Even in this day and age, there are still marketers who insist that cold calling isn’t dead. There are others who started proclaiming it dead way back in the early 1990s. The odds against making successful sales through those good old-fashioned calls at dinner time from sales reps were not even so great 20 years ago, before no-call lists and smartphones took over. Now? Harvard Business Review says cold calling is ineffective 90.6 percent of the time and costs 60 percent more than alternative marketing methods. Sure, a great phone conversation is an ideal gateway to a sale, but it comes at the expense of paying employees to make hundreds of phone calls to people who will either never answer or never call back. Shouldn’t you have enough confidence in your products and services to invest in inbound marketing instead?
1. Start a Blog
Blogging for business is a hugely successful internet marketing tool. According to HubSpot, blogs grow the customer base of over 60 percent of businesses who use them, because it’s an easy way to not only flaunt your expertise in your industry but also to form relationships with your customers. If you use your blog in accordance with Search Engine Optimization, you will pop up in search results for the things your company offers. Your blog can be a hub for email, social media, newsletters, and all of your other internet marketing strategies, so that when people discover you they can immediately learn more about your company. A well-written blog is an instant boost to your credibility, while telemarketing is usually the exact opposite.
Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals from existing customers – they may know plenty of people who would be interested in your company, and they can provide you with warm leads that are much more likely to result in a sale. This way you’re cutting back on phone calls and also making calls that make sense. You can get referrals from other business partners as well, who would be willing to provide you with contact information for customers who might be interested in your company’s services as well as theirs. In many cases, it might be preferable to contact referred customers by email. Many marketing experts will insist phone calls are always better for communication and problem resolution, but for initial contact, an email with a professional display name and attention-grabbing subject is more likely to get a response than a voicemail.
3. Social Media Networking
Facebook boasts over 1 billion monthly users, with nearly 800 million connecting through their mobile network. Instead of going through one phone number at a time, develop your Facebook profile and stay active. Businesses might be turned off of social media because it usually takes some time and effort to really establish your presence, but that time and effort is spent much more wisely on internet marketing than it would be on cold calling and getting no results. If you focus on your target audience, respond to messages and contacts, and stay on top of industry news and trends, people will notice you. You can also give customers who directly contact you on Facebook and Twitter an opportunity to have a sales rep call them.
Nobody in marketing disputes the power of a great phone call, but the internet has given you plenty of ways to get better leads. Don’t let your marketing department be stuck in the past, and don’t pay employees to waste time. The internet age isn’t going away anytime soon, so you should learn to embrace it. Connect with your customers in ways that are meaningful to them, and you’ll be offering them a welcome opportunity instead of a routine annoyance.
Blogger Brett Harris earned an online marketing degree which has helped him set up several successful web businesses.