Channel Marketing Requires Pleasant Persistence
"I threw $10,000 out on that last marketing event," complained one VAR owner to another. "I got absolutely nothing out of it."
The other VAR owner looked at him and asked, "What was your last marketing activity before this event?"
The first owner thought for a moment. "About a year ago, we sent out a newsletter." His friend asked, "What else?" Before that, he couldn't really remember.
His friend smiled. "I spent less than that on marketing all of last year and added several new customers as a result."
How did he do that?
The successful VAR marketer explained that he used his $10,000 to send out a dozen emails once a month to a targeted email list and had a webinar each quarter. Using "nurture marketing" techniques, he included a link to one of his company's publications in each email and had his salespeople call anyone who clicked on any of the links in the emails. He also had them call to follow up on the invitations to the webinars.
"It wasn't rocket science," explained the VAR marketer, "but it was a consistent, constant, repetitive series of contacts with every prospect on that list, and over time, many of them became customers and even more referred us to other prospects that we added to our list."
Pleasant, Professional Persistence
This successful VAR marketer had learned that effective marketing required sticking to a few simple rules.
1. Something will resonate: Seldom does the first message you send to someone speak to something for which they currently feel the need. The more often you connect with a prospect with different messages and value propositions, the likelier you are to connect with something that matters to them. Eventually, something is going to resonate. The trick is not to overload them with too many messages but to reach them frequently enough with worthwhile information that you keep their interest.
2. Building familiarity: Even if the message doesn't click with a reader, they have seen your company name and logo, and the more they see it, the more they will remember it. This pays off when they receive your next email because there are really only two primary reasons someone opens an email—either the subject line is so compelling that they can't resist, or they recognize the sender. The more they recognize you and associate you with value, the more likely they are to open your next email.
3. People want to belong to something: One of the basic human needs identified by Abraham Maslow is the "need for belongingness." Your webinar audience grows, in part, as people develop that feeling of belonging to your community of followers. Those people also tend to invite others to join them in your group. Encouraging existing community members to attract new ones is among your best marketing strategies.
4. Persistence pays off if it's pleasant and professional: Being considerate not to overload, making sure to always provide real value in your communications, and to always provide quality of presentation all contribute to building your marketing success. Remember that "value" is defined by the customer, not by you.
There Are No Channel Marketing 'One-Offs'
The reason you start with a marketing plan? No one marketing activity will be effective all by itself. It can happen, but is the exception.
Successful marketing happens when you are constantly, consistently connecting with your prospects and growing your community of followers. They get to know you; they get to appreciate your value; they get to like you; and then they get to benefit from engaging with you in productive projects.
Howard M. Cohen is a 30-plus-year IT industry veteran who continues his commitment to the channel as a columnist and consultant.