I speak with a lot of hospitality business owners – and one thing they all agree on is they would like to save money on their marketing.
In this article I’m going to explain to you why your ‘list’ or ‘database’ is your most important marketing asset. When used properly, it can make you money without costing you anything!
You may have heard the term ‘marketing funnel’. It has become a bit of a buzz word recently in its use in online marketing.
A marketing funnel can actually refer to a couple of different things but I want to demystify this for you a bit. If you think about a funnel in reality what do you think of? Something that’s wide at the top, gets narrower as it goes down, and directs everything that enters to one spot right?
Well let’s think about this in terms of your customer journey;
- we have the top we have the top of your funnel
- then we have the middle of your funnel
- and the bottom of your funnel
The top of the funnel corresponds to the beginning of the customer journey – when they are becoming aware of your business.
At this stage the customer wants information. The types of marketing activities that you’ll use are – blogging, social media, advertising, lead magnets/special offers, publicity…
In the middle of the funnel the customer is considering your business to meet their needs. You might be a ‘finalist’ in their decision making process. At this stage they might be comparing you to your competitors.
This is the stage where you’ll see marketing activities that are more ‘interactive’ and educational. Where the customer wants to ‘get to know you better’ and spends more time engaging with your content. Your website is important here, your menu, a contact form, also testimonials. You could also use quizzes, surveys, downloads – things like that where the customer does something.
Then at the bottom of the funnel is where the customer is making a purchasing decision.
At this stage your potential customers are looking for assistance in making their final decision and purchasing. Marketing activities that help in this stage are – free trials, demonstrations, assessments, face to face meetings, events. You also need to consider how people can purchase from you, or in your case book. So booking forms, a phone number, perhaps intermediaries where they can book.
Where do you focus most of your marketing efforts?
If you’re like most people and most businesses you probably focus on the top part of the funnel. The awareness stage. I think the thinking behind this is ‘if only more people knew about us they’d love us, buy from us, and we’d be mega successful’.
I think its because as business owners and managers we all believe so much in what we do. We can’t help but think that everyone else will love what we do as much as we do.
So you focus all your time and effort of ‘meeting new customers’ so to speak.
But if you think about it, focusing all your attention at the top of the funnel is like trying to find your life partner by simply saying ‘hi’ to someone and waiting for them to marry you… Crazy, right?
When in reality, you will get a better result from focusing more on getting to know each other better.
I guess one of the reasons for this kind of ‘default position’ is that ‘traditional’ forms of marketing like advertising, and trade shows are focussed on this. And this is what people are familiar with. But this is ‘the old way’ of doing things. The mass-market, Coca-Cola way of marketing. It suits businesses with big budgets, and those that don’t need to know what time, money and effort is returning the most profit.
And finding new customers is important – you can see from the shape of the funnel that you lose people at each stage. So the number of people in your funnel gets smaller right?
But we want our money and efforts to work as hard as possible and go as far as possible.
We want to move as many people through the stages of the funnel and turn them into customers, and then return customers.
But how do we do that?
The Customer Journey
Let’s start by looking at the stages of the customer journey;
What we want to do is capture their details as early as possible. That way we can move them through the other stages, rather than rely on them doing it themselves – that is the power of a list!
We can use different methods to capture these details from customers that visit the venue. When we’re trying to get them from someone before they are a customer we need to do it online.
Here are the best ways;
- landing pages
- online forms
So we can send them information via emails, SMS messages or even Facebook messages to help move them through the stages and become a customer – how cool is that?
Building a customer list is a bit like ‘the chicken or the egg’ problem…
You need to build a list to be able to market to…
But you need a way to market to the list…
So what do you focus on first? Building the list? Or setting up the systems?
Well, I hate wasting time, and money. So I think that if we’re going to build a list (which I think is the easiest, most effective, and most affordable way to market your business) we should know what we’re going to do with it.
Getting these systems set up in advance will mean that every single person that joins our list from now on will be maximised…
And the best part about it is there are a lot of things you can set up once and have working in the background forever – generating loyalty, bookings and revenue for you! How awesome will that be?
If you’d like to learn how to set up your systems, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1300 764 418.