Summer Slow-down: Monetize Your Contacts

8/8/2017 11:59:00 AM
I wish I could say this was my idea, but fortunately we have been very busy this summer, and I have not had time to work on our marketing. However, a very good friend of mine has been pretty slow this summer. They’ve been quoting apartment gut renovations and—as is the case for most of the country—these projects won’t really come to fruition until the fall. So, being the former marketing executive that he is, he decided to make some good use of his time and undertook two marketing projects—one small and quick and one larger and longer term.
 

Image: Thinkstock
 
 
The smaller project is something he is going to replicate a few times a year. It was just a simple e-mail blast. It started out being a very basic e-mail touting the benefits of the Leon Tonecase Fit, a housing and custom grille for the Sonos PlayBar that exactly matches the width of the TV, making the final look much more professional and finished. Having just taken on the line in June, he has already sold and installed six or seven of the ToneCase Fit—a great way to increase revenue on a sound bar sale, and he wanted to expose his existing client base to this new offering. 
 
After looking at the e-mail from a consumer’s view point, he realized that it was just too much of a marketing pitch and not enough of an informative communication that clients would value. He bounced the idea off of a few marketing colleagues and ended up with a “Summer 2017 Hot List.” He wrote a few sentences of copy talking about having some down time in the summer with kids away at summer camp or being slow at the office and taking the opportunity to tackle some apartment improvements. He had three ideas, each supported with a picture and two to three sentences of copy: the Leon ToneCase Fit; music in every room with Sonos; and automated lighting with Control4.
  
Once he was happy with the marketing piece, he turned to revamping his email list. Traditionally he had only emailed clients for whom the company had done work. But this time he expanded the list to include everyone he had met over the years in his community—other parents from his son’s soccer teams, members of his synagogue, parents he had met at his kids’ sleep-away camp, friends from school, his in-laws, friends from the country club—basically anyone he knew and who would have disposable income.
  
The results were better than he had hoped. One existing client wrote back inquiring about automated lighting and another wrote to ask about a Sonos PlayBar and Tonecase Fit. Soon, a few of the acquaintances wrote back—two were interested in Sonos and automated lighting, and two others would recommend him to friends buying new apartments. This was only sent out last week so at this point no sales were made, but considering he has had six replies for a couple of hours work (and it will be a lot less work next time because all of the acquaintances took a while to look up and add to his e-mail list) and from a list of less than 500 contacts, it is a great start and confirmed his belief that people just need a little nudge once in a while.
 
He won’t be sending e-mails weekly or even monthly—maybe two to four times a year, just to keep his company top of mind among clients and friends, especially during the busy spring and summer real estate and renovation season.

For his second, larger project, he took the time to work with a graphic designer and copy writer to put together a 12-page brochure that will be handed out to prospective clients after site visits. It will be a glossy brochure, with big, bold imagery and some light copy. The goal is present the company in a professional light and have it feel more substantial and "real." He is really excited about the piece and hopes that it will present his company as more established and polished than just sending a proposal to the client a day or two after meeting them.
 
If business is a little slow this summer, take the opportunity to do some tactical and strategic marketing. Get some quick wins to fill the gaps in the pipeline and work on your long-term marketing goals. And don’t forget to leverage your network outside the industry and existing clients.
 
Think about all of the places you interact with people who might be interested in your services—your doctor and dentist, your place of worship, other parents in your kids’ lives, other professionals that you meet. Every encounter is a chance to market your business, so take advantage of each and every one.

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