Conduct an Ongoing Three-a-Day Sales Campaign

10-Minute Branding Refresher: How do you build your brand 10 minutes at a time? You start small, and you simply begin. An excellent way to convince yourself to get going is to plan your ending. You can even set a timer. Then, be sure to bask in the success of your huge accomplishment of actually beginning and also appreciate the amount of work that got done. Then, repeat the process tomorrow. And the next day. And so on. You will be amazed at your branding progress . . . 10 minutes at a time.

This newest 10-minute brand building tip makes the assumption that you have already followed our advice to start to create a 10-minute contact database (see Build a Contact Prospect List) or alternatively have a list acquired separately from a third party that you’re now ready to start approaching.

While contact and production sales campaigns are most often created via a major coordinated effort aimed at reaching dozens of prospects simultaneously, your initiative need not be such an all-consuming, resource-draining exercise to produce meaningful results that enhance both your brand building activities and sales.

Instead, we suggest developing an ongoing sales initiative that will approach the task three prospects at a time.  Since your contact list was developed from your personal knowledge and efforts, we believe this data will be more qualified than lists acquired from a third party and will very often allow you to know the best media or strategy for making your approach.

Nevertheless, success will still be measured in very small percentages.  However, each success will represent the opportunity to create a loyal customer that delivers repeat business over time, and you also benefit in another less obvious way.  Since your direct marketing materials will be incorporating the key elements of your brand in your chosen way, this exercise also reinforces your brand with an important potential audience.  

Direct Mail Letter – E-mail – Text Message – Phone Call

As a separate exercise apart from this 10-minute tip, we suggest you build reusable templates for generating a letter and/or e-mail to individual prospects.  Then, you simply have to plug in the necessary name and contact information, generate the document, and send your solicitation to the targeted recipient.

Generally speaking, you should be able to complete three prospects at a time and still have a chance (and the energy!) to properly update the activity in a contact and production control log (that is either part of your original database or a separate spreadsheet).  While methods can vary, you need to maintain a record of every date and method of contact as well as any responses received.  In general, we suggest using a multimedia approach, so we recommend scheduling your first follow-up contact about a week after your letter or e-mail was sent.  Since you are building your contact list three items at a time and executing your sales and follow-up activites at a similar pace across as many days or weeks as needed, this process will essentially become an ongoing effort spread throughout the year that hopefully also produces some ongoing results!

If you initially felt a call was the best method to use, your follow-up will depend upon the response you receive.

  • If you actually spoke with a person, a letter or e-mail can be sent to thank the person for his or her time and consideration . . . with a promise to contact them again in the future.
  • If your initial call did not get through, a second call is probably in order – separated by about a week.
  • If one of these contacts connects and you are ready to move on to the next stage of the sales cycle, plan to schedule a follow-up session (very often a personal or virtual visit/meeting) to try to convert the sales lead into a customer.

When your initial contact and follow-up activities fail to produce results, plan to repeat the same activities with the same contacts at a future date – recognizing that repeated efforts might be required to get your message in front of the person at the right time – buying time (that moment when a potential need becomes an actual one). 

Note:  Although this article deals exclusively with implementing the mechanics and timing of running of a 3-a-day sales campaign, you can find more information about creating the necessary templates in other articles at www.brandbuildingforsmallbusiness.com.  Specifically, you might want to check out:   Role of Branding in Direct Mail/E-mail and Creating a Mail Merge Document for Direct Response Mailing.

BTW – Using direct contact opportunities to wish your customer a safe and happy holiday for occasions such  as Thanksgiving makes a positive statement about your brand!!

Measuring the Success of This 10-Minute Branding Task

While accomplishing three contacts in a day might seem like too little to make a meaningful difference when the percent returns are so small on direct marketing and telemarketing activities, these numbers DO multiply with consistent, sustained effort.   Furthermore, conversion of a single lead to a customer who becomes a loyal repeat client year after year represents a significant victory – the kind upon which successful businesses are built.

Build a Contact Prospect List

10-Minute Branding Refresher: How do you build your brand 10 minutes at a time? You start small, and you simply begin. An excellent way to convince yourself to get going is to plan your ending. You can even set a timer. Then, be sure to bask in the success of your huge accomplishment of actually beginning and also appreciate the amount of work that got done. Then, repeat the process tomorrow. And the next day. And so on. You will be amazed at your branding progress . . . 10 minutes at a time.

Add Three New Names Per Session

When you think about telemarketing, direct mail, or some other sales campaign, you probably imagine using a huge database of prospects obtained from a third-party source.  Perhaps the list was purchased from a vendor or downloaded from a non-profit professional organization of which you are a member.  Then, you probably see this list becoming the engine that drives a huge concerted effort involving many people . . . and then producing results measured in depressingly low percentages.

Well, that description is very often extremely accurate and can indeed be extremely worthwhile . . . but can also sometimes involve extensive resources.  However, another 10-minute approach to the same basic activity does exist.

Specifically, build your very own sales contact list three entries at a time.  Create a spreadsheet or other electronic list that includes the following columns for:

  • Name (consider separating into separate columns for first, last, and salutation)
  • Address (consider separating into separate columns for street, city, state, zip)
  • Phone number
  • E-mail address
  • Social media presence (identify which ones)
  • Dates contacted (Leave space for three entries)
  • Contact method (Leave space for three entries)
  • Contact response (Leave space for three entries)

When identifying the entries to include in your database, consider prospects from the following:

  • Your street, town, neighborhood
  • Personal acquaintances that could also have a business interest in your products/services.
  • Business associations and memberships such as the Chamber of Commerce, trade groups, etc.
  • Leads mentioned by your friends and family members.
  • Internet searches using a variety of terms related to your business.
  • Possible leads encountered through social media or other advertising activities.
  • Sign-in sheets located either online or within your place of operations.
  • Etc.

You Get the Idea

Prospects can come from almost anywhere; you probably encounter a half dozen a day . . . but never bother to formally collect the information into a useable file with accompanying contact information.

When entering such data into your spreadsheet, finding the names will probably come fairly easily, but you will spend the majority off your time gathering the other information that makes the file useful, using phone books, online searches, social media searches, directories published by groups and organizations like your local Chamber of Commerce, etc.  I can almost guarantee that 10 minutes will be required to do your three daily entries, and you will probably not be able to fill in every column of contact information but WILL succeed in collecting enough to be useful.

Next Steps for This 10-Minute Branding Task

Collecting three prospects per day may not seem like enough to be useful . . . but perform that task for 10 days during a month, and you have 30 at the end of that period.  Do that for six months and you have 180.  Furthermore, your list is reusable.  Following the basic principles of sales contact campaigns, you should plan to reach out to each name you have collected at least three times at different intervals to try to assure that you get your information in front of that person at buying time – the circumstance in which you are most likely to be successful in making a sale, adding a new customer, etc.  Similarly, you can try to approach your prospects in a variety of ways – by phone, by mail (direct mail letter or postcard), by social media messaging, etc.  That way, you are giving yourself the best possible chance of reaching out to each prospect by his or her primary media preference.

Will You Be Successful?

Conventional wisdom suggests yes – with sustained, consistent, and professional effort, you will generate new business.  While the percentage of victories will probably be low, new customers tend to be recurring and can more than payoff your 10-minute investments fairly quickly over time.   Furthermore, I think you will find that a list assembled in the ways described above will be somewhat prequalified and therefore more useful than prospect lists obtained in other ways that tend to include countless entries with little likelihood of success. 

For more information, see Role of Branding in Direct Mail/E-mail and Creating a Mail Merge Document for Direct Response Mailing.  Also, look for further 10-minute branding suggestions upon executing a prospect sales campaign three leads at a time!

Visit a Competitor’s Web Site

10-Minute Branding Refresher: How do you build your brand 10 minutes at a time? You start small, and you simply begin. An excellent way to convince yourself to get going is to plan your ending. You can even set a timer. Then, be sure to bask in the success of your huge accomplishment of actually beginning and also appreciate the amount of work that got done. Then, repeat the process tomorrow. And the next day. And so on. You will be amazed at your branding progress . . . 10 minutes at a time.

Looking into a Looking Glass

Visiting a competitor’s web site can be a very useful way of holding a mirror up to yourself to better understand and measure the effectiveness of your own brand (while taking the pulse of your position in the marketplace in relation to a company that’s out to secure the same business).

What You Should Look to Learn
(i.e., Your Checklist of Considerations)

When you visit your competitor’s web site:

  • Determine whether the content is brochureware (i.e., strictly informational) or transactional (i.e., providing interactive tools to place orders, pay bills, request a quote, etc.).
  • Read the description of their products and services and compare the features being highlighted to your own.
  • Ask yourself whether your competitor has succeeded in communicating a distinct brand and determine the kinds of qualities being emphasized (ex:  staff expertise, locale, ease of doing business, history and track record, use of latest technology, etc.)
  • Learn what service promises and commitments are being made (i.e., 100% satisfaction guarantee, 24/7 availability, etc.).
  • Ask yourself whether a particular visual style has been used that you can immediately associate with your competitor (ex:  use of a corporate color, font, byline, logo, etc.).
  • Determine how often new content is posted (daily, weekly, monthly, only upon revision to the site).
  • Get a quick sense of whether SEO has been taken into consideration; when you search for a product or service you both offer, whose comes up first?  How far down in the search results is your listing?

Once You’ve Completed This 10-Minute Exercise, Ask Yourself . . .

  • Was this experience almost like looking into a looking glass and seeing your own reflection?

OR

  • Did this looking glass show you the brand you’d like to become in the future?

OR

  • Did this glimpse at your competitor make you feel better about yourself?

Obviously, your answer to those questions is determined by your findings during your 10-minute visit, so your next job is to analyze your results and – if necessary – develop a game plan for improving.

Next Steps for Future 10-Minute Branding Tasks

Take a close look at each of the 7 Checklist items above.  In any instance in which your competitor fared better than you, develop a strategy to enhance your results.  For example:  If your competitor features Internet sales and service and you only offer brochureware, start putting together a plan of action to learn the enabling activities involved in expanding your web-based operations.  (A very big mission begun as a result of a quick 10-minute branding task!)

Once you have considered each item on your checklist, try to step back and consider the overall picture you see.  Does this current view reflect the company you want to be?  If not, is the time right to revisit your Vision Statement and refresh your brand, knowing that a better defined and executed brand will ultimately translate to better sales and operations?!

Ask a Customer (Just One) To Do a Review

10-Minute Branding Refresher: How do you build your brand 10 minutes at a time? You start small, and you simply begin. An excellent way to convince yourself to get going is to plan your ending. You can even set a timer. Then, be sure to bask in the success of your huge accomplishment of actually beginning and also appreciate the amount of work that got done. Then, repeat the process tomorrow. And the next day. And so on. You will be amazed at your branding progress . . . 10 minutes at a time.

Today’s 10-Minute Tip:

If you have a very friendly repeat customer who has been complimentary about your business, you have a possible candidate to write a review for you.  Very often, you just need to ask.  Since this 10-minute branding activity can be done at any time, any day that you don’t have a specific idea for contributing to your company’s brand, you can ask a customer for a review.

When approaching an unfamiliar vendor to acquire a needed product or service, most of us at least take a cursory glance at past customer ratings and reviews.  While some of your patrons may not be comfortable offering a review, many would be more than willing to help out.

While an in-person request is probably ideal, an e-mail, text message, or note at the bottom of a customer satisfaction survey can also work just fine.

When making your request, emphasize how quickly and easily the task can be done.  Suggest the various ways the review can be performed – from filling out an online form to writing a short note on a piece of paper, giving you a message that can be repackaged to display on a sales counter or reproduced in a brochure.  Remember, the goal is to find a method within his/her comfort zone.  (If appropriate, offer to pass along a link to an on-line review site.)

Helpful Hints You Can Provide

  • The review can be used to discuss your product(s) and/or services.
  • Suggest the person be as detailed and specific as possible.
  • Honesty always comes across best and creates a more meaningful and sincere message.
  • Reviews and ratings can be revised/updated in the future.
  • Tell the person to consider what he or she would personally like to know and include that kind of information.
  • Thank the person.

Making a customer request for a review can be accomplished in under 10 minutes . . . but the benefit can linger for years to come.

Learn more at:

Getting Reviews for Your Business

Review Request Sign

Weeeeeeeeeeee’re Back . . .!

Prefatory Note:

When Carole first suggested the idea of moving forward with a somewhat altered approach to our blog  (i.e., 10-Minute Branding) I was intrigued and sensed some real value that would speak to the current needs of people trying to build a successful small business and have some semblance of a work/life balance.  While I am currently at a different stage than her (having – for instance – two adult children out on their own rather than two teenagers at home), the freshness of her plan was appealing and seemed in keeping with our DIY mentality.  BUT . . . me being me, I had to build a justification for myself.  Below is where I landed.

Perform an Internet search for the statement “attention span of millennials and Generation Z’ers,” and you will find a variety of references to an 8-to-12 second time frame.

Is this finding a sad commentary on the younger crowd who are soon destined to rule the world, or is this fact a symptom of necessary adaptation to survive and ultimately thrive within an increasingly complicated and complex society?

Personally, I’ve come to believe the latter.  As the demands on our time and attention have grown, the ability to process information quickly and make meaningful use of small blocks of time becomes essential.   Furthermore, this realization has led us to consider the ways in which we can best be of service to small business owners who have among the greatest demands on their time and resources and who must achieve the highest level of efficiency to be successful in today’s fast-paced business environment.

10-Minute Branding

We think this concept of 10-minute branding can indeed be an important key to Get Sh – Done (and perhaps still create some extra time for family).  So . . .

After a two-month pause in new additions to our blog, we have decided to resume but with a shift in focus for the immediate future.

Over the past three years, we have covered many of the basic principles and tools of branding for small businesses.  Equipped with this library of resources, we decided we could be of greatest use to you – our audience – (while still preserving our chosen DIY  focus) by offering weekly tips on branding activities that can be accomplished in just 10 minutes.  (While some activities might require spilling over into multiple 10-minute sessions, our goal is to avoid intruding upon your already-busy schedule while still helping you realize your overarching goal of building a better, stronger brand identity.

Can You Really Accomplish Anything Meaningful in Just 10 Minutes?

Guess we’ll see, but . . .

Some branding activities can indeed seemingly be done in 10 minutes.  For instance, you can write a thank you note to a customer that instills in them a strong sense of service while giving you a chance to tout your business in a desired way.  Furthermore, 10 minutes a day for each day of a six-day work week yields an hour of potential productivity.  If you used those 10 minutes to collect three prospects’ contact info, you’d have a dozen and a half by the end of the week to approach the following week one by one with a branded message.  I fully suspect that converting some of those prospects into loyal customers would justify the effort and validate the process.

Furthermore, devoting one hour per week in 10-minute blocks yields more than 50 hours of annual productivity devoted specifically to building and refining your brand.  Needless to say, a lot can be accomplished in a work week+ period.

That said, you will have to be disciplined in doing your 10 minutes per day.  If you do, we believe you will be pleasantly surprised.

Our Part

For our part, we will provide tips that we believe can be accomplished in one or more ten-minute blocks.   We figure one way to make this happen is to try to devote as close to 10 minutes as possible to our creation of the tip, which should help ensure that the activity does not get overly complicated.

This approach is very much an experiment on our part.   As a result, we really would appreciate your feedback by leaving a comment in the form below or by sending a private email to brandbuildingforsmallbusiness@gmail.com.