This entry applies more to B2B operations rather than retail, but there may be parallels that can be used for the latter.
Social media can be a great vehicle for information flow. It works great if you want to announce new products or services etc. But just as you use this medium to broadcast, so do your potential B2B customers.
Marketing activities can be an excellent source of existing and new customer touch points. But to be more than a standard contact full of generic dribble sent to thousands, a marketing plan needs to be personal, it needs to show that you know who the customer is; and as a consequence, it needs additional work. Rather than a marketing plan, I prefer to refer to these Courting Plans.
A Courting Plan needs to be very targeted. It needs to quickly tell the person you are courting that you have an interest in them, maybe a detailed view of what they are doing or recent achievements or awards. Awards and accolades are especially pertinent as levering off these strokes your customer’s ego and immediately attracts their attention. There is no better opening line than congratulating a business on their recent achievement.
…and this information is everywhere.
Check local, state, and national newspaper (including tabloid, broadsheet and financial ones). Subscribe to trade magazines. Look at company ASX announcements, progress, and annual reports, tap into their social media feeds, like twitter, Instagram, and facebook, check the CEO’s linkedin account and see what (s)he is most proud of.
These are all ego stroking touchpoints and almost guarantee that what you have sent gets to second base.
Courting plans need to be developed over time, and because of their personal nature, will require an investment of resources. The advantages are that your conversion rates should be higher albeit with significant lower volumes.
Word or warning, and this applies to all courting activities; there is a line that should not be crossed – this is where the courting takes a weird feel about it. There are times when you may discover too much about a potential client. As with love, stay on the right side of this line, otherwise expect a visit from the bailiff holding a freshly printed restraining order.