Marketing machine
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Your Marketing Machine

You want your marketing to work like a well oiled marketing machine.

You set it up and your marketing happens automatically.

I compare your marketing to a machine such as a bike.

I took my bike in for a tune up recently.

In the shop they will have looked at all the key issues – the gears, the brakes, the chain etc to ensure not only that each element is working as it should but that they are all working smoothly together.

Just like you want your marketing to do.

Now I don’t know how many different marketing elements and channels you’re using.

The advice is always to have several – six or seven at least.

This is so that if one starts to malfunction, the impact won’t be disastrous, as the other channels will still continue to perform.

Whereas if you’re only using one or two channels and one starts to underperform, then you could be heading for a whole heap of trouble.

So let’s for sake of argument say that you’re utilising the following:

  • Website
  • Google Ads
  • Google My Business
  • Facebook Ads
  • Remarketing
  • Email marketing
  • Direct mail

While each of these are stand alone activities, it’s vital that they work synergistically together – like a machine.

A marketing machine.

There should be a consistency of execution between all the activities so that the brand message is repeated and re-enforced in each different channel.

The website is of course the key element within this.

No one is going to do business without checking you out on line first.

On your website visitors must find the answers they’re looking for and be confident that you can solve their problems.

Your task then is to get traffic to the site which is where Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Google My Business and remarketing come in.

Once these are set up, rather like my bike, they will need servicing – monitoring and tweaking but they should mainly run themselves like a marketing machine.

If you also add in a lead magnet and an auto responder sequence onto your site, your marketing should happen automatically, like the aforesaid marketing machine.

What you do need to do however, rather like the bike mechanic, is to be regularly looking at each element and seeing if you can improve and refine it.

Having done that you also need to measure and track your results so that you always know what’s happening and are confident that you’re getting a positive ROI.

Armed with this knowledge you can then confidently increase your spend, so increasing your results and so continuously increasing your business.

While it sounds easy, if you need help with your marketing machine just give me a shout on mikejennings@bda.me.uk or call me on 01483 200387.

Marketing process
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The Marketing Process

The marketing process can be broken down into a few clearly defined steps.

At this time of year when Spring is springing, you can see how the marketing process is similar to the process of nature especially of growing vegetables.

You see there are four stages to growing veg:

  1. Preparing the ground and getting ready
  2. Sowing the seeds and germinating the plants
  3. Nurturing the young plants and looking after them to maturity
  4. Harvesting the produce and enjoying the benefits of your work

The marketing process can be divided up in a similar fashion.

  1. You’ve got to do the preparatory work – get the ground ready.
  • Be clear on your objectives
  • Precisely identify your target audience.
  • Decide what marketing channels you’re going to use
  • Identify powerful messages which will resonate with your audience
  • Decide on your budget
  • Prepare your collateral – this will include getting your website right, writing any emails, producing leaflets, flyers etc and putting your digital marketing in place.

2. So you’ve now got to sow those seeds – which means getting your messages out there.

Whether this means PPC advertising on Google and Facebook, getting active on LinkedIn, executing an email campaign, exhibiting at relevant exhibitions, sending out some direct mail, attending networking groups, whichever channels you’ve decided on.

If you’ve selected your target audience correctly and devised compelling messages, the ground you’re sowing your seeds into should be fertile and receptive.

3. By this stage you there should be the green shoots of response showing through.

Some may have contacted you already, others will be interested but not identified themselves.

Now you’ve got to nurture and care for these tender shoots – keep them well watered and weed free.

This will involve keeping in contact, continuing to give them persuasive messages, showing them how you can solve their problems, giving them examples of how you’ve solved similar problems for other people.

This stage is about building trust and confidence among your prospects so their interest develops into something fruitful so they get in touch.

4. It’s now all about harvesting.

Your prospects are ripe and ready for picking.

You just have to close the deal and enjoy the fruits of your labour.

But remember you don’t just want one picking.

Look after the plants well and they will go on bearing fruit for years to come.

So if you’re green fingers don’t extend to your marketing process, give me a shout on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk , or call me on 01483 200387.

Free information
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Free Information

Giving away free information is something many people aren’t sure about.

My contention is that giving should start at work in your business.

So what am I talking about?

I’m talking about one of the most counter intuitive but in fact best business strategies that you should be using and that is giving away your best information and knowledge.

Now I know that lots of people will disagree with me.

They think that if you give away your best free information no one will actually need your services.

If people can get your stuff for free, why on earth should they buy from you?

The truth is that even if you walk people step by step through what you do, giving them detailed instructions, the picture is seldom complete and people will still want your help and expertise.

Every week I send out useful and relevant marketing information.

What in effect I’m doing is:

  • building a relationship with my audience
  • establishing my expertise
  • demonstrating that I know a thing or two about this marketing lark.
  • developing trust

All of these are vital if your prospects are going to do business with you.

So what’s the result of sharing all this free information?

I know for a fact that people refer back to what I’ve said and use it to help improve their marketing.

But the key thing is that people regularly make contact for help with their marketing.

The other issue is not only am I developing the relationship and establishing my credentials but the regularity and consistency with which I send out this information means that I remain in people’s consciousness and am on hand when they are ready to buy.

I don’t know when that time may be so by turning up consistently I’m ensuring I’m around when the time is right.

So think about what free information your prospects would value and that you can give away.

The best way to start a relationship is by giving away something of value.

If you need some help with the process, get in touch on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk  or give me a call on 01483 200387.

Marketing principles
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Two Important Marketing Principles

Two important marketing principles occurred to me as I watched the London Marathon last weekend.

When fun runners start their training, my guess is that they’re quite apprehensive and not convinced that competing is really such a good idea.

Isn’t that the way lots of small business owners feel about their marketing.

But the runners have a goal they want to achieve so they start training.

To start with they probably struggle but slowly they get fitter and the whole thing gets easier.

Same with marketing.

Initially you’ll make mistakes but you learn as you go along and your results improve and suddenly you find yourself outstripping your competitors and leading the field.

Another of the marketing principles can be seen in small businesses’ need to become known.

If other local businesses were aware of you and what you do, you’d do loads more business wouldn’t you?

But becoming known is not easy.

You can’t just communicate once or twice and leave it at that.

To become well known you need to talk to your audience regularly over an extended period of time – it’s like a ………………………marathon.

Your prospects have to go through the “know, like, trust” process.

Think about it.

Would you do business with an organisation you don’t know anything about?

You need to be interested in what they sell.

You want to know that their values are the same as yours.

You need to feel positive towards them.

And crucially, you have to trust them.

You must have confidence in what they’re saying.

Unless you can tick all these boxes, you’re unlikely to do business with them.

So as a marketer you’re going to have to communicate with your prospects on an on-going basis.

Here comes another of the marketing principles. None of this happens overnight – you have to commit to the long haul.

But if you stick at it, you will get the results you’re looking for.

Which is why I send out emails out every week.

So if you feel you don’t understand enough about basic marketing principles, get in touch on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk or call me on 01483 200387.

Rules of marketing

The Rules Of Marketing

It’s vital that you understand and adhere to the rules of marketing.

In other areas of life rules may be there to be broken.

A headline in the Times earlier this week read:

Tory Brexiteers rewrite the rules in fresh bid to oust Theresa May

Basically sections of the Conservative party are so desperate to get rid of her that they hope to change the rules so that they can have another vote of no confidence.

So while perhaps in politics you can change the rules to suit yourself, the rules of marketing can’t be played around with in the same way.

One of the golden rule of marketing is that if you give the right messages to the right people in the right way you will get the right result.

No amount of plotting or scheming will change that and it relates to large corporates and SMEs alike.

So what does this mean in real life?

  1. The Right People

You need to identify your target audience as precisely as possible.

The more you can get inside the heads of your ideal customer the better.

The best way to do this is to create an avatar – so that you know what age and sex your ideal customer is, where they live, what job they do, how much they earn, what are their leisure activities, do they have kids, what TV programmes do they watch etc etc.

Only when you really understand precisely who you customer is, can you ensure that all aspects of your product or service match their requirements.

2. The Right Messages

Having identified your target customer, you can now craft the most appropriate messages:

  • What do you do/sell?
  • What problems in your customers’ lives do you solve?
  • What benefits do you deliver?
  • How do you differ from other suppliers in your sector?
  • How do you avoid the classic mistakes that people hate about your industry?
  • How can people trial your product or service?
  • What guarantees do you provide?
  • What special introductory offers can you make?

3. The Right Way
This is all about selecting the right channels to communicate with, which will be determined by your customer avatar.

You have to make sure that the communication channels you select are ones that your audience use.

At the risk of being crass this means that you wouldn’t use Facebook to communicate with an elderly audience and you wouldn’t advertise in the parish mag if you’re trying to reach millennials.

So unlike the Tory brexiteers you can’t rewrite the rules of marketing but you do need to take notice of them.

If you need any help with any aspect of this, get in touch on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk, call me on 01483 200387.

Facebook Ads
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Facebook Ads Need A Different Strategy

Facebook Ads is of course a Pay Per Click advertising platform but it’s very different to Google Ads.

With Google people are actively looking for a solution to their problem.

So advertisers can basically say “here’s what I’ve got, come and buy it”.

Facebook Ads is very different.

People aren’t searching.

They’re scrolling through their newsfeed and your ad is basically interrupting them.

At this stage they know nothing about you so you have to woo them, impress them and gain their trust.

It’s a bit like a blind date.

I put a new Facebook Ads campaign live a couple of days ago.

My campaign is a seven step process.

It starts with the ads themselves.

I’ve produced a few, all with basically the same wording but different creative treatments.

I have no idea at this stage which will work best.

The ad offers a free gift – an ebook entitled “How to double your business in the next 12 months”.

At this stage I’m giving them something which I hope will be of interest to them.

When they click on the ad, they’re taken to a landing page where they fill in their details before being able to download the ebook.

The purpose of the ebook is to build trust  – I’m demonstrating my knowledge and expertise.

I will now send them a series of emails.

The first one simply introduces myself and thanks them for downloading the ebook.

The next one (two days later) details a case history of a client, showing what problem she was suffering from, my solution and the outcome.

The ultimate objective of the campaign is to get a phone conversation with these prospects.

If I have a chat on the phone, I may then get a meeting  where I may close them to become a client.

So each email has a link where they can arrange a no obligation phone call to discuss what they should be doing to win more customers.

The next email contains a video in which I explain a basic digital marketing campaign to grow their business.

The video introduces me to them so they can decide whether they like me and whether they’d be happy to work with me.

The next email is another successful case history.

The sixth and final element of the campaign is another email this time single-mindedly promoting the telephone conversation.

Will it work?

Well it certainly should but if it doesn’t I’ll tweak and amend it until it does.

If you’d like a Facebook Ads campaign implemented in your business, give me a shout on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk, call me on 014183 200387.

Follow up
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How To Follow Up

The way you follow up your leads will probably determine the success of your business.

Marketing generates the enquiry and it’s the job of sales to convert the lead into a customer.

But the problem is you can have all the leads in the world, but if you don’t convert them, you still haven’t got a business.

I was having this conversation with a client recently who was complaining that she wasn’t converting enough of her leads.

In the on-line lead generating process it’s normal to ask for a name and email address.

While the phone number would be very useful, asking for a phone number can reduce response rates by up to 50%.

People don’t want to run the risk of having someone hassling them on the phone.

My client was lamenting the fact that she does her follow up by email but often gets no response.

So I dug down a little deeper to discover what else she does to make contact and the answer was nothing as she only has the email address.

So we did a little experiment.

By looking at the email address and using an amount of creativity and guesswork we were able to identify the websites of three out of five leads.

Once we had the website we now had the phone number, physical address and name of the main man.

Armed with this information my client can now follow up:

  • On the phone
  • Via social media – especially LinkedIn and Facebook
  • By letter

My point in all this is that if the prospect has taken the trouble to make contact, they must have an amount of interest in what you sell.

God knows why they haven’t responded to emails.

It is of course possible that the emails may go into the junk folder and have never been seen or the prospect is away or who knows what.

Whatever the answer the success of your business may well depend on your perseverance at the follow up.

We all know that the majority of buying decisions are made somewhere between the 7th and 12th  contact.

It’s also well known that the average sales person gives up after 2 – 3 attempts.

So it may well be that it’s not more leads you need at all  but a bit more determination, creativity and bloody mindedness in your follow up.

As always if you need any help or advice with any aspect of your marketing, give me a shout on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk or 01483 200387.

Successful marketing
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Successful Marketing

Successful marketing is vital to the success of almost any business.

Yet when I think of the way many businesses approach marketing, it reminds me of Theresa May’s approach to Brexit.

Personally I’m so sick of Brexit.

I can’t bear to listen to the unending debates and arguments any more.

God knows what Theresa May must think.

I’ve been stunned and amazed how she’s taken her deal back to the House of Commons three times.

This is where the similarity with so many businesses’ marketing comes in.

So many businesses continue to do marketing that doesn’t work.

They continue making exactly the same unsuccessful pitch to their prospects time after time.

They don’t change the words, the offer, the medium, the delivery method or anything.

If your marketing is not showing a return on investment you should stop it immediately.

Take stock and then see if by changing it – either small tweaks or larger changes you can make it work.

You need to turn your unsuccessful marketing into successful marketing.

So let’s take email marketing as an example.

I’ve been sending emails out every Wednesday morning for the last five years.

So does it work for me – absolutely.

I get about a 40% open rate and a steady trickle of enquiries.

But I’ve had to tweak and amend things over the years.

Successful marketing doesn’t just happen.

So if you’re doing email marketing and it’s not working, what should you look at?

  1. The subject line – this is one of the key elements that influences whether the email is opened or not.
    You must make sure that your subject line interests people enough to click on it.
  2. The subject matter – unless you’re writing about subjects that people are interested in, they’re not going to engage. You must ensure content is relevant to your audience.
  3. Special offers – special offers can be very powerful. If you’re emailing regularly you can’t have a special offer every time otherwise they lose impact.
  4. Call to action – if you want people to take action you have to tell them what action to take and make it very easy for them to do it.
  5. Regularity – how often are you going to email? The answer is as often as you can provide value. Your emails can’t be too regular they can only be too boring.
  6. Timing – what is the best time of day/day of week to email. There’s no definitive answer to this. Just experiment and see what results you get.

So if you want successful marketing stop doing any that isn’t working and tweak and amend it until it does.

If you need help with any of this, just give me a shout on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk, call on 01483 200387.

Marketing lessons
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Some Important Marketing Lessons

I received some important marketing lessons last week.

I came home one day to find a large, flat, brown box on the door mat.

It was from a company called Bloom and Wild and it was obvious that it contained flowers.

Assuming they were for my wife, I was very surprised to find they were for me.

In fact they were from a client who was saying thank you for a recent job.

When I went through the package in detail I was very impressed with their commercial nous.

This is obviously a switched on company as there were a whole load of marketing lessons in the package.

  • There were several messages printed on the packaging, written in a warm, friendly, tongue in cheek manner – such as “You could excitedly rip your box open …………… but lifting it here is much easier”.
  • They ask for feedback (testimonials by another name) on the packaging and offer a prize in return. Testimonials are so important but often hard to get.
  • They make great play of the fact that their customer service people are available 7 days a week until 10.00pm. The message here was how much they care about the customer experience.

Inside the box they had included several bits of marketing collateral:

  • A leaflet full of information about how to arrange the flowers, what sort of vase to use, how to look after the flowers and information about the bouquet itself – all of which build value into the product.
  • Each bouquet has its own name so further personalising the service.
  • An envelope containing material from third party companies which would generate additional revenue for the company.
  • A leaflet and a discount voucher for Mothers’ Day – giving me a reason to use their service.

Out of interest, I later went on their website where they have a huge range of Mothers’ Day bouquets, all of which have different names.

They have “The Incredible Mum”, “The Brilliant Mum”, “The Fantastic Mum” etc – another clever touch to personalise and differentiate their service.

  • They don’t limit themselves to just flowers. Their bouquets can be augmented with chocolates, biscuits even vases so increasing the transaction value.

All in all a very well thought through package which contained several marketing lessons we can all learn from.

And the flowers – yup they were nice too and are currently brightening up our hallway.

I don’t give marketing lessons but if you’d like help putting together a similarly well thought through marketing campaign, give me a shout on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk or call me on 01483 200387.

 

Marketing mistakes
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Classic Marketing Mistakes Of Small Businesses

I was reminded of the classic marketing mistakes small businesses make on a recent family holiday in India.

In India, you know you’re going to get constantly hassled by people trying to sell you cheap tat.

Their approach always reminds me of the marketing mistakes of so many small businesses, which is why so many struggle.

  1. They approach anyone and everyone.

The first rule of marketing is to clearly identify your target audience as precisely as possible and then build your marketing to appeal directly to that audience.

They try to sell to anyone who happens to be in the vicinity.

  1. They sell too early.

Customers need to know, like and trust you before they will buy.

Obviously this isn’t possible for these guys. They have one chance and if they don’t sell first up, they never will.

And the sad fact is that they very seldom do.

  1. People buy benefits not features.

Now precisely how they could sell the benefits of a carved elephant or a bunch of gaudy bangles I’m not sure.

But again the point holds good.

You’re unlikely to be successful if you’re just selling the item without explaining how the customer will benefit and how it will solve their problems .

  1. They don’t differentiate themselves

In a crowd of hawkers they’re usually all selling the same thing.

If everyone’s product is basically the same why should I choose one over another.

In your marketing you need to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

You do this via the product itself, elements of your service or pricing so that there’s a real reason to choose you.

  1. They have no pricing policy

Classically a hawker will start at an unrealistic price and will rapidly come down.

Now I’m not saying that you should never negotiate, but you must retain your credibility during the negotiation process.

Used correctly, pricing can be a fantastically effective marketing tool.

Unfortunately too many people get it wrong and end up giving their stuff away too cheaply.

So there you have five classic marketing mistakes that small businesses so often make.

But assuming you’re selling a quality product, I can help you get all these points right.

Just give me a shout on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk or call me on 01483 200387.