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How does it feel to receive a letter through the post that starts with Dear Homeowner?

What about getting an email ping into your inbox that begins with Dear Sir/Madam?

And I won’t get you started on those phone calls that you pick up that start with the click click whirring of an automated dialling machine before someone finally jumps in with “Can I speak to the owner of your sky box?”

Being at the receiving end of mass marketing feels downright bad. You are just a number on a list that a company has bought and they are churning through it, hoping that one day, someone will be interested in what they have to sell.

It’s automated marketing at it’s worst.

And it’s not surprising that so many business owners, like yourself, feel a slight queasiness in your stomach if someone was to suggest that you put some, if not all, your marketing on autopilot.

But the fact of the matter is, no matter how professional and honest and good you want to come across to your potential clients, there is not a chance of being able to carry out enough marketing on a one-to-one basis to grow your business.

When it’s just you in the business, you just don’t have enough hours in the day to patiently grow a pipeline of interested people. And once you start to win contracts and sell your offerings, you have even less opportunity to get out there to win over new clients. You get too busy with the day-to-day running of the business to find the time to do any marketing.

Arggh! How do you manage to find the time to do your marketing?

The truth is that if you don’t automate some, if not all, of your marketing then you are going to go nowhere fast!

Here’s how you can automate your marketing, without coming across as one of those awful telemarketing calls or bland junk mail letters.

1. Know exactly who you are targeting. This first step is the cornerstone to all successful marketing – both online and traditional. If you spend the time deciding exactly who you want to reach out to and engage with, you will know exactly what marketing communications to use and how to write it. Video is going to rock one target group, yet could repel another.

2. Know exactly why you are targeting them. If you truly understand the problems of the people you are going to reach, you can create the right solution. I know this may sound obvious, but too many of you are offering bland and boring “free newsletters” or poorly thought out downloadable ebooks that just sit on your website, doing nothing for your business. Offering something for free in exchange for an email address is absolutely the right path to take. But if you are scratching your head and wondering why no-one has signed up on your website for the past few weeks, it’s usually because what ever your free offer is, it’s not solving a problem of your target audience.

3. Be personal. Just because you may have never met, spoken or been introduced to the person who just found your website, doesn’t mean you can’t talk to them on a one-to-one basis.

Design your marketing to work for many, but always write your copy as if you are writing to one person.

Avoid the bland, corporate talk and show them that you understand and emphasise with their problems. Even if you focus on B2B, you are still selling to human beings … not corporate entities.

4. Communicate more than you think you should. Autoresponders – automated follow-up emails – are the secret ingredient to every small business marketing processes. But where most of you go wrong is that you are just not brave enough and end up sending out too few.

When you consider how often your target client is bombarded with messages day in, day out, it’s easy to feel you don’t want to pester people. But the truth is, if you play safe and avoid regular communication, you will get forgotten.

5. Value first, sell second. Now if you were to take my lead and set up a series of daily emails that only flog what you have to offer, then you would end up being reported for spam. But create value and send out stuff that your target clients want, then you may well find that your target clients want to hear from you daily.

Automate marketing doesn’t mean automated selling … it means creating opportunities to engage and build trust so that when the person is ready is buy, you are ready to sell.

Automated marketing doesn’t have to be scary. Nor should it be considered sleazy selling. Automated marketing is critical to your long term success as a small business owner.

The more opportunities you can create to building your mailing list via your websites, blogs and social media sites, whilst planning and scheduling ongoing communications with them, the better chance you will have of growing your business to where you want it to be.

You never know, you may even find that you end up working less hours, for more money. Now, wouldn’t that be nice.


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