should not do.

Don't do 'gimmick's. Don't throw money at hard marketing. Don't just try to 'push' the same thing with a twist.

You have two alternatives:

  1. Fight on price - but then you can't fight Free.
  2. Offer tremendous value that Free just can't offer.

It is obvious the second alternative is better, but how do you build value?

The first step is to start from scratch. Re-think your target market. You cannot be all things to all people. Who are your current clients? More importantly, which of your clients value your product and services - those that bought and appreciate the value you provide. Segment them and re-define your audience.

Define your marketing strategy to target that market and audience only. This is where your sweet spot it. Stay focused.

And, here is the most important thing - do not hesitate to increase prices if you need to, because this newly define segment is probably willing to pay more for your services.

Understand the Psychology of Free.

All of this may seem obvious, yet we hesitate to take steps. Inactivity leads to the frustration I see when clients approach me about their inability to fight Free. 

Don't Generate Leads - Let Leads find you

The number one question people ask me is, how can you help us generate more leads? While all companies must explore ways to generate more leads, I find a fundamental flaw in this question because it tends to become an 'obsession'. This obsession then tends to create an unhealthy downward spiral. Here's why:

  1. You try to be everything to everyone, hoping to attract attention and leads because you are now focusing on 'quantity' of leads.
  2. Over time, you lose focus and try to seek out people that just 'don't get it' and are not the ideal customer you should e seeking.
  3. These type of leads defocus your Marketing, Sales, Support and ultimately even our product; i.e. your entire company.

Instead of trying to generate leads that don't matter, isn't it better to seek out people that will value your products and services? What I am really talking about is understanding your existing client base - finding out why they are your clients, what makes them so happy.

Then, your effort must be to find and connect with prospects that are more inclined to like your product and services and are more likely to believe in your.

The way to do that, my friends, is to have your existing clients spread ideas for you. Have your clients and biggest fans do your lead generation for you. All YOU need to do is facilitate the process.

Monotonous EMR Software Demos Lose Sales

If your Demo to Sales ratio is less than 14%, you need to read on. Have you wondered why some of your salespeople close better at a higher rate than others? What are the top traits of Super Star Sales folks?

As I talk to so many salespeople, and having done sales demos and closed sales myself, I will tell you a key ingredient to this success: Story Telling.

What does Story-telling have to do with EMR Demos?

Without writing a thesis (each of the following bullets can be chapter in a book), I will summarize:

  • You can only tell a story to someone that is interested
  • In order to tell a story, you must know your audience
  • Your story must be compelling enough to connect with the audience.
  • More importantly, when you tell a story - I mean a real story that has passion, that has emotion. Passion and emotion connect with audiences and they will be riveted.
  • Find a way to link the story with two things - audience's needs, your product/services.

Providers are seeing too many EMR demos (mainly Web EMR demos) and they all 'sound' the same because most products do all the basic stuff, and most do them quite well. So, what differentiates your demo from the rest? A memorable Story that they can remember and take home. A story that connects their issues, problems with your product - how it can make them happier.

Once I showed this method (which by the way, is not easy and don't take it for granted, because even your story can sound monotonous as if you are reading from a book) to a few sales folks that were great, their sales shot up by an average of 18%. They had all the necessary ingredients to be successful - they knew their product, they knew the market and audiences, they had been in the ambulatory clinical healthcare IT sector for a while, but they were not closing.

One last thing, a friend of mine tried the technique of 'voice pitching' - the same technique used by public speakers. At the end of each sentence, the voice goes up a bit, the speaker pauses, as if waiting for an applause line. It may be ok for public speakers, but not demos. It also gets monotonous - you are not giving a public speech. So, personalize and tell stories.

Excel in Customer Service by Firing Clients?

An article by Seth Godin was an eye opener. Let me explain. We always say - if there are bad clients, fire them. The problem is, we never dive in deeper to define 'bad clients'. Then fanatics of customer service like me keep on harping on the proving the best service to my clients. In the process we forget that a select few clients are never satisfied, they keep on abusing you without even appreciating or acknowledging your efforts.

In the process, without even realizing, your 'good' clients suffer. They are good not because they don't complain but because they are reasonable, they are good users of your product, appreciate your efforts and so on.

Read Seth's blog - do your own analysis. How much effort is being consumed by those 'bad clients' and what is your ROI on servicing them?

 

3 Simple Steps to Lead Nurturing

I've written about Lead Nurturing before. In very simple terms, it show you how build a relationship with prospects that are not ready to buy from you - yet. How? But engaging them in an informative dialog. You want to do with irrespective of the normal marketing 'criteria' such as budget, authority or timing. Lead Nurturing is also about Permission Marketing, as Seth Godin would say. You want to just keep in touch with these prospects by informing and educating them so that you are on 'top of mind' when they are ready.

But why will they engage with you and more importantly, stay engaged?

Be Relevant

You can be relevant by not being too 'salesy' or self promotional, talking about their industry, their issues. If you know that a prospect bought a competitor's product, but continues reading your content, you know you are being Relevant - it's just that simple.

So, the three steps to Nurture, and be Relevant are:

  1. Sent at least four educational emails - they should evoke a smile and joyful emotion.
  2. One one soft promotion like a white paper or a webinar, or a live seminar invitation.
  3. One hard sell - free trial if you offer one, or a special limited time offer.

Remember to restrict your hard sell to 1/5 th of all your email communication, otherwise you will see sudden 'unsubscribers'.

How often?

If you have permission, and your content is highly relevant, with a very little promotion, then you can send emails once a week, sometimes more frequently if you know you are engaging them and they are lapping up your content.

How do you know you are engaging your prospects?

Use the right Marketing Automation Tools. And remember, just because doctors use EMR Software does not make them productive, they have to optimize their workflow, similarly, just by using good marketing automation software you do not see the results. You must produce / seek out great content and must have a good process in place to execute it.

How to Avoid Commoditization of your EMR Product?

Companies can avoid Commoditization of EMR/EHR software and services by creating value through memorable experiences. This shift cannot happen overnight. Before it filters to sales, it has to emanate from such experiences of clients. These experiences are propagated through buzz that marketing can encourage and facilitate.

Every business is ultimately a stage where performances are created by actors and watched by others.

Businesses like Build-A-Bear and Disney excel at this. Customer experience can be a creative stage for performance, like the customer's assembly line where customers make their own teddy bears and stuffed animals.

Often experiences are created just by interactions with company employees.

For example, all Build-A-Bear Workshop employees attend 'Bear University', a three-week training course. They learn the 'way of the bear' and are encouraged to be imaginative and tireless in creating memorable experiences with customers.

Owners and leaders of EMR companies should attempt to do these two things to get a feel for the 'stage experience'.

  1. Visit a different client every month. All clients have issues. Sit with the client as they make a call to your customer service department and listen-in to conversations. How are clients treated, how are issues resolved, how are they greeted?
  2. Field the Customer service phone desk once a month to understand client issues, concerns.

These two simple steps will pave the way for avoiding commoditization of your product. Your own clients will prevent commoditization of your products.

Why Evangelistic Customer Loyalty Works - Learn How.

Loyal Customers are frequently called 'Evangelists' of your business. Not too different from being indoctrinated promoters of your business. This is the most effective method of social promotion and advertising available and the best part is that you don't have to pay customers. It does work and here is why:

  1. The customer becomes your 'volunteer' salesperson. When a salesperson is a friend and advisor that someone trusts, you buy from them.
  2. This customer 'advises' their friends and peers - as an independent source lending immense credibility.
  3. The message almost akin to 'preaching' is genuine and even if there is hype, it is believable hype because it comes from heart and there is sincere concern.
  4. For the recipient of the message, the value is extremely personalized because they give and the receiver of the message know each other.
  5. The value is explained in a way that is understood by the recipient.

The job of Marketers is to help your clients become your ultimate salespeople. You need to nurture the relationships so that they spread the word about your product and services. You need to focus all external and internal activities on this common objective.

To do this, you need to have three things:

1. A Superlative product and/or service

2. An Absolute Fanatical focus on Customers (service).

3. Understanding that you are in a business where People Matter more than products.

 

How to create Word-of-Mouth Marketing with the help of your own Fans and Evangelists even when you have next to Zero marketing budget?

Here are some steps you can follow. They look deceptively simple, but you will need a lot of discipline and a commitment and drive from the top down. Of course, nothing is free but the return on your commitment will we well worth it. I have helped several companies achieve astounding results.

  • Understand Your Customers. Why they buy from you, why they continue loving you. But also, find out and understand their issues, pain points. You will also learn without any fee what the market needs. You must have a systematic process to do this; not just ad-hoc surveys. How organizations act on the free advice of customers differentiates them from competitors.
  • If you are focused on creating true fans and evangelists from your customers, you must be willing to share your knowledge with customers. Not just selling software, but using your knowledge to help clients build templates, and optimal workflows.
  • Spreading the word - building the buzz. Sometimes you need to start off by 'seeding' this buzz internally. Even the likes of Paypal and Reddit 'faked' their way to traction before real buzz took off. Plan it with 'internal seeding' if you have to. Encourage behavior you want to see of your clients by incentivizing (which does not always have to be monetary incentives)
  • Creating Community and sense of belonging. Cultivating a sense of 'tribe' that leads to evangelists. You must figure out creative ways of bringing customers together. You can do this by conducting In-Person Events, User Groups, Online bulletin boards, email newsletter, 'Fan' websites, etc. Here are some other methods you can use to create a community by putting people in marketing.
    • Use pictures - not stock - of customers on your website.
    • Feature extremely satisfied customers in your marketing literature and advertising
    • Make contact information for your key people easily available on your website. If you feel they will be misused, you are mistaken. Don't let senior managers hide from customers and prospects. You only want to hide from customers if you have something to hide from, and you feel customers will call to complain. Look at the earlier point of 'understanding your customers'. They will give you great feedback money just can't buy.
    • Feature portraits and bios of your company people on your website. Not just a police mug shot, humanize it. Write in personal ways.
    • Humanize your company email. Adopt a more conversational style of writing. Correspondence should come from a real person, not 'management'.

These steps should get you on the way to Great Evangelist Marketing.