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The Ultimate Marketing Weapon

99% of your website visitors will leave without making any kind of contact.

This is a criminal waste.

These people are interested in whatever it is that you sell. They must be – they’ve already made the choice to visit your website once.

They are prime prospects.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could track these people and have another go at selling them the idea of doing business with you?

Well what do you know – you can.

There’s a relatively new innovation called Remarketing, which not surprisingly Google are leading on, where you can track your website visitors and re-present your marketing messages to them.

This is one of the coolest developments in marketing in recent times and is something all business owners should be using.

How does it work?

Someone visits your website and a cookie (just a small snippet of code) is placed in their browser. They then leave your site and wend their way around the internet. Inevitably they will land at some stage on a site owned by or partnered with the Google Display network.

At that stage the cookie is read, which triggers your remarketing ad to be displayed.

So now they suddenly are presented with your ad – promoting a business or service that they’ve already shown interest in.

So imagine the scenario.

Someone who’s in the market for what you sell visits your website. Being one of the 99%, they’re not sufficiently grabbed by your website so after a while they leave and head off into the ether.

Say they now, for example, visit the site of a national newspaper who happens to be a Google advertising partner. At this stage Google reads the snippet of code, realises that they’ve been to your website and so serves up your ad.

Just think what impact this might have on your visitor. He’s on the site of a large and prestigious daily newspaper and suddenly he sees your ad. Seeing you in such exalted company, he now thinks “I’d better reassess my view of these people, there’s obviously more to them than I realised. Perhaps I should have another look.

The way it works means that your website visitors will see your ads pretty regularly and on some high profile partner sites. This gives your business a sense of scale. It can appear that you’re all over the internet which can cause people to change the way they see your business. Suddenly you seem much larger and more worthy of consideration than they had formerly thought.

The other great thing about remarketing is that you can set it up with amazing precision. In the example above, even if the daily newspaper is a national site, you can set up your remarketing campaign to only show your ads to people within a set geographical area.

So how much does remarketing cost?

Unlike traditional advertising where you pay for the space irrespective of how many people see or respond to your advertising, remarketing works on a pay per click model so you only pay when someone clicks on your ad and goes to your website. There’s no wastage or inaccurate targeting – you only pay when a serious potential customer responds to your ad.

You also are in complete control of where you send them. You can send them to a standard page of your website or to a specially constructed landing page – you’re in charge.

Don’t you think it’s time you started remarketing?
Mike Jennings
Marketing Consulting Expert, Lead Generation, Business Development, Marketing Strategy, Get More Clients, Increase Revenue

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What Keeps Them Awake At Night?

Marketing is all about relevance.
Your messages need to be absolutely relevant to your target audience so that their response is
“this guy’s talking to me. He understands my issues”.
As a marketer this is what you need – to really understand the deep fears and motivations of your prospects, the fears that keep them awake at night and which you have the solution to.

Now to do this you need to have a very clear picture of who your target audience is. This is where creating an avatar of your prospects is important. By this I mean you need to create a very detailed picture of your ideal prospect.
Is this person male or female? How old are they? How much money do they earn? Do they have kids? What sort of house do they live in? What job do they do etc etc. Only once you have this detailed picture can you get inside their heads to know what motivates them and what their deep fears are.
Now, the point here is that the real fear may be different to the more obvious one that immediately springs to mind.

Let’s look at an example.
A business person’s first level fear is that if they don’t get more customers the business will suffer and they may have to lay off employees.
That’s a real fear but the more horrific fear is that he will be letting down (by laying off) people he considers almost like family – a very deep, very powerful fear that cuts beneath the surface issue.
If we can get to the psychological root of the issue, we can position our solution as addressing that fear.

Tapping into that fear is powerful.

So how do we get to the deeper fears that your prospects have?

Start with a fear or a problem your prospect has.

Then ask yourself ”If they don’t solve this problem, what will happen?” or “If this fear comes true, what will happen?”
We now need to dig down one more level.
To do that you need to put yourself in the shoes of the prospect – which is why it’s so important to create the avatar and to have the deep understanding of who your prospects are.
What you come up with now is the deep fear. The real thing they’re scared about.
And it’s almost always an emotion.

So how do we communicate this?

The fact is that we need to handle it very carefully. What you don’t want to do is wade in with something like “I know you’re afraid of letting down the ones you love.”

No, in our communication we want to communicate three points.
1) I understand. One way to do this by telling a story about someone who is very similar to them who has this fear.
2) It’s OK. You’re not alone. Lots of people have this fear.
3) Here’s a solution that’s worked for them, and I think you’ll find it helpful.
Done in this way, the recipients can say to themselves “that’s precisely what I’m thinking/feeling.”

This enables us to enter that conversation that’s already going on in their heads and positions us as the perfect solution to their problems.

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The Only Two Principles You Need To Worry About

You won’t be surprised to hear that basic human principles don’t change much at all, and this includes marketing principles.

Over the last ten years we’ve seen the Internet come charging over the horizon and make itself comfortably at home in the business community. More recently, we’ve seen a financial meltdown which we’re only now recovering from.

But even so, things are now pretty much as they’ve always been.

Marketing principles don’t change and that’s because we’re still human and we’re still motivated by the same things, driven by the same emotions and the same hopes and fears as we’ve always been.

So, let’s look at the simple challenge facing your business.

Growing your business is a simple process you can break down into two parts:

1. Generating qualified leads.
2. Converting them to paying customers.

It’s that simple and it’ll always be that simple.

So, when people tell you that internet marketing is different – they’re wrong.
It’s the same as any other kind of marketing: the style and the delivery mechanisms might have changed but the substance will be the same.

And how do you get the highly qualified leads?

Well this is where the difference in style comes in.

Online, you might want to use AdWords, natural search, banner advertising, stuff like that.

One seriously underused strategy is to use offline media to drive people online.

The last few years has been a great time to be doing it because the recession meant that businesses haven’t been advertising as much as normal with the result that ad space has been cheap.

So once you’ve got your qualified leads, what do you do with them?

You want to turn them into paying customers.

Conventional wisdom tells us to convert the qualified leads into sales by “selling” them.

While this might work occasionally, it’s fraught with peril, because if you fail to sell them that first time you’ve lost them. Probably for good.

A better solution in many cases is to begin a relationship with them.

Get their details – name and email address at a bare minimum, but the Holy Grail is a postal address as well – and then start sending them interesting material including but not exclusively sales material. Emails, a paper newsletter, direct mail, postcards… the list is limited only by your imagination.

How do you get them to give you their details?

Simple: offer something of value like a free report or a white paper, something of value that they will exchange their contact details for. There are no real rules, other than it really needs to be something useful and with a high perceived value to your prospect.

So you can now start marketing to them until they buy, they die or they tell you to stop.

Sounds easy doesn’t it ?

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Are You Committing This Hideous Sin?

When most people think about growing their business, they immediately think about how they can acquire new customers.

Now of course new customers are vital to the long term health of your business but in fact the real money lies in your existing customers.

Focusing too much on winning new customers is a huge mistake.

You see while the un-rich believe the most important marketing is in attracting new customers, the exceptionally successful and rich business owner realises marketing to and nurturing their  existing customers  is paramount.

So why is this so important?

  1. It’s becoming more and more expensive to acquire new customers.
    It used to be that when acquiring a new customer, you could make a profit or at least break even. It’s estimated that winning a new customer costs five times as much as keeping an existing one.  Plus the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70% while the probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5-20%.
  2. The majority of customers leave businesses because of neglect.
    There are lots of reasons that we all lose customers and sometimes we screw up and genuinely deserve to lose a customer.
    But the biggest reason for customers leaving is that they feel unappreciated, unimportant, or taken for granted. Something over 70% of customers leave their existing supplier for this reason. If you feel that your existing supplier isn’t concerned about you, when someone else whispers in your ear and offers you a better deal, you have no qualms about moving your business elsewhere.

It stands to reason that if you strategically engineer your business to retain, nurture and grow the value of your existing customers, you will grow your business and your profits.

How do you do this?

Make your customer feel important and valued

Find ways to express your gratitude by acknowledging them and thanking them in your newsletters, by creating a reward program and making special offers specifically for existing customers.. Also, treat them as the valued and valuable commodity they are. Invest time in them and make them feel that their business is important to you.

View retention as a marketing function and a profit center

Don’t think of money spent on existing customers as an expense. Instead view it as an investment.

Have a lost customer plan in place. 

Track your customer’s activity. When one goes missing, send that customer a letter with a great offer or pick up the phone to find out what’s going on. You need to be persistent. Losing customers will be very damaging to your business.

Develop new products and services for your existing customers. 

Your existing customers may have moved beyond your initial offering. Work hard to do more business with them by coming up with new offerings that will appeal to their wants, needs and desires.

Your existing customers are your most important asset. If you want to grow your business and profits, neglecting them is one marketing sin you don’t want to commit.


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The Power Of Premium Products

When the subject of premium products comes up most people think they only relate to exclusive product sectors and top end businesses but that’s not the case.


Premium products can be found in all  types of businesses.

Now in some instances they may be dressed up with exclusive sounding titles such as “Platinum service”,” Gold Standard” “Premier Club” etc but the fact is that premium products can be found in the most everyday sorts of businesses but they can have a remarkable impact on sales and more importantly on margin. The great thing is they often entail no extra effort.

So what is a premium product?

Quite simply it is your standard product which you’ve added value to in some way. It may be that the packaging and presentation of the product has been upgraded, you may have upgraded the functionality in some way or perhaps it has more high quality ingredients in it.

A good example of premium products is currently being demonstrated by the supermarkets. They all have premium ranges these days. Sainsbury’s call it “Taste The Difference”, Tesco call their range “Finest” while Asda call their’s “Extra Special”.

Or take a typical restaurant. Everybody has a specials menu and the items on the specials menu are always more expensive. The ingredients may be a bit more fancy but the price will be a lot more fancy.

Now I can’t claim to know the figures but while the cost price will be a little bit more, the margin will be significantly higher than on the standard dishes.

Now considering that we’ve been going through tough economic times for the last few years, you might think that there is no place for premium products.

But you’d be wrong.

The fact is that something like 20% of consumers will regularly pay more for what they perceive to be a superior product. All you have to do is work out how you can add value to and upgrade your standard product so that you can offer it as a premium product.

A little while back I was working with a removals company.

Now you might think that there’s no scope for a premium product in the removals business but there is. We created the “Reassurance Plus” product by using more robust packing cases, by having a more comprehensive insurance plan and by enhancing the unpacking service in the new house. The price of “Reassurance Plus” is around 26% more than the standard product and the margin nearly  40% more. And yes somewhere in the region of 20% of customers take it up.

My wife is a chiropractor. Chiropractors have recently twigged that they can charge more for appointments at certain times of the day. Early morning, lunch time and in the evening are outside of the standard opening hours but are more convenient for people who work during the day. While the service is exactly the same, a premium price can be charged for these times of day.

The other thing about premium products is that it’s not a hard sell. You simply make the customer aware that you have a premium product and the difference between it and the standard product and then leave them to choose.

Another useful technique is to create three levels of service –  gold, silver and bronze versions of your product. The thing here is to make sure that your existing product is the bronze level. Human nature being what it is the majority of people when faced with a choice between three options will go for the middle or silver option. So if your existing product is the bronze level you will get a massive uplift as the majority opt for the silver version and a few will actually go the whole way and buy the gold version.

So look closely at your own business and decide how you can add value to your product or service and offer gold and silver versions.

Every time someone buys anything other than the basic version, you’re making more money. You may well be very surprised at the difference it makes to your turnover and more importantly your profit.

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The Value Of Information Products In Small Business Marketing

If you want to generate more new enquiries, you have to give people a reason to identify themselves as interested and tell you who they are.

One really effective way of doing this is to offer them free but valuable information which will build your credibility whilst subtly promoting your business.

Providing information will position you as an expert

Information is a valuable commodity, and if you have a story to tell, experiences to share or knowledge that could benefit a potential customer, publishing it in the form of a guide will help you in several ways:

  • It establishes your authority and expertise.
  • It shows that you care about helping and informing clients rather than just promoting your business.
  • It will promote your business in a way that means that you don’t have to blow your own trumpet.
  • It gives your website visitors a reason to give you their contact details so that you can build a valuable database of people interested in your business – these prospects represent future income.

Unlike newsletters or brochures, which often offer the reader little and are usually extremely dull, a professional information guide will both ensure that you stand out from your competitors and genuinely promote your business to your readers.

The angle you take for your information booklet is entirely up to you. You could write about the advantages of your product or service, what to look for when deciding on a business in your particular field, top tips on how to perform better in your niche.- the choice is yours.

Whatever you choose, as consumers are always looking for advice, your guide will be an effective marketing tool for your business.

By offering potential clients a free information booklet on your website, you can instantly start filling your marketing funnel. By positioning the guide as an authoritative item, visitors will exchange their contact details for the information.

You are now able to start marketing to them in a regular and planned manner.


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Grow Your Business In the Way You Want To In 2013

We’re getting to the time of year when all attention turns to the next year – to 2013.

Grow your business in 2013

Whether you’ve achieved the things you wanted to this year or not, 2012 is just about finished and so we all have to plan for next year.

To ensure that 2013 is the year you finally make the break through you’ve been waiting for the following three simple points will help.

Determine what your biggest problem is.

Ask yourself what issues and problems are constantly lurking in your business.

Are you in danger of not selling enough to pay your bills? This could mean that you don’t have enough customers or that you aren’t charging enough for your products or services.

Do you have enough customers. A solid lead generation funnel will help solve that problem.

Do you have lots of prospects, but you’re not converting? It could be as simple as you’re not targeting the right audience.

Correctly identifying the real problems in your business will be the first step in solving them. Let’s face it – if you aren’t asking the right questions, you’ve never going to get the right answers.

Invest in a proven resource to help you solve your problems.

The time and money you think you are saving by trying to sort things out on your own could be leading you down a path that condemns you to an existence of mediocre results.

Make the decision to seek out the right kind of help.

No one is an expert at everything. Once you’ve identified what your problems are, invest the time and money to bring in someone who can solve them, if you can’t.  An expert may be able to sort things out very quickly and cheaply.

Make the commitment to take action.

We’re all guilty of not taking the necessary action from time to time. We know what we should do, but something seems to stop us.

Inactivity is the disease of the poor. Don’t fall into this category. Make a commitment to yourself and take action.

These three steps alone should help make 2013 a great year for you.

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7 Top Tips For Blogging Heaven

These days blogging has come to be seen as an essential part of a business’s communication and marketing arsenal.

However it only becomes a powerful tool if people read it, become loyal to it and act as a result of it.

Make your blog work hard

The following tips are designed to make your blog a more useful and powerful weapon.

1. Make your posts useful and relevant

Business people read blogs in order to learn – new viewpoints, new skills and information that will benefit their business.

So make sure your blogs contain useful information that your readers can take away and use.

2. Focus on your readers

If you  want your readers to engage with your posts, you need to focus on issues which are important to them. It’s like any business – you need to be customer focused and give them what they want.

Where you can add real value is when you personalise your posts – when you include your own experiences and your own view points. This is what can make your posts unique. Without these inputs the same information can probably be found elsewhere online – it’s the personal experience and views which can make your posts so valuable.

The trick is to give your audience the information they want but with your own personal spin.

3. You need to blog frequently and consistently

One of the key elements if you want to build a loyal readership is the frequency with which you blog. Whether you blog every day, twice a week or only once a week, you need to be putting up new content on a regular basis. You also ideally will commit to a set regularity so that your readers know when they can expect to find something new. If your readers visit your site a few times and find nothing new, you can’t be very surprised if they lose interest. When you publish posts infrequently, it’s almost like starting from zero each time. There’s little if any momentum and momentum is essential if you want to grow your readership.

4. Write as you speak

In my opinion this point doesn’t just relate to blogs but is relevant to most copy writing – whether that be for websites, brochures and flyers or direct mail. Conversational writing is much easier to read than formalised language.

Have you ever noticed that when you read good copy, it almost feels like you can hear the writer speaking to you? That’s because these writers have discovered, that when you write similarly to the way you speak, you make it easier for people to connect with the person behind your posts.

5. Add personality to your posts

If you add nothing new, no individual perspectives, you give people nothing to connect with.  Always look for a way to add something of your own, something that shows your readers what you think and what you feel about the topic. In this way you can position yourself as a leader in your field, with whom readers are much more likely to want to do business.

6. Don’t sell too much

Of course we all write business blogs with the objective of building our businesses. Personally I overtly sell very little. I try to demonstrate my knowledge and expertise in my blog so that readers perceive me as an expert so when they need marketing services they think of me.

People read blogs to gain information and opinions – not to be sold to. So if you do plan to sell directly from your blog, be careful to get the balance right. Make sure the reader still gets plenty of informational value between the sales messages.

7. Use your blog to build relationships

The best blogs are the ones that receive lots of comments. If you receive comments this gives you the opportunity to interact with the commenter. In this way you can start to build rapport and  a relationship.

So one of the basic rules of blogging is that you should reply to all serious comments. Now of course you may not agree with the comments, but you should reply respectfully. They’ve taken the trouble to make a comment, you owe them the politeness to respond. In this way you can start a dialogue and who knows where that dialogue may take you.

I hope you find these tips useful and they help to make your blog a useful and hard working part of your communication and marketing strategy.

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Five Rules on How Not to Use Social Media

I recently read this blog from Marketing Profs and agreed with all the points. So much so that I thought I would reproduce it word for word.

So with full acknowledgment to Marketing Profs………………

Social media is a very powerful thing, but like any powerful thing it can wreak havoc if misused or misdirected. First of all, always remember that social media is built around being social.

Being personable, honest, and entertaining is the best way to get users to interact with and about a business. You want users to trust and be entertained by your company, product, slogan, or marketing campaign, so then they turn around and do the rest of the buzz work for you.

The five rules that follow are fundamental to building users’ trust, interesting them in your business, and getting them to talk among themselves about it.

Rule No. 1: Don’t be dishonest

Most of us have been taken in by a false post a time or two. Discovering our credulity, we felt embarrassed and disappointed, and in response developed an acute awareness of duplicity: We are on the lookout for it, and we hate it when we see it. Overtly dishonest posts, comments, and reviews that are thinly disguised promotions… we don’t like them and our customers don’t either, so just don’t go there.

The flipside of this distaste for fakery is that Internet users appreciate straightforwardness and honesty. So rather than respond to a negative review with fake positive reviews, publicly respond to the reviewer. Offer her discounts or a way to fix the problem, and you might win over a vocal customer who can potentially do far better work for you than any PR department or reputation manager.

Rule No. 2: Don’t be annoying

Remember the chain emails of the early 2000s? Sure, those things went viral quickly, but nobody appreciated them. In the same way that you don’t lob useless information or advertisements at your customers’ inboxes, don’t spam their Twitters with less-than-brilliant blog posts or promotions. If you focus on making your promotional content engaging, Internet users will do most of the promoting for you.

Look around to see what promotional techniques other companies are using to get users talking. A popular tactic these days, for instance, is to give away a free service. What service could your business give away that would likely interest those who subscribe to your Twitter feed or who have “Liked” you on Facebook? A generous promotion builds trust and loyalty with users, and can be a great way to get them talking about your site with friends.

Rule No. 3: Don’t fight the nature of the Internet

Promoting a product or a service online is a tricky business, as piracy, theft, and sharing are rife. If your product or service is threatened by the openness of the Internet, then try a different approach.

Look at how the music industry has responded to the widespread availability of free music. Musicians have shifted their emphasis to live shows and even give their recorded music away for free, in an effort to gain a following and get their name and their sound out in the world. They depend on their fans to talk them up on social media and get people to their live shows.

Think about it: Many of the biggest companies online—including names like Facebook, Yahoo, Google, YouTube, and Pandora—offer their services for free. Is there a way you can make money by offering a free service? See where you can adapt your business to fit to this new model.

Rule No. 4: Don’t think social media will solve all your problems

Social media is merely one tool for a business. A great one, to be sure: it can be used for advertising, for gathering customer feedback, for getting your brand out there, and more.

But it works best in concert with other efforts. Consumers will get tired of your products and services if you simply keep promoting the same ones. So encourage creativity in all parts of your business—product enhancements, new products, new ways to provide a service, new markets—then use social media to promote all that is fresh and exciting about your offerings.

Rule No. 5: Don’t treat each new social media sensation as the Holy Grail

Of course, it’s great to have as many promotional outlets as you can, but the risk is that you grab more than you can really handle and let one or two fall by the wayside, doing damage to your image as an active, living, customer-focused company.

The other danger is running after each social media fad of the moment. Focus on what works and then pick up new channels deliberatively, after you figure out how best to use each new one.

Remember that users of social media want to interact with people, and they all have their own motives and goals (whether that’s to impress their friends or find a job). If business professionals and marketers can remember those two fundamentals, plus the social media Golden Rule—to treat their users as they themselves would like to be treated–they will be well on their way to making social media work for them.

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American Politicians Still Rely On Direct Mail

I’ve just read an article about how the American Presidential hopefuls are spending hundreds of millions of dollars trying to convince the voters that they are the man to lead the US to a shinier and brighter future.

I wasn’t at all surprised to see the eye watering figures they’re spending on the TV – bombarding the viewers with their messages.

What did come as a bit of a surprise was the amount they are spending on direct mail. We all know how Barak Obama uses social media extensively as do the Republicans this time around so I imagined that digital media was where they are focusing, but the fact is that traditional direct mail is being used extensively.

People actively enjoy receiving mail

According to Borrell Associates, spending on political direct-mail in 2012 will top $288 million, an increase of 11.6%  from 2008.

More than in past elections, political direct-mail is integrating online and off  line communications.  Activities include sending QR codes with  links to a video with a special message from the candidate or sending a postcard that drives voters to a website that focuses on an issue they care about.

This all runs contrary to the perceived wisdom that tells us that direct mail is dying on its feet.

However, what the media fails to tell us is that direct-mail for commercial purposes is up 3% year on year.(Target Marketing 12/11)

During this tough economic time spending on direct-mail is rising. When you consider that lots of companies have moved to online marketing, this must mean that the remaining users of direct mail have dramatically increased their usage.

Nothing is as consistent as direct mail although these days it integrates with other media especially online media.

The following facts prove the enduring effectiveness of direct mail. While this data relates to the US, what happens there is invariably reflected here.

  • 50% of consumers say they pay more attention to postal mail than e-mail.

That means if you communicate entirely or mostly by email and ignore direct mail, you may very well miss HALF the sales opportunities of any given campaign.

  • 61% of Consumers say they enjoy receiving mail

Letters through the post fulfil some kind of emotional need in people. These recipients went on to say that the opening of “fresh” mail and receiving interesting information and offers is an activity they positively look forward to!

Against this, consider that 65% say they receive too many e-mails everyday to open them all.

A growing percentage of people express frustration and resentment at e-mail marketing, even from sources they have a good relationship with.

So while many businesses are cutting direct-mail, Google is using direct-mail to sell its pay per click and Google Places advertising and Amazon is using it to promote its e-tailing business.

If even the world’s largest on line businesses recognise the importance of direct mail within their marketing mix, surely small businesses such as yours and mine should embrace it again.