As a branding and marketing strategist I'm always aware of (and trying out) the latest and greatest methods, theories and tools for how to get the word out about a business -- and 2017 was no exception.
With the plethora of new apps, social sites and expert suggestions, I had my hands full. Besides, I make it a policy to never recommend anything to my clients I have not tried out myself.
But there was one experiment I tried this year that produced better results than any social media campaign or speech I gave. It's not a new theory, hot app or magical software. Rather, it's a good old-fashioned core principle of business development that I have taught my clients for years.
In fact, it was so successful that I decided to make it the focus of my next book. It's called "Loose Change in the Couch Marketing," and anyone can do it. Here's the idea.
Look, Ma, I found a quarter!
If you are reading this, chances are that you have accidently (or purposefully) fished around in between the cushions of a couch and found a quarter. Come on; we have all done it. Well I realized one day that the same idea could be applied to marketing. It occurred to me that I had all kinds of loose coins (as it were) hanging around my business, and that I had only to reach out and retrieve them.
Find the gold in your inbox.
Looking through my email inbox, client data base and website contact forms, I saw literally dozens of opportunities I had not taken advantage of. Why? A few key reasons:
- I got busy and dropped the ball.
- I missed the follow-up window or deadline.
- I could never get in touch with the person despite emails/calls back and forth.
- I lost track of the item because it got pushed too far down in my email.
- I simply forgot.
My first step was to comb through and identify the potential clients, business development possibilities and marketing opportunities I had missed out on in the past year.
Create a spreadsheet of possibilities.
Next, I created a spreadsheet to capture the name and info for all the possibilities I was unearthing. When I was done just generating the list, I had over 25 prospects for increased profits, many of which were overlooked or had simply fallen off the radar.
Reach out and reconnect.
Spreadsheet in hand I spent about 15 minutes a day reaching out, until I had covered everyone on the list. Here are some of the marketing and business development situations I encountered and the ways I applied the loose change philosophy to turn them into profits.
- Situation. A potential client reached out to your website contact form, but you were never able to connect. After several back-and-forth emails, or trying to schedule a time to talk, you gave up. Loose change action: Send that person an email.
- Situation. A potential client, or even a former client, was interested in your service or product but decided against it due to timing, cash flow or another reason -- not related to fit or quality. If the issue was resource based (time, money, etc.), then things may have changed. Loose change action: "I just wanted to check in on that."
- Situation. You met someone at a conference or cocktail party or on an airplane who expressed interest in what you do, but you never followed up and their business card sits gathering dust in your desk. Loose change action: Time is not the only factor.
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that even if a year has gone by -- it may not be too late. In some cases, the ship has sailed and the potential opportunity has blown away like a tumbleweed in the Wild West.
But in my case, at least half the time, there was still a need. Don't let the amount of time that has passed be the only determining factor.
So does all this work? Because of contacting the people on my list and re-establishing contact, my bottom line in 2017 increased by 20 percent. In one case, I closed a six-figure piece of business. The client and their business were ready to pull the trigger in a way they had not been a year earlier.
Mind you it took a few months, and more than one meeting, but the final result was a substantial piece of work that never would have happened had I not been practicing "Loose Change in the Couch Marketing." And that's something I can take to the bank.