They used to say it takes seven points of contact to make a sale. That number has increased drastically in recent years due to the number of additional messages we are bombarded with everyday on the internet (went from 300 to 3,000).
What does it mean for marketing your business?
People need to hear your name several times to think seriously about buying. It helps if these touch-points come from different sources. Maybe the first is meeting you in person. Then they find your business card in their pocket some time later. Maybe they visit your web site. External ones are great because they usually build credibility — someone else refers you, they read an article you’ve written or maybe see you speak or post something brilliant on LinkedIn and suddenly you’re an expert. Then finally, they get your newsletter one day and say ‘You know, that (insert name) is pretty smart. Maybe we should ask them to help us with that project.’
As people in sales positions, we need to consider a couple of things about these points of contacts: what are the ones I’m not thinking about, which are most seen, is the brand message consistent, do they fit together and are they all up to your high standards?
What are all your touch-points?
Touch-points can be your business card, the person who answers your phone, an ad, your profile and activity on LinkedIn, a brochure, or a client talking about you, etc. How can you increase the number and variety of these? Some can be simple sales tools like 1) being sure to follow up after meeting someone and 2) making yourself easily referable. Ideas for adding more options include creating a regular newsletter to provide helpful information and remind people you’re around; send greeting cards to say Thank You or Happy Thanksgiving; send branded gifts that people like and use that really says something about your business; use social media regularly and with purpose. Make the most of all public situations by thinking ahead. For example, look for opportunities to speak somewhere and then be sure to have something to hand out. Could be swag, an info kit, a brochure or a hard copy of your newsletter.
Get creative — word of mouth campaigns, talking business cards, temporary tattoos, etc.
The key to making these points of contact add up to something is to make them all consistent by controlling the design, quality and the message. This starts with clearly defining your brand. The brand message should extend to every point of contact that is encountered by the public. That means not just the design — all colours, fonts, quality and other elements being on target in the materials you use, but also the quality. You shouldn’t hand out a beautiful business card that leads them to a DIY template website. Customize a newsletter; develop branded greeting cards you can have handy for any occasion. Figure out how you want to come across on social media sites. Develop a gift with your logo and URL on it that’s useful, fun and utterly appropriate for your company. Think ahead — how are you going to make an impact at that trade show and then get people to remember you later?
Work with a Professional to make it great!
Just remember that everything from the business card you hand out to the way your receptionist answers the phone is a point of contact. Would you hire a financial planner who drives a beat-up old car? Clearly defining and creating that common message not only helps you and your staff but also helps others toot your horn for you.