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Why You Should Have A Marketing Funnel

Do you have a marketing funnel in your business?

I suppose my next question should be do you know what I mean when I talk about a marketing funnel?

The reason I’m talking about this now is because last  Monday was the 29th February – leap day.

It only comes round every four years and for some reason is the day women are meant to propose to men.

Proposals aside  leap day and even leap year is a time when you can turn convention on its head and do things differently.

Now if you’re like most small business owners, you would very much like to grow your business and the sad fact is that if you keep on doing everything the same as you have been, your results will stay the same.

If you’re going to grow your business you’re going to have to do things differently.

And I would suggest that your marketing is the best place to start.

So what marketing are you doing currently?

If you’re like the majority of business owners I meet, you’ve got a website, you do some networking, you’ve got a Facebook page and you tweet a bit, you may even take out the odd local ad or even send out an occasional email.

Does that sound like you?

And how’s it working?

For most people that list of activity brings in disappointingly little and business growth still comes down to word of mouth – referrals from happy customers.

So if it’s not working as you’d like, why not take a fresh look and do things a bit differently.

So my suggestion is that instead of your time consuming and ad hoc approach why not put a marketing funnel in place that will work 24/7 for you, building customer relationships and delivering a predictable and reliable flow of leads.

So what does the kind of marketing funnel that I’m talking about look like?

Firstly it starts with your website.

But it’s got to be a website that converts visitors to enquirers and also generates their contact details.

How do you persuade people to give you their contact details – by offering them a lead magnet – a free report, a video – something of value that they want.

My lead magnet is my book “ The 10 Essential Business Growth Strategies” have a look www.marketingsurrey.co.uk

Once you have their contact details, an auto responder sequence kicks in.

Whether that’s 5, 7 or even more emails, you now start building a bit of a relationship with the prospect.

In the last email in the sequence you will ask for the order in some form. That might be a low level purchase (what is likely to be more successful at this early stage in the relationship a £29.99 product or a £500 product) or maybe an offer of a free consultation or whatever your first stage in the sale process might be.

If the prospect doesn’t bite on that, then they drop into your email marketing system and you regularly send them useful and valuable emails and continue to build the relationship that way.

Once you’ve built your marketing funnel, it will run on auto pilot, delivering the leads that you need to achieve the growth you’re looking for.

Now of course you can set your marketing funnel up yourself or with the help of your web developer, but if you’re serious about doing things differently in this mad and crazy leap year, it might make sense to have a word with me.

Setting up this sort of funnel is what I do and I can help you through each separate stage so why not get in touch

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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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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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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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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.

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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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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.

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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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What Do Your Customers Really Want?

Do you know what your customers want?

I mean what they really want.

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When we buy anything, the motivation is always “what’s in it for me”. What will this product do for me?

There are a number of almost primeval buying motivations which drive most of our purchases:

    • Will it make me more money?
    • Will it save me time?
    • Will it make me more beautiful?
    • Will it make me more attractive to the opposite sex?
    • Will it make me feel better?
    • Will it make me healthier?
    • Will it make my life better?

People don’t care about you or your business, they only care about what you can do for them. To be successful you have to appeal to your customers’ self interest.

We don’t buy what we need

When it comes to making buying decisions, in most instances we don’t buy what we need, we buy what we want.

There are so many product categories that prove this – no one needs designer brands, sports cars, ipads etc. There are always cheaper, more functional alternatives but we want these items so we justify to ourselves why we should have them.

What this means is that so many purchases are made not for logical reasons but for emotional ones and you need to recognise this in your marketing. You need to appeal to people’s emotions as opposed to their logic. You always need to explain to your target audience what they will get from your product – how it will make them look, how it will make them feel, what other people will think of them when they see them with it.

Once we’ve set our sights on something we want, we then go about collecting the justification for the more extravagant package.

Last summer I needed to buy a new car. I’m not really interested in cars so it wasn’t anything fancy but the extras made it more desirable and more sexy. Did I need the extras – no not really but I did want them.

So how did I justify it to myself. The blue tooth functionality gave me the ammunition I needed. With blue tooth I could talk legally on the phone while driving. To be honest I do actually need that (having been done for talking on the phone earlier last year) but it made the decision easy for me.

So when you’re creating your sales materials remember people buy what they want and then justify it as a need.

Don’t fill your collateral, especially your website with boring information, especially not boring information about you and your company.

Instead focus on making them want what you sell because if they want it they will find the justification.

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Keep Your Customers Loyal Instead Of Having To Continuously Win New Ones

Winning new customers is hard work.

New customers have to go through the process of deciding whether they believe you are the best supplier, whether your price is right and vitally whether they like you enough to do business with you.

So it makes perfect commercial sense to do everything possible to keep your customers loyal. Bizarrely lots of small businesses tend to forget that retaining customers is just as important as winning new ones.

Keeping your customers loyal also doesn’t have to be expensive. Often very small things can make all the difference.

The following tips should go a long way to making sure your customers reciprocate your love and stay with your business.

Stay in touch

It’s estimated that over 80% of customers who change supplier do so not because they are unhappy with the service but because they don’t feel loved.

It’s so easy to avoid this. You just need to talk to your customers regularly. Keep them informed of any news and developments at your company, any special offers and any way you can help them.

Send them things you see in the press that relate to their area of business, retweet their tweets, like items on their Facebook page. Just go out of your way to have regular contact and demonstrate your commitment to them.

Get to know your customer base

Get to know who are your most profitable customers and those that you think have the highest propensity to re-purchase. Make sure you understand them and why they have chosen to do business with you, so you can give them more of the stuff they come to you for in the first place.

Show them you care

If you can move the relationship from the purely professional to a more social, friendly basis not only will your working life become more enjoyable but it will tie your customers into you. A small token of your gratitude for their business at Christmas and acknowledgement of their birthday, while admittedly not original, will certainly not go unnoticed.
How much you spend and whether you decide to take them out to lunch or dinner is up to you and how much you’ve developed the relationship.

Give them your best offers

So many businesses use discounts or attractive offers to get you ‘hooked’ and then once you become a loyal customer suddenly the offers seem to disappear.
This is really short sighted.
Your loyal customers are the ones who deserve your best prices and if they discover what you’re offering to new customers are likely to disappear in a huff meaning you’ve got to start the process all over again.

Take all these ideas on board and assuming that your core business is top quality in the first place, you find that your customers buy from you time and again and you’re not spending all your time replacing lost business.

Business Development Advisors will advise you on ways to both win and retain your customers. Please get in touch.

 

 

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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.