Every minute of the day, Facebook users share 2.46 million pieces of content, Twitter users tweet 350,000 times, Google receives over 4 million search queries, and YouTube users upload 100 hours of new video. That's a whole lot of new content in just one minute.
The competition for your prospects' attention, especially repeat attention, is incredibly high and growing by the minute. That's why establishing a digital footprint that extends far beyond your corporate website or blog is imperative.
The key to winning the invisible sale is to create propinquity—or the opportunity for repeated interactions—between you and an unqualified prospect. In the buzz of all that content being created, you have to make sure your prospects see you.
The art of generating helpful, relevant content that is strategically dispersed throughout the websites and social networks favored by your prospects is creating what I call your "painless prospecting platform." As your unqualified prospects move through your platform and run into you and your content repeatedly, they begin to qualify themselves through their actions and interactions with you and your content.
As you set about establishing a painless prospecting platform, you'll need to focus on the following three parts.
1. Home base
Everything you do online and offline is designed to drive prospects to your home base. Your home base needs to be a corporate website, blog, or both. If your company has multiple product lines, you might have multiple home bases. Regardless, your goal is to always drive prospects back to your home base, where you can use your content and tracking technology to qualify prospects and guide them down the appropriate sales funnel.
The single most important thing to think about when crafting your home base is about how well it functions. In your website, you want to create a funnel-optimized, mobile-friendly, qualified lead-generation machine committed to achieving only one goal: the constant creation and qualification of convertible leads for your company.
In the simplest terms, an outpost is a place where you and your content show up from time to time and where your prospects congregate. A good example is submitting a guest post on a popular blog or authoring an article for a magazine. You create and post the content there, but you're not investing a lot of time in doing so because your goal is to generate awareness. You're trying to use the platform owner's audience to create awareness of you and your product or service, and to give prospects a simple way to follow you back to your home base.
Similar to outposts, embassies are places where you find and interact with prospects but in a much deeper and engaged manner. Embassies are where you'll plant a flag and plan to spend a good amount of time interacting with the people you find there. Embassies are the places you're going to meet people, introduce people to one another, and get introduced to people.
Unlike outposts, effective embassy management requires plenty of work and a hefty time investment on your part. But that effort should translate into significant value in the form of new business leads, reputation enhancement, or opportunities to connect with resources that boost your ability to do your job on behalf of your clients. You'll have only a few embassies in your platform, so you need to select them strategically to maximize the effectiveness of your prospecting platform.
Your Ever-Changing Prospecting Platform
Keep in mind that your prospecting platform is not a static digital footprint. It ebbs and flows as your company emphasizes different products or services. As you move in new directions or target new audiences, any propinquity point can vacillate between serving as an outpost or acting as an embassy. That might be due to a change in your strategy, a changing business climate, or just a realization that a particular propinquity point is under- or over-delivering based on your current efforts.
As you embark on this journey to build your painless prospecting platform, know that you will make mistakes along the way. Failures will occur. Platforms or outposts will end up not making sense or not generating a big enough return on your time and investment to justify continued involvement.
Failure is the price of learning. The key is to fail small while simultaneously setting yourself up to win big.
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For more information on creating a painless prospecting platform for your own company, join me at MarketingProfs B2B Forum in Boston when I'll present How to Leverage the Science of Propinquity to Win More Customers on Thursday, October 9 at 1:30 PM or pick up a copy of The Invisible Sale.
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