Today I want to chat with you about something that you might not have really considered before. And that is that every contact you make in your business is marketing.
From the name of your business to the way you answer the phone, to the look of your business card, to the conversation you have in line at the grocery store, to your packaging, to your advertising, to the way you deal with email, to the way you handle problems and complaints. And on and on.
Every contact you make is marketing.
This idea was driven home for me recently with an experience I had with the folks at Sitepoint.com. I had ordered one of their more expensive products which did not arrive when I expected it. I waited and waited and finally, after much digging, found out that the product was not scheduled to ship for at least 3 months. By that time, my immediate need for the product would have passed. (It was already passing fast.)
So I contacted them and asked to cancel the order and to get a refund. I also mentioned that the long shipping time was unacceptable because I had needed the product for a project I was currently working on.
The response I got was amazing.
The person who handled my request wrote to tell me that they were sorry that the product would take so long to ship, and that they could not control that, but they were most apologetic because they had failed to communicate with me about it immediately, and that was something they could control, and that they had failed. So not only did they refund what I had paid, but they went one step further and also loaded me up with products that I didn’t have to pay for.
They wanted to keep me as a customer and went out of their way to do so. I like their products very much so you can be assured that I’ll be buying more things from them in the future.
Now you may think, well, that’s just a good refund policy. Yes, but that’s also great marketing. (I’m telling you about it aren’t I?)
So this got me to really thinking about various aspects of my own business and looking for ways that I could improve my marketing:
My outgoing phone message – pretty good, I think, because callers find out what they need to know and they get reminded to visit my website.
Response to email messages – not responding fast enough so I’ve made it a policy to set aside time each day to respond to messages.
Websites – page by page audit reveals missing links or non-working links, lack of clarity and so on. (I’ve got lots of work to do to bring my sites up to par.)
Email Marketing – no real consistency, need to update my marketing calendar.
Networking Opportunities – Since I travel, my opportunity for live networking events is limited, but I could certainly be doing more in the online social media world. Need to be more consistent about thanking people who follow me and then follow them back.
Being prepared – Although I preach that you should always have business cards with you, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out without mine and was very embarrassed to tell someone who was interested in my business that I didn’t have a card on me. (It just happened to me again, two nights ago. Dang!)
I could go on and on but I think you get the picture. There are many areas where I can improve my marketing.
I need to especially keep top of mind that EVERY contact with the public is some form of marketing.
So, how about you? Are there areas of your business that you’ve not thought about being “marketing” before? If so, how can you improve in those areas? Be sure to give yourself a pat on the back where you’re doing well.© Copyright 2010 Marty Marsh