Making sales the clever way

IN ‘Your five-minute guide to marketing’ (CFJ September), I briefly outlined the benefits of marketing lists and their use as a valuable and effective marketing tool.

In this issue I wish to expand on the subject, as I believe every flooring contractor should have a marketing database and use it keep all customers and contacts up to date with what’s going on in their business.
And as you’ll find out, it doesn’t matter how many data records you have, lists and email are key ‘low cost’ routes to market.

Marketing at work
To illustrate how email marketing could easily work for you I’ll use the experience of my co-director at StreetwiseSubbie, Geoff Noake, with one of his clients, a specialist equipment manufacturer that sells high-end automated processing equipment.

One new machinery product is priced at £50,000. The brief from the client was to generate interest in this £50k unit and to encourage customers to pay for an onsite demonstration, paving the way towards a sale.

Test marketing proves cost-effective
As the client had no data or marketing lists of their own, new data had to be sourced and bought in. A count established that there was a potential audience of about 3,500 companies in the UK that met the targeting criteria and could benefit from buying the equipment.

However, before rushing out to buy new data, it was agreed to ‘test the water’ among a small number of companies located within a tight geographical radius of the client’s location.

A further count established there were 104 companies within the local area and these new prospect records were purchased on a 12 month lease for under £1 each.
A test email campaign was created to:

  • introduce the client;
  • introduce the product;
  • create interest in the product;
  • book a demonstration;
  • make a sale.

Incidentally, selling a new product to new customers is the hardest route to market for any advertiser.

The benefit of a properly crafted and targeted eshot
The first email was sent out to those 104 named individuals meeting the targeting criteria and was opened by 11 people (12%). Of these, 18% clicked on various links which included a sales brochure, a short demonstration video and a leasing leaflet.

With adjustments to the subject line, headline, tactical changes to the message and call to action, the e-shot was sent out a further nine times over a few weeks. By email nine, the individual open rate had increased to 22%, with a click through rate of 30%.

The result is that, at the time of writing, three companies were in the process of signing up to the on-site demonstration and one was suggesting they might buy two units.
To round off the results so far, on average, just one person per email unsubscribed from the leased list, all of which is sound justification for leasing more data and rolling the campaign out to a larger audience in the future.

Following up gets results
However, all of the above overlooks one very important thing.

These results didn’t happen magically following the first email. No. After each mailing, the client was given the performance data, and telephoned everyone that opened that particular email to follow up with the sales proposition.

That dedicated time and effort is what turned this campaign from a ‘cold’, speculative email campaign into something hugely rewarding.

More on the ‘rule of seven’
Going back to the September article, I touched on something called the ‘rule of seven’. You may recall that this rule states that a person needs to be exposed to your marketing at least seven times before they even notice you.

Text-book theory was proved right when recipients that had not opened any previous emails, opened either email eight, nine or 10 for the first time. Incidentally, one company opening email 10 was one of the world’s largest drink manufacturers.

To summarise, with the right approach and dedication, you don’t need to have a database of thousands to make email marketing work, you just need:

  • to understand your target audience;
  • know what they need that you can offer;
  • to demonstrate the benefits of using you rather than another flooring contractor;
  • a structured, targeted approach;
  • a good quality, up-to-date list;
  • the follow-up effort that is essential to make any marketing activity a success.

Finally, if you need help with your marketing, then give me a call.
Barry is MD and co-founder of which provides business solutions for specialist contractors throughout the UK
01773 712116