Did you know follow-up is the secret weapon in marketing success?

In fact, if your marketing efforts are yielding poor results, start examining your follow-up strategy. Marketing doesn’t stop once the first email, text or social ad is out the door. If your marketing effort ends after you hit send, then the likelihood of seeing significant business from it is slim.

Your time and effort have been wasted if you’re not getting follow-up right—or in many cases, not doing it at all. Even the most creative and targeted marketing campaign can only get you so far. It’s follow-up that converts interest into revenue.

Your existing customers are your most valuable business asset, and it’s important to continuously work to strengthen relationships with them. Once you’ve established a relationship, these are the people most likely to return for repeat business. Furthermore, loyal customers tend to spend more with your company than first-time customers, and they will also tell their friends about you, which helps drive new customer acquisition.

Waiting for a response to an inquiry is frustrating. Consumers expect timely responses to their inquiries, especially with technology as advanced and lightning-fast as it is today. It’s about building rapport. Your customers need to feel as though they can trust you, and following up quickly can help build the foundation of a strong and lasting relationship. Delays in responding mean lost revenue and weakened relationships.

An expensive marketing plan is worthless if you and your staff are not following up on responses and quickly scheduling appointments to get people back in the door. Put a plan in place and train your staff to follow up with leads in a timely manner to turn interest and responses into appointments, and ultimately revenue. Calling once and leaving a message is insufficient. You might have to call several times to get someone on the phone, but it will be well worth the effort because it shows that your team and business are reliable and committed to addressing customer needs.

It makes good business sense that when people respond to your marketing, you make every effort to follow up on the response—even if making that connection takes time and effort. Unfortunately, though, small businesses are making 0.8 attempts to follow up on marketing requests. That’s less than one attempt and done, leaving significant money, effort and time on the table from unconverted marketing leads.

Just like effective campaigns, effective follow-up requires a multichannel approach that includes email, text and phone.

Timing is also key when it comes to follow-up. The more time that has elapsed since the first communication, the more interest wanes. The longer you wait to respond, the more likely it is that the person loses interest or, worse, chooses a competitor. The more quickly you follow up, the more likely you are to convert your lead into revenue. In today’s always-on world, consumers expect real-time communication from companies and are more loyal to brands that are responsive to their needs. Failure to do so in a timely manner can result in significant lost revenue. Following up on an email a month after it is sent and is no longer relevant won’t yield results.

A marketing program requires consistency and follow-up to be effective. If you have made the investment to push marketing messages out into the world, you must also ensure that you have a solid follow-up strategy. Establish a plan and train your team to follow up with leads through multiple channels and in a timely manner to turn interest into conversions.

Your bottom line will thank you.