What your sales back end can tell you about your small business marketing…
When considering small business marketing, most owners think about getting exposure and visits/clicks/views, etc. Little attention is paid to the steps to take after prospects have found you.
If you don’t make it clear and easy for prospects to take the next step, you’re business will be in trouble.
The critical role of the small business marketing back end…how to create customers from marketing.
How many times have you created a marketing effort for your small business and just jumped in? Its easy to do, especially with the urgency that many business owners feel to create revenue.
But, if you leap without planning, not only is your small business marketing initiative likely to miss the mark, but your marketing and sales are likely to be out of sync and not functional.
What could be worse than spending the time and money to promote your business and “hearing crickets?” Its especially frustrating when you find that your efforts have created prospects, but they aren’t becoming customers.
The “back end” refers to the sales process that any small business marketing campaign requires to be successful. With a neglected back end, your marketing goes down the tubes.
Why does small business marketing need to worry about a back end?
Because marketing is the draw and appeal that turns strangers into prospects for your business. Sales is the process that turns those prospects into clients and customers. If you picture the four wheels on your car, marketing is the rear wheels and sales are the front wheels – front and back are needed to make the car move.
Three steps to creating a dream back end for your small business marketing.
Creating a sales back end doesn’t have to be complicated, but it requires a bit of thought in advance. The key is to set up a process and flow that guides prospects through a sequence and gives them ample opportunity to become customers.
The three steps are: Engage, Act, and Close. I’ll walk through them as you would find them in an online environment.
In Engage, you have a process to engage with the person who has just “found” you. Its important to have a few resources in place to support this step. You should have a “squeeze page,” a “thank you” page, an autoresponder, and thought out “calls to action.”
Briefly, I’ll explain the purpose of each of these. The “squeeze page” is a page that encourages prospects to exchange some information about themselves (typically an email address) in return for something they value such as coupons, free reports, free upgrades, etc. Here is an example of a small business marketing squeeze page.
The “thank you” page is the location where your prospects who sign up on your squeeze page are taken. This page can be the place they download or print the free offer and can be a page that provides them with another “call to action.” Here is an example of a thank you page.
As you can see, neither page has to be too visually appealing, just have an effective offer and clear message.
An autoresponder is a email tool that allows you to collect emails from forms, create those forms, send out sequences of messages to email lists, etc. Some examples are Aweber, MailChimp, etc. This tool allows you to automate some of the small business marketing process and create it in advance. For example, you could send an email every other day for a week to new prospects giving them tips about solving a particular problem or sending a series of coupons that correspond with events.
The “call to action” is the most obvious, but often the most overlooked in small business marketing. Make it clear what you would like the prospects to do. Click here to get this…Act now to get a free coupon… etc.
Act. This part of the process is the bridge between Engage and Close. In Act, you want to encourage the prospect to take action on the information you have provided them and the “calls to action” you have presented them. Engage is designed to create a desire to buy or find out more. Act is where you directly engage with the prospect in your store, over the phone, in person, etc. Each business will have a different flow in Act, but the idea is clear – you are directly interacting with a prospect who is interested in what you are selling.
Close. Not to many questions here I expect. At least no questions on what it means Making it happen seems to trouble people, but if you’ve built the back end process correctly, this becomes much easier as you have steadily created an interested prospect who is largely pre-qualified and interested. Now its time to make them a customer! Close is where the small business marketing efforts pay off, literally.
Take the time to consider the process to use these three steps in your small business marketing. Use a white board or notepaper and lay out your process. Be clear on how you plan to engage, what you want prospects to do, what value you offer along the way to keep moving them towards becoming customers, etc.
Don’t neglect your back end, its the key to making your small business marketing efforts return value to your business!
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