Archive for the 'new venture' Category

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

Kim Kardishain’s ‘Underdog’ Secret Can Help Your Business

 

Every business needs to be recognised by the marketplace for its own survival. Even if there seems to be is no rhyme-or-reason for its existence.

This is why I am fascinated by the flashing bulbs surrounding the current belle of the moment Kim Kardashian

I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same. Before Kim, who was in place as the most least-talented-yet-globally-desired-tabloid-fodder-female on the planet? I guess you could build a case for Paris Hilton.

Now cast your mind back to the last time you saw a celebrity like this in the papers or in a magazine snapped by the paparazzi while going jogging with a Chiuahua under each arm or stumbling out of a night club in a bra-less see-through.

If you rolled your eyes and turned the page, it is highly likely you missed a trick.

These guys are excellent examples of great marketing. Or at least the people who manage them are.

These celebrities pay millions to media companies to manage their profile in the public eyes.

So what are they advertising?

If you think they are advertising themselves you would be only partly right. What they are in fact advertising is their ‘celebrity capital’ for other companies.

And here is the most interesting part. The less talented you are and the higher your profile the MORE useful you are to advertisers.

Do you want to know why? It’s quite intruiging.

The lower the level of talent the more the person on the street can identify with you.

And the higher your profile the more mystique you have about you in regard to your ‘rise to riches’…the public who identify with you have a lucky rabbits foot feeling in connection with you.

The feeling is like this;

“If fame can happen with Kim, if I take random selfies and silicone injections in my butt, maybe one day I will be discovered.”

Of course the public are not aware that most fame, if it is sustained for a significant length of time, is in fact created and managed. Managed very carefully, for good reason.

A talentless high profile celebrity becomes a cash cow for companies who want to align their brand with the celebrity.

Any celebrity with low talent and a high profile immediately has a ‘People’s Champion’ status.

In this day and age of social media, this is great news for small to medium sized businesses.

It is the job of your marketing to become the people’s champion of your marketplace. So your marketplace identify with you and want to emulate you through their purchases.

And your celebrity status will also atract other complimentary companies who will clamber over themselves to align with you through strategic alliances or do business with you through joint ventures.

Everybody loves an underdog.

 

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

7 Reasons Marketing Divorce Happens

It’s Not Me…It’s You

Let’s face facts. In business life, ca ca happens. And sometimes for the stupidest of reasons scrapping our failing marketing efforts is one of those business life cycle events that just doesn’t happen by accident.

In a business, problems tend to build up over time. If you do not have a way of keeping in touch with your target market, assessing how they’re feeling, the probability of reaching them through your marketing message is going to be poor.

Sometimes you have to bite the bullet, make an executive decision and pull the plug on your efforts.

But before you pull the plug, it can be helpful to work out where your marketing may have gone wrong over time.

7 Reasons Why Marketing Divorce Happens

1. Lack of communication with your target market. This is one of the major reasons why marketing divorce happens. Distance is created quickly if you don’t have a way of assessing your target markets feelings.

There may be great events or offers you have for your customers, but if you fail to tell them you cannot expect them to read your mind.

2. Lack of financing can ruin your marketing efforts. Sometimes you can embark on a campaign which is effective for your business but lack of cashflow can hamper the progress of the campaign. This is why a marketing strategy needs to be updated on a regular basis to keep track of the resources a company has to roll out its promotional tactics.

3. Owner gets bored. You may feel bored with your marketing, and wish to stop it. This often happens when a company is not tracking its marketing efforts. Sometimes it can be difficult to know where the money in a campaign is coming in from. For example, it is tricky and damn near impossible to track a PR campaign. Though it can be useful to keep a ballpark figure so you have a regular budget for it.

4. Your market do not Trust you. Trust is one of the leading factors in having a successful marketing campaign. Your market are unlikely to do regular business with you if you do not keep the promises your marketing makes. The least you can do is meet your markets expectations.

5. Your target market doesn’t understand your marketing message. It’s common knowledge that we all have different needs and wants. A company who won’t acknowledge its markets’ interests and desires won’t communicate with this market in such a way they will be understood.

If I wanted to speak to a group of teenagers about something which was exciting,at this time of writing this article, I could used the word “Sick” to describe it and every teenager in the room would understand me.

However, if I used the same language with a group of people in their 50s and above, I would alienate a large part of the group.

6. Quick change in lifestyle or circumstances. Companies need to understand a customer is never really for life. People move on. They outgrow your products or services. They grow older. And, they die. It is not really possible to change this factor, however there are a few points to consider.

Customers who have outgrown your company can and should be replaced by people ‘growing into’ needing your service. This is within your control and it is your job to entice the new people.

Another factor within your control is customers who are bored with doing business with you. It is in your power to stay interesting in their minds, even if that means calling to say hello.

7. Poached by a competitor. Don’t worry…we will get even.

Before You Pull the Plug and Divorce Your Marketing Campaign, consider this;

When a company has a valid reason to kill their marketing campaign they need to keep these 7 factors in mind because it is highly likely the campaign can be resuscitated and bought back to life with a little thought and care.

Speaking to a marketing consultant can be a good start. Maybe the marriage can be saved. : )

 

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.

 

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Creating a Customer Narrative with Promotional Products

Industries can be crowded and full of competition. Finding a way to stand out can be the most difficult part of your marketing strategy.

 

Narrative has become one of the best resources a company can use to keep their customers engaged. Telling a story is a great way to make your brand seem more human and interesting. If you allow customers to create experiences and their own stories around your brand and products, then you are already one step ahead.

 

In order to create a narrative for your company, the first step is to tell your story. When was your company founded? What are its key values? What challenges did you face during the first few years in business? Every business has an interesting background that must be made known so that people can connect with the product and understand the most basic principles of your business practices.

 

The other part of the process is giving your clients a chance to create a story with your brand. Promotional products are a good way to do this. In this day and age a business card loses its narrative value quickly. Perhaps your details will be added to a list of contacts, or people will look for you on social media but the card itself can be tossed in the rubbish bin. People know they can find your information online if they need it.

Promotional Product

A branded item usually has much more narrative potential. Not only will the client remember the trade show or business dinner where they received it, they will be reminded of your brand every time they see it.

 

They may even display a funny promotional stress ball on their desk and use it as an ice breaker with new clients, for example. The more creative you are with your giveaways, the more stories can be built around them, and the higher your engagement will be.

 

If in addition to a promotional product you also provide a great service or product, your customers can start generating thousands of stories around your brand; stories that are shared on social media or at the dinner table. Every time the narrative is shared and expanded upon, your customers will become more engaged and loyal to your brand.