Getting off to a fast start, marketing style

Swift Form of a Runner about to Begin Race

How can using a “fast start” model refine the execution of your marketing strategy?

Every year that I was in sales, management would roll out “fast start” plans in the first quarter. The plans offered double credit for selling certain products, triple credit for services packages, or even a cash commission bonus for achieving 150 percent of the plan by the end of the first half. They were certainly motivating incentives and probably helped to reduce much of the stress my sales managers would experience in the second half of the year.

But how can a fast start plan translate into the world of marketing?

Generally it’s been crickets, zip, and nada on that front. While management might not be offering you the same incentives, the first and second quarters are great times to hit the ground running. Successful execution will make the rest of your full year goals far more attainable. In addition, first half success is bound to make you a more attractive employee.

Here are my ideas for getting off to a fast start with your marketing plans:

1. Roll out an irresistible email magnet ASAP

The larger your marketing database, the better the chance you have for hitting your goals. Your list’s size represents the very top of your funnel; the bigger you grow it, the more chances you have for making a sale.

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And the sooner you get the database acquisition happening efficiently, the longer you will have to engage with these new folks.

One of the best ways you can do this is to have a great email magnet. An email magnet is typically an ebook or a content offer that will help your target audience and discusses a topic that is related to the products or services you sell. 

Email magnets include snappy titles like 10 Ways to Shortcut and Audit Proof Your Month End Close or 25 Key Runway Trends for Spring Including Mixing What is Already in Your Closet. These new ebooks replace that boring “sign up for our newsletter” or “sign up to get free shipping on your next order,” which should no longer be your lead offer.

While those are nice offers, they are probably not enough to convert new subscribers, so you also need to make sure you have a good process in place that avoids double sends.

Get your design team to give this magnet the special treatment, including designing a great cover, and use it to promote your website and brand offerings via social media. Incorporate your email magnet into your digital advertising plans in as many ways as possible.

2. Make it easy for people to contact you

Research says that many people are well along the consideration process before they are interested in engaging with your company. The question now is, when they are ready, are you making it super easy for them to reach you?

  • Is your contact number prominently displayed on all your webpages?
  • For every web form or landing page, have you provided an option that allows a person to easily ask for someone to contact them directly instead?
  • Who is answering the “Contact Us” notifications? Are they being handled immediately (or with a few hours)? Waiting multiple days to respond to these requests is completely unacceptable. If you have a live agent option that offers online chat assistance, make sure this is set up and operating as efficiently as possible.

3. Set up continuous learning

When people first come to your website, you may know nothing about them. With web tracking, you can get some insight into who they are by assessing their behavior based on page visits, video, and PDF activity. To get off to a good start, use your new, great email magnet to get their email address, then combine it with the data collected from their actions.

At this point, you need to kick that up a few more notches and use progressive profiling, surveys, and web forms to ask more questions. The more you know, the more you can use the data you’ve collected to tailor your emails, content offers, website, and even call center response scripting.

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By putting all this data to work, you can have much more personalized interactions to keep your contacts more highly engaged throughout the year.

And while we’re on the subject of continuous learning, make sure you block off weeks in the year that allow you to embark on your own continuing education. Hopefully you can attend your vendor’s annual conferences where you can keep up with the latest industry trends, marketing technology announcements, and hear other clients’ case studies. Learning by trial and error should not be your only method for advancing your skills this year.

4. Make everything mobile

I might sound like a broken record, but if you have not optimized your website and email templates for mobile, put this at the head of the list. Those who fall into this bucket are losing valuable conversions and click-throughs.

Take action now. Once you have established a solid mobile baseline, consider adding mobile push, SMS notifications, and smart apps to your line-up. These mobile-centric communication strategies will really help improve your results.

To sum up

So there you have it – my top four top tips for getting you marketing off to a fast start. I hope you and your department have a banner year.

Article images via Flickr.

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