Today I googled the term, “marketing help” just to see what is on page one. I was taken aback when I saw the results that came up were all about customer data. The majority of the listings, including the ads, were all about systems creation. Their listings were all sparkly and promised results in minutes. Each one promised a lot. That tends to put me on my guard. If it seems shiny and sparkly, it’s probably something to approach with caution. It got me thinking.

I do agree, however, that systems creation is a critical element to building a marketing system that works. I mean, you have to have the data collected, streamlined and ready for use just as much as you have to have the staff and operations in place to do the same.

However, I couldn’t help but think about the small business owner who types that phrase into Google to find the support they need to make a shift in business. The small business owners I work with are often cold-called by tech companies and immediately intimidated by the technology… and the pricing! I don’t blame them. It’s hard to know who to trust and who to invest in when you’re trying to run a business. Working with someone, as opposed to with a system, feels like a no brainer, right? I think so. Having a partner in marketing is a godsend in getting the right stuff done. It’s always good to feel like someone’s got your back.

That said, one of the first items on my to-do list when working with small business owners is to audit their level of what I call “Operational Readiness”  or “O.R.”. Without O.R., you will never really be ready to grow. I don’t always recommend that a small business invest in an uber robust technology system right off the bat, but I do insist that a business owner look at the way they organize their customer information and begin the process of streamlining it in a way that works for them and allows for the growth they seek.

Here’s my O.R. Audit Checklist that I use with my clients:

  1. How are you organizing your client/customer information? Paper? Online? Excel?
  2. What kind of customer info do you collect?
  3. Can you easily find information when you need it? Last purchase date? Item purchased? Email address?
  4. How much would you like to communicate with your client list?
  5. Do you know what kind of information your clients/customers would like to get from you?

Once I have the answers to these 5 critical questions, I am able to recommend next steps to creating O.R. within the business. When we have an idea of the client/customer information gathered and their interest in receiving communications occasionally from the company, it’s a lot easier to determine what our next marketing tactic will be. I usually suggest that business owners do their best to make note of their client’s or customer’s interests, even if it’s just in passing. Keeping track and keeping notes are a real feat of personalized customer appreciation and will often (and most usually) lead to increased sales and/or referrals. Seriously. This one makes a huge difference in the way your clients and customers will engage with you.

So, next time you’re thinking about engaging with your clients or customers, think about how you are organizing or collecting their info. The last thing you want to do is send them communications or messages they are not interested in or send too much too often.

I leave you with this-
What kind of compelling content will get your target audiences to open up and read your email communication?

Once you have that, you are golden. If you need help with any of that, let’s chat. You’re not in this alone!