Archive for the 'business advice' Category

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

The True Power Of Your Advertising

 

Squeeze out the frustration of not being a millionaire today!

Squeeze out more revenue with effective Advertising

 

Let’s talk numbers for a while and the proper way you should be thinking about your advertising.

As far as your business is concerned, there are only three processes you should have your beady-eye on.

 

1. Customer Attraction (Your advertising)
2. Sales (Exchange of your products and services for money)
3. Delivering to the customer what you promised them cost effectively.

 

Processes 2 and 3 are beyond the scope of this article, however I will be touching on process 2 to explain to you why your advertising (Process 1) is crucial, and why this is the process where most of your business horse-power is.

Ok, did you notice I used the term ‘customer attraction’ to describe advertising? There is a good reason for this and most business owners fail to recognise it to their own detriment.

Let me make things clearer for you.

You have to start moving away from the frame of mind of having to ‘get customers’, and start thinking in terms of ‘attracting customers’ to your business. This may sound like just words, but the implication behind them is huge.

In the simplest terms getting customers for your business requires WORK. Attracting customers implies that the customers COME TO YOU, like a moth to the flame.

You want to get to the point with your marketing where most of the work from day-to-day is done in the process 3 section of your business. In other words concentrating on delivering quality products and valuable service.

Anyway lets talk numbers, and the power of attracting customer to your business.
Great, so now we know that every business has 3 main processes that affect its bottom line for overall profitability.

Let me take process 2 for a spell – Selling your customer your products and services

This process is essentially the process that results in your customer reaching in their pocket and giving you their hard-earned money in exchange of what your business has to offer them.

Move your attention to your business for a while and think about the steps involved in your business for this process.

A process 2 for a pub could be a simple as;

 

1. Person enters pub and sits down at the bar or at a table if they are with friends
2. Gets comfortable at the bar/ watches television while propped up at the bar
3. Bar person approaches them and asks them what they will have
4. Person requests what they want
5. After a drink, person either pays and leaves or orders another drink

 

Now I’ve simplified it here but the process is essentially the same in any establishment you go to, from the Local Watering Hole to the Exclusive Gentleman’s Club.

Still with me? Good. Let’s assume that you are the bar man of this establishment, and for a whole day you resisted the temptation to have a drink and you simply watched the comings and goings of this process in your bar for a full day.

Assuming there were 100 people that came in on this particular day, you noticed that not everyone who came into your pub actually bought a drink or spent money. These were either moochers that wanted a drink off their mates and were not lucky that day, or people who just did not fancy a tipple. Fair enough.

But these were the numbers you found

 

1. Of the people that came on for a drink the average sale was £10
2. Only 20 people out of the 100 did not get a drink or buy anything
3. Therefore 8 out of 10 people entering the pub spend about £10
4. On a typical day you will make approximately £10 x 80 customers = £800

 

Now come closer, here is the really important bit;

What if we could get a 20% increase in the number of people who buy drinks? Maybe by providing free peanuts with every second pint or something to that effect.

All other things being equal our takings for that day become £10 x 96 = £960. This is a 20% increase in takings.

This is the effect of improving process 2

Let’s see what happens if we improve process 1 – Customer Attraction

We already know that 100 customers come into the pub on a typical day. This means whatever advertising we already do…brings in 100 people a day who spend on average a tenner.

If we increase the effectiveness of our advertising by 20%, and remember, this does not require any more expense on our part, just an advert that has a better message.

We will bring in 120 customers out of which 8 in every 10 spend £10. Bringing in a total of; £960…but remember this has involved no extra effort for this increase in revenue, the advertising still costs the same and it still allows you to make more money. That is powerful! And that’s why you have to get the advertising right, because it makes everything else (process 2 and process 3) a lot more effective.

 

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

The Essential Keys To Unlock Your Marketing

 

What if I told you there are only three vital components you need when thinking about any form of marketing.

Just focusing on these three components will not only make your marketing more effective, it will stop you throwing money at marketing that does not work for you.

The three components are your Market, your Message, and your Media.

Think of these three as your three legged bar stool. You must have all of these three working together to keep your marketing doing a full job.

Let’s start with your Market.

Anytime you think about spending a penny on marketing, the best place to start is to think about your market first. Why is this? I am glad you asked.

It is the market, the people you are going to deliver your marketing message to, that will determine the message you want to deliver, and how that market wants to receive the message.

For example, a message delivered through a written letter to a market group who are in the 60s is going to be appreciated a lot more than the same message delivered the same way to a market group aged in the 20s.

From the start you need to think about who you are trying to attract. Who do you want to do more business with.

When you are thinking about a new campaign or a new promotion, you need to think about, ahead of time, who is the type of person this promotion will resonate with.

What we are really talking about here is the difference between mass media marketing (the type you see on television) and target marketing.

Most businesses do not have pockets deep enough to pay an advertising agency a monthly fee to run a mass marketing campaign. And because the message is created for a mass market you are likely to fall into a trap of speaking to everybody, but no specific person will be listening.

Target marketing is coming from the perspective of realising you have a limited budget, and trying to use the resources you have to reach a particular segment of a market for maximum impact and profitability.

A target marketer, know there is always going to be people who will not be excited by their marketing message, however it is not the job of the marketer to please every body with their marketing. It is the marketers’ job to please the market that is being targeted.

If the offer and target market you want to promote to are mainly women. Then, it does not make sense to pay for this marketing to go to any men.

If the offer and target market are of a particular age range, maybe a retirement age demographic. Then you need to focus you marketing message to these individuals.

Are you starting to see where we are going with this?

What type of customer, for your business, is it best to go after?

If you sell a high ticket item, wouldn’t it make more sense to market to a demographic who can afford you products and services, rather than to just a general group who buy a similar product.

So this is the general idea. No matter what you do with your marketing, it pays to always think about the WHO your marketing is going to.

After the WHO in our marketing, the next part to think about is the message.

What are you going to tell your marketplace in order to get them to respond to you with some attention or extra business.

There is actually a lot of information available on the web about what should go into a marketing message to make it compelling for your target market to respond to your message.

The key thing to remember is you should always stay focused on the WHO, your message is ‘speaking’ to and to not get seduced by different messages that might only appeal to another segment.

Your message must match the wants and desires of the WHO.

Lets talk about your media.

Your media is all the ways your message is received by your WHO.

In this digital day and age there are literally hundreds of forms of media to chooses from. But a word of caution.

Stay Focused.

Always go back to your WHO, and ask yourself, how do they like to receive their messages?

This will guide you to the forms of media to use and the structure of your campaigns for maximum effectiveness.

Is your target market responsive to APPs

Do they text a lot?

Are they on the internet a lot?

Do they Tweet, or Skype, Or ‘facebook’?

Do they appreciate written letters more?

Or physical network meet-and-greets (yes YOU are a form of media too!)

So lets recap;

You start with your WHO…WHO are you going to target your marketing to.

Then you build a compelling message for that specific WHO you want to reach

And the WHO and the message will guide to the media you will use to communicate that message in a cost effective and efficient way for maximum return on your investment.

You should then see over time an increase in your profits and a decrease in your marketing costs.

 

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

How To Slash Your Advertising Costs And Keep More Profit

 

The job of your advert is to hail down your customer and to do it in such a way that you do not physically have to be there. Your advert should be your promotions person…out there in all the places you cannot physically be at. And your advert should ‘say’ enough to get the customers attention (tap them on the shoulder) and also give them a good reason why they have been tapped on the shoulder.

So now we know your advert is a promotions person, it makes sense now to think about how much we are paying him.

How Most People Have Been Taught To Think About Advertising

If you ask most business people about the reasons they advertise. The general reasons that pop-up are nice fluffy phrases like;

 

“To get exposure”
“To let people know we are still around…or still the best”
“To build the brand of my business…look at my fancy logo”
“Well, all my other competitors advertise so I think I should too”

I hear phrases like that all the time from my clients who are all small business owners. And it is easy to fall into this trap when it comes to advertising because most of the advertising we see all around us is of that nature.
Most advertising we see is designed to;

 

• Get companies the exposure they want
• Let people know the company is still around
• Build the ‘brand’ of the business
• Stay visible just like their competitors

 

However, here’s the important thing to remember. Most of the advertising we see on television, on billboards and generally all around us are from companies and large businesses with bottomless pockets! In other words, large budgets that allow them to play with concepts and paint pretty pictures with their advertising space.

The small business owner with a limited budget does not have this luxury. And cannot afford to paint pretty pictures with their advertising. And nor should you want to…even if you get big someday.

No. The small business owner should always be focused on getting the best value for their money. And in the case of placing adverts this means the advertising space they buy should get them the most possible customers for the amount they spend.

Let me ask you a question. You already place adverts right? Ok. How much business are those adverts bringing in? Do you know the answer to that question.

Well, this question is important, especially when you are now thinking about your adverts as living breathing promotions people.

You have to start getting into the mindset of making your adverts earn their keep. Are they bringing people in? If you find that they are bringing people in…why are your customers responding to your adverts and how do you know it is your adverts they are responding to?

Let me back up a bit just for a second.

You are paying your hard earned money to place an advert. Let’s assume that you place an advert in the yellow pages, and the price you paid for that advert was £1000.

Over the year you know the advert got 100 people to pick up the phone and call-in to your business.

Here’s a question for you. How much does it cost you to get a customer to call into your business? In other words, how hard is your advert working to hail down your customers and give them a good enough reason to take the time out of their day and pick up the phone to ring you.

£1000/100 = £10 per customer enquiry

This means you are paying £10 to get a customer to call your business. Your advert is bringing in 1 customer for every £10 you pay for it. This is a very important number because it tells you how hard your advert is working and it highlights the reason you should measure the effectiveness of your adverts.

You measure your advertising to:

 

1. Find out how ‘hard’ your adverts are working
2. Ensures that you can IMPROVE on your previous results and pay less to get your customer (which means more profit for you).

Allow me to explain. If you could pay over the next year only £800 for an advert in the Yellow Pages. And that same advert bought in 100 new customers over the next year. Your new result would be;

£800/100 = £8 per customer

This means you are now paying £2 less for your advert and still bringing in the same amount business.

The mindset you want to get into for your advertising is one of a ‘slave-driver’. Ideally you want to pay next to zero for your adverts, and you want your adverts to perform like champion racehorses at the same time. This is what kept the pharaohs rich in ancient Egypt, why not you and your business today?

And of course spending less money for an advert means you have more money to either put into other parts of your business, buy more advertising and increase your business’ exposure, or treat yourself to a pay rise.

And getting more people to respond to the same advert obviously means more business to you and more profits.

 

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

How To Improve Your Marketing Like Clockwork

 

This concept is deceptively simple but extremely powerful.

Once you have an advert that gets a response from your customer. Your next step and responsibility is to keep running the same successful advert and at the same time run another advert with only one change in the new advert.

The change you make should usually be in your ‘message’ to the customer, and usually the ‘free offer’ part of your advert.

The closer you get to what your customer truly wants…the better the response of your advert. Testing basically allows you to fail frequently and fast enough for you to hit the winner that will maximise your advertising pounds. And of course, because you are already using the original successful advert…your business will still be ticking along nicely.

The successful advert is known in the direct-response industry as your ‘Control’.

You should commit to not change the control advert until your test beats it by pulling in more customers.

A successful test usually becomes your new control…until of course you beat it again.

You have just discovered one of the main ways companies get BIG.

Below is a test I did with a Tanning Studio client for an advert she placed in her local paper.

 

I wanted to present her advert in time for the upcoming holiday season.
Exhibit 1 – How You Can Be Brown, All Year Round!
Call XXX-XXXX now for a FREE colour and shade analysis with our incredibly tanned advisors

 

This was the advert that was already working. She placed this advert every 2 weeks and got an average of 6 people calling in from this advert.

 

I then got her to try out this advert in the same newspaper in one of the two weeks.
Exhibit 2 – Who Else Wants To Have A Longer-Lasting Tan!
Call XXX-XXXX now for a FREE colour and shade analysis with our incredibly tanned advisors

 

For the two months she tried this advert, her response almost double…she got 9 people to respond for the first 2 weeks and 11 people responded the next two weeks.

And don’t forget, she was paying the same amount of money for the advert.

This is the essence of what testing is about. It’s how to get better results out of the same amount of resources. In advertising, it’s how to get a better response for the same or less money.

This Tanning studio now has 2 adverts that she knows will bring in customers. If she wanted she could put both adverts in different parts of the paper or in completely different publications altogether. But she would still need to track the results.

To keep track of how well each advert is working there are a number of things she could do;

She could use a different phone extension for each advert. For example in exhibit 1 the number to call would be XXX-XXX3 and for the other advert the number to call would be XXX-XXX4.

Nowadays it’s really easy to get your phone operator to fix you up with a call package that allows different phone extensions using the same phone line.

Another thing she could do with the phone is have one of the numbers call into an answer machine. And have the answer machine message get the customer to leave their number for her to call them back in 10 minutes or so. And have the other line directly picked up by her or her receptionist.

Alternatively she could ask people that call in to bring in the advert so that the customer can get and redeem the free consultation promised to them in the advert.

When the customer gladly brings in the advert the business owner gets to know which advert bought the customer in.

 

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

How To Be The Floyd Mayweather Jnr Of Your Market And Win

 

I have just seen a magazine headline reporting last year a sportsman called Floyd Mayweather Jnr was the highest paid sportsman globally for the second year running.

Now this is not something which interests me by itself, because somebody has to be the highest paid – big deal, it’s a list.

No. What is interesting to me is the fact that this athlete has got to the top of his profession, (if you believe what the report suggests) with a non-crowd pleasing style of boxing.

He is getting paid the most while delivering a boring end product.

He apparently runs away from the brawler type opposition and does not have explosive Mike Tyson-esque knock out power. But, he still commands record pay-per-view numbers. That’s people paying to scoff potato chips in their living rooms to see him perform.

People paying to supposedly be bored out of their skulls.

How about that.

Well, I am not sure I believe what this report is suggesting.
Just a little glance through wacky-pedia will reveal a boxer who is anything but a boring character.

A rap sheet that includes misdemeanors, jail stints, and battery, all while keeping himself clean in the boxing ring.

This boxer has a life that is anything but boring and apparently what comes out of his mouth adds acid to the fire for his detractors on a regular basis.

You can call be sceptical if you like but something about all this seems carefully crafted to me. Carefully packaged for maximum financial gain.

A clean living, highly disciplined, dedicated master boxer technician who is dedicated to his craft inside the ring (and outside the ring with his diet – never a 1lb overweight). All of a sudden regularly looses control outside the ring.

My hunch is a lot of the behaviour is carefully considered to create and perpetuate an image of a bad boy. For maximum financial gain.

Floyd Mayweather Jnr has clearly found a formula for his success. Positioning is key, and in his case he is defending the position of being the Controversial villain in his marketplace.

So, how can he get away with this and still deliver a boring product?
My friend, this is where the genius truly is.

By painting himself as the stand out villain, the guy you would love to hate. By definition this means ANYONE who is facing him is immediately in the position of ‘the good guy’ or ‘plucky hero’ who is in the perfect position to rid the world of this bad bad man.

The casual observer of boxing will see what most people see when they watch a Floyd Mayweather Jnr bout. Great footwork, running away and around his opposition, and no knockout blows – almost guaranteed.

But it is the casual observers I am sure who buy the most pay per view tickets.

Why?

Just think about this for a second.
If you are the super villain who is good at what you do, you are going to have a loyal fanbase.

But the supervillian tag gets you more people buying tickets just to see another ‘good’ guy give you the beating you deserve and knock you down a peg or two.

And if the villain is exceptionally good at what they do, this ‘good’ guy opponent takes on the ‘plucky underdog’ character by default and you get a further boost as people now root for the good guy under dog.

So, as long as Floyd Mayweather can keep people hating him, and keep on winning, the MORE the haters will pay to see if his block gets knocked off.

So what does this mean for your marketing? Does it mean you should court controversy and be a terrible person in public?

No. It does not.

But there are two important lessons I believe.

The first lesson is you need to pay close attention to the positioning you want in your marketplace.

We all want to be liked by our customers. But what do you want to be liked for?

I am sure if you lined up your customers along a wall and asked them all one by one, what they liked about doing business with you, there would be a large percentage of them who would say a similar thing.

You could choose this position, and run with that. The key thing is to choose one.

The second thing which I feel is important is to embrace the haters.

Another way of saying this is the stronger you choose and define your position in the marketplace the more you alienate customers who just ‘don’t get it’.

The same way, a lot of computer and phone users ‘don’t get’ why Apple is so popular with its customers.

Can’t Apple lovers see that the ipad and mini ipad are just larger versions of their iphones – yet ALL three cost pretty much the same. And most Apple customers have at least two if not all three during their product buying cycle.

Apple are the villians of the computer world, yet people pay the most for them.

The positioning you choose becomes your persona. Which guides the packaging of your ‘boring’ product. The character you give to it.

Who wants to be a goody-goody two-shoes anyways.

 

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

How To Fix Broken Marketing

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Bert Lance

What should we do when we think out marketing is going stale?

First and foremost it is important to not throw the baby out with the bath water. If you are placing adverts on the Internet, Yellow Pages, Newspapers or anywhere else and you are getting people to contact you from those ads…then do not stop placing those ads.

Let me explain why. And this is probably going to change the way you think about adverts forever.

I want you to imagine that you are standing outside the premises of your business on a high street somewhere. And as soon as a person going about their daily business passes you – before they get too far, you tap them on the shoulder and say; “Hello mate.”

Now most people will probably stop to look at you. And they will most likely say something to the effect of;

“Do I know you?” or

“Sorry, I think you have the wrong person”.

It is then up to you to explain to them why you tapped them on the shoulder and why you interrupted them.

It sounds crazy doesn’t it, but I consulted with a client who actually did this with their Photo and Printing Shop. They would spend most of their time with one eye looking out of the shop window.

And as soon as someone passing by made so much of a flicker toward their window display, the owner of the shop would run from around his desk and hail down the person on the high street before they got away.

I do not think this is a particularly effective way to get the attention of your customers but for my client it was working. And although what I thought he was doing was strange and a bit desperate…I did not tell him to stop what he was doing. However if you take a closer look, you will realise that this form of hailing down customers, although possibly efficient has a HUGE flaw.

The main flaw is the person running the business has to be ‘looking out of the window’ all of the time instead of doing the work they should be doing…running the business.

And this is what I explained to my client.

Now, if the amount of business brought in this this method warrants keeping this method, there could be an argument for hiring a person with this hailing down of customers would be a specific job.

The key points to take away from this though, are it is prudent to continue what is already working and… to measure what is working and by how much it is working.

The next job of anything you add to or create for your marketing is to beat this current method.

 

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

At Last! A Billboard That Fits In Your Pocket

What if I told you there is a billboard which is the size of a playing card and your customers and business partners will readily ask you for it on a daily basis, without you forcing it on them.

Do you wanna hear about it? You do?

Well, I am sorry to disappoint you with this little tidbit but this mini billboard has already been invented.

It is as old as the printing press. But it’s use is what we will be talking about.

The object of our desire right now, is known as the business card.

Why Business Cards Are Your Mini Billboards

Most business owners use their business cards to give their name, phone number and contacts details. If you are paying close attention, you will notice this is a very similar tactic trained prisoners of war use when they are being interrogated by the enemy. They give their name, rank, and serial number. And they are trained to repeat this same answer verbatim when a question is posed to them, even when being tortured…now see herein lies the problem. This tactic is okay for the prisoner of war because it ensures no important information is leaked into the plans of the enemy.

But in the world of business this is the exact opposite of what you should be doing. At the very least you want your customer to feel like you are holding nothing back from them and ideally willing to give them all the information they need to make an informed decision and eventually purchase from you.

The best way to think about your business card is to ask yourself the question.

What compelling reason from 1 of the 100 other business cards stuffed in my customers wallet does he have to pick-up the phone and call me?

You should already have the answer to this question…it’s your advertising message!

I remember one client I was working with, a financial advisor who took this idea and created business cards with the look and feel of a credit card. And the long number in the middle of his card was his business phone number. Pretty interesting isn’t it?

What ideas can you come up with related to your industry that will determine the size shape, colour and form your business card will take?

A little known business card secret…Use the back of your business card too!

Don’t only use the front of your business card…use the back of the card also, and in most cases it’s not going to cost you a lot more

Let me tell you what doing this will do for you.

1. Your customer goes away with your complete compelling message!

2. You separate yourself from the pack of hum-drum business cards turning yellow in your customers pocket.

3. You business card can be used by the customer to refer your business to people they care about…at no additional cost to you. And the full message on the card means the customer does not have the hassle of explaining what you can do for their friend.

4. If your business card is misplaced, any person picking it up will instantly know the reason WHY they should call you and what is in it for them.

5. Your business card is more likely to be kept and not thrown in the garbage like a lot of other cards because apart from being interesting, it conveys VALUE to the customer (people tend to keep things that seem personal – it’s human nature).

I hope I’ve done enough to convince you. Oh, before I miss it out. Don’t forget to put the words “Please turn card” if you are also using the back of your business card.

 

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

5 Mistakes Currently Choking Your Good Advertising

Ok, so you have come up with a concept for your advertising campaign.

You have plopped your money down for a good designer or illustrator. Your advert is ready to be published.

The advert is published and appears in the marketplace.

What happens now?

Nothing.

Why? The concept was good. You already know the market will love what you have to offer. You paid good money for the publishing of your advert.

Why is it not working?

Let’s have a good stab at the reason. In fact, it is possible there are five reasons.

Here’s how you can make sure your advertising pounds stop running down the plug hole.

Advertising Mistake 1:
Your Advert Must First ‘Look Good’ Before It Is Used

This is a very common mistake. Many people judge advertising on the ‘lookl’ of the ad. In fact one of the mysteries of the modern world is having advertising awards for aesthetically appealing ads. That’s just plain stupid!

It doesn’t matter so much how good your advert looks. Think about it, your customers couldn’t care less how pretty your advertising is. What they are most concerned with when thumbing through the Yellow Pages or bundling along in their everyday life is something that ‘speaks’ directly to them. And what should matter to you is how much money you made from the advert! In other words how many of your customers you ‘spoke to’ through your advert.

Of course I’m not saying your ad cannot look good. What I’m saying is your number one objective is to get the sale (or at least a response from a customer.)

Never forget this goal when creating a ‘good looking’ advert!

Advertising Mistake 2:
Making Your Company Name Prominent In The Advert

Regardless of how familiar your company or service is to your customers, you should always place your company name at the bottom of the ad. Never ever put your company name at the top of the ad. In other words ‘Who Cares’ what your company is called unless it communicates to your customer what your business can do for them!

Having said all of that, there is one time to break this rule of using your company name first and prominently and this is when you are an uber celebrity yourself or you have the same name as a celebrity.

This is cheeky, but a good name can be a good asset.

Advertising Mistake 3:
Never Asking your customers to call-in because it seems ‘unprofessional’

Many stuffy design agencies frown on what I choose to call ‘response devices’ for your customers, because their thinking once again is – adverts asking for a response don’t look ‘good.’
A response device is any tool that gives your customers the ability and incentive to make contact with you. The most widely used one is a phone number.

Adding a response device has the ability to double the response of your advertising instantly.

You must therefore have a very good reason not to use a response device in your adverts. In fact, I’ve never come up with a good enough reason to leave one out – unless of course you don’t have enough advertising space…and even in that case, I would suggest the extra expense to include one as worth the money.

Advertising Mistake 4:
Your Advert Must Not Have Too Many Words And Have Lots Of Clear Space

This is the most deadly mistake business owners make with their advertising.

You cannot ever hope to get a high response to your advertising if you don’t give people a good enough reason to respond. This means your advert needs to be fully informative and communicate just enough of a positive message to get the desired customer response.

Contrary to what most people think, an advert crammed full of relevant and benefit driven words always wins over an advert without lots of words.

Advertising Mistake 5:
You Should Use A Design Agency To Create Your Adverts.

Oh my God, if I had a penny for every time I heard this from business owners I speak to!

Like all professions, there are good professionals and bad ones. However you should only work with advertising and marketing professionals that use what are called ‘direct response’ advertising techniques.

These are advertising techniques geared toward getting a favourable response from your customers.

Only professionals who know these direct-response techniques will ever get the results you should expect with your advertising.

As I often tell business owners that seek my expertise with their advertising, it is they who are better equipped to create their own advertising rather than using an outside professional.
The reason I send them away to create their own advertising is because they are most likely to know what their customers want, and what appeals to them in their adverts.

You’ll save thousands of pounds and almost certainly make more money from your advertising if you create them yourself.

These 5 mistakes may seem really simple, but if you fail to keep an eye on them, they stack-up like paper cuts bleeding your business to death, because they are lethal to your cash flow when ignored.

The message is simple really. Either find someone who can help you deliver your advertising message more effectively. Or, learn how to do it for yourself and your company.

 

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

5 Key Impact Areas To Build Your Brand


I am super excited to go over this today.

Essentially we are going to look at the art of impressive service.
Your service can be described as all the points of contact and actions which help meet your customers expectations.

And you thought this was all about branding. Well, it is.

There are many brands of mobile phones in the marketplace. But, as I type this article I know the Iphone is the only phone with exists in the heart AND minds of most phone customers.

A lot of people desire an Iphone simply because they cannot afford it.

And, quite simply, it is because of what a company like Apple do which brands their phone into the customers of the marketplace.

And what you do in your business is deliver a promise. This is service.

So, how are we going to deliver a level of service or at least think about the service we already provide with the aim of having our clients impressed.

Is perfection possible? Well, somehow I do’t think so, and if you have ever tried to make the mistake of trying to please everybody you meet you will quickly realise it is an impossible task.

And in the world of business, it also can leave you broke.

Now, we do not want to be there so it pays a little bit to switch your focus from trying to acheive perfection over to trying to improve key elements which will have high impact results in your business.

This is what you and your team want to aim for.

You may have been to a nice hotel and noticed that any staff you bump into are congenial very freindly and helpful.

How do they hire these wonderful people? What do they do to find these people? Do these people just slide into the office off the high street with that type of amazing personality?

Is the bubbly personality how they normally are?

The truth is, it is a little bit of both.

That natural talent is obviously a good thing. But great talent acheives a lot with great training and practice.

Some of the people who work with you may not be naturally out going or bubbly people all the time. Nobody is really.

But if you think a little bit about the service side of your business. The areas where your team or your products are in contact with your customers.

It can be helpful to try and create a more out going welcoming atmosphere.

You ultimately want to transfer a feeling of an impressive service. And thats what we are going to go into today. How we are going to provide service which goes beyond the expectations of the customer.

Your place of business or the way you do business becomes a place where customers are literally blown away with the way you deliver your promise to them.

So what are these high impact points in providing a good service? And are these impact points transferable to providing training to our team, especially when we want to bring a higher energy out for the workplace on a daily basis.

There are basically 5 impact areas. And the fifth element is the glue which connects the other four elements together and keeps everything going.

The first element is our communication with the customer.

When a customer is in any form of contact with a member of your team or a delivery of your product, you want to think about this specific time as a ‘moment of truth’ if you like.

This presents an opportunity to communicate your intentions to the customer. What does giving them your service or product mean to you and how do you feel knowing it will impact their life in a positive way?

You feel great about it. Do they know you do? And do they know you appreciate their custom?

A cheerful energy will communicate that. And when this energy is focused like a laser beam on the customer…if they have a pulse, they will most definitey feel it.

And keep this cheerful energy giving simple. Call your customers when you can, by their name.

“Hey Mark, how are you doing today?”

“Look at the weather outside…nice today isn’t it?

Sounds like small talk, but small talk on a daily basis to people who are important to you has a big impact.

The best description I heard about in relation to this cheerful energy is to think about your clients having an emotional bank account.

And everytime you interact with them, if you are able to give them something positive. This means a deposit has been made into their emotional bank account.

You want to keep this account topped-up on a regular basis.

The key thing to remember is everyone you come into contact with, on some level wants to feel acknowledged. And it is your job to try and provide that for your customers.

And the funny, karmic thing about this, is that when you and your staff make it a habit of acknowleging and being cheerful with your customers, you and your team will tend to feel better about your day.

The second impact area is a bit of a tricky one, because it can require a little bit of skill.

But with the right training, it will fit snuggly into the fabric of your daily activities.

The second area is all about finding options for your customer. And this area becomes particularly important at times when you may not have what the customer is specifically asking for.

The intention behind this impact area is you and your team should always be looking for ways of accomodating your customers needs.

An example of this is when a customer calls in and they want to book an appointment.

Problem is; you are fully booked on that day.

The natural thing for most people at the end of the phone to say is “I’m sorry, we are fully booked that day” and then leave it there.

An alternative interaction would be “Unfortunately, we are booked up for that day, but what I can do for you is…”, and then you go into the options.

“…get you in the next day” or “…get you in next week”

“Oh, and what I can also do is put you on our hot list for today. Which means if anyone cancels an appointment, then you get first refusal for that space”

So, I hope you get the point. There are going to be times when we cannot specifically deliver what the customer wants in that specific time, but there is still an opportunity to give them options which help them reach the same goals for the transaction.

There may be other times when you have to dig a little deeper to find a solution for them.
But the same rule still applies. How can you create options for the clients without compromising the business too much while getting the customer what they came for.

It still applies when the customer is not happy with the product or service you have provided for them…what can you do to help them in their mind reach their expectations.

The third impact area is one I first heard about in the early 90s through a book called “Swimming With Sharks” by Harvey Mckay.

Harvey Mckay built a sizeable business on the back of exceeding customer expectations and he kept up to date with his customers in a novel way.

This was before the days of the internet and digital planner. Harvey Mckays company would keep customers names and small details about them in a tickler card system.

When a customer would call into the business, their card would be brought to the operator and the small details on the card would be peppered into the conversation.

What kind of small details were relevant? Mostly, anything and everything.

Did the customer have a pet? Was it a Cat or Dog?

How many children did they have? What were their names?

And anything new which came up in conversation would be updated or added to the card…until the next time.

So, you want to get into the habit of collecting information about your customer, but not in an NSA ‘Pentagon’ kind of way.

But with the intention of making a deeper connection in every interaction, which goes back to helping your customers feel acknowledged.

There is no need to go crazy with it. The key remembering is there are probably a few things in a specific customers life which are always at the top of their minds and carried around in their hearts everyday.

You are trying to raise the quality of your interaction with them to another level.

Quite often this kind of interest with your customer helps you identify their truer needs in relation to your product and service.

The forth impact area is another form of acknowledgement called The follow-up.

Very often in our business we can get so caught up in the busy-ness of our day, buzzing between offices, checking emails, wolfing down our lunch. Interrupted with phone calls.

We fail to take a few minutes while the grass around us is growing to call in on a customer to ask them how they are getting on since the transaction…maybe a day or two later.

This gives your level of service a deeper level of connection and penetration with your customer.

Through something like a simple phone call.

Or a small post card through the mail to say Thank you…or invite their comments with a free gift offer they can redeem online.

In the social media age we live in, any form of good news your customers volunteer to their friends and family about you can have a profound effect on your business.

So the art of follow up should always be permeating in your business.

Everyone in your team should at least be aware of it.

Now, you do not have to do it with everyone, because not all customers are equal. Just sprinkle and apply this impact area to some key customers. That’s enough.

Now, here is the thing. There is one impact area which holds all of these elements together and makes them work for you.

If you do not do this one thing, then guess what? A lot of what you are trying to do with the four elements will make you look like a one hit wonder.

A flash in the pan. Here today, gone tomorrow…

You get the idea.

The fifth impact area is consistency. You have to be super consistent with this idea of giving impressive service.

Every time that customer is in contact with your business that same elemnt of service has to be there.

And this is what is going to seperate you from the other businesses in your market place.

So the way you do this is going back to the four impact areas and training yourself and your team so your company is consistent with them on a daily basis.

The military have a term for when training turns into regular action out in the field.

Any action which is repeatable becomes known as a Standard Operation Procedure.

Once you have delivered an impressive level of service to a customer, this is the new benchmark they set for you for their next visit with you.

You better be ‘on’ when showtime comes around again.

This is the kind of practice which seperates the best Hotels and resorts of the world and the ones which are just “good”.

You know yourself, if you go into any of the A+ hotels. The Savoy, the Ritz Carlton, or think of your favourite hotel or resort.

You can pretty much predict the type of experience you will have, and you also are aware the hotel will do what they can to accomodated your needs while you stay there.

This is the blueprint for a great brand.

Getting customers who think about you when they have a specific need and having them feel you in their hearts when they have to make a choice.

And that choice to make a transaction is always an emotional choice.

 

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Promotional Strategies that Really Help Your Business

Every company has its own ideas and plans for promotion. It’s all about making a long lasting impression that will attract new customers and maintain a loyal bond with the ones you already have.

The techniques and methods you choose fully on your vision and the company profile. In the world of marketing there are many promotional strategies that can help you increase the value of your brand and help it stand out from the competitors.

Social Media

In this day and age if you’re not using social media, you simply don’t exist. This is because messages and ideas travel faster online. Social networks can also help you to promote your products and services.

Using social media you can reach a larger number of potential customers and keep an eye on your competitors. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow you to maintain your relationship with customers on a more personal level.

Charity Events

Promoting your brand whilst supporting an important cause can be a smart idea for any company. Sometimes in order to receive, you first have to invest. These types of events help you reach your target audience and can even help attract people from different fields of interest.

Make sure that everybody who leaves the event receives something to remember your brand. Think of a stress ball or promotional item that suits the occasion. People will keep them in their homes and think about your company when they talk about the event with friends or business partners.

Encourage Connection Building

Offer gifts or discounts in exchange for new customer contacts from other businesses. People may feel more motivated to recommend your brand if they receive something in return. In the end it will be money well spent.

Promotional Key Rings

If you want to be remembered, don’t hand over your business card, offer an original stress ball key ring with your company’s logo. It will be more innovative and fun.

People can simply attach these promotional items to their key chains and have a daily reminder of your company. They also work well for stress relief, and can be taken anywhere.

Contact us today to find out how promotional items can help your business.

Posted by Mikkis | Filed in Branding, business advice, News | Comment now »