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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.

 

 

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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

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Use Emotional Hooks To Make Your Prospects Take Action

For your marketing to be successful, you need to use emotional hooks to make your prospects take action. As I say week after week it’s all about:

  1. The market – who you’re talking to
  2. The message – what you’re saying to them
  3. The medium – the channels you use to communicate with them

Within the message you have to be aware not just of what you say but how you say it. For your message to have impact, you have to press the right buttons in your readers’ minds.

Now  as we know, people only ever buy for one reason and that is to solve a problem. If they have a problem we have to pull on their four emotional hooks:

The pain

The commitment

The cure

The reason to believe

This is probably the most sensible order to address the issues and you will need to address each one if you’re going to make the sale.

The Pain

The pain is simply the effect of the problem your reader is facing. What is their problem and what effect is it having on the reader.

Once you’ve identified the pain, you want to rub it and aggravate it until it’s raw and throbbing.

Say you sell thermal clothing, the pain your customers suffer is the constant discomfort of cold feet, of never feeling warm, spending too much on heating bills and potential health issues. This is the pain you would need to remind them of.

The Commitment

The commitment is the promise you make to solving the problem and removing the pain. So if the pain is that the readers are being made miserable by being continuously cold and even suffering from chilblains, the commitment is what you’re going to do to solve the problem and maybe even how you plan to do it.

In effect what you’re saying is “if you’re sick of being cold, this is my promise to fix it for you”.

The Cure

The cure is simply what they get when they take action to get you to meet your commitment.

If you want me to keep you warm, then you need to call this number or go to this website where you will see my range of toasty warm thermal clothing

Your offer must be clear and unambiguous. You should tell them what to do, why they need to do it, what’ll happen after they’ve done it and the consequences of not doing it.

The Reason To Believe

The reason to believe is the element which gives the reader the confidence to go ahead and do what you’re telling them to.

The good news is that people want to believe. All they need is the reason to trust you to solve their problems.

The two best ways to give them this trust are testimonials and guarantees.

If you see a customer who suffers from the same problem as you, saying that your product solved their problem then this is so much more convincing than if you say it yourself. Try and get video testimonials  – they’re the ultimate.

Guarantees simply take the risk away from making the purchase. If I know that I can get my money back if the product doesn’t live up to my expectations, then it’s really easy to make the decision to buy.

So there you have it.

When you build these four emotional hooks into your marketing copy you’ll see your response rate soar.

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Dramatically Improve Your Customer Relationships

Like all business owners you want to dramatically improve your customer relationships.

Now we all know that people do business with people they know, like and trust.

We want to forge strong bonds that keep our customers coming back for more so that when our competitors whisper in our clients’ ears, they don’t listen because they’re so happy with the relationship they have with us.

One way to do this is to add some “Magic Moments” into your relationship.

So what is a “Magic Moment”

Magic moments are when you do small, unexpected and fun things out of the blue to surprise your clients.

These don’t need to be large or expensive.

They can be small, almost trivial things but they demonstrate an amount of thought and care for your customers.

It could be as small as sending a birthday card on the appropriate day, enclosing a box of chocolates with an order or taking your customer out to lunch.

No substitute for good service

Now we mustn’t confuse Magic Moments and your basic levels of service. Magic Moments will not cover up for poor service.

But the thing is that your customers take good service as a given and while fundamental, service is unlikely to light people up and make them smile in the way a Magic Moment will.

For literally a few pence you can see results out of all proportion to the cost and effort involved.  By surprising people and giving them that little lift your business can reap real benefits:

  • Increased customer loyalty
  • Higher levels of repeat orders
  • Larger numbers of referrals
  • Glowing testimonials

The problem with Magic Moments

While all business owners would like the benefits of Magic Moments there are a couple of problems.

  1. Finding the right Magic Moment for your customer. Whatever you do for your Magic Moment is has got to be relevant to the customer. Do the wrong thing and all your effort will be wasted.
  2. Spending the time – while the idea is great you will have to commit an amount of time to thinking what to do and then actually doing it.
  3. What to do. This is probably the biggest issue. We all want to create “Magic Moments” but having the ideas to create the magic isn’t easy.

So here are a few ideas:

  • Thank you letters or cards – after you’ve done a piece of work or delivered an order, hand write a card or letter, not an email, to say thank you. How often do you received a hand written letter these days?
  • Easter chocolates – around Easter send a small packet of Easter eggs with an order or just send an egg to the relevant people in the business.
  • Ice creams – if you visit your client’s offices, in the summer take an ice cream for the people in the office
  • Birthday cards – if you can find out the birthdays of the key people within the business, sending a birthday card elevates the relationship from entirely business to personal.
  • Car wash – I heard about a company that invited their clients to their offices for a presentation and washed and valeted their cars during the presentation.

The thing about all these Magic Moments is that they are unexpected and fun and will differentiate you massively from other companies.

While the cost of you will be small the impact on your customer relationships will be huge.

 

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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.

 

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5 Key Tips For Building Your Prospect List

I’m sure you’re very aware of the importance of building a large, opted in prospect list.

Once you have your prospect list, it feeds into your sales funnel and your marketing works on auto pilot.

You set up a system which drives prospects to your website, they opt in to your list, they then receive a sequence of emails from your auto responder after which they go onto your email list to receive your regular email marketing until they are ready to buy.

Simple really.

Each part of the process is really important but possibly the vital part is persuading website visitors to opt in to your list.

So the question is what can you do to increase the numbers opting in and so speed up building your list?

There are several factors which influence your opt in rate.

Offer something of real value as your lead magnet

For people to decide to give you their contact details, you have to offer something they genuinely want.

So ask yourself “what is the single greatest problem that my prospects have that I can help them with”.

Once you’ve identified that, write a free report or a white paper on the subject and offer it for free.

Position it in a compelling manner

The words you use to sell the free report and the title you give it are vital.

Which would motivate you more?

“Download your free business growth report”   or

“Discover the 7 simple secrets that could easily double your profits in the next 90 days”

Limit the amount of information you ask for

Of course we’d all like comprehensive information about the prospect and his or her business but the more information you demand, the lower your take up rate.

The very minimum you need is the email address. Personally I also request the email address, so that I can personalise the follow ups.

While it’s tempting to request the phone number as well, this will seriously reduce the number of sign ups.

The position of your sign up box

Assuming that getting contact details is either the primary or one of the primary objectives of the website, position the sign up box in the most prominent place on the page.

Top right hand corner is where the eye automatically falls so this is where you should put it.

You shouldn’t limit the sign up box to just the home page. Make sure you have it on every page of the website especially the blog page.

The wording on the button

Even the wording on the button will influence your sign up rate.

You want to use positive, affirmative words

“Yes please rush me my report”

But it’s not just the words that count. The colour will have an impact as well.

Make the button stand out from the surrounding colours. Bright green works well as does bright blue.

Implement all these points and you can be confident that you will be generating the optimum number of sign ups.

Of course if you want more information or some help doing it, give me a call.

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The Importance Of Having A Marketing System

Getting new customers and clients should be easy and I’ll show you how if you’ve got a marketing system it can be.

You’ve got a great product and lots of people would benefit from it.

All you’ve got to do is get the message out to the right people and social media in the shape of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ etc gives us access to millions of people at basically no cost.

That’s bound to bring you loads of customers isn’t it?

Unfortunately not.

But you’re getting masses of “likes”, retweets, and connections. That’s got to generate stacks of new business hasn’t it?

Unfortunately not.

It seems like virtually every day there are new ways to promote your business and they’re all clever and cutting edge. They’re bound to work.

Unfortunately not.

So what’s going wrong?

The difference between activities and systems

The problem is that they’re all “activities”.

Now to generate new business you’ve got to be active, but activities in isolation seldom result in people doing business with you.  Marketing systems do.

I’ll explain what I mean.

Let’s take Facebook “likes”. We’re always hearing that most people on the planet are on Facebook and the more “likes” you have, the more people you can communicate with.

Great but that’s where it falls apart.

Just because someone has liked your post doesn’t mean they’re going to buy something from you. People mistake “likes” and similar responses for a sign that people are going to do business with them.

Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that.

Social interaction is a good first step but it needs to be part of a larger system.

Let me show you how you can make social media fit into your marketing system.

The importance of your blog

Your blog needs to be a key element of your engagement strategy.

  1. Firstly you write a great blog post – something that will be of major interest to your social media contacts.
  2. You promote your blog post on social media in order to get the maximum amount of people to click through to read the whole thing.
  3. Your blog page will be set up to include your lead magnet (the item you offer for free) so that visitors will opt in to your list.
  4. You can now start marketing to these prospects over time and so convert them into paying customers.

Remember it’s the people on your list not your social media friends who will actually become customers.

Social media is a tool for getting people onto your list. It is not a method for getting new customers by itself.

If you want further information or help, get in touch.

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You Can Do It Fast Or You Can Do It Slow

So you want more customers.

In that case you’ll need more leads and more prospects.

OK so how are you going to get them?

Well there’s two ways – a quick way and a slow way.

Or I could phrase that another way – there’s the way that involves spending some money and there’s the way without spending money.

So it really depends on how quickly you want to do it.

The slow way

If you’re not in a hurry you can rely on your website appearing high on the organic listings on Google, so that when your prospects are searching for a solution to their problem, up you pop.

So we’re talking about SEO or search engine optimisation.

The problem with SEO is that not only does it take a considerable length of time to achieve those rankings, but Google also regularly changes its search algorithms which means that one day you can be ranking well and the next you’ve disappeared into the back of cyber space. I know I’m talking from painful personal experience.

But now the question is how do you get onto the first page of Google and it does have to be the first page because anything else will not deliver you any meaningful volume.  Not only do you want to be on the first page, but the top half of the first page.

The answer is simply to have the best website in your area of business.

That’s it – just have lots of high quality content, delivering masses of value to your visitors. On top of that you also want lots of high quality people linking to the site.

These characteristics will tell Google that yours is an authoritative site which is worthy of a high ranking because you offer the best solution to their searchers queries.

But that’s a long term strategy.

You probably want traffic and customers right now.

So what’s the other option?

The fast way

The fast way to generate traffic is to buy it.

That’s right you have a marketing budget and you go out and advertise in a range of ways.

The thing now is to ensure you spend your money wisely.

Designing the ad is just one part of the process. There are plenty of other aspects you must pay attention to if you’re going to get a return on your investment.

Remember the way your sales funnel works online is to drive people to a landing page where they give you their contact details in return for a report or white paper.

Below is a list of things you’re going to have to think about.

  1. What are you going to promote? You must have some offer or report of sufficient value to motivate people to give you their contact details. That’s the first thing you have to think about.
  2. Your landing page is the next thing on your list. Sending people to some generic, badly designed page will just lead you to wasting your money. Take great care writing and designing a killer landing page and you’ll get boat loads of sign ups.
  3. Once you’ve got the sign ups, what are you going to do now. You need a system in place which builds trust and credibility, making you the number one choice when they’re ready to buy.
  4. Where are you going to run your ads. With the proliferation of pay per click media, there are all sorts of options these days. Not all of them are necessarily on line. Don’t forget our old friend off line.
  5. Once all this is in place, you need to write and design your ads and get the campaign live.

Blimey there’s lots to do, so you’d better get busy.

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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.

 

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Are You Part Of The 1%

Are you familiar with the figures 1, 4 , 15, 60, 20?

These numbers represent the success of business owners.

1% are doing fantastically well.

4% are running great businesses

15% are on the road to success

60% are doing OK – they’re getting by

20% are really struggling

So what are the traits that differentiate the really successful business owners from all the rest?

  1. They are brave enough to risk being wrong.  In fact, unless you are prepared to get it wrong, you’re not doing it right.  The only people who never fail are the people who lack the courage to try.
  2. They are willing to listen. The best way to ensure that your products, services and marketing messages are on target, is to listen to your market place.
  3. They are patient.  Overnight success is very rare.  It takes time to get from where you are to where you want to be.
  4. They value their time and maximise it.  Time is your most valuable asset, yet many people waste it. Successful people jealously guard their time and use it carefully.
  5. They prioritise the important stuff. They focus on the things that will make a difference. The nice to do only get done when the need to do have been done.
  6. They know their numbers. In the final analysis business comes down to figures and they understand if you’re not on top of the numbers, you’re flying blind.
  7. They have a vision for their business which they share with all their stakeholders. They know where the business is going and how it’s going to get there.
  8. They have a plan for the business that they update regularly to ensure that they stay on track.
  9. They understand the importance of giving. As Zig Ziglar said “If you help enough people get what they want, you can have anything you want.”
  10. They show up consistently.  If you want to remain relevant to your clients, customers or community, you need to show up regularly.
  11. They commit to lifelong learning.  Society and everything around us is changing faster than ever before. Standing still is not an option. Take the classes, read the books and stay up to date.
  12. They know when to outsource. They know when to bring specialists in to help because their time is better spent doing higher value work or when they don’t have the specialist expertise.

Marketing is one such area that you can’t afford to get wrong.

If marketing isn’t your thing give me a call and I’ll show you the impact that giving the right messages to the right people in the right way will have on your business. Without marketing producing a regular stream of new leads for you, you are condemning yourself to not achieving the results and rewards you hope for.