One of my first custom publishing sales calls happened when visiting Carrier Corporation, the HVAC manufacturer, in Syracuse, New York (Summer, 2001). I was pitching them on a special 100th Anniversary Issue to commemorate 100 years since Willis Carrier invented the air conditioner. They executed on the idea, but didn’t use us for the services.
I’d rather not talk about it.
Anyway, while there I met with the marketing person in charge of their events and trade shows. As I entered his office, there was a notecard on the ground. I picked it up, and noticed that it was a lead card from a trade show (you know, one of those cards you fill out to enter a contest on the show floor).
Upon giving it to the marketer, he opened a huge drawer to his left. The drawer was filled with, literally, thousands of the same kind of lead card. I asked him about it.
“Yeah, these are the leads we received from the past six months of trade shows,” he said.
“Doesn’t someone need to input them into the database for follow up?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said. “I need to get on that.”
I’m not just picking on Carrier. I’ve been to dozens of companies that do all the work to get leads and inquiries in the door, and then do nothing with them (perhaps you’ve heard of this happening in your own company?).
Why am I bringing up this 20-year-old example?
Let me tell you.
Over the last two weeks I’ve been searching the web looking for a publicist with expertise in suspense and thriller books (for my debut novel, The Will to Die). I managed to find a few that made the cut. To be precise, I found seven companies of interest.
At every website, I was instructed to complete a contact form to get more information.
I did so.
I sat back and waited.
One responded the same day (Yay!)
Two responded the next day (not bad).
The other four didn’t respond at all.
Let me say that again. The other four didn’t respond at all (and before you ask, yes, I did complete the form properly).
Need another example?
A large tree (pictured above) fell down in our backyard and landed on our brand new generator. Before we get the generator replaced, we need someone to remove the tree.
My wife Pam signed up for one of those home services websites and completed the pertinent information. In return, she received information about three local companies that would be contacting her to provide an estimate for tree removal.
You know where this is going, right? Not one of the companies contacted her. Not a one.
What is it with the world today?
You can run ninety of 100 meters faster than anyone in the world, but if you don’t finish the race, what does it matter?
Here’s just a friendly list of random things to check to make sure your marketing isn’t going to waste (in no particular order).
Contact Us Form
When someone completes it, where does the information go? Who’s responsible for follow-up? Are you keeping an ongoing record of it? Are you following up on the follow-up (Salesforce or Zoho, perhaps)? What pages are people coming from when they land on your contact form? Do people receive a “Thank You for Contacting Us” email immediately upon form completion?
How do people signup? Is it easy? Is there a benefit they immediately receive from signing up (like a giveaway)? Are you using double opt-in (GDPR compliant)? How’s your open rate? What are you doing to reactivate people who haven’t opened your emails in a while? What if someone replies to your email newsletter? Who gets it? Uh, and is your email newsletter even any good?
Trade Show Inquiries
Where do the inquiries go? Are you adding those people to your email newsletter list (please say you aren’t…that’s against CAN-SPAM law)? Is there a process for follow-up? Do they get a form letter or does an actual person follow up?
If someone tags you on a social media platform, what’s the process for responding? Are you signed up for any sites (like Yelp or other online business sites)? Are they completely updated? Is the contact information correct?
What other things can you think of? Perhaps your webinar signup and attendance process? An eBook or white paper? What if someone calls your location? How does that work?
Make a list of all the places your customers contact you and make sure you know the process and that someone is responsible for each method.
The following was an excerpt from Joe’s newsletter. Only subscribers receive the full version.