Let me state first that I don't know if your business is growing or not. But if you're reading this, it must be an issue. So let's address it.
I believe there is a big, wide hole in today's typical marketing strategy, because the entire emphasis is on inbound marketing and sales. Inbound marketing truly is a wonder, but when everybody is doing the same thing to get noticed, the channel becomes hopelessly clogged.
That's some of the problem. But the bigger issue is that many marketers have abandoned outbound forms of marketing. Sure, it's wonderful to have leads come to you. But what about the short list of people you know you'd like to have in your corner, either as mega clients or in a strategic alliance? The problem with inbound is that you don't get to pick and choose.
There are certainly problems with most outbound forms of marketing, too, which is in part what gave rise to inbound's current in-vogue status. But there is one form of outbound you should make yourself familiar with, "Contact Marketing."
I happen to be writing a book on the subject now, so I have some amazing stories I'd like to share with you. But first, what exactly is Contact Marketing? It is the discipline of using micro-focused campaigns to break through to specific people of strategic importance, often against impossible odds, to produce a critical sale or partnership. I will add that, of the contact campaigns I've used and those I've discovered through my research, another key distinction is the metrics they produce. It's actually not uncommon to see response rates of 60% or more, with ROI easily climbing into the tens of thousands of percent.
Want a demonstration of how Contact Marketing works? See the Hoberman Sphere toy pictured above? Watch what happens when you pull on just two points. Exponential growth with minimal expenditure of effort. That's the kind of growth Contact Marketing can produce in your business.
Here's a great example. Renowned sales trainer and blogger Paul McCord tells of a campaign he ran in an earlier time in his career, when he was working as a mortgage broker. The objective was to recruit local builders in his area to become mortgage referral sources.
Drawing on previous experience in the building industry himself, Paul knew his targets well. He knew, for example, they were used to receiving architectural plans in cardboard tubes, so they were likely to pay attention to his mailing if it arrived in a tube as well. He also knew the builders used flow charts to follow the progress of their projects, so he produced an ingenious adaptation to express the bank’s winning value proposition, which helped the builders secure early financing on their projects.
And here come the results. Of the 70 local builders on his list, Paul received response from 60%, 25 became referral sources producing roughly $1.1 million in fees. All from a Contact Campaign that cost $175, including postage. Divide it out and you get another supposedly impossible result, a 628,571% return on investment.
Would that have ever happened if he'd relied on content, social media and SEO alone? Maybe. But Paul knew precisely whom he had to reach to produce exponential growth, and all he had to do was reach out and ask. Sure, he had to ask in a very clever way, because it's hard to get anyone's attention these days, especially that of a handful of busy company owners.
Aren't there a handful of people you would do well to connect with and convert to major accounts or alliance partners? The answer to that question for every business in every industry is a resounding "Yes." Clearly, outreach to your most desired prospects and partners should remain a part of your strategy. If that is what's been missing, it's time to shift. And to start growing again.
Stu Heinecke Host of Contact Marketing Radio Founder & President of "Contact" and CartoonLink, Inc. Wall Street Journal cartoonist Author of How to Get a Meeting with Anyone
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