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Your Customer Proposition

Your customer proposition is one of the key determinants of your business success.

Last Friday I was working with a Client who has a couple of businesses.

I have already done the website for one of his businesses and am now starting on the second.

The first part of the process is to develop the customer proposition.

Unless what your business actually offers customers – the proposition, is attractive enough, you’re not going to win new customers.

The Areas To Consider

There are about 10 different areas in your customer proposition to consider.

One of the most important is what are the stereotypical issues that people hate about your industry.

If you identify these and make sure you don’t make these mistakes, then in effect you overcome people’s objections before they’ve even raised them.

In this way you can differentiate your business from your competitors and make yourself the obvious choice.

When explaining the process to clients, I always use builders as the example.

Having had a bad experience several years ago with a builder, I speak from personal experience.

My client last Friday was a builder so I thought it would be easy.

My contention is that people hate it:

  • When the building work runs significantly overtime
  • When the builders don’t turn up when they should
  • When the costs exceed the estimate
  • When the site is left in a mess
  • When the blokes are scruffy and rude
  • When the neighbours are disturbed by the work

These were all issues that we were faced with and hated.

However my client didn’t agree with any of the points and didn’t believe they were important.

I tried to persuade him that householders really do care about these issues and that they would be more likely to choose a builder who had re-assured them on these points.

To be honest it all became a little bit awkward and we had to agree to disagree.

His website will lack some key selling messages because of this.

Why Us?

It also means that we probably won’t have a “Why Us” page.

The “Why Us” page is one of the most important on the site.

This is where you highlight all the ways in which you offer more than your competitors.

Without it his website will be less effective and less likely to turn visitors into enquirers.

I strongly suggest you analyse your sector and identify the equivalent of the issues above.

Then  ensure that you’re not doing the same.

Get your customer proposition right and you will differentiate yourselves and go a long way to making you the obvious choice.

If you want to create a killer customer proposition get in touch on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk , call me on 01483 200387

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Write Headlines That Demand Attention

The ability to write headlines that demand attention and make readers take action, is a key marketing skill.

I came back from holiday recently.

You know what it’s like when you’ve been away – your email inbox is full of absolute crap.

I had best part of 1000 emails and it took me most of the day to get through them.

The fact is that I just deleted the vast majority of them.

I opened a few and I mean a few because they were either from clients or suppliers or because they stuck out somehow.

As the majority were marketing emails, they failed at the first key job of marketing – getting their target’s attention.

How do we do that?

If it’s an email it has to be the subject line but if it’s a website, an advert or a flyer it would be the headline.

So the next question is how do you write headlines or subject lines that demand attention and action.

Basically there are  three main ways:By offering your audience a rosier, better future.By talking about a problem they suffer from and offering a solution

  1. By offering your audience a rosier, better future
  2. By talking about a problem they suffer from and offering a solution
  3. By evoking their curiosity

When crafting your headline you have to consider who you’re trying to attract.

A great way to target them is via a pre head.

So if I said: “Attention All Cake Bakers”, the chances are that that very particular demographic’s attention will have been well and truly grabbed.

I could then follow that up with any one of the three different headline approaches:

“How to quickly and easily make your cakes lighter and more delicious”

Or

“Are your cake bases too dense and heavy? Here’s a simple trick to make them more delicious and keep your family coming back for more”

Or even

“The secret all home bakers need to know”.

Now if any of the recipients of the communication weren’t cake bakers then they probably wouldn’t be interested.

That’s fine because they wouldn’t be in my target audience and what I’m selling wouldn’t be of interest to them.

But assuming they are bakers there’s a good chance I’ll have got their attention and that they would read my content.

If more of the people who emailed me while I was away had known how to write headlines, I would have been more motivated to read what they sent me and they might have made more sales.

So give it a go.

If you need help with writing headlines that will get your marketing read or any other marketing issues, give me a shout on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk  or call me on 01483 200387.

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The Secrets Of An Effective Marketing Funnel

 

The benefit of having an effective marketing funnel is when you get new prospect and you don’t have to do any selling.

 

You speak to your prospect and they’ve decided in advance that they want to do business with you.

 

They’ve pre-sold themselves.

 

I had one the other week.

 

The lady had obviously decided before we met that she wanted to work with me. At the end of the meeting she asked if I was happy and prepared to work with her.

 

Oh happy day.

 

So how had this come about?

 

She had been to my website, she’d watched my video, she’d downloaded my free ebook, she’d received my auto responder sequence and then she phoned me and we made the appointment.

 

This was an example of an effective marketing funnel working to the max and is a great way to win new business.

 

How does a marketing funnel work?

 

When deciding whether to do business with someone new, most people have to go through the “know, like, trust” process.

 

They have to get to know you, they have to decide that they like you and that they trust you both as a person and also to deliver what you sell.

 

Achieving this through digital marketing is a real challenge.

 

How can you build the “know, like, trust” relationship online?

 

The key piece will be your website, which will need to persuade people to take the next step to engage with you further.

 

Within your website, video is the element which will make this happen.

 

A warm and engaging video will introduce you to your prospects.

 

It enables them to get an initial opinion of you – do they like the way you present yourself and does what you’re saying resonate with them?

 

The video will give you the opportunity to encourage them into the first stage of the funnel.

 

Here they can download your free ebook or report which will deliver value and start to demonstrate your expertise.

 

Now you have their (GDPR compliant) contact details, you then send them an auto responder sequence.

 

This will continue to introduce your personality and demonstrate your expertise while selling your services.

 

By the end of the series of emails, you should have either gained them as a customer or have arranged to meet.

 

If neither of these has happened, they’ll go into your email marketing system, giving you the opportunity to communicate regularly and so continue the process.

 

So that was how I got my fabulous meeting.

 

If you want an effective marketing funnel to do the same for you, get in touch on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk or call me on 01483 200387.

 

 

range of coins

Generate Regular Repeat Income

If you can find a way to tie customers to your business and generate regular repeat income, you will create a wonderfully secure basis for your business.

I had to buy a new printer recently.

Printers are a classic market where the hardware is cheap as chips but then the companies make their money on the consumables.

A complete set of new cartridges costs more than the machine itself.

Or at least it used to.

When I was buying the printer I discovered that the world of ink has changed.

The printer I bought is one of those all in one jobs from HP who now have a product called Instant Ink.

Now you may know about this system.

But I’d had my printer for years and was unaware how the market had changed.

Instant Ink is a service where they automatically send you new cartridges.

Because printers are now connected to the internet, they can monitor my usage.

When the ink’s running low, lo and behold a new cartridge appears as if by magic.

When you get over the slightly scary big brother aspect of this, you realise the scheme is genius.

I no longer have to faff around looking for the best priced cartridges.

Instead I pay a small monthly payment and the job’s done

A classic win/win.

I win because it’s just so easy.

HP win because they have guaranteed regular repeat income and I won’t be slipping off and buying the cheap generic inks.

Another company with similar objectives is Healthspan.

Healthspan is a vitamin and supplement company who I’ve been buying from for years.

They offer a repeat order service.

They know precisely what I buy and with their recommended daily intake, they know exactly when I should need more stock.

So they send it automatically.

I haven’t actually signed up to this as I don’t take the recommended daily intake.

They offer a small discount if you’re on the repeat order system which is a smart thing to do.

I would guess plenty of people will sign up for the service, just to get the discount.

A small reduction in margin will be more than compensated for by the regular repeat income, the increased regularity of purchasing and the certainty of cash flow.

For the right people it just makes life that little bit easier.

If you can find some way to tie your customers in to a regular service like this, you’ll keep your claws into your customers long term and generate a consistent and predictable flow of cash into your business.

Worth thinking about surely?

If you need help with this or any other marketing issue, give me a shout on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk  or call me on 01483 200387.

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Make It Clear What Your Brand Stands For

 

Within the crowded markets we all operate in, it’s vital that you make it clear what your brand stands for.

Wimbledon’s just recently finished but raised an issue that I want to look at today.

Because the World Cup and Wimbledon overlapped there was a debate about whether Wimbledon were going to show the football on the big screen.

Predictably Wimbledon said no.

There was a feeling that this was a typically narrow minded decision by a bunch of self important old duffers.

How pompous and arrogant were they to defy public opinion and deny the punters this oh so rare opportunity.

But hold on – let’s consider the situation for a moment from a marketing point of view and see what learnings there are here for all our businesses.

Wimbledon is one of the world’s strongest brands – synonymous with just one thing.

What would the implications for their brand be if they now started screening football?

Football this year, maybe WWF or darts next year.

OK unlikely but the point is that focusing on anything but tennis can only dilute the brand.

While that might please some, it would probably enrage a large section of their upper middle class clientele.

So whether you’re a butcher, baker or maker of fine candles, you want to become famous for that thing you do and you make it very clear what your brand stands for.

You don’t want to start diluting your brand by introducing something which conflicts with your key offering.

Brand Extensions

Brand extensions are fine if there’s an obvious link to your core products and can be marketed under your primary brand.

But something with no logical connection will only confuse your customers about what it is your brand stands for.

How would you react if the aforementioned butcher or baker started selling car batteries next to the rump steak or crusty rolls.

So to build the strength of your brand and become famous for what you do, make sure your product range stays focussed around your core offering.

If you need help with ensuring it’s clear what your brand stands for, give me a shout on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk  or call me on 01483 200387.

 

Digital marketing strategy
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A Small Business Digital Marketing Strategy

I had a meeting last week with a guy whose business is virtual offices, who needed a small business digital marketing strategy.

Basically for a monthly fee, he provides a prestigious central London address, a telephone answering service, mail forwarding and meeting room facilities.

A perfect set up for someone who wants to project the image of a substantial and established business, while sitting in his or her pyjamas somewhere in the back of nowhere.

So I started digging to find out the profile of his customers and where they might be based.

His customers could be anyone from one man start ups to significant businesses who just want a central London address.

Additionally they could be anywhere in the world, especially America.

Now from a marketer’s point of view, this makes life more difficult.

In marketing you want to be able to niche your audience as much as possible so that you can tailor your proposition precisely to their needs.

The geography complicates things as well. Life is much easier if you are marketing within a specified geographic area.

I explained to him that he should concentrate on attraction marketing techniques – ie he should put his stuff, his information out there so that people find him.

Proactively communicating to this diverse audience would not be realistic.

So the digital marketing strategy I outlined to him was:

  1. To create a customer proposition that differentiated his service from other virtual office suppliers, focusing on the problems he solved for them, the benefits he delivered and some powerful incentive to sign up.
  2. To build these messages into his website, so that the website worked effectively to convert visitors to enquirers.
  3. To put in place a traffic strategy to drive people to the site. This would focus primarily on Google Adwords.
    I didn’t recommend Facebook Ads, as the primary strength of Facebook is in the precise targeting it provides and his audience is way too diverse.
  4. To get a listing on Google My Business.
    GMB is the map which appears under the Google Ads at the top of the page.
    3 or 4 businesses are listed here with arrows on the map and a listing underneath. Remarkably this is a free service.
  5. To set up a remarketing campaign so that he could show ads to people who have already visited his site in order to drive them back to his website and reconsider his offering.

In those five points I gave him the basis for a digital marketing strategy.

The great thing about it is once set up, although the website and the Adwords need regular monitoring and tweaking, in essence the campaign will run itself.

If you would like would like me to put together a similar strategy for your business, which will deliver new enquiries on auto pilot, get in touch on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk or call me on 01483 200387.

 

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Basic Marketing Techniques For A Local Business

In this post I want to outline some basic marketing techniques which would be suitable for a small local business.

I had my hair cut yesterday in the same place I’ve been going to for years.

Are they particularly good?

No not really but I get on very well with the woman who cuts my hair and I look OK when I come out.

Unfortunately I reckon the business is in danger of going under simply because they don’t have enough customers.

This is leading to the classic downward spiral.

There isn’t enough money coming in so they don’t invest in the fabric of the building, but they’ve whacked up the prices and stopped taking credit cards.

You get the idea?

So why is this business in trouble?

You guessed it – because they don’t do anything to promote or market the place.

It’s a very simple business and a few very basic marketing techniques would get people coming through the door again.

Hairdressing is the classic sort of business where if you get them in once and they like the experience, they’ll come back time and again.

So what basic marketing techniques should they be using?

I won’t even bother to talk about a website, which of course they haven’t got.

  1. A customer database would be the most sensible place to start – segmented into women and men and then by the kind of service they have and the regularity they visitOnce they have that they should send out an email a week or two before the customer normally visits to remind them to book an appointment.

Of course in this post GDPR world they would need to get consent before they start communicating with them.

2.They could also at the same time do an upsell and make a special offer on hair colouring or some other complicated process that women have done to their hair that that segment isn’t currently buying but would be relevant to them.

3.Then I would suggest a referral scheme, in which existing customers refer new customers with a significant discount off their first visit and also provides the referrer with a worthwhile benefit.

4.Another obvious technique would be to launch a loyalty scheme. Once the customer has received say 5 stamps on their loyalty card they would be eligible either for a discount or some other benefit.

5.And the last super simple, old school technique that would definitely deliver new customers would be a good old fashioned door drop.

If they distributed 1000 or 2000 leaflets to near- by houses with a powerful incentive they would without doubt generate a load of new customers so that next time I have my hair cut I’m not the only person in there.

These are all old style, basic marketing techniques but they would be the right solution for the business in its current state.

It’s not about doing whizzy new stuff. It’s about doing the right stuff.

If you have a business which is crying out for some hard hitting marketing help, get in touch by emailing me on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk or calling 014183 200387.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Importance Of Consistency In Your Marketing

 

I was reminded last week on the importance of consistency in your marketing.

I went to see a business who do kitchens and fitted bedroom furniture.

Their websites are both pretty good. A bit wordy maybe and you could tell they hadn’t been written by a native English speaker but they were not bad at all.

They succeeded in giving the impression of a substantial company, supplying a quality product.

As I later discovered they’re turning over more than £1 million so it’s a serious business.

If I was in the market for a kitchen I would be interested to go to the showroom and see the product first hand.

And that would be where it would all go wrong for me.

The business is based right next door to Wembley Stadium on a very tired looking 1950s style industrial estate.

Outside there was no dedicated customer parking and there wasn’t even a sign over the door to publicise the business.

I had to go into a furniture store next door to get directions.

Inside there was a rather grubby staircase and still no sign of the business until you got to the first floor where you started to see some kitchen and bedroom displays.

However the place felt unfinished and scruffy which if I was trying to buy a kitchen would put me off completely.

Now it transpired that the majority of their business currently comes from referrals. Customers see the kitchens in friends’ houses and buy on the strength of that.

If that was how their business model was going to continue to work then fine. But as their manufacturing facility only operates at 30% capacity currently and they plan to more than double their business, they will need to convince buyers like me.

They’ve also started investing in Google Adwords and SEO so they have already started to try to attract a new audience.

That will mean upping their game on the merchandising and display front.

So today’s message is about the importance of consistency in all your marketing channels to give a consistent message and to work synergistically together.

This will start with your corporate identity which should dictate the style and brand values of your business.

This should then be carried through in all your marketing materials from your website, to brochures, to stationery, to vehicles, your offices or retail outlets, your staff uniforms etc etc.

From Mr Kitchen man’s point to view the nightmare would be if he spends money generating leads through Adwords who then are turned off by the reality of the showroom.

If you need help ensuring that you have consistency in your marketing and branding and you give one consistent message to your prospects so that they feel confident in your business then give me a shout on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk or call me on 01483 200387.

 

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How To Differentiate Your Business From Your Competitors

For all small businesses, one of the key marketing issues is how can you differentiate your business from your competitors.

You must give your customers real and tangible reasons to choose you.

I was at a marketing seminar last week, part of which was given over to a case study as to how one business had done this.

The business featured was a florist with both a shop and an online business – a seriously crowded market place.

The point was made that if you’re ordering flowers for delivery from a bog standard florist, after the order’s been taken you may get a confirmation email and an invoice.

But that’s all the contact you likely to have.

The featured business’ process is very different and was designed to differentiate the business.

  1. After you’ve placed your order, the first contact is an email confirming all the details of the order.
  2. Next you receive an email with a photograph of your flowers made up and the name of the person who made the bouquet for you.
  3. The flowers are then delivered in an elaborately wrapped van which looks like a mobile bunch of flowers.
  4. Only happy, outgoing, helpful people are recruited as delivery drivers or “Deliverer of happiness” as they’re known.
  5. As soon as the flowers have been delivered, the driver sends you an email from the van telling you the time the flowers were delivered.
  6. If the recipient isn’t in, the flowers are left with a neighbour who’s given a “Good Neighbour Award” of a thank you card and a box of chocolates there and then.
  7. The day after the delivery, the recipient is sent in the post:
  • Flower food
  • Information about looking after the flowers
  • Discount code for their own purchase
  • A polite request for a testimonial

That’s a lot of customer care.

What these people have done is to look to add value at every stage of their service and to make it literally world class.

Now you might even think that this is a bit over the top.

But who are you likely to go back to or refer to your friends – a business that demonstrates how important their customers are to them or the bog standard florist who takes the order and, you hope, delivers the flowers.

So if you want your business to truly stand out, you should look closely at every contact point you have with your customers.

See if there is something extra you could do to add value to your service and to demonstrate to your customers how much you really care about their satisfaction.

I promise you it’ll be worth your while.

If you want any help with this or any other elements of your marketing, give me a shout on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk , call me on 01483 200387.

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Ensure Your Website Overcomes Prospects’ Objections

For most of us our website is our primary selling tool.

 

But how good is your website at converting visitors to enquirers?

 

If it doesn’t convert, the primary reason will be that it’s not satisfying your visitors’ concerns – the questions they want answered.

 

One area you should pay attention to is the stereotypical complaints people have about your industry – their pet hates.

 

If you demonstrate that you don’t commit these pet hates, you immediately overcome a load of objections and position yourself as the go-to supplier.

 

The following are examples of what I’m talking about:

  • Builders – we hate it when jobs take longer than we expect. We hatge it when they leave a mess and when the work costs more than we’ve been quoted.
  • Lawyers – we hate the fact that lawyers often speak a language that we don’t understand. Even worse that you can’t have a telephone conversation without receiving a hefty bill.
  • Marketing people – marketing people are often considered to be smarmy and silver tongued and will say anything to close a deal (absolutely ridiculous I know)

 

So how do you demonstrate that you’re not guilty of the same sins?

 

Service Charter

Within a Service Charter you can list all the things people hate. You then make your commitment not to make these mistakes and show what you’ll do to avoid them.

 

A builder might say “ At the end of every day, we guarantee that we will tidy the site to ensure that  no unsightly mess is left behind”.

 

Guarantees

Another tool which answers a lot of concerns is a guarantee.

 

If a builder guarantees that as long as the spec doesn’t change, that they will charge exactly what they’ve quoted, that would give us huge reassurance.

 

The key to this exercise is to make sure you’re brutally hones. What do people dislike about your industry and how are you going to handle them.

 

If you can address your audience’s key issues many more prospects will decide to do business with you.

 

Now what?

 

You now need to make sure that these key selling messages feature prominently on your website.

 

My preferred approach is to highlight a couple of them on your home page and link these through to a Why Us page.

 

To me the Why Us page is a must.

 

It’s the page where you highlight all the ways in which you stand out and the reasons people should choose to do business with you.

 

This process is just one of the areas I address in my “Marketing Proposition” workshop. I always do this with all new clients to give them powerful standout from their competition..

 

To sort out your Marketing Proposition contact me on 01483 200387, email me on mikejennings@bda.me.uk or via the website www.bda.me.uk