Posts Tagged ‘businesses’
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 Three: Chasing New Clients
What’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.
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.
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.
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!
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?
Where is Your Business Going in 2015?
So where is your business going this year? What goals have you set for your business?
At the start of 2014 I created a new Business Plan for Appletree. We nicknamed it ‘The Napkin Business Plan’ because it was so simple that I could (and did) draw it on a napkin! It outlined five stages that I was going to take the business through. Each stage had a number of activities that needed to be carried out before I moved onto the next one. I had to reach certain milestones – or goals – before the business would be ready for the next stage. Each stage also had specific marketing that needed to be done, in order to meet the goals. It gave our marketing a really clear focus, with clear targets.
Let me give you an example.
One stage of the Napkin Business Plan was called Recalibration. At the start of the year, I decided to focus the business on providing marketing content – something I always used to do, but had wandered away from. This meant that I needed to spend time talking to my existing clients, to make sure they were happy with my decision. The goal was to retain as many clients as wanted to receive the sort of service I wanted to provide. The marketing that needed to be done was about making contact with my clients – lots of phone calls and meetings with them to discuss the options.
The result? A couple of clients left us during the year, because they needed something different from the service we wanted to provide. And that was OK, as it left room for new clients to join us, who do want the service we want to provide. They have ended up being more fun to work with and more profitable!
Following the Napkin Business Plan helped make my business the most successful and profitable it has been for many years – proof that having goals and following a plan really does work.
Where is your business going this year?