Why automating your marketing is critical to success
Chances are you have limited time and resources. There’s a lot to do and not enough hands to do it. The things that are important often get cast aside for the things that are urgent. What you need is a system. You need to ensure that every enquiry and situation is handled in the right way, without having too great an impact on any one person.
Because of technology, we now have access to some of the most sophisticated systems and automation software in the world for a fraction of what it would have cost only a few years ago. This not only makes it realistic and viable for you to implement really effective systems, it puts you at a distinct disadvantage if you don’t!
How does automation work?
I’ll take you through a typical process that occurs in many sporting organisations to demonstrate the point.
Assume you work with a state-level organisation for your sport. The administrators in clubs and associations are mostly volunteers who often don’t have time to follow up on enquiries from potential new participants. When they do follow up, it’s often haphazard, not everyone gets the same information, and people are unsure about the first steps to take. Sometimes the volunteers write a phone number down on a sticky note to ‘call back later’. Invariably, the note gets lost, and the potential participant is gone forever! As a result, people enquiring about participating sometimes give up in frustration, or they have a rocky introduction to the sport.
Let me explain how automation can overcome this problem, increase the conversion rate for new participants, and significantly reduce your workload:
When the prospective participant calls, you explain that a pack of information will be mailed to them and you will also follow up with an email. You collect their email and postal address and also tell them that someone from your office will telephone them in a few days.
As you collect the information, you type it directly into an online system you have set up (and can operate from any computer with an internet connection). This prompts you with the right questions to ask the person and what information to get. Once you have finished the call, you press the ‘Save’ button. Here’s what happens:
The enquirer gets a personally addressed email five minutes later, thanking them for their call, telling them to expect a package in the mail, and directing them to your website in the meantime.
A pre-prepared package turns up in their mailbox the next day, telling them all about your sport and organisation and the benefits of both, as well as how they can sign up right now online. Alternatively they can fill in the form that comes in the package.
Two days later, they receive a phone call from someone in your office (or a volunteer working from home) asking if they got the package and if they have any questions.
A week later, they receive a page of testimonials in the mail (perhaps with a personalised note). These are comments from others just like them who have joined and had a great experience, providing ‘social proof’ that your organisation can be trusted to deliver.
Another week goes by and an email arrives explaining some of the special events your organisation runs, such as training clinics, coaching sessions, tournaments and social events.
Within another week, they receive a voucher in the mail for a special, time-limited offer for an event, activity or purchase at your venue, such as a free drink at the canteen or a free cap when they spend $50 on merchandise.
Two months after they made that first call they receive an email asking if they would like to receive your regular email newsletter to keep them in touch with what your organisation has on offer for them.
The person then receives regular newsletters and general information about the sport every month. From time to time, they also receive emails or written information about how to play and special tips to improve their game.
The entire process outlined above happens without your direct personal involvement. You may decide to set the system up so that you still have an involvement, and it doesn’t mean that the work happens by itself: people still need to do things, but they will be prompted to do them. Emails, texts, voicemails and basic promotional items such as postcards can be fully automated. The prospect doesn’t get ‘lost’ between the cracks and actually has a pleasant and engaging experience. Yes, it takes time to set up, but you only have to do it once, and the benefits last forever!
Compare this to what normally happens: one contact, a short discussion, then ‘click’ – prospect gone, opportunity lost, and both parties underwhelmed with the experience.
It’s important that the communication being sent is relevant and informative; that is, valuable to the prospect. We all hate getting phone calls and emails from people we don’t know and about whose services we have no interest. But if you are providing valuable information that connects with people and answers the questions they have, you will become …
… the welcome guest, not the serial pest!
If you start to follow this process and implement systems, you will stay ‘top of mind’ with people so that when they are ready to buy, you will be one of those they consider. If you do this really well, you will be the only one they consider!