Regional Companies must recognize the importance of creating, maintaining and rewarding excellent customer relationships to increase their customer base.
Marketing or promoting a business is the act of getting the word out, placing advertisements, networking via the local chambers of commerce, being a part of your local community, and managing the process of sales. Marketing, sales, public relations, and advertising are all related to one another, but each have their own individual functions with the goal of promoting a business or service in order to increase awareness and ultimately grow sales.
Outreach marketing is the process of going out and actively seeking opportunities to network with potential clients, business peers, the competition, and the public. As opposed to just placing traditional advertisements, you are actively looking for the opportunity to meet people and create relationships that can potentially turn into new business for your company. Much like PR, outreach marketing can help to create the image that your company wants the public to recognize.
When performing outreach, the main goal is to gain awareness and build lasting relationships. The public’s perception of your brand is critical because the hope is that they will become brand ambassadors or influencers for your product or service and spread the word. If the relationships that you build are solid, the perception will be good. If they are not, it could very well harm your business beyond repair.
Outreach marketing can be performed in many ways. Whether you are attending community events, sending mailers, giving away promotional items, cold calling, emailing, conducting surveys, working to improve customer service or creating a new customer rewards program, outreach requires the same set of planning skills.
The first step in effective outreach is to ensure you fully understand the business you are representing and the audience you need to reach. Whether it’s for your own business or for a client, there are several key aspects to consider when planning an outreach marketing strategy.
• Define goals – Goals should be unique and measurable and focus on the task of building and maintaining the right customer base.
• Brand value – know the unique value proposition that your business provides to customers so you can communicate that value clearly.
• Branding style – you must fully understand your company’s branding and style so you can convey the proper image in your outreach efforts.
• Target audience – know the key attributes and traits of your target audience and keep them consistent throughout your outreach efforts.
• Message – Develop messages that will speak to your audience as well as motivate them to act. Messages need to relay what customers want, not what you do.
Outreach marketing, just like any other type of marketing, requires planning. Once you go through the preliminary steps of gathering information about your audience and the best way to get in touch with them, your outreach and overall marketing efforts will be much easier. Remember to target your audience when advertising but broaden that audience when doing outreach. Just because the people that you meet don’t use your products or services doesn’t mean they don’t know someone who will.
Regional companies should become involved with local chambers of commerce in the markets they serve and consider going even further outside of their markets as well. Marketing does not need to be restricted to your specific markets. Expanded marketing efforts may attract business on a more regional level. Remember that marketing success is based on knowing and serving your audience locally no matter how large your regional company may be. If you build it and properly care for it, it will continue to grow.