Relationship Marketing is NOT the Same as Lead Generation Marketing

A high tide raises all boats.

Bigfoot Silhouette Illustration

Years ago, I was dedicating a lot of my time to the search for the Bigfoot of marketing. That singular piece of marketing that would generate all the leads I needed to be fat and happy. I know a few people who claim to have seen a Bigfoot, even a few who claim to have a Bigfoot in captivity! But I personally don’t have my own Bigfoot…despite years of trying to capture him.

Since I have failed to capture a Bigfoot, I have to do a lot of marketing using many different forms of media. As I type this, I’m on a plane to attend/exhibit at a small business training seminar. Last week I mailed out a postcard campaign, and this week my newsletter (the one you hold in your hands right now) will drop in the mail to be delivered. On top of that, we had five additional marketing pieces hit the press in effort to drive in new leads.

Although we track our leads and sales down to the last dollar, I have found that the “Rule of Seven” (people need to see or hear about you seven times or more before they take any action) is still very true. By reaching out to prospects in many different ways, with many different medias, you can and will increase your response rate… but you need to realize that, in many cases, other media helped you to get that new lead or sale.

Your business is NOT different!

Am I starting to sound like a broken record? I know I’ve said this time and time again, I even have clients who understand this concept, and have chatted with me about the topic, only to add in the infamous BUT when they start talking about their own businesses.

For instance, we recently had a client tell us that her demographic was much too sophisticated to read the style of newsletters we print. The funny thing was, when she was describing her ideal client, she was describing me! She then showed me the newsletter service she was currently using (instead of us—big mistake) and I literally laughed out loud when I saw her definition of what a “sophisticated person” would read. But I digress.

At the end of the day, your business is not different… nor is it the exception. At least, 99.99% of the time.

Confusing Retention and Relationship Marketing with Lead Generation Marketing.

This happens more than you might think. Most people tend to lump retention and relationship marketing with lead generation—HUGE mistake. These are two separate categories that need their own separate budgets, rules, and regulations for measurement.

Let’s use newsletters for example; if someone receives your newsletter in the mail, reads it, and two days later refers a friend because you were at the top of their mind, how do you track that? The friend doesn’t walk in and say, “My buddy Joe was reading your newsletter and because of that, you were top of mind. When I needed a dentist and mentioned it to him, he referred me to you.” Assuming this practice tracks referrals, at best this new patient was marked as “referral,” but what caused the referral? I will refer you back to the High Tide paragraph above.

The same goes if you send a gift to a client. You need to develop relationships with your clients, new and old. Not having one can (I mean, will) cause you to miss out on a large percentage of increased referrals and upsells… to name a few.

Final point, once you have some traction with whatever media you are using, don’t cancel it right away simply because it wasn’t a home run hit. One of the most difficult things a business owner has to do is get their media to work. So if you have media that is working, but not performing up to par, you need to take a look at any and all ways you can improve the results before you cancel. The goal is to get stuff working—and canceling too soon is a surefire way to self-sabotage your success.

I’m a very introspective person. I can and will take constructive (and sometimes not so constructive) criticism and reflect on it to improve myself personally, as a husband, as a father, as a leader, and as entrepreneur. It has been a skill that has served me well my entire life. I admit it is not always easy to check your ego at the door, and take the criticism or self-reflect, but, at the end of the day, it can and will improve you.


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