Effective marketing necessitates organization, which in turn requires the implementation of systems and processes. It’s often noted that the creative mindset may not align with highly organized work styles. Of course, this is a generalization, but if creativity conflicts with organization and systematization, creatives will need to enhance their organizational skills for their marketing to thrive.
Marketing: A Numbers Game
In many respects, marketing is a numbers game. At its core, it involves reaching out to potential new clients to make them aware of your services. As we all know, not everyone we approach will express interest. This means that as we navigate through the marketing funnel, some prospects will transform into interested leads, some of these into opportunities, and a subset of these into clients—with significant attrition at each stage.
Let’s hypothesize that at each stage of the marketing funnel we achieve a 20% transition rate (which would be commendable!). In other words, only 20% of the prospects you identify will indicate interest and take action. They move from the prospect stage to the lead stage—leads being those prospects that respond to your initial outreach in some manner. Most of these leads may not have a firm interest in your services, at least not at the time of your introduction. So, let’s assign the same 20% probability to those who may present an opportunity for discussion. Assuming your marketing effectively delivers qualified prospects, let’s predict that you qualify and convert 20% of all opportunities into new clients.
If you add 1,000 contacts into the top of that funnel, only 200 will evolve into leads. Of these 200, just 40 would become potential opportunities, and out of those, only 8 would convert into new clients. These initial percentage assumptions can vary greatly depending on your positioning, the nature of your service, and your prowess at engaging and nurturing your prospects.
The Necessity of One Thousand Prospects
One thing remains clear. For this scenario to unfold, you would need to usher at least 1,000 prospects through your marketing funnel. Managing one thousand (or more) contacts is unfeasible without systems and processes to maintain organization.
Customer Relations Management Systems: Are They Essential?
There is a multitude of products designed to assist you in tracking leads, opportunities, and clients, known as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. Salesforce is perhaps the most famous, but it can be overly complex and costly for the average creative entrepreneur. I generally suggest HubSpot’s Free CRM when a CRM is required. But truthfully, a CRM might be overkill for most creatives. CRMs are particularly beneficial when managing hundreds of leads and opportunities through a transactional sales process, especially with a multi-person sales team. However, the built-in structures of a CRM can be too rigid and inflexible for the fluid marketing processes of the typical creative entrepreneur.
The Potential of Alternatives to a CRM
A simple Google Sheet could suffice for managing your contacts and tracking their progress through the prospecting funnel.
However, while a spreadsheet can be adequate, I use a tool that functions much better and could possibly eliminate the need for a CRM altogether: AirTable.
AirTable bears a resemblance to a spreadsheet. In fact, you can copy and paste all the columns and rows from any spreadsheet directly into AirTable. However, AirTable is essentially a relational database. How is this beneficial? Imagine you have a spreadsheet containing all your contact’s names, email addresses, along with fields that monitor their prospecting stage (unengaged, engaged, lead, opportunity, client, no interest, unqualified, etc.) and maybe lead scoring (cold, warm, hot, star, etc.).
Simultaneously, you have another sheet where you track all the different “campaigns” that you run to reach out to these leads. By tracking these campaigns in a separate table, you can use a special relationship field (called “Link to another record” in AirTable) to link each contact with the campaigns they’ve been included in.
Powering Up with AirTable
This type of data relationship, along with all other data, can be leveraged to exploit the true strength of AirTable—its filters, grouping, and sorting capabilities. AirTable enables you to conveniently display or hide any field from your view. It also allows you to filter your lists using any criteria from your data (for instance, filtering the contact list to include only those set to “engaged” or “lead”). The resulting lists can then be grouped based on these options, for example, displaying all contacts grouped by their lead score. You can also sort the results so that the lists arrange themselves by whichever columns you choose.
Efficiency with Multiple Views
The ability to save any set of options as a custom “view” of your data is one of the best features of AirTable. This allows you to easily switch from a complete list view of all your contacts to just those who have shown interest, or just those who you’ve scheduled a follow-up date with, or any other view that’s beneficial to your marketing process.
Pricing for AirTable
If you decide to use AirTable, bear in mind that their free option restricts you to 1,200 records. For only $10 per month (per user), that limit increases to 5,000 records, and for $20 per month, it expands to 50,000. Considering the time AirTable can save by organizing and structuring all your lead data, and enabling your management process, these costs are worth it.
If you wish to see a simple demonstration of AirTable in action, check out this video from Lead Cookie, which illustrates how they organize their client’s lead data.
To embark on marketing, you will need to rely on systems and processes for organization. AirTable is an exceptional system, and if you’d like to learn more about how best to use AirTable, feel free to reach out. We’re eager to share more about how we assist creative entrepreneurs in setting up systems and executing well-organized marketing campaigns that connect them with excellent clients.