Posts Tagged ‘business’
“I went networking once but it didn’t bring me any new clients.”
These are phrases that I hear on a regular basis. It’s a bit like saying “I had one ice skating lesson and still didn’t win the first competition I entered.” Instead of falling over and hurting yourself, you need to invest in a number of lessons and do plenty of practice, to make sure that you reach the right standard. Sending one piece of direct mail without researching it first and doing any follow up afterwards is unlikely to get you any results. In the same way, going to one networking meeting isn’t enough time to allow new people to get you know you properly. This is ad hoc marketing. The first rule of marketing is that ad hoc marketing does not work. If you try it, you’ll be committing Massive Marketing Mistake Number Eight.
Massive Marketing Mistake Number Eight – Using Ad Hoc Marketing
When you provide a service such as coaching or consulting, your prospective clients need to trust you before they will share their problems with you and part with their money. You need to build up a relationship with them.
When I first started helping coaches and consultants with their marketing, it was commonly thought that it took up to six ‘touches’ with a prospect before they would buy from you. This meant that a prospective client might, for example, meet you at a networking meeting (1), they might read about you in a press article (2), read an issue of your newsletter (3), hear you speak at a presentation (4), be recommended to you by one of your clients (5) and visit your website (6). With the development of social media, this number can be reported to be as high as 40 touches! Whatever the number, what it means is that you need to keep doing your marketing on a regular basis, using the right mix of activities, so that you ‘touch’ your prospects as many times as is needed, to build up the right level of trust, before they will buy from you.
How do you avoid Massive Marketing Mistake Number Eight?
If you’re following the advice in this series of blogs, you will have created a list of potential marketing activities (the post about Mistake Number Five will help you do this). Next you need to consider how many times you need to do each one and over what period of time. It’s about doing the right number of the right number of things. You can’t choose 10 activities and only do each one once. You would be better off using just three marketing activities and doing them more often, and over a sustained period of time.
Planning your marketing also means that when someone comes along with a great offer, for a one off activity – such as an advert in a magazine or a stand at an exhibition – you’ll know whether or not it’s worth you doing it. If you know that advertising in certain publications works, go for it. If you know that you don’t have an exhibition stand and you’re not comfortable standing around handing out leaflets, you’ll find it easy to turn it down.
Take the time now to look at the list of possible online and offline marketing activities that you have created. Are any of these ad hoc or can they all be done on a regular, sustained basis? Refine your list of activities, if you need to, to make sure that your marketing is ongoing, rather than ad hoc.
In the final blog in this series, we’ll look at Massive Marketing Mistake Number Nine, which is failing to measure any of your marketing.
Massive Marketing Mistakes – Number Seven: Trying to Do It All Yourself
Too many owners of small businesses think that they have to do all their own marketing. Most take this approach as they think they can’t afford to pay someone to do what they can’t do themselves. However, if you’ve avoiding Massive Mistake Number Six and have set yourself a realistic budget, you will know what needs to be done and what you can afford. If you are trying to save money by doing it all yourself, you’re committing Massive Marketing Mistake Number Seven.
Massive Marketing Mistake Number Seven – Trying to Do It All Yourself
One of the best pieces of advice given to new business when they start up is this: no matter what you ‘do’ (the work you’re paid for) you also need to be able to do three things. They are Marketing, Finance and Admin. If you can’t do any of these activities, you should outsource them to someone who knows what they’re doing.
Why? Because if you try to do everything yourself, two things will happen. Firstly you’ll spend a lot more time doing your marketing than someone who is a specialist in that area. It comes naturally to them, so they can do it much more quickly than you can. Then, because you’re spending so much time doing what someone else can do, you’ll find that you don’t have time to promote your business properly or look after the clients you have.
How do you avoid Massive Marketing Mistake Number Seven?
Unless you’re trained in marketing, you need to look for people who can help you with some of the different aspects of promoting your business. To help you decide where to look for help, start by looking at the list of possible marketing activities that you put together (the list that helps you avoid Massive Marketing Mistake Number Five). Look carefully at each activity to see if you can do it yourself or if you need help. If you don’t like writing but you know that a blog and a newsletter will help you find new clients, then you will need someone to do the writing for you. Hate making phone calls? Look for someone who loves cold calling. Love speaking to strangers? Then you can do your own networking and public speaking.
Many people believe that they have to do their own writing for marketing materials such as blogs and newsletters. “It has to be my own voice,” they say. Or “I’m the expert, so how could anyone else know enough about what we do here?”
At Appletree we work with a team of talented freelance copywriters. A good copywriter is someone who can quickly learn a great deal about someone else’s business and who can write in that person’s voice. One of our clients publishes an email newsletter every two months and a blog every two weeks. After a planning conversation about topics, a brief goes to our copywriter, who produces a draft of the copy – usually very quickly. The draft is sent to our client who regularly comes back with comments such as “I couldn’t have put it better myself,” and “It’s perfect to publish as it is.” We hardly ever need to make changes to the copy, as the writer really understands the topic and has learnt the client’s voice and style. This saves our client lots of time and allows her to focus on doing what she’s paid to do.
Are you trying to do all your marketing? Are you spending hours on work that actually stops you from doing work that you can earn money for doing? If you need help finding the right people to help you, then get in touch and we’ll recommend some of our preferred suppliers.
Massive Marketing Mistake Number Eight is doing ad hoc marketing. In the next blog in the series we’ll look at why ad hoc marketing doesn’t work and what you can do to avoid this mistake.
Massive Marketing Mistakes – Number Six: Spending Money on Your Marketing
How often do you think that you’ll just spend a little more on a bigger advert, just to see if it works? Or do you pay out for a networking event in the hope that it might bring you the right sort of clients? And how often do you get to the end of the month and realise that there’s no money left in the bank – and no new clients to show for it?
If you do this, you’re committing Massive Marketing Mistake Number Six – not setting a budget for your marketing and not knowing what you’re spending your hard earn money on.
Massive Marketing Mistake Number Six – Spending Money on Your Marketing
As a small business owner, you probably don’t have a limitless pot of money to invest in promoting your business. You need to be careful about how much you spend and what you pay for. You need to spend some money in order to market your business in a professional manner; and you need to make sure you still have enough to live on too!
Many small businesses that struggle to grow don’t set aside a certain amount of money to spend on their marketing. They try to do everything on the cheap, or do it themselves. “We’ll spend money on marketing once we’ve got some new clients and we can afford to invest,” they say. But if you don’t invest in your marketing in the first place, how are you going to find the new clients you need, to fund your future marketing?
While your funds might be limited, you still need to decide what you can afford to spend. Why? Because if you don’t set a budget, two things will happen. Firstly, you’ll end up spending more money than you can actually afford. You’ll be tempted by that great advertising offer or just one more event. The people selling this to you rely on you not having a budget. Secondly, if you don’t know what you’re spending your money on, you can’t measure your marketing (and then you’ll be committing Massive Marketing Mistake Number Nine, which we’ll cover in another blog.)
How do you avoid Massive Marketing Mistake Number Six?
First, take a look at the list of potential marketing activities you’ve identified, after avoiding Massive Marketing Mistake Number Five, which you know will work for your business. Then go through the list and work out how much it will cost you to carry out each activity. Be realistic and look at what it could cost to have the work done professionally (such as building a website or writing content for your blog). If you’re going to do it yourself (and you really have the skills to do it) think about the cost in terms of your time.
Once you have an idea of what it will cost to do everything on your list, for a whole year, think about what you can really afford to spend. You could set a budget that is, for example, 10% of your turnover. Or you can look at what funds you have available, for example if you’re working part-time while also running your business, or if you have savings. Does either method give you enough to pay for everything that you want to do? Probably not, so be ruthless! Take off your list those activities which would be nice to have, but which are not essential and are too expensive right now.
One of our newer clients at Appletree set a budget for what he knew he could afford to spend on his marketing every month. He asked us what we could provide for him, for that budget. We worked out his goal – to attract more visitors to his website – in order to promote his existing services to new clients. We identified his ideal clients. They are owners of larger business who don’t spend time on Facebook or Twitter, looking for new suppliers. They need reassurance of quality services and expertise. They want to read quality ‘Thought Leadership’ articles that provide them with useful advice. Having done all this planning meant that we could advise our client on the best marketing to do, from the list of potential activities we created. Every month, we write a well-crafted blog for our client, which we post on his website. We also put Thought Leadership articles onto LinkedIn for him. We promote this content through LinkedIn, building up our client’s profile and helping him develop strong relationships with potential clients. The result? More traffic going to his website with more visits from new contacts – exactly what he wanted to achieve!
Do you have a budget for your marketing? How did you set it and what will you be spending it on? Leave a comment here to tell us about it, or get in touch if you need some help setting your budget.
Massive Marketing Mistake Number Seven is trying to do all your marketing yourself. In the next blog in the series we’ll look at why this isn’t a good idea and what you can do to avoid this mistake.
Massive Marketing Mistakes – Number Five: ‘Follow the Crowd’ Marketing
“I have to use cold calling to promote my business,” they say.
“Why is that?” I ask.
“Because everyone else in my industry does it. So it must work.”
These people are committing Massive Marketing Mistake Number Five – using marketing tactics that you think you should use, just because you’ve seen other businesses try them. There is no rule that says in any particular industry, you have to use a particular marketing tool. It’s much more important to work out what marketing will work for your individual business. In blog five of the series we’ll look at how you can do this. (If you’ve missed any of the previous blogs in the series, click here to read Number Four, where you’ll find links back the previous ones.)
Massive Marketing Mistake Number Five – ‘Follow the Crowd’ Marketing
The marketing tools that you could use to promote your small business are numerous. There are now many more tactics available than a few years ago, thanks in part to the growth of social media. There are also dozens of more ‘traditional’ ways promote what you do. So where do you start?
You need to start by reviewing the Massive Marketing Mistakes we’ve covered so far in this series. When you know what makes your business truly different (Number One), what your goals are (Number Two), how you’re going to reach your goals (Number Three) and who your ideal clients are (Number Four), you’ll find it much easier to select the most appropriate methods for marketing your business.
However, if you just jump into trying any old marketing, because you think you should, or because it seems that everyone else is doing it, or because the salesman says it will bring you new clients, then you’ll be committing Massive Marketing Mistake Number Five.
Your business is individual and different. This means that while there may be some marketing tactics that will definitely work for you and others that definitely won’t, don’t make any assumptions. Don’t follow the ‘you just have to try it, don’t you?’ routine. That will cost you time and money that you probably don’t have!
How do you avoid Massive Marketing Mistake Number Five?
First review what makes your business really different. Having a strong eUSP will make it much easier to promote your business. It will cost you less, because your message will be clearer, no matter which marketing tools you use.
Then remind yourself of your goals. If you’re only looking for three new clients this year, you won’t need to do nearly as much marketing as you’ll need, if you’re looking for hundreds of new clients. However, the marketing you’ll need to do will be very different.
How will you reach your goal? If you’re focusing on selling more to your existing clients, don’t waste time on Twitter looking for new clients. However, if you want to promote your existing services to new clients, then social media, backed up with some strong recommendations, could be the way to do it.
Remember to think about your ideal clients. Where do they hang out? If they use LinkedIn, then make sure you have a good presence there. If they only attend industry networking meetings, make sure you attend them too.
Plan your marketing carefully, before starting anything. Consider your own particular business situation – don’t think you have to try cold calling “because everyone else in my industry does it.”
Based on your planning, create a shortlist of around ten marketing tactics that you know will work for your business. Think about how to integrate them, to make sure they’re all working together, with the same message for promoting your business. Click here to share with us your top ten tactics and we’ll happily give you some feedback.
Massive Marketing Mistake Number Six is not setting a budget for your marketing – or spending money on your marketing without knowing what you’re spending. We’ll show you how to avoid this mistake and get the best from your budget in the next blog in the series.
Massive Marketing Mistakes – Number Four: Trying to Work with Everyone
“Who are your clients?” I ask.
“We can work with absolutely anyone,” they reply.
This is Massive Marketing Mistake Number Four – thinking that everyone will want to work with you and trying to persuade everyone to do so. You need to specialise and focus on targeting specific clients and that’s what we’ll look at in this fourth blog in the series. (Click here if you need a reminder of Mistakes One, Two and Three.)
Massive Marketing Mistake Number Four – Trying to Work with Everyone
If you’ve been following this series and avoiding the Massive Marketing Mistakes, you’ll know what makes your business different and you have some clear goals for your business. You even know how you’re going to reach those goals. Now you need to look closely at the clients you really want to work with, who really want to work with you. If you think anyone could become your client, you will waste your precious marketing budget and time in chasing people who don’t actually want to work with you.
Ideal clients are people who are attracted to working you. They are happy to pay what you want to charge. They respect and value your experience and expertise. They love recommending you to potential clients. Don’t they sound like wonderful people to work with?
Non-ideal clients don’t pay what you want to charge and they pay late. They don’t listen to your advice. They don’t recommend you and they’re always complaining. Why would you want to work with people like that? And yet far too many small businesses waste their resources in going after these people. Stop it!
How do you avoid Massive Marketing Mistake Number Four?
Focus your attention and your marketing on finding ideal clients. Work out what makes them tick and what makes them nice people to work with. Decide what they’re allowed to expected from you. When you’re clear on this, non-ideal clients will stop calling you and ideal clients will find their way to you. Here’s an example of how this works:
One of our clients had been chasing all sorts of potential clients. Her business was new so she thought she should work with anyone who showed a slight interest in her business. She found that many of the potential clients were messing her around, taking a long time to decide whether or not to use her services. They didn’t want to pay her full fees. Then they didn’t pay her on time and they were always asking for more. We showed our client how she could find much nicer clients to work with, by looking at the type of person she was. She realised that her ideal clients were people just like her. They share her values and beliefs. Now she only looks for people who see the world as she does. Now they come and find her and her marketing is much more targeted and much cheaper!
Who are your ideal clients? What makes them tick? What do they believe in and stand for? How do you want to them to treat you? Click here to tell us who your ideal clients are.
If you’d like to work through a wonderfully clever process that will show you exactly who your ideal clients are and how to attract them to you, get in touch to find out when and where we can do this and how little it will cost. Here’s what one client wrote in a LinkedIn recommendation recently, following such a session:
“I am in the business of helping clients create raving loyal fans, so I rarely make any recommendations unless deemed worthy as my word and reputation is one of my core values and won’t risk losing that reputation on “fluff”. There is a reason why Chantal is so busy. She is amazing. Thank you Chantal for the clarity and fun session you gave Louise and I. It is a breathe of fresh air that someone out there knows what they are doing and does it in a fun, professional manner in a way that helps people really understand what next steps they need to take in order to become successful.”