Hello everyone, welcome to the Balanced Business Leaders Podcast hosted by yours truly, Claire Jones, owner of Liminal Clarity. We are a business development agency that helps small business leaders scale and grow without burning out.
This is the next podcast in a series where we will be discussing the various trials and tribulations that lead me to creating my Three Pillars of Business Success, a framework that represents the foundational systems that contribute to sustainable business growth.
If you’re interested in learning more, please join us in our free Balanced Business Leaders Facebook Group at facebook.com/groups/balancedbusinessleaders.
Ready? Alright, let’s dive in.
So I started this podcast as a way to tell my story, particularly when it comes to the many, many different lessons that I have learned over the years when it comes to founding, developing, running, and growing small businesses.
This particular episode is about Touchpoints, because you need to know how often you should interact with your potential customers.
So why are touchpoints important? Like we covered in previous episodes, when it comes to marketing strategies, what we’re talking about here is intentionally and strategically building your know, like, and trust factor with your audiences.
So now that we’ve figured out which marketing platforms to use for your business and how to optimize your digital presence with your website and google my business profile – the question is – now what?
How do you strategically build that know, like, and trust factor with these platforms? By consistently generating multiple touchpoints with your potential customers and clients.
A lot of people think that if they just build a website, or open up a brick and mortar – customers will show up. I’ve definitely fallen into this trap before, with my first business that was a general store devoted to local goods.
I set up the website, I set up the brick and mortar space, put my sign out front on the sidewalk and waited for the masses to come. But, guess what? They didn’t.
I had the cart but I didn’t have the horse. Sure, I got a few sales from people who just happened to wander upon my store – either online or in person. But it wasn’t consistent and it definitely wasn’t enough to keep my business open.
It wasn’t until I started seeking out business advisors that they told me about this thing called networking. I was like, what do you mean I have to go talk to people? What do you mean I need social support circles?
I was an only child of divorced parents, living thousands of miles away from home – I had always done things by myself so I hadn’t yet learned that I needed to develop relationships in order to help my business succeed.
That’s the importance of touchpoints, right there. You need to give people multiple chances so that they can grow to know, like, and trust you. Because at the end of the day, it’s not a sales funnel – it’s a trust funnel.
The most common rule of thumb when it comes to the number of touchpoints you need in order to engage a customer is around 16 touchpoints.
As a rule of thumb, it’s a pretty solid rule of thumb but I believe, like most generalizations, that it leaves the valuable nuances unexplored.
So, if you want a little more depth and a little more strategy, I invite you to check out Jeb Blount’s book Fanatical Prospecting.
It’s a great book if you haven’t checked it out already, it has some really juicy information about how to consistently, strategically, and intentionally build relationships with your audiences. He comes from a traditional corporate sales background, so he is most familiar with sales call centers, insurance sales, software sales, stuff like that.
But I think his advice is very useful for businesses of all sizes and in all fields because what we’re really looking at here is how do you build that know, like, and trust factor over time with your audiences.
Like I’ve said before, people are going to buy from people that they know, like, and trust. We’re in a day and age now with marketing where it’s highly unlikely that you’re showing up on the market with a completely new product or a new idea.
Most of the time, you’re going to have both direct and indirect competitors. So why is your customer going to buy from you? Because they know, like, and trust you.
And generating touchpoints is a great way to strategically and intentionally build those relationships – build that know, like, and trust factor.
Jeb Blount has done a lot of research on this and he has figured out how many touchpoints it takes to engage various customers and so, for example –
If you are engaging a cold prospect (someone who doesn’t know who you are, doesn’t know your brand, doesn’t know anything about your business, your products, or your services), you need to create 20 to 50 touchpoints before they will engage with your products or services.
And touchpoints can be anything from commenting on their Facebook posts, to meeting them at a networking event, to sending them an email, to talking to them on the phone. And you need a lot of touchpoints because they need to grow to know, like, and trust you.
So if you’re consistently interacting with them every other day, for example, it’s going to take up to 100 days to engage a cold prospect. That’s the power of having a consistent and deliberate touchpoint strategy.
You have to be prepared to have a long build-up cycle in order to engage clients.
If you are engaging with a prospect who has a little bit of familiarity with you and your brand (maybe they’ve seen a couple of your posts here and there, maybe they saw an ad once), then it takes 5 to 20 touch points. And that’s when it’s buying window dependent, meaning that they may or may not be in the buying window and may or may not be actively looking around for a product or service similar to what you offer.
Even if you have a warm inbound lead, this means that people know, like, and trust you enough to come to you and ask about your services or products, it still takes 5 to 12 touch points in order to engage them.
This means that they are actively seeking out you and your products or services. They are interested in your offerings enough to come and ask you about them – but it still takes 5 to 12 touch points in order to engage them.
Narrowing down even further, it takes 3 to 10 touches to engage a prospect who has a high degree of familiarity with you or your brand, but is NOT in the buying window. That’s the power of branding.
This means that the prospective customer has already grown to know, like, and trust you – they have a high degree of familiarity with you and your brand BUT they’re just not buying right now.
Even if they’re not interested in buying from you at the moment, it still takes less touchpoints to engage them (on average) than it would take to engage a warm inbound lead – someone who is actively asking you about your products or services (who is presumably already in the buying window) but is not as highly familiar with you.
That’s the wild thing about marketing – People will go to great lengths to support and buy from the people that they know, like, and trust. We’re all human, we’re evolutionarily wired for social connection and our brains just prefer the people that we already know, like, and trust.
Because once you jump up to a potential customer who both has a high degree of familiarity with your brand AND is in the buying window, it only takes 1 to 5 touchpoints to engage them.
This means that they may be already looking for options. They’ve already done a few searches online, they’ve already gone to a few stores, they’ve already talked to a few people. They are looking for what kinds of options are out there and they are actively looking to buy a solution for their problem.
PLUS they are also highly familiar with you and your business already. They already know, like, and trust you. Maybe they follow you on Instagram, maybe they follow you on Facebook, maybe they’re signed up for your newsletter, maybe you see them often at networking events or at your kids’ soccer practice.
Whatever the touchpoints are – they already know what your business offers AND they are in the buying window actively looking for solutions similar to what you offer. In this case, it takes 1 to 5 touchpoints to engage them.
So you really need to keep in mind how many times you need to interact with your audiences in order to build that know, like, and trust factor. Basically, how can you go about this strategically?
So it might take a while to build these relationships: you are building trust, you are building credibility, and it’s all about how you can create a relationship with them. Because there are so many options out there nowadays for products and services, chances are you’re not the only one who offers what you’re offering. So why is the potential customer going to choose you? Because they know, like, and trust you.
And, finally, in order to re-engage an inactive customer, someone who has already bought from you in the past, it takes 1 to 3 touches. Maybe they bought from you three months ago, maybe they bought from you five years ago, it still takes 1 to 3 touchpoints (on average) in order to re-engage them.
So what do these touchpoints look like? It can look like email campaigns, newsletters, phone calls – maybe you want to call them and check in on how they’re doing. Maybe you want to send them a follow up email to ask for a product or service review, find out how they’re liking the product that they bought from you – maybe find out if they want more.
If you are selling a physical product, maybe like a face wash or some other type of disposable, personal use product, then you might want to follow up with them after a month to ask if they’d like to reorder since it’s likely that they’ve used up what they had. And this can easily be done with automated email campaigns sent through your ecommerce store, there are several softwares that will do this for you.
You can also comment on their Facebook groups, you can comment on their Facebook pages, you can follow them on Instagram and like and comment on their stuff if you have a closer relationship with your customers.
Or you can meet them at a networking event – there’s a lot of different ways you can create a touchpoint with those inactive customers and re-engage them.
You can even send them follow up gifts using snail mail. For example, Bed Bath & Beyond is actually great at this. I know you’ve seen their 20% off coupons that they mail out on a regular basis to past customers. How many times have you created a random trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond just because you got those coupons in the mail?
That’s a perfect example of a touchpoint for an inactive customer because this is actually the easiest level of touch point. Typically, if they’ve been a customer in the past, you already have their information. You have their phone number, their email, their address – so it’s really easy to create these touch points with inactive customers.
So this is the type of strategy that you can keep in mind when you’re approaching your marketing efforts and it typically takes a while to build these relationships. That’s why I think of marketing as more of building relationships with people, building familiarity, because they want to know, like and trust you before they buy.
So next time, we’ll be going more in depth into the fourth step of Marketing Strategies, Content Creation. I hope to interweave my personal experiences with the business lessons I learned along the way so that I can paint a full picture for you guys.
And please let me know what you think! I am always open to feedback and love connecting with my audiences.
If you want to learn more, I personally invite you to join us in the Balanced Business Leaders VIP Group Program. In as little as one hour per week, you will walk away with a clear action plan to grow and scale your business sustainably.
Please visit linktr.ee/liminalclarity for more information.
You can find the episode outline, video recording, transcript downloads, related links, etc. below.
And, until next time, love you all, take care, and I hope you have a good day wherever you are.