Decades ago, early in my career, a coworker shared the account of when he met the woman who was to be his future wife. In courting her, he was relentless in making sure that his sweetheart was receiving regular deliveries of cards, candy, flowers and later jewelry. His strategy? “If there was anyone she was even remotely interested in, they would have to run very fast to keep up with me.” He wanted her to be constantly reminded of him. The way he captured her mind share was through actions and behaviors that said “I realize that you are special.” “I will go out of my way to make you feel special.”
Good marketing has that kind of energy and focus behind it. Good marketing says: I realize that you are special and I will go out of my way to make you feel special.
Do you have a sweetheart list? A sweetheart list is a short list of accounts you would love to have. Maybe it’s based on the characteristics of the company. Maybe it’s based on the fact that the company has name recognition or is a leader of forward thinking. Whatever the reason – doesn’t it make sense to approach them with the following purpose in mind? “I realize that you are special.” “I will go out of my way to make you feel special.”
Let’s say you have a sweetheart list of 12 – set up a Google Alert for both the company and the contact. Every time you get interesting news via Alerts gives you a reason to email or call.
Have you searched them out on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn? Try to make a connection via social media. If they are on Twitter, you can respond to their Tweets or RT. If they are posting on Facebook, you can leave a comment. If they connect with you on LinkedIn, you’ll be alerted as to any change in their status (promotion, move to another company) and if they participate in any groups, you’ll know that as well. It’s probably worth your time to join the group as well if it’s appropriate.
Do they have a blog? The fastest way to a blogger’s heart is a thoughtful contribution to the comments section.
Use every platform to communicate (I’m not suggesting you spam them), change it up and see if there is a particular communications preference they have. Use email to congratulate them on the good news about the company that you learned through Alerts. Use snail mail to send an interesting article or helpful tool. Use lumpy mailing to send a logo’d item. This is a form of guerilla marketing.
All of your activity is saying “I realize that you are special.” “I will go out of my way to make you feel special.” After 6 months of this kind of focus, you will have mindshare. You may chose to place them on your nurture marketing list and select another company to take a spot on your sweetheart list.
Here are possible results:
Nothing will happen. (Rare, but a potential reality.)
The efforts of their current provider will be compared to your efforts. Chances are very good that (sadly) their current provider isn’t in the “I will go out of my way to make you feel special” mode. You will have preferred mind share.
They may not be in a position to buy from you yet, but your efforts have been noticed, and there is a likely chance that when faced with an opportunity to make a referral, they will point another prospect to you.
When they are ready to buy, you will have done such a good job of distinguishing yourself from the competition, the odds will be in your favor to win the business.
Remember, it’s not enough for them to decide “I need to buy XYZ product or service.” Rather you want them to be thinking “I want to do business with [Your Name Here].”