A client asked me this morning, “if you could only do one marketing tactic, what would that tactic be?” I told him telephone calls. At which I think I heard him choke on his morning latte.
I’m sure he was hoping I’d say social media. Perhaps a nice video campaign. Or at least email. Something elegant and fun. Those are all great. Those things all significantly increase the effectiveness of your integrated marketing strategy. But if I only had one thing I could do, I would make a ton of calls.
I’d win ugly.
With apologies to Brad Gilbert, what I mean by “winning ugly,” is being willing to do the hard work that your opponents are not willing to do. It’s being willing to look old school in order to bring a deal in. Its using brute force because you know brute force will work and is measurable.
The success of calling is not intuitively easy to grasp but my experience proves if out. In various companies and client’s companies where I’ve been in charge of marketing strategy, we would increase lead passes by as much as 25% with great calls. In addition, we would increase webinar and event attendance by as much as 50%.
Imagine if you could drive double the number of attendees to your next webinar. What would that do for your pipeline?
Why Calls Still Work
- Fewer companies are doing them than in the past so you actually have get past less noise.
- More employees are wearing multiple hats so they are picking up the phone and willing to listen to good ideas (just don’t call with bad ideas).
- Creative voicemails instantly cut through the clutter, stand out with humor and get calls back while even the best emails may only get an 8% open rate depending on the industry.
- People do business with other people, not with websites, search engines and Facebook and there is an unfortunately rare quality to hearing another human voice.
Why Calls Don’t Work
- It’s no fun to win ugly and most sales reps will do anything to avoid making another call. Most marketing executives would rather show off a cool social campaign rather than brag about an old-fashioned telephone call.
- You don’t have enough time to make all the calls you want. It would be great to call everyone in your customer base three times a quarter, but who has that kind of time?
- There is usually an opportunity cost in calling. As valuable as calls are, there is more value in negotiating a $100,000 contract. Studies show that each call a sales rep makes can cost $10-20.
- Many sales reps are erratic. Their call volumes and messages vary with their attention and energy. They may not be able to deliver a consistent vision-based message every call.
- 89% of calls go to voice mail anyway, so you need a low-cost strategy to pull off a creative voicemail campaign.
The Secret Weapon: Message Sweeping
We’ve developed a secret nurturing tactic we call Message Sweeping. It allows you to record a message–a real message, not a robo-call–and deliver it effortlessly to your prospect’s or customer’s telephone inboxes. As often as you want. With no time or calls from your sales or support staff.
And we can do it for 15-30% of the cost of one of your sales reps making the call.
Examples of Winning Ugly
Let me give you some concrete examples of how message sweeping has worked for me and my clients in the past. These are specific plays we have run using voice mail campaigns that have delivered calls backs, leads, event attendance and more.
Play #1: The Executive Touch
Wouldn’t it be great if your CEO could call every customer in your base with a message of thanks that sounded personal? Imagine the effect on your customer loyalty. Something like, “HI, this is Mary Jones, the CEO of XYZ Corp, and I’m just calling to thank you for your business. I’m sorry I missed you but I also wanted to let you know that I’m always open to hearing any feedback, positive or negative, from great partners like you.”
Play #2: Event Urgency
Leading up to a big trade show, there is usually very little time to call the hundreds or thousands of prospects you would like to meet on the trade show floor. What if each of your attending sales reps could leave a message like this: “Hi, this is Bob from XYZ Corp. Hope all is well. Hey, are you planning on attending the distributor show next week? I was hoping to meet you but my calendar is almost booked. I’ve got a couple of times and a lunch and dinner available and was hoping you could just give me a quick call back so we could arrange our schedules.”
Play #3: Road Show Invitation
I’ve used this before to dramatically drive attendance to road shows, user groups and other company sponsored live events. In fact, the last time I used this for a road show we exceeded our enrollment goals by over 70%. “Hi, this is Jane, the COO of XYZ Corp. We’re coming to Dallas the last week of June and I didn’t see your name on the list. I’d really like it if you and anyone else from your team could join us. Plus, your particular feedback on the event is important to me, so I wanted to make sure we could meet at the cocktail party afterward. Hope to see you there.”
Play #4: Webinar Reminders
We’re all very busy and if you send an email out to remind people to attend the webinar they registered for it will get lost in their inbox for hours if not days. Because calls are so rare, they cut through the clutter and in my experience can double your webinar attendance. It’s especially great if it comes from your guest speaker. But how many guests speakers will make 1,000 calls for you? None. Most speakers will, however, record a voicemail for you if it means higher attendance. “Hi, this is Gary from Super Knowledgable Consulting Org. I’m giving a webinar tomorrow for XYZ Corp and I saw your name on the list. First of all, thank you for registering. I just wanted to give you a quick call to remind you to attend so you can receive a copy of my latest book and be entered into the drawing for a New iPad.”
Play #5: The Sports Callback Bet
This is my personal favorite. Let’s say I’m targeting a list in Northern California. I might throw this into the mix: “Hi, this is Matt from the Boston Turner Group and I have a bet to make with you. The Colorado Rockies are playing the Giants on Monday, April 9. If the my Rockies win you owe me 30 minutes of your time on a phone call to discuss your marketing strategy. If your Giants win, I’ll buy you a Starbucks gift card. But you have to call me back to let me know if you take the bet.” If you received that voicemail from me, it might not have actually been me. It might have been a recorded message. I bet you didn’t even know at the time because that’s how smooth Message Sweeping works.
I don’t want to turn a blog post into a sales pitch, so if you’re wondering how you can implement a great Message Sweeping campaign into your mix, give me a call or send me an email. I’ll be happy to walk you through some details. In the meantime, give some thought to how you can win ugly in your next event or campaign.