Implementing a Grassroots Outreach Campaign to Attract Customers

????????????????????????????????????????????Any business trying to promote their services to attract new customers can sometimes get frustrated with the amount of noise they need to compete with on a daily basis. Sometimes, it can be difficult to get your message heard.

But with a properly executed grassroots outreach campaign, you can generate awareness of your business and slowly bridge that gap between your company and your target audience. It all starts with building a strong, long-lasting relationship with the residents and businesses of your community. This can not only enhance your reputation in your marketplace, but it can lead to loyal customers, referrals, and more importantly, increased traffic through your doors.

A grassroots outreach campaign is just the opposite of a traditional marketing one, which typically broadcasts your message to a wide population in the hopes that it will reach a portion of your target audience. For example, many of the television commercials you see today are part of a traditional marketing campaign. On the other hand, a grassroots campaign uses low-cost outreach tactics and focuses more on building relationships. 

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12 Steps to Bridge the Customer Engagement Gap

We have high regard for Virsys12, an award-winning technology consultancy and a Nashville-based salesforce.com Cloud Alliance Partner, and are collaborating with them on potential future projects that involve SalesForce. Below is an excerpt of a recent blog post that we thought our readers would enjoy:

Using technology to bridge the customer engagement gap is critical, but we’re not talking about the “rise of the machines” here. The best technology solutions are about elevating thehuman touch between the people inside your company and their customers, prospects, vendors and partners.

Here are Virsys12’s 12 moves for humans using technology:

1. Use the cloud. It’s hard to know your customer when information is scattered across multiple computers, spreadsheets, notes and systems. Using integrated cloud technology is the game changer, consolidating what we know about customers and keeping that knowledge current across people and platforms.

2. Upgrade for speed. According to a Kissmetrics study, 47% of consumers want web pages to load in two seconds or less. Patience is gone among your customer base—if it ever existed in the first place. If your technology is behind, so are you.

3. Collaborate. Today’s social collaboration tools make it easy for people to sync up and work together on customer issues, sales opportunities and other campaigns, whether the team is internal, external, virtual or all of the above.

4. Curate collective intelligence. There’s a wealth of knowledge that’s locked up inside your team. Social and online collaboration tools mean people can share and learn from each other’s experiences, and if someone leaves, their knowledge won’t leave with them.

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Do You Have 12 Minutes to Learn How to Be More Persuasive in Your Outreach?

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5 Outreach Efforts That Can Get Your Healthcare Business in Trouble

As the demand for healthcare practitioners continues to grow because of our aging baby boomers, increased population, better and more innovative technology as well as the Affordable Care Act, competition among medical practices continues to be as fierce as ever.  Practices with more resources are hiring advertising agencies and PR firms to manage their Outreach strategies.

Smaller and mid-size practices are doing what they can to keep up whether it’s by hiring an internal Outreach director or working with an independent consultant. No matter if you hire the best agency in town, using an Outreach intern from the local university, or just managing your own efforts, bad Outreach practices can happen if you’re not careful. Below are five Outreach efforts that can mar your organization’s reputation and hurt your bottom line.

Failing to asses your population’s language needs

One of the biggest mistakes medical Outreach professionals make is failing to do a complete assessment of their population’s language needs. This includes an analysis of not just the language, but the country/region of origin, health beliefs and health literacy level. Bridging the language gap is key to ensuring your culturally diverse communities enjoy equal access to healthcare.

For example, if you can’t apply an Anglo marketing model to reach Latinos. Family is center with most Latinos, and often the Latino family isn’t the traditional family by Anglo standards.

Instead it’s an extended family and community with a belief in the collective ‘we’ and a focus on cooperation instead of competition. In many cases, Latinos buy to enhance experience with family and community. Decisions are based on cultural norms and word of mouth. Plus, brand loyalty is high compared to Anglos and passes from generation to generation.

Regence BlueCross BlueShield, the largest health insurer in the Northwest/Intermountain region, learned this lesson when they discovered that their previous brand tagline “Together we can take charge” didn’t resonate well with Latinos. So they worked with the marketing department to keep the brand but modify it to “Juntos podemos” or “Together we can,” which was a more suitable message for their outreach to the Latino community.

After making this change, Regence’s net promoters score (NPS)—a customer loyalty metric—grew exponentially, confirming that Regence was communicating the right message.

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New Outreach Strategies to Improve Your Bottom Line

With stretched budgets and fewer personnel dedicated to delivering advertising and marketing messages, small businesses have become more creative in targeting their audience. From social media to content development to mobile marketing to outreach, companies are looking for the biggest bang for their buck.

Engage in social media

Social media continues to change how businesses communicate and share information it’s also an inexpensive way of reaching your audience. Each social media channel has a different function so understand what each channel does and develop a plan on how to use it.

Exposure to social media’s large user base is another reason to have a presence. However, social media is not for everyone. Not every business is meant for social media because some businesses cannot take advantage of the instantaneous feedback each platform provides. Examine your audience to see if you could benefit by having a presence.

If you use social media, choose the channel appropriate for your business, and then develop a strategy on the type of content to share, the frequency in updating your content, and how to respond to messages or comments on your pages. 

Assign someone on staff or an outside consultant who will be responsible for maintaining your account and keeping your content updated. It’s also a good idea to monitor the competition to see what they’re doing.

Update your website

A website or a blog is another important component to your marketing initiatives as long as you keep it updated with fresh content. When you provide customers with quality content, you’re gaining their trust and establishing your credibility. It can also boost your rankings in search engines. Today, businesses can manage their own content through content editors.

A content management system, such as WordPress, Drupal or Joomla, is very empowering for a small business and there’s no reason to rely on an outside organization to maintain the site.

One way to keep your website updated is by writing blog posts weekly. Your content management plan should include a communications calendar. As an added bonus, you can aggregate those posts into a monthly e-newsletter for your clients.

Conduct a keyword analysis—using tools such as Google Analytics—to discover how customers are finding your business and incorporating those keywords into your content.

Incorporate mobile marketing

Small businesses should also embrace mobile in their outreach efforts which also means that your website should be optimized for mobile. Small business marketers are presented with a powerful opportunity to reach specific customers at the right time and place with the right offer.

Register your business with Google Maps, and sites like Yelp and Foursquare, to harnessing the power of smartphones. Sixty percent of all cell phones sold today are smartphones. Not only do you have to be thinking about a mobile version of your website, but how consumers will use their phones to find products or services that they need.

Connect through outreach

Outreach is another effective method to reach your audience. In our OutreachU Programs, we define outreach as a two-way, community-based, customer focused effort which is distinctly different than the one-way message traditional marketing offers. In a one-way marketing strategy, businesses push a message to customers using methods such as direct mail or print ads. 

You’re pushing this message constantly, one way, and then hoping people will take action. Outreach is a two-way conversation with your customer—learning about them, their needs, and their desires through regular conversations.

Outreach is similar in some ways to social media, but even without social media, businesses can still interact in a two-way manner with potential customers through methods such as face-to-face networking and permission-based, email marketing.  

Plan a strategy 

No matter which marketing or outreach channels you use, planning is critical. 

With marketing messages splintered in terms of different channels, develop a strategy that incorporates different delivery mechanisms. We also still think we’re controlling the message. That clearly has changed. The brand does not belong to us anymore. It belongs to our customers.

Once your plan is in place, establish goals and stick with it. Outreach usually falls on the list of priorities during the day. People tend to dabble in it rather than commit to it. When they dabble, they don’t have the patience to let it work.

Lack of consistency is another problem that plagues businesses. 

Some businesses don’t have a consistent message and broadcasts it out there in the hopes that it lands on someone’s ears. Figure out your message, which vehicles to use, who you’re targeting, and allocate time to commit to this plan.

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