Posts

, , , , ,

Why Your Marketing Funnel Should Be Like A Production Line

Have you ever thought about the similarity between a marketing funnel and a production line?

Marketing funnel

Your marketing funnel should operate like a production line

I’ll show you what I mean.

Virtually everything today is produced on a production line.

Cars are the classic example.

As the car progresses along the line, robots put the thing together.

First there’s the chassis, then the engine, the doors, the wheels, the wiring etc etc.

The car starts off as a few unrecognisable components and as it moves down the conveyor belt it gradually takes shape until it drops off the end as the shiny finished article.

Your marketing funnel should work the same way.

The processes should be planned and refined so that your prospects enter the production line (marketing funnel) in a raw and uncommitted state and are moved through the process and slowly start to look more like a customer until they come out the end the finished article, ready to do business with you.

So what should the stages within your marketing funnel look like?

Stage 1 Prospects arrive as complete strangers and you have an initial engagement with them.

Stage 2 Your auto responder series starts providing them with information, advice and benefits and they start to form a positive opinion of you.

Stage 3 You continue to give them relevant and valuable information and advice and they start to like the way you interact with them and to trust your expertise.

Step 4 You make your pitch to them –  to make a sale, arrange a meeting etc.

Step 5 They interact with your sales team and drop off the production line as beautifully formed, ready to drive customers.

So that’s the way your marketing funnel works and as I said it’s just like a production line. There are a set number of steps for prospects to go through and success depends on you having a seamless and well oiled process in place.

The prospect must be moved along the conveyor belt with each process kicking in automatically.

If you haven’t got one, your marketing will be a bit like British Leyland in the 1970s – unplanned, old fashioned and likely to disappoint you.

So what’s the solution?

Two options spring to mind.

  1. You can hope that BMW offer to buy you for several billion quid.

Or

  1. You can get in touch with me on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk or 01483 200387 and I can help you set up your production line.

 

 

, , , ,

How To Grow Your Business In 2016

At this stage of the year it’s right for you to take a look at your business and ask yourself some important questions.

What state is your business in and are there ways in which you can grow your business in 2016?

Can you improve the product, improve your service, improve the customer experience.

The ability to continually innovate and improve plays a big part in the development of any successful business.

Standing still is not really an option.

The trouble is once your business is up and running, especially if it’s going well, it’s very easy to stop thinking about it in this way and just focus on running it.

The following questions are the kind of thing you should be continually asking yourself.

• Have I got a plan for my business? Do I and my staff know what our objectives are and where we’re going?
• What additional products or services can I offer to my existing customers?  Cross selling and up selling are the fastest and most cost effective ways to grow your business.
• Do I really understand the problems my customers face and is the business set up to solve them?
• Do I communicate with my customers often enough – telling them about new products, special offers, developments in the industry or the company or just thanking them for their business?
• How often do I ask my clients for their feedback, regarding the service they receive from me and what additional services they would like me to offer?
• How can I improve the quality of my products or services, so that they are of even more value to my customers?
• How is my business differentiated from my competitors or is it just another “me too” business with no obvious reason for customers to choose me over the competition?
• What about my pricing? Have I priced my products to be the same as everybody else or is there a definite rationale behind my pricing whether high or low?
• How good is my customer service? Am I really delighting my customers at every stage of the process or are there areas where I could improve the customer experience?
• How watertight are my sales processes? When a lead or enquiry comes in, am I confident that every one is handled as well as it should be and that none are falling through the cracks?
• Am I getting as many referrals as I should and do I have a process in place to regularly generate referrals?
• Have I got clear marketing objectives and a marketing plan to deliver them?
• Do I get enough leads and enquiries via my website or blog? If not, how can I increase this, so my site becomes a lead generating machine for my business?
• Am I limiting my business by trying to do my own marketing? Should I bring in an expert who can deliver the new business that I need?

It’s this last question that I’m particularly interested in.

If you’re either not doing any marketing because you’re not sure what to do or are doing the marketing yourself but not getting the results, you are in fact inadvertently sabotaging your business.

Luckily I’ve got a solution for you.

I will do your marketing for you and deliver you boat loads of new customers while you focus on all the other important questions.

If you want to discuss this further give me a shout on 01483 200387 or email  mikejennings@bda.me.uk

, , , ,

6 Simple Marketing Tips To Grow Your Business

When times are tough we all need more business. But if you’re not sure how to go about it, the following six simple marketing tips to grow your business will ensure that you win and retain loads of new customers.

To be honest it’s not rocket science – it comes down to the kind of advice your mum gave you about how to interact with people.

  1. Be Visible

How often have you heard yourself say “ I didn’t know that business was there”. If you don’t know about  certain businesses, you can be sure there are plenty who don’t know about you.

So are you visible to prospective customers if they decide to go looking?

  • Make sure your website looks good. If it doesn’t, upgrade it. Don’t let your website let you down.
  • Have a blog, that you update regularly. I blog once a week. www.bda.me.uk/blog
  • Participate in social media – let people find you on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Be Credible

When your prospects go and look at your public presence, will they feel motivated to get in touch?

  • Have compelling testimonials on your website. There’s nothing as persuasive as other customers singing your praises.
  • Make sure your phone is always professionally answered by a human being. If your office isn’t always manned, use a telephone answering service. How sad would it be to generate interest and then lose the opportunity because you don’t answer the phone?
  1. Be Memorable

Your objective is to ensure that when your target audience need what you sell, that they think of you.

To generate the awareness the following model works well :

  • You need to construct a database. Ideally you will already have a list of contacts – people who have enquired before, people who have completed a sign up form on your website, names you’ve generated from networking, trade shows etc.
  • If you haven’t got your own list, you can buy names and contact details from list brokers but these will never be as good or as receptive as your own list and you could get a reputation as a spammer.
  • Email your list regularly with valuable and useful information. This should be an on-going activity as response will increase over time as recipients grow to trust you.
  • Analyse response to your emails, tracking who opens them and who clicks on your links.
  • Have a process to follow up respondents. This may be a particular sequence of emails or you might prefer to take the bull by the horns and phone them.
  1. Be Personal

The more you can tailor your emails to the specific recipients, the more response you will get. Remember it’s about them and not about you.

All your readers are interested in is what’s in it for them so make sure you give them plenty of personal content.

  1. Be Consistent

The secret to success will be developing the trust of your readers so that they come to think of you as an expert in your field. You’re not going to do this with one or two emails. You must commit to sending regular emails at a given time each week, fortnight, month or whatever regularity you decide on.

To achieve this you will have to set aside regular time in your diary to do the work.

  1. Be Persistent

This kind of marketing requires a medium/long term commitment. As I said you have to commit to doing this over an extended period of time. As we all know, everyone will be at a different stage in their decision making process. No response today doesn’t mean that they won’t respond in six months time.

Persistence is even more vital in the follow up. It’s too easy to give up after one or two unsuccessful contacts. You need to continue trying until you get either a “yes” or some useful information about their buying intentions.

If you manage to take these six simple marketing tips on board, I can guarantee that you will pick up more customers and more business.

 

, , , ,

How To Generate Leads Using LinkedIn

I bet you’re on LinkedIn but the question is “Are you using it?”

Almost all business people are on LinkedIn but virtually no one uses it proactively or effectively.

Two or three weeks ago I wrote a piece about about how to use social media to actually generate business. In that post I was referring more to Facebook and Twitter. Those are the social platforms with the largest memberships and the greatest awareness, but they’re used predominantly for social networking and not business networking.

LinkedIn is different.

Everyone on LinkedIn is there in a business context but as I said so few people actually use it effectively.

Half the profiles you look at haven’t been filled in completely.

People think they must be on LinkedIn – they set up an account, fill in their profile in a half hearted manner and then do nothing more.

This is a great waste.

LinkedIn has more than 350 million members, all business people, all available for you to connect with and it’s all free.

Two ways to generate business

The first thing you need to do is create a business page that clearly explains and demonstrates the benefits you offer.

While you’re at it get some of your clients to give you testimonials. On LinkedIn they have to be genuine, they can’t be made up and social proof is always the most persuasive copy.

But even when you have your company page, the strategy is still going to be to drive people to your website, where your marketing funnel is waiting to convert visitors into clients.

So how do we get prospects to connect with us on LinkedIn?

The best opportunity is with groups.

Remember you can join up to 50 groups.

Your strategy with groups is not to join the groups related to your own industry because otherwise you will be interacting with your competitors. Instead join the groups which your prospects are members of.

Now there are two strategies for your communication with groups.

  1. Commenting on other people’s posts is one way to raise your profile, establish your credibility and demonstrate your expertise. It is important to be viewed as a credible and valuable member of  the group.
  2. The other route is to make postings of your own –posting teaser copy which links to your blog. These posts of course need to be interesting and valuable to the group members and not just an advertisement for your business. On your blog page you must make sure your lead magnet is prominently displayed. If visitors like your blog, there is a good chance they will be interested in your lead magnet and once they’ve subscribed to that they’re into your marketing funnel and into your process.

The second strategy is for you to identify the prospects you want to start a conversation with and contact them directly.

The advanced search button allows you to find people against an extensive list of criteria.

Once you’ve identified your prospects you have to send them an invitation to connect.

Please avoid the standard “I’d like to connect with you” message. I’m much more likely to connect with someone if they have demonstrated a genuine benefit to me of connecting.

Try and show how you can potentially add value – give me a reason to want to connect with you. Once you’ve established a connection, you must remember that you’re networking. It’s about establishing a relationship over time and not about trying to sell right up front.

If you’d like any more advice or help with your LinkedIn networking, give me a call on 01483 200387, email me on mikejennings@bda.me.uk

, , , ,

Your Marketing Messages Need to Attract And Repel

The ultimate objective of your marketing is to attract only those people you want to do business with. By that I mean you don’t want to attract the pain in the arse clients one comes across only too often.

You know the sort I mean.

  • The sort who have no money
  • The sort who want to do everything just the way they’ve always done it
  • The sort who always cancel your meetings
  • The sort who don’t pay your bills
  • The sort who don’t treat you with respect

I could go on but you know the sort of clients I mean.

How do you attract clients?

The first thing to do is to understand your ideal customer in minute detail. The more you understand your prospect, the more you can get inside their head and the more you can offer solutions to the issues they have.

For this purpose I always recommend that you create an avatar of your prospect – are they male or female, how old are they, what do they do, where do they live, how much do they earn, do they have kids, married or single, what are their hobbies etc etc.

Once you really understand them, you should be able to identify what you can provide for them, what problems you can solve and what benefits you can deliver. If your marketing messages address these points then you should attract the people you want.

So how do we repel the clients we don’t want?

Whatever you do, you don’t want to start alienating people. You may not want them as customers, but you don’t want them bad mouthing you.

So in your marketing communication you identify the characteristics you don’t want ie like the ones above and you simply list them. Having said that you don’t say “If you haven’t got any money, I’m not interested in you”.

You should phrase it something like this:

Our marketing services produce the best results for companies who:

  • Have at least £5000 to spend over the next 12 months
  • Have an established business turning over at least £250,000
  • Are  serious about growing your business and not just thinking about it
  • Are open to new ideas and marketing strategies
  • Understand the benefits of working with an external marketing consultant

As you read these bullet points it’s almost impossible not to answer the questions as you go, to either qualify or disqualify yourself.

Assuming you’ve done your profiling right, the attraction part of the communication should have drawn the reader in so he’s saying “Yes I want some of this”. The second part will either qualify him or disqualify him.

If he’s qualified he’s now an ideal prospect for you and if he’s disqualified then you’ve saved yourself a load of heart ache, wasted time and aggravation.

Next time you’re writing a marketing piece, make sure you include both attraction and repulsion elements.

 

, , ,

Give More, Get More

For most businesses the number 1 issue they face is how to win new customers.

Or to put it another way their number 1 issue is to convince their prospects that they are the best option to solve their problems, that they are best placed to help them.

I know that this is the case for my business and for my clients.

So how do you go about doing this?

Well the answer is really simple – …by helping them.

I’m not talking about your existing clients. Naturally you’re helpful to them, otherwise they wouldn’t be your clients.

I’m talking about your prospects.

The best way to convince them you can help them is to help them.

Obvious really.

So how do you do this?

The solution is to help them resolve some issue in their business…BEFORE…you ask them to become clients.

Now the standard response I get to this suggestion is “if I give my stuff away, people will just take my free stuff and won’t need to hire me”.

Actually, and fortunately, that’s not true. In fact the more valuable stuff you give away, the greater the likelihood that prospects will turn into clients.

The more stuff you give away, the more people will want it.

To work out what you need to give away it may make it easier if you plan it out on a piece of paper.

On the left hand side write down what the problem your prospect suffers from is and on the right write down the result if you resolve the problem.

In between you should list the steps that you can/will take to resolve the issue for the prospect and so position yourself as the obvious choice of supplier.

So for my business, my prospects want more clients.

So on the left I would write “Not enough clients” and on the right I would write “Lots of clients”

I will now insert the steps I will advise them to take.

My starting point will be that they need to get more visitors (traffic) to their website.

They need to give these people a reason to engage with them when they’re there by providing an incentive for them to leave their contact details ie a special report – this is what’s called a lead magnet

Having got the contact details they now need to nurture that relationship by regular email contact so that the prospect gets to like and trust them.

The last step will be to offer some kind of incentive or special offer so that prospects will contact me which will give me the opportunity to sell to them.

The way I make this happen is to offer a free half day’s consultancy in which I will look in detail at the prospect’s business. I will identify their niche audiences, create an avatar of their typical client, create an irresistible customer proposition for the prospect and then finally suggest appropriate channels for communication.

I do all this for free which provides an incredible deal for my prospects and positions me as a proven expert in their eyes.

So all you’ve got to do is work out how you can do the equivalent. What problem would your prospects love you to solve and how are you going to go about it?

While your competition are telling  prospects how helpful they can be if only they’ll give them some money, with my approach you’ll be showing your prospects how helpful you can be before they become clients.

It’s very hard to compete against that.

Make sense? It’s not hard to do. But like anything it’s all about implementation.

Categories: business growth

, , ,

So What Do People Hate About Your Business?

In this day and age how often will someone do business with you without checking out your website first?

The answer is not often.

We all do it. Whether to find out specific information or after you’ve met someone to confirm our initial positive feelings and to double check their credibility.

So if this is the case we want our websites to do as much of the selling job as possible, so that the prospect is either 100% sold by the time we speak to them or at least most of the way there.

Address their concerns upfront

The key to pre-selling them is to address their concerns and objections up front.

So how do you do that?

A good place to start is to identify the typical things that people hate about your industry.

Without meaning to single out anyone in particular, the following are examples of what I’m talking about:

Builders – we hate it when jobs  over run, that they make a mess and that the work always seem to cost more than we expect.

Lawyers – we hate the fact that lawyers often speak a language that we don’t understand and that you can’t have a telephone conversation without receiving a  hefty bill.

Marketing people – I thought I ought to include my own profession – marketing people are often considered to be smarmy and silver tongued and will say anything to close a deal (absolutely ridiculous I know)

Of course these are stereotypical views but I’m sure you understand where I’m going with this argument.

So having identified the 3-5 things that people dislike about your profession, you need to demonstrate how you don’t commit the same crimes.

A standard concern is often price – you’re too expensive. But remembering that most people buy on value as opposed to on price, you can counter that objection by loading up the benefits you deliver. If you can demonstrate that you deliver massive benefits then your price becomes far less important.

Another tool which answers a lot of concerns is a guarantee. Whatever the problem whether it be quality, delivery dates or whatever, if you give a guarantee(preferably money back) you give your customers immediate reassurance.

It’s all about benefits

Remember you must differentiate between features and benefits. I don’t buy a chair because it’s ergonomically designed. I buy it because it’s really comfortable and supports my back. If you’re struggling to identify the benefits contained within a feature, use these three little words – “which means that”.

This mountain bike has disk brakes(feature) which means that it will stop incredibly quickly which may save you from a disastrous crash(massive benefit)

The key to this exercise is to make sure you’re brutally honest about what people dislike about your industry and how you’re going to address them. This is why working with a very specific niche is so important. The tighter the niche the more you should understand their concerns.

Once you’ve completed this exercise, you will have addressed your audience’s key issues, overcome their standard objections and differentiated yourself from your competitors.

Done properly this approach will go a long way to pre-selling your prospects.

Now what?

These benefits are obviously key selling messages which you can use in a number of ways. You could feature them in an FAQ page, you can address each point in a different blog article or my preferred route is to actually list the benefits you deliver on the home page of your website. They’re key messages so put them in the most prominent place where the largest number of website visitors will see them.

So if you lay out credible and  convincing answers to people’s concerns, your sales process will be very much easier.

 

, , ,

So What Else Do They Need?

We’ve all heard the pitch “Dramatically grow your business in the next couple of weeks without really trying” far too many times.

But we all know that growing your business is hard work and for most of us if we can grow 10% a year, we’re doing pretty well.

But I am now going to tell you that there is a way that will allow most businesses to grow very significantly that’s really not too difficult and that you can make a start on right away.

For this to work you are going to have to be an existing business with clients or customers already. If you’re a start up or a very new business it is still absolutely relevant but the benefits will take a bit longer to come through.

So the question you need to ask yourself is: What else do my customers need?

Now you sell whatever it is you sell. So ask yourself what other products relate to what you sell that would be relevant to your customers.

I’ll give you an example:

A few years ago before the economic downturn I was working with a company who installed swimming pools. Through the boom years they were doing very nicely installing swimming pools to affluent households in Surrey.

Then came the economic crash of 2008 and suddenly everyone got scared and business dried up, which isn’t good when you’re talking about swimming pools. So the question was what could they do if no one felt confident enough to invest in a swimming pool.

The answer was to offer a pool maintenance service.

All the people they’d installed pools for over the years needed to have the pools maintained – whether that was a monthly cleaning service, supplying swimming pool chemicals, annual maintenance for the filtration system, provision of safety fences to keep children and pets safely away from the water or even a landscaping service for the area around the pool.

When their primary business slowed down, it could have been disastrous. But by identifying and providing all the services relevant to the core business they managed not just to survive the downturn but actually to grow through it.

The key to this was their database.

They had a relationship with all their past customers so when they went back to them they had great success selling the new products and services.

They became a one stop shop for everything relating to swimming pools.

Joint Ventures

Now the next question is are you going to provide these additional products or services yourself or are you going to use an existing supplier.

If you can supply them yourself – great.

But if you can’t then this is the perfect opportunity to create joint ventures.

It’s easy to find out who provides the extra services that your customers need and you just need to agree how the relationship will work.

Will you white label someone else’s product and present it as your own or bring in the partner in their own right?

Either way it should open up new revenue streams from old customers and in the future from new.

It’s all about the relationship

Most people believe that having the solution, whether it be intellectual property or physical product is the most important element.

It’s not.

It’s having the customer relationships.

Once you have that, then it’s easy to offer them the all the other related products.

So ask yourself this question: What else do my clients need that’s directly related to what I sell?

When you’ve found the answer you may well have cracked the question I asked right at the start of how you can dramatically grow your business quickly and easily.