Category: Nurture Marketing

How to Market in a Down Economy

Sure, times are tough for all of us right now and marketing budgets are being cut up like a bad kindergarten craft project. Of course we don't recommend cutting the one thing that will keep you on top when the economy is back on track (and we know it will be), but we understand that's just the reality for many businesses. Instead, we want to give you some tips to help you make small changes that can make a big impact right now.

Our NurtureNotes newsletter for September has the Top 10 tips for marketing in a down economy so be sure to sign up now and get free marketing tips delivered right to your inbox every month.

Today, let's talk about three small changes to help get you started.

1. Rethink your messaging.

Are you spending lots of money to grow your business right now? If so, congratulations! If not, you are in the same boat as most of your customers. Instead of going on and on about benefits that aren't on their radar right now, focus on the things that are important to them – like money. Shift your messaging to solve their problems, not sell your product or service. Their problems are a lot different today than they were just a year ago. Even loyal customers are looking for ways to cut costs, and that might just be with your competitors.

2. Mix up your marketing.

It's easy to get stuck in a marketing rut. What worked in the past doesn't seem to be working as well right now and that's for several reasons. Your prospects are scattered all over the place and you are supposed to find them how? If you only use email campaigns, try a few direct mail pieces. Not a fan of social media? It's time to become one and soon you will have some fans of your own. Never thought about old school telemarketing? You would be surprised how effective a personal call can be these days. If you don't have the resources to explore new marketing avenues on your own, hire a professional marketing firm to help you out. (We happen to know a great one!)

3. Dress to impress.

This goes beyond traditional marketing tactics but deserves a spot in our Top 10. A first impression can be everything and it's critical to find new ways to differentiate your company and your brand. Whether you are greeting a customer on the phone, in your office or in theirs, think about the image your front line is portraying. In a business casual world, become the designer suit. Polish up your image whether it’s how your receptionist greets your visitors or callers, revamp your website to welcome online visitors, or ask your sales staff to take it up a notch next week.

Have some tips of your own to share? Be sure to leave a comment below. We enjoy hearing from you.

Sign up for NurtureNotes monthly marketing tips.

michelle's blog

Just sharing a little love...

Our Nurture Marketing Writer's Guild is an ongoing support system where we learn from industry experts, and each other, to consistently keep up-to-date on the latest techniques, styles and solve challenges. Recently, we were thrilled to speak with Dr. Tom Sant and gain some awesome insight. We thought we would share his kind words about our managing partner, Jim Cecil, and the concept of nurture marketing. Thanks Dr. Sant!

From Dr. Tom Sant

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of having a virtual conversation with members of the Nurture Writing Guild. Inspired and led by Jim Cecil, who has been one of my favorite people for more years than either he or I care to remember, the Guild consists of professional freelance writers who create effective nurture messages for clients.

The whole concept of nurture marketing is one that I strongly believe in. And Jim Cecil is the leading exponent of that approach to business development.

The concept is simple: stay in contact with your customers and your prospects. Send them messages, news items, personal notes, tips, and whatever else you think they might find interesting or enjoyable. Do it regularly, say once every month to six weeks. Over time, people will feel more connected to you, they will have a sense of your competence, and they will think of you first if they need help in your area of expertise. Jim calls that maintaining "top-of-mind awareness" so that when they are ready to buy, they think of you first.

In The Giants of Sales, I wrote about Joe Girard, the "world's greatest salesman," according to the Guinness Book of World Records, who used a variation of nurture marketing to sell Chevrolets.  He sold over 13,000 cars in 12 years, working as a solo sales guy on the floor of a Chevrolet dealership in Detroit. All by himself, selling cars retail to individual buyers, Joe Girard sold more cars per year than 95% of all the dealerships in North America.

So how did nurture marketing figure into his method? He realized that every person he met knew a couple of hundred other people, some of whom might be looking for a car. If he stayed in touch with all of those people he had met, reminding them he was out there, then when they or their friends, relatives or employees decided it was time to buy that new car, they'd think of Joe Girard first.

Joe sold cars back in the days before e-mail, so he did the old-fashioned way: he sent out greeting cards. He was fierce about collecting names and mailing addresses from everyone he met, and once he had your contact data, he sent you a message every month. In fact, at his peak, he mailed over 13,000 cards a month. He kept the message simple and personal, and he never used his mailing list to try to directly sell anything. No special offers on oil changes or lube jobs.

For us, we have multiple media that we can use to nurture our contacts. How hard is it to send an e-mail with a link to an article? How tricky is it to send a note of congratulations when you see that someone had updated his or her LinkedIn profile with a new job? But very few people bother, even sales people who probably know better.

Recently I conducted a class for a major bank, working with a group of 30 high potential young managers. After it was over, I received three thank you notes.  Maybe only ten percent of the attendees thought the training was worthwhile, but I suspect that there were actually a few others who liked it but just didn’t bother to say "thanks". So which of these 30 do you think I'd recommend first?

im and his colleagues have recognized that writing a short, focused message that's interesting to read and not too self-serving or technical is hard. Lots of companies would like to use nurture marketing—even something very simple like Twitter—but just don't have the time or talent to pull it off.  So the Nurture Writing Guild has stepped up to fill that gap.

You can learn more about nurture marketing here: And you can access some of Jim Cecil's wisdom at his blog: Jim's warm and funny and smart as can be. He's definitely somebody to read if you're involved in any kind of sales or marketing or business development role.

To order the world's best-selling book on writing winning proposals, Persuasive Business Proposals, click here. For Dr. Tom's fascinating study of the origins of the most important ideas in professional sales and the individuals who first came up with them, The Giants of Sales, please click here. To improve your writing, take a look at Tom’s book, The Language of Success, which you can order here.

michelle's blog

Want better marketing results? Here's the big question you forgot to ask

Last night I was watching TV and, as usual, trying to accomplish other things I felt were way more productive. I didn't even think I was paying attention but then I heard, "The two most important questions you can ask yourself are 'Why?' and 'Why not?'"

Brilliant! I instantly went to my special marketing place. You see, I am a self-proclaimed testing nerd. With every marketing campaign, I am constantly asking these two questions. However, I find that at the end of the day, most people only care about why not and somewhere along the way the why gets totally ignored. I attribute that to human nature.

We want to fix what’s not working instead of nurturing what is working.

With hot summer days around the corner, let me ask you a question you can relate to. Do you have your air conditioner at home serviced twice a year so you know it’s going to be there for you when you really need it? Or, like most, do you put it out of your mind until it breaks down on a 95 degree day and then you are forced to make a frantic call to a local repair place to come FIX IT!

Think of nurture marketing as a maintenance plan for your customers. Don’t think you can neglect them for months, then we you need to fill your sales quota, you can reach out and they will be there ready to buy. You can read more about the philosophy behind Nurture Marketing on our site, but I should get back to the whole why and why not thing. Bear with me, it’s all related.

Say your latest marketing email returned lower numbers than you expected.

  • You sent 1,000 emails to your general marketing list
  • Of those 1,000 emails, 100 people opened it (10%)
  • Of the 100 that opened that email, 2 people clicked on your link (2%)

Oh no! You totally expected click percentages in the double digits! Now you are so disappointed in the 2% you immediately focus on what went wrong. They didn’t like your email. Why not? You must fix this! So you start moving graphics, changing subject lines, anything you can do to grab the attention of the 998 people that didn’t click. Predicting what 998 want to click on? That’s a lot of pressure.

I’m not saying you should ignore what isn’t working. Analytics are important. But, what if you forgot about the number for a moment? What if you started focusing on the person behind the number?

Now you have 2 people that DID click. Why did they engage? What did they like about the report? Was it helpful for a challenge they are facing right now? Pick up the phone and ask them why they clicked! Then, you take those 2 people and immediately put what you learned into your CRM software or your client database, so going forward you know exactly what they need from you.

Over time, with some diligence and patience, those 2 people become 4 people, then 40, and before you know it 400 loyal customers are engaging with your marketing. Your list becomes clean, targeted and effective. And it all started by asking why.

Author: Michelle Etherton, Creative Director for Nurture Marketing

eric's blog

Read Our New B2B Social Media Whitepaper

Read our new Social Media Whitepaper for Business to Business (B2B) marketers. It describes that, "Simply put, inbound marketing is marketing that is focused on getting found by customers. Social media is the ultimate Nurture engine -- where communication is about sharing what you know without asking for anything in return -- while keeping your brand top-of-mind."


eric's blog

Nurture Institute Announces Corporate Name Change to Nurture Marketing

Woodbridge, New Jersey (September 17, 2010) ~ Nurture Institute LLC, a respected marketing organization known for their educational programs and products teaching the principles and tactics of nurture marketing, announced today the company has officially changed their name to Nurture Marketing.

Along with the name change, Nurture Marketing boasts a new visual brand including a new logo and extensive new website ( which features several free marketing resources for visitors to read and download.   "The name change reflects our continuing evolution of the Nurture Marketing concept.  From an educational marketing organization to a company that provides a wide array of marketing services, always adhering to the Nurture principals we created over 25 years ago." says Jim Cecil company Chairman.

The company has also restructured their marketing programs to offer an expanded set of services including channel marketing programs, content development, custom campaign creation and management, accelerated demand generation programs as well as their well-known educational and training programs, professional speakers and an online store to purchase marketing books and products.

"These changes simply reinforce our dedication to the principles of nurture marketing and will bring our full range of services to the forefront alongside our educational programs. We are fortunate to have grown substantially and, in the process of developing the most effective ways to deliver results for our clients, have developed some very exciting marketing tools and an exceptional team of talented professionals. We wanted our branding to reflect this renewed energy," says Barbara Pfeiffer, managing partner.

The concept of nurture marketing was originated more than 20 years ago by Nurture Marketing senior partner, Jim Cecil, along with managing partner, Eric Rabinowitz, both co-authors of the popular books, Nurturing Customer Relationships and 101 Business Love Letters. Joined by managing partners, Barbara Pfeiffer, formerly with Microsoft Corporation, and Jennifer Herold-Garcia, from Hilton Hotel Corporation, the company works with an impressive list of clients, including global companies like Microsoft and Nokia, along with small to medium-sized businesses across nearly every industry.

One of the main principles of nurture marketing is to 'give before you receive,' and we practice that rule every day around here. On paper, it's truly mind blowing the level of talent and experience we can offer our clients. More importantly, every person that joins the Nurture Marketing family must have this special 'above and beyond' personality too. It really shines through in our work and the relationships we build with our clients," adds Jennifer Garcia.

More About Nurture Marketing's Name Change:

Nurture Marketing's new name celebrates the company's transformation from an educational organization sharing the principles and tactics of nurture marketing, to a full-service marketing partner offering a comprehensive and progressive set of marketing services, programs and products.

About Nurture Marketing

Nurture Marketing is a full-service marketing group headquartered in Woodbridge, New Jersey. Details about the company, their programs and services, and free marketing tips and resources can be found online at or by calling 732-636-1001 (ext. 27).

Eric Rabinowitz
(732) 636-1001, x27

barbara's blog

Metaphorically Marketing

I love metaphors, probably because they are my life as a Principal of Nurture Marketing our growing Marketing Services Company. I've had the benefit of working with the two OOOBER-metaphor people in the world, Jim Cecil and Anne Miller. Metaphors are used to associate your product/services, the uses, features and benefits in pictures and words positively.

Recently I compiled a list of 9 ways to effectively utilize metaphors in marketing. Thank you Anne and Jim, you are the Apollo of Metaphors!

  • Metaphors make communications "sticky". They are Visual, Associative, Memorable, Emotional, and Unique leading to the instant "Aha" in your prospects and customers.
  • Metaphors are frequently used by successful companies in their advertising and marketing. Pay special attention to advertising such as billboards where the advertiser needs to convey their message within 2-5 seconds. Also, look through a magazine and jot down what you think the advertiser is trying to communicate (it's not always about sex). Think of a product or service you currently offer. What are some ideas on how the advertiser's metaphor can help you communicate how your company's product or service can help cure your customer's or prospect's pain?
  • Metaphors should say with one image, phrase, attachment, or enclosure what it would take you several paragraphs to say in words.
  • Direct mail metaphors include enclosures that help you get your points across or position your company in the minds of your clients and prospects. For example, a crystal ball evokes seeing into the future for the good of your client, a compass can help a client choose your company as the right direction, and a magnifying glass can add clarity to a situation.
  • Use a good metaphor to drive home a point, clarify confusion, or differentiate between points. I had a boss who used analogies to help people understand complex issues in a simple, understandable, and relevant manner.
  • Use search engine images to give you ideas on appropriate and useful metaphors.
  • Utilize images in your e-Mail communications and link those images to a landing page that expands on the messages contained within the image.

The Nurture Institute's top 5 metaphors direct mail metaphors of all time are:

  • Compendium Cards containing famous quotes
  • Compass
  • Tools
  • Race Cars
  • Crystal Ball

Subscribe to Anne Miller's free monthly newsletter The Metaphor Minute at

eric's blog