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Thousands of new businesses are started in the UK every year and yet few of them last for one year, let alone ten. This book is the story of one of the successful ones and is full of motivation and inspiration.  Buy your copy of the book now for just £12.99 + £2.50 p+p.

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Posts Tagged ‘businesses’

Massive Marketing Mistakes – Number Six: Spending Money on Your Marketing

Number 6

 

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

Number 5

 

“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 Three: Chasing New Clients

Number 3What’s the third Massive Marketing Mistake that businesses make, which leaves them struggling to build the business they want? The first is not knowing where you are; the second is not knowing where you want to be. In this third blog in the series, we’ll look at the problems caused by not knowing how to get there.

Massive Marketing Mistake Number Three – Chasing New Clients

You’ve successfully avoided the first Massive Marketing Mistake by working out what really makes your business stand out from the crowd. You’ve avoided the second one too, by setting your business some inspiring goals. Now you need to think about how you’re realistically going to achieve your goals. Too many business owners invest too much of their limited time and budget into trying to take on new clients. Thinking that you need lots of new clients is a Massive Marketing Mistake!

There are four simple ways to grow your business, based on existing versus new clients; and existing versus new services, as you can see in this diagram. Always start with Strategy 1 before you jump into the other strategies.

 

4 Strategy Marketing Diagram

How do you avoid Massive Marketing Mistake Number Three?

Focus your business on looking after your existing clients rather than chasing new ones. Unless you have a completely new business that doesn’t yet have any clients, you will have at least one. They are far more important than potential clients and can actually help you find new clients. Here’s an example:

At Appletree we carried out a survey of our clients, towards the end of 2014. There are two other blogs that you can read here, to get the full story. We had this survey done in order to find out how we could improve our service to our existing clients. They were asked questions about how likely they would be to recommend us and what they would like us to do differently. We looked at the results and made some specific changes for each of the clients who took part in the survey. One client said she would like us to do something differently on her monthly Mentoring calls. So we did what she wanted, without making a song and dance about it. And the result? A wonderful, unprompted recommendation on LinkedIn from her! Look after your existing clients and not only are they likely to buy from you; they will also be more likely to recommend you.

What are you doing to look after your existing clients? How often do you surprise them by giving them more than they expect from you? What proportion of your Marketing Budget do you allocate to looking after your clients? (And if you don’t have a budget, you’re committing Massive Marketing Mistake Number Six!) Click here to tell us how you look after your clients.

Why Do We Use Social Media?

In January I joined one of my clients at their quarterly Staff Meeting. Usually this is when they all get together to share the successes of the recent quarter, award a few prizes for great performance and a enjoy a really nice curry. For the January meeting, they asked me to join them, to tell them a bit about the social media work we do for them and explain the how and why of it.

This company has a number of staff spread across a number of different offices, so I hadn’t met most of them. I meet a select few at our quarterly Marketing Meetings. At one meeting last year, I realised that many of the staff didn’t really know how we were using social media to promote their business.

To show them properly, I put together a few slides. The first one included this clever graphic that shows just how many people are using social media these days. One thing it shows is that nearly half the people on this planet are using social media through some sort of mobile device! That’s a huge potential audience you could be speaking to.

 

social media stats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do you decide which social media to use?

For this particular client, we focus on Facebook and Twitter. Why? Because we’ve looked at where their referrers and potential clients ‘hang out’. I was really pleased to see this next graphic, which shows that Facebook and Twitter are still the most used social media platforms! Showing the image to the boss at my client’s company also reinforced what I’ve been saying to him for a while – that we need to look next at how to use Google+ and LinkedIn to promote the business.

social media statistics2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sparking ideas

The next thing I did was show the team some of their best performing tweets and Facebook updates. I asked them why they thought those updates had received the highest number of likes, retweets and favourites. It was good to hear a unanimous answer of “It’s about the people.” This client provides a very personal service to their clients and they need to build a high level of trust.

Every week we post updates about the service available to their clients. This conversation sparked a huge number of ideas around all the other details we could share – everything that will help their potential clients get to know and trust them. All of sudden, we had members of the team volunteering ideas and information we could use in their social media. In the past, getting anything useful out of most of them had been a real challenge.

By the end of the evening, we had a really engaged team of people. They all had a much better understanding of their social media and were all really keen to get involved. Which makes my job much easier!

 

CJC for websiteHow to Use a Soft Start for Your Presentations

Many years ago, I learnt a very clever way of starting talks and presentations that I’ve been sharing ever since. It’s called the ABCD of Introductions and it helps you make a great start and get over any nerves you might have at the start of a talk. You can read more about this approach in a newsletter that one of my clients wrote – and there’s a link to a video about it too.

This approach works and is favoured by many speakers, as the A stands for Attention. It’s about starting with a line that really grabs the attention of your audience. Controversial statements, questions and statistics all work very well.

However, for this approach to get you off to a great start, you need to plan your opening very carefully and thoroughly research your audience. I once saw an inexperienced speaker open with a question, to which she was expecting the majority of the audience to answer “Yes”. When most of us answered “No” she became really flustered and didn’t know quite what to do next. It didn’t create a very good impression.

Recently I was introduced to a different way of opening a talk or presentation, by the very clever Tom Balmont. (You can meet Tom here.) Tom suggested opening with a ‘soft start’ rather than with an attention grabbing statement. This is a much more conversational way of opening your talk and works particularly well at networking events, where you might be introduced by someone who doesn’t give you a proper introduction. Instead of leaping onto the stage (or space from which you’ll speak) and wowing your audience with a stunning opening line, you can just walk on, say something welcoming and start engaging with your audience right from the start.

Let me give you some examples:

  • At a networking meeting one Friday morning, I had been asked to give a talk about how to survive the first 10 years in business. After a slightly mumbled introduction from the host, I walked and said “Good morning. Aren’t you pleased it’s Friday?” Almost the entire audience laughed and seemed to visibly relax. Then I was able to carry on with B, C and D of my opening.
  • At another talk I gave, this time about the top 10 marketing tactics that every business needs to use, I started by asking if everyone was sitting comfortably. This time, most of the audience laughed – and relaxed.

So the next time you’re thinking about what to say at the start of your talk, will you take the ‘hard’ approach and hope that you get it right? Or will you give the ‘soft’ start a go and see how quickly you can engage your audience and make a great impression?

 

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