Unless you're a professional telemarketer or salesperson, I’d be shocked if you told me you relish the task of cold-calling a prospective customer. I certainly don’t!
I was chatting to a friend who works in advertising sales recently, who mentioned that, on average it takes her around seven separate contacts with a potential new client before they decide whether to progress with a decision to buy. These could be pre-arranged face to face meetings over a coffee, bumping into each other at a network event, sharing a social media post or a simple exchange of emails.
This wasn’t new to me - I’ve heard about the ‘Rule of Seven’ before. It’s a theory developed by marketing expert Dr Jeffrey Lant which states that you must contact your customers a minimum of seven times in an 18 month period for them to remember you. It’s all about building up familiarity, visibility and confidence in you as a business person and in the product or service you provide.
So, as we’ve now entered the seventh month of the year, it’s the ideal time to talk about the seven touchpoints of marketing and what these might look like for your business.
Before you begin, the customer has got to need your product or service. You’ve got to put in a spot of groundwork to profile and research your potential customers before you create any form of memorable contact with them. Before you pick up the phone, leave a voicemail or knock on their door, consider the other communications channels you could utilise first.
And there are many! Take a look at this graphic which shows just a few of the touchpoints out there (created by my talented graphic designer husband Matthew Jackman!).
Click image to enlarge
Selecting your channels
A key piece of advice is to use a good mix of channels and to make contact at various times of day. It looks more natural. Also, make sure the messages and wording across all your channels are consistent. This will help people to remember who you are and forms part of a good content marketing strategy.
Following a business or individual on social media is a great first touchpoint, Retweeting, liking, sharing posts and commenting on their blog will ensure you’re on their radar. Just don’t do it all in one day otherwise you’ll end up looking like a stalker!
Your approach will require careful planning
We can’t all wait 18 months for our seven touchpoints in line with Dr Lant’s theory (although for some industries and large capital expenditure, this will be the norm), but we can plan each one carefully. As per the social media touchpoints, create a strategy and spread out your contact over a few weeks.
When is the best time to post on social media?
Consider your audience. Busy professionals tend to look at their feeds during their commute, at lunchtime and in the evenings for a spot of downtime. If you’re targeting parents with children, try posting around 3pm when they’re waiting to pick the kids up from school, or perhaps weekend mornings when they’re searching for something to occupy the kids.
When is the best time to email?
Again, consider your audience. Busy business people are often travelling to or waiting for meetings just before or after the hour - sending an email between five-to and five-past the hour could maximise your chances of your message being read.
When is the right time to pick up the phone?
When your seven touchpoints are complete and you don’t have a friend or colleague to recommend you, you’ll have no choice but to pick up the phone. According to Dr Lunt’s theory the right time to pick up the phone is later in the month, towards the end of the working week, and after 3pm. These are the times when businesses are more likely to be planning their workload for the month ahead, considering purchasing decisions or outsourcing work.
I’m off to do some work on some of my other communications touchpoints now. One down, six to go. Gotcha!