Thanks to John Jantsch for this – I love it and talk about it all the time with my clients.  This is my take on it . .  have a read . . it might explain why that advert you placed didn’t work . . and give you some ideas about what to do next time.

Imagine . . . It’s your first date with someone.  It’s a blind date.  You see the person sitting over at the other side of the coffee shop where you had arranged to meet.  You walk over, a bit nervously, and say, in a very loud shouty voice: “HELLO! WILL YOU MARRY ME!?”

Unlikely to have the desired effect.  This is similar to placing one advert somewhere and expecting someone to buy your product or service straight away.  They might, if they are desperate for what you have to offer . . but usually it takes more than one communication for a commitment to be made, certainly for higher priced products or services.

What you might want to consider doing instead is to follow a process which John Jantsch calls the marketing hourglass.

KNOW – first of all your customers need to know who you are.  You need to create awareness.  Do something that puts you on your prospects’ radar. This might be an advert, or attending a networking event or a piece of direct mail or an adwords campaign for example.

LIKE – this is about continuing the conversation. Give them a reason to get in touch with you.  It’s a great idea to capture email addresses on your website in return for something such as a free report or a trial sample.  Have a good website. Try and get your prospects to engage with you.  Social media is good for this too.

TRUST – This is a really key step.  If people are going to buy from you, they need to trust you.  Tactics for this include things such as speaking at relevant events, writing reports and white papers.  Being CONSISTENT so prospects know what to expect.  Newsletters are good.  PR is great too.

BUY – The next step is to move your prospect to the part of the continuum where they will make a purchase.  You might want to start by letting them try it first.  Then make it as easy as possible for them to buy.  For instance offer guarantees, easy payment terms, make the process simple, make sure there is a very clear call to action on all of your marketing communications.  Give more than promised.  Make it easy for the buyer.

REPEAT – You want such a happy customer that they buy from you again and again.  Always do what you say you will.  Under promise and over deliver. Delight your customer. Make them feel good about buying from you.  Consider special events or reports just for you customers.  Ask for their feedback and keep in touch with them.

REFER – The holy grail – a customer who refers you to others. Ask for referrals.  Tell your clients at the beginning of the process that this is how you work.  Make it easy for them to refer you.  Tell them what to say and who your ideal clients are.  You might want to consider an incentive.  Or give them a special set of your business cards to hand out – maybe with a little code on identifying them so you can thank them afterwards, for example with a hand written note or whatever kind of incentive you decided on.

The path to success:

Remember that you need to build a relationship.  KNOW who your target market is.  Be laser specific in who you are trying to attract.  What are their wants and needs and how can you serve them really well?  Remember, your customers aren’t interested in you, they are only interested in what you can do for them.

Be consistent. Be customer focused. Be successful.

Wishing you every success.

Jo Wilson