You spend a lot of time, money and effort on marketing to get people to listen to you, but how much time do you spend engaging with and building a community?
Over the past five years businesses have been told build a database, market to that database and through sheer numbers you will make sales. Send out newsletters, send out sales pitches and make offers and sure enough people will buy from you.
The only problem with that approach in 2015 is society has changed! People have had enough of the noise, of the constant bombardment of emails, social media postings, direct mail leaflets and constants advertising on TV, radio, newspapers and anywhere they can put it.
The smart businesses know that it is about the relationships and building a community, not that constant bombardment of marketing. I’ve always said look at what the big listed businesses are doing and take the good ideas and model it to fit your business.
The Commonwealth Bank were the first to be happy to pay someone a full-time salary just to stand at the door and welcome you into the bank, ask who you needed to see and make sure you knew where to go. Why? It gave back the personal relationship, it made you feel welcome walking into a bank and it allowed you to build a relationship with a name and face. I remember going back to the same branch just to say hello to my door welcomer; just the effect it was meant to have.
Then they created the cricket club over the summer to bring families and children who loved cricket into their community. They offered prizes, tips, profiles of their hero’s and chances to win tickets to games. They again showed that they wanted to offer value to their community.
They understood the importance of building a community of people and being engaging with them.
So what does that mean you need to?
The first thing you need to is change your database into a community. You need to stop looking at them as names and emails and start having personal relationships. You need an engagement plan!
An engagement plan outlines how you are going to engage with your community and answers these questions:
- How are you going to keep relationships with each person in your community?
- In which way (what sort of touch point)?
- How often?
- How are you going to add value?
- How are you going to bring them together to meet one another?
- How are you going to get them to be walking billboards for you?
Businesses that just concentrate on the next prospect and the next client are wasting thousands of dollars more on marketing than what they need to. You already have a community of people that know you, like you and trust you, it is just up to you to start engaging with them and getting them to promote you to their network.
What do you do to engage with the people on your list and actively be involved in building a community?