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Marketing Performance

appropriate clothing

Nine questions to choose the right marketing channels for your business

By A Helping Hand, Marketing Performance

appropriate clothing

What are the right marketing channels for your business?

As the Norwegians are famous for saying, there’s no  such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing. It’s the same for your marketing. There are lots of different ways to market your business and its up to you to choose the right marketing for your business. So where do you begin? Read More

6 reasons why you should stop doing social media

By A Helping Hand, Customer Understanding, Marketing Performance

Social media: love it or hate it, it has become part of our lives, both professionally and socially. Even if you aren’t using it, I bet your friends and acquaintances are and they are bugging you to use it as well.

For this article, let’s put aside personal use and look at whether you should stop using social media professionally.

Consistency is king

Your followers and connections are a fickle lot. They will love much of what you post and then Share/Comment/Like/Retweet, right up until the point they forget about you.

Why will they forget? If you aren’t appearing on a regular basis. We all have so many messages chucked at us on a daily basis, including lots more connections and followers on social media, it is easy to forget someone and lose track of what is happening.

If you’re just Shouting

Social media is called social media for a reason. If you want it to work for your business, you need to be sociable. If all you are interested in doing is posting your latest special offer, you are going to be wasting your time. If this is you, you really should stop using social media.

You’re just being negative

If all you do is criticise others, particularly without offering a solution, you’ll quickly get a reputation. Check out some of our MPs to see what I mean. Nobody likes to be criticised, especially if you are just being negative and not suggesting an improvement.

You’re not there at all

Not being there at all is even worse than being inconsistent. This is particularly relevant when you consider the activity of prospective clients or staff.  Almost without fail, the first thing someone does when they hear about you is check your online presence. They find your website and then follow that with your social media presence. If your Twitter/LinkedIn/Facebook accounts haven’t done anything for 6 months, what are they going to think?

You’re better off shutting down your account than having one that hasn’t been used for some time.

No traffic being generated

Your social media activity is, presumably, being done to generate new clients. If not, I am wondering why you are spending valuable time on there. The question is: how much website traffic are you getting from your social media activity?

If you don’t know, I refer you to our previous blog about Google Analytics and then recommend you see how much traffic you are getting.

If you aren’t getting any traffic, there are three probable reasons:

  1. You aren’t saying anything worthwhile (see point two above)
  2. You forgot to put any links to your site on your profile or in your posts (has been known)
  3. Nobody who is likely to buy from you uses that social media platform (see next point)

Any of these are bad and you need to identify which one is causing the issues and fix it fast.

If you disagree, I have a challenge for you: nip down to your local bank and try and pay your mortgage with Likes!

Your Target Audience doesn’t use it

Are you using the social media platforms you do because you use them in your personal life and so know what to do (?!?!) or is there another reason?

Have you considered which platforms are the ones your target audience is most likely to be using? Let me give you some examples:

  • If you sell to Managing Directors of technology businesses, they are highly unlikely to be on Facebook (at least in a business mood) so activity on there would be a waste of time. Moving to LinkedIn (18,366 in the UK alone, plus another 8,648 CEOs) would be a far better option.
  • Launching a new restaurant in St Albans via LinkedIn may not be the best idea (although there are 84,394 people from St Albans on LinkedIn, including 1 food critic). Adding great images of the food and the restaurant on Instagram and/or Facebook may be more effective as people are thinking more about their leisure time

Signing Off?

Do any of the above resonate with you?  If they do, you need to carefully consider whether you should stop using social media for your business. After all, your time is precious and you need to maximise your use of that time to generate leads for your business in order to grow.

I hope this helps

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dump em - the prospects not engaging with your marketing

Dump those who aren’t engaging with your marketing

By A Helping Hand, Customer Understanding, Marketing Performance

dump em - the prospects not engaging with your marketingAs a business owner, you want people engaging with your marketing.

That means it grabs the attention of your target audience, it educates them on why they should use your product/services and they jump willingly into your sales pipeline as a new lead. Marketing engagement is key.

If people aren’t engaging with your marketing you have two choices:

  1. Continue trying to engage them
  2. Dump ‘em

Let’s look at the options.

Continue trying to engage

People who really aren’t responding to your marketing are sending you a message: they’re not interested! If they really aren’t opening any of your emails, responding to your social media activity or even taking your calls, you have to consider whether this is a good use of your time. If they were interested, they would be interacting at least some of the time.

  • They are consuming your mental energy because you believe there is still an opportunity for a sale with at least some of them.
  • You spend time liking, retweeting and responding to social media posts. Time that is a scarce resource.
  • Keeping them on your mailing lists impacts your marketing stats, making open/clickthrough rates lower than they should be.

Dump ‘Em

If you simply remove them from your mailing lists (what member rating do they have in MailChimp?) and stop engaging with their social media, you have that most precious resource to invest in those who are engaging.

Those who are engaging with you want to know more. They want you to talk to them and they are far more likely to buy from you.

The consequences

Let’s think about all of this:

Who would you rather invest your time in? Those who are engaged are likely to buy from you and your time is far better spent on them. Which is a safer bet: 3:1 or 50:1?

There is a slim chance that those who aren’t currently engaged will come back to you. It may be that they aren’t ready to buy from you just yet. I know I’ve suggested you take them off your mailing list (GDPR and all that), but that doesn’t mean you have to cut all ties. You may still be following them on Twitter and you may still be connected on LinkedIn. What’s more, by giving your time and mental effort to those more engaged, you ensure your business is still around when others return.

marketing budget

How much should you spend on marketing?

By A Helping Hand, Marketing Performance

marketing budgetHow much should you spend on marketing is a question I get asked a lot.

Let me see if I can answer it.

There are companies who spend a huge amount on marketing. Red Bull is, perhaps, the most famous of these. The costs of running an F1 team, an international go-kart series and sponsor huge numbers of adventure junkies doesn’t come cheap. The last figure I saw was 38% of revenue.

At the other end, there are companies who spend almost nothing. If they can get all the leads they need through word of mouth, I wish them all the best.

So let’s return to the question. Seeing as I am a consultant, let’s start the answer by asking you a question – or three.

Read More

image of Case Study Ninja logo

Marketing Planning – a case study

By A Helping Hand, Marketing Performance

This month’s blogs have all been around planning your marketing.  Obviously I’m going to say marketing planning is essential, but let me give you an example of what can happen when you do.

Case Study Ninja started in 2016 and I met Sarah, the founder, at a Croydon Tech City event.  For those of you who know Croydon (not the Kate Moss and Tiger Tiger version), you know if has a rapidly growing tech scene and is one of the fastest growing economies in the country. Croydon Tech City hold regular events aimed at new tech entrepreneurs, to help them launch and grow their business ideas.

As you must when networking, Sarah and I followed up our brief chat and business card swap with a further conversation.  I found out that she’d already been talking to other marketing agencies, but I still had an opportunity to pitch. Thankfully I won the work and we set about planning how to take Case Study Ninja to the world.

Who

We brainstormed who to target, why that person and the pains, needs and issues they had.  We matched how Case Study Ninja helps them to their needs and finally looked at the what would stop them buying.

How

The second session looked at what channels and how we would take Case Study Ninja to market. Of course, we considered what social media channels to use, but also what other online, and offline, channels would be used.

The Result

Case study Ninja now has over 70 clients and is thriving.  More detail can be seen in our case study here, but I recommend you also check out their website. If you use case studies as key evidence to help you win new clients, you should seriously consider using them.

Planning your marketing isn’t something you can leave to your marketing consultant. You must be directly involved, for a number of reasons:

  1. You know your business better than your marketing consultant will. Your input is vital.
  2. How will your consultant know what skills you have within the business, and what needs to be found?
  3. Have you been truthful about the budget you have available and what could impact that budget? If not, how can your marketing consultant know what is going to happen?
  4. Finally, you get more from your marketing being a success than anyone. It’s in your interests to be involved.

I hope this helps

image to support article about your biggest client

Why 35% is too big

By Customer Understanding, Marketing Performance

Do you want a big client?

Having a big client is great isn’t it?

A big name that other prospects should have heard of when you tell stories about your current clients

They spend a lot with you, allowing you to grow the business

However, there are some issues to think about.

Very early on in the relationship with any new client, we analyse their business and marketing performance. As well as understanding what marketing is and isn’t working, we look at your share of available wallet and how much of an impact clients have on your business.

Our general rule of thumb is no single client should be more than 35% and ideally not more than 25%, let us explain why.

Why a big client isn’t good for your business.

There really is just one reason: if you lose them as a client, it will decimate your business!

When we analyse client impact, very few clients escape from Pareto’s Law. 80% of turnover is delivered by 20% of clients. Although we rarely have sufficient data to see client profitability, it is highly likely that the bigger the client, one of two things happens:

a client delivering 35+% of turnover delivers even more of the profits, or

far too much resource is committed to that client and so they become unprofitable.

Whichever of these happens, if this client decides to use another supplier, you lose a huge amount of the cash coming into your business. You then cannot meet your commitments. If they are an unprofitable client, there is a chance you can survive as a business. However, you need to make the cost cuts quickly in order to continue.

Small Business Tips from the Golf Course

By A Helping Hand, Marketing Performance

As an an old cliche, many say that lots of business gets done on the golf course. If this was the case, I’d be playing much more, but here are a few business tips from the golf course that can help your business.

The Driving Range

The driving range is there for golfers to practice their game and to work out what needs to be done to improve. It’s also where they will warm up and get prepared for their game.

In business, as in golf and every other sport, you need to be prepared. You cannot simply go out and do stuff and expect your business to improve. You need to get prepared. You need to identify what isn’t working and then develop a plan.

Which Club?

Are you using the right tools? Many golfers, when trying to get their ball to the target (the green and the hole) will take Driver every time. After all, if they can get the ball as close as possible to the green, there is a better chance of getting a birdie (a good score), isn’t there.

Professional golfers, on the other hand, are more likely to take a shorter club and then another one they can fit well and increase their chances of the birdie. The shorter club increases their chances of staying out of the rough (not good).

Are you using the right marketing tools to reach your target audience? Just because everyone else uses Facebook (for example) doesn’t mean you have to if it won’t get your key messages in front of your target audience.

In the Rough

Using the wrong club often means you end up in the wrong position for your next shot. That usually menas the rough – or worse, the trees. Even if you have a good line to the green, the shot becomes harder and you’re much more likely to score a bogey (bad) or worse. All you can do is take your medicine and try not to do it again.

In any small business, you’ll make mistakes. Sometimes you’ll try out marketing tools that don’t work for you. The trick is to learn from your mistakes and try not to make them again.

Your Scorecard

Every golfer has to keep a scorecard, showing the score achieved at each hole. Personally, I also keep track of where I hit my tee shot (did I hit the fairway?), the number of shots I took to get to the green, how many putts and whether I went into a bunker or incurred a penalty. I use Golfshot to track my performance on the golf course.

What are you using to record your marketing and business performance? Whether you invest in a CRM and marketing automation tools, or simply use Excel spreadsheets, make sure you are measuring your performance so you can use the information to improve.

A Caddie

Professional golfers use a caddie to help them. Not only does the caddie carry their bag, they will advise on club choice, on where to hit the ball to and how the weather will impact their strike. They act as dogsbody, psychologist and nutritionist (ensuring they eat and drink on the way around to maintain energy levels) to help the golfer make the best score they can and (hopefully) win the competition.  Without the caddie, the golfer’s chance of winning are slim. The caddies are generally on 10% of winnings.

Having support, specifically to fill the gaps in your knowledge or preferences, will help you improve your performance. Whilst you aren’t likely to be paying 10% of turnover, you should expect to pay for their expertise.

Those of you who know me will know I can go on about golf forever, but I’ll stop there. I hope these help.

Golfing Terminology:

  • Driver: big headed club which will generally hit it further than all other clubs in your bag
  • Par: the number of shots you are allowed on any specific hole.
  • Birdie: using one shot less than Par (good)
  • Bogey: using one shot more than Par (not so good)

We hope these business tips help.

Size Doesn’t Matter

By Marketing Performance

Too many businesses, and people, are obsessed with size. They believe bigger is better. If we are talking about ice cream portions or wine glasses, this may be true. When we’re discussing marketing data, it really is a case of size doesn’t matter.

Let me be blunt:

  • More LinkedIn connections doesn’t make you a better entrepreneur
  • More email addresses in your mailing list doesn’t mean you’re a better business
  • Putting more money into your marketing budget doesn’t mean you will grow faster

Why?

To maintain the innuendo, it’s what you do with what you’ve got that counts.

Let me explain.

LinkedIn connections

There are many people who will look down on you if your LinkedIn connections number doesn’t say 500+. They are deluded into thinking that having more connections will mean that more people will see what they write in their updates and that will lead to more sales. They will see that XXXX people saw their last update and think that their use of LinkedIn is great. Actually the real measure is the number of people who reach out via LinkedIn and ask for your services. Which is better?

30,000 connections, 2000+ impressions a day and 2 calls per month, or

450 connections, 80 impressions a day and 4 calls per month?

Have you ever asked a LinkedIn connection for an introduction to someone you want to talk to? How often do they respond “of course” and they fire off an introduction email via the LinkedIn functionality? Alternatively, do they respond along the lines of “I don’t really know them that well….”?

If you think of LinkedIn as one big networking event, you are far more likely to be introduced or referred by people you know, like and trust. If you are connected simply because you accepted a connection request, what’s the point?

Of course, if you have steadily built up a network that reaches into the 1000’s and you still know what each of them does and what they are looking for, that’s great because I am sure you are generating a huge amount of new business from your network. You are a rarity!

Mailing list size

Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity and cashflow is reality – as the saying goes. It’s the same with email marketing…

List size is vanity, open rates are sanity but click throughs are reality.

In other words, why send out 1000’s of emails if few people are engaging? You are far better off having 1000 people, a 20% open rate and 5% click through than a 1% open rate because you have 50,000 on your list. This is particularly relevant if your email marketing tool charges you per email!

The number that is better in email marketing is the variants of any email. The more variants that show the recipient you are talking to them, the better. Relevancy and personalisation are key to developing high open and click-through rates.

Marketing Budget

The standard number for B2B companies is 10%. You should be investing 10% of revenue in marketing your business – outside of salaries. For some companies, this may not be possible if gross profits are below 10%, but it should be for most. Some companies invest far more (Red Bull: 38%) than others but they have expensive “hobbies” such as Formula One and air racing! Saying that, it works or they wouldn’t be able to spend that sort of money.

The size of your marketing budget depends on the size of your target audience and the return on investment. If you simply throw more money at your marketing, you may be lucky and get more leads and sales, but that will only be if you invest in the marketing channels that are delivering that ROI.

I am sure you can think of many more ways where businesses think that bigger is better, but these are the key marketing faux pars. I hope this helps.

You’ve sold something, what next?

By Customer Understanding, Marketing Performance

Congratulations, your marketing has grabbed the attention of your target audience. It’s got them interested by showing them you understand them and you can help. You’ve engaged them through evidence and used stories during the sales process to demonstrate you can deliver on your promises. Throughout the process you’ve worked to manage the levels of perceived risk in their minds and your ideal client has signed on the dotted line. Now what do you do?

Sell some more

How can you use your latest sale to generate more? What are your options?

Gain a bigger share of their spend

When they signed on the dotted line, I doubt they signed for every service you can provide them. Although it is unlikely they will sign for another service straight away, you can work on demonstrating firstly that they made the right decision to use your services. After that you have the opportunity to discuss how the rest of your portfolio can also help them.
Follow the process again:

Generate awareness – do they even know what else they can get from you?

  • Educate them on two things:
  • How they will benefit from using more of what you provide.
  • How they will suffer if they don’t.

Prove to them that you have helped others, particularly their peers, with similar issues to theirs

Once they start talking to you, tell them the stories they need to hear

Give them the right deal

Remember that the level of risk in their minds will be far lower this time because they’ve already bought from you.

Ask them to spread the word

Once they have experienced how good your services are, ask them to tell their network. You’ve shown you can deliver and that their reputation is safe in your hands. They will know other people who have similar issues to their’s.
They may be proactive in providing referrals, but the chances are you will need to ask them. I know it’s always a worry (because they might say now) but if you time the question right (just after you deliver a great result), the chances are high they will do what you ask.

Use the Evidence

The 3rd stage above uses evidence to help your target audience make the right decision. You need to generate a regular flow of evidence that will help future prospects to buy from you. The sale you’ve just made can become the latest evidence.

Keep Talking to them

Just because someone has bought from you doesn’t mean they will continue to buy from you. Whether that is a repeat purchase or something else, there are others who they can buy from.
A recent project of mine identified that my client was only generating a 5% repeat purchase rate. They were good at generating that first sale, but then didn’t talk to them anymore. We implemented a programme of email communication to both educate buyers on how to get the best from their purchase and to inform them of what else they can buy. Simply by setting up a programme of continual communication, the repeat purchase rate increased to over 10% in less than 6 months – for a product range you are unlikely to replace for at least 5 years.

Sales in a B2B environment are not something that happen every day so making the best use of the sales you do make is key if you are to really grow the business.

I hope this helps.

Create More Demand

By Marketing Performance

Without exception, every owner and director of a small business (or large one for that matter) wants demand for their services to increase. Whilst you may get some who claim they have all the business they ever want, they always want more.

So how do you generate more? How do you create more demand?

Value + Evidence = Demand

So what are the raw ingredients of demand?

Value:

The worth of something compared to the price paid or asked for it”

The perception of value does, of course, vary from individual to individual. What one person thinks as good value will not be the case for another; let’s look at a couple of examples:

First Class tickets: does the £4,995 cost of a return to Dubai at the front of the plane represent good value? Can a business person really get £5K’s worth of work done in there that they couldn’t get done further back, or is it just a status symbol?

London Eye Tickets: at £21 each, is that a good price for the views over London from the top?

Easter Eggs: as the most recent time of the year where we traditionally fleeced, can anyone say that Easter eggs are good value?

All of the above are really consumer purchases and the level of perceived value can be seen relatively easily. For many business services, it’s not quite so easy because of the complexity of the service. Value needs to be:

  • Clear: how well is the value shown?
  • Believable: will the prospect think you are telling the truth?
  • The right price: the phrase too good to be true is rarely incorrect.

Talking about the product, about how it can help and about how the price is just right is a key marketing function.  It is this content that gets your target audience interested and gets them coming to your website and reading more. The next thing they want from you is to prove your words aren’t empty.  They ask you to prove it.  They want…

Evidence:

Marketing talks the talk. The question your target audience has is whether your product can walk the walk. This blog has talked about evidence a number of times in the past. Research shows that evidence is a key part of the buying process. B2B purchasers require evidence at all stages of the buying process, from the initial visit to your website, through initial conversations and during the actual purchase.

To me there are three key groups of evidence:

  • Testimonials and case studies on the website
  • Stories during the conversations
  • Reference contact as a final stage

This blog isn’t the place to talk about each of these, and you can see my thoughts on blog content here, so let’s wrap things up here.

Simply put, if your evidence supports your marketing’s description of the value your product provides, you will create more demand. The groups of evidence listed above help your prospects through from awareness to interest and desire, then finally to the action of buying from you.

I hope this helps.

They Didn’t buy… Arghhhh

By Customer Understanding, Marketing Performance

They didn’t buy. What are you going to do now?

There are three options available to your prospects when they talk to you about buying your product or services:

  • To buy from you
  • They buy from someone else
  • Alternatively, they do nothing

Obviously the first option is your preferred one, but what happens if they decide to do one of the other two? What do you do if someone is foolish enough(!) to not buy from you?

Stage One

In the privacy of your office, curse them for making the wrong decision.

Stage Two

Thank them for considering you and assure them you are here for them in the future, should they wish to discuss things again.

Stage Three

Ask for feedback on why they didn’t buy from you.  This can be vital information for the future, as it a) helps you learn what could have been done better to improve your sales process and b) gives you a good indication of whether there could be an opportunity in the future.

Stage Four

Keep in touch. Too many companies make the mistake of stopping to talk to their prospects just because they didn’t buy. Let me explain why we believe this is the last thing you should do.

After making a decision not to buy from you, there will come a time when a repurchase is needed. Whether this is because they’ve seen the error of their ways, it is time for renewal or they need more, they have (again) three options:

  • They buy again from the supplier they chose last time
  • To buy from you
  • To buy from a third party

The more you have maintained awareness, the more likely you are to be the preferred supplier this time around. After all, they were impressed enough to talk to you last time. With research suggesting as much as 77% of the buying process is done prior to a B2B buyer talking to a salesperson, you did pretty well last time. By keeping in touch and maintaining a relationship, you are really well placed to be shortlisted again.

So what do you do?

Ensure they are on your mailing list, and they have been tagged or segmented to show they are a prospect (they are always going to be a prospect until they unsubscribe) and that you have pitched to them before. By doing this you make sure they only get relevant content.

Content for them is different. The content will refer to your previous conversations: as I am sure you’ll remember…

It will build upon content and information you have sent them before: here are some of our latest case studies…

It will keep them up to date: we’ve added functionality/skills/whatever they told you was missing….

Big Data can help

Do you have web analytics that shows you how individuals interact with your website? If not, I recommend CANDDi. Imagine this scenario:

Your web analytics data shows an ex-prospect looked at your website. Perhaps they’d clicked through from your latest email campaign or they had simply searched online for you. Either way, you give them a call to “see how things are going“. A response along the lines of “that’s funny, I was just looking at your website“, followed by “what a coincidence, let’s have coffee and catch up” and you have a real chance to complete what you started last time.

The unmanaged mountain of opportunity

By A Helping Hand, Marketing Performance

Somewhere in your office is a big pile of opportunities.

It’s probably just by your monitor or it may be in a desk drawer. If you use hotdesk, it’s probably in your bag or it may even be a series of images in an app on your phone.

What I am talking about? that pile of business cards you’ve collected over the past few months and done little with.

Within this pile of business cards could be your next 5 clients. What is five new clients worth to your business? How do you make sure you don’t miss out?

Filter them

If you’re an avid networker, you’ll have a number of cards which were “forced” on you by the card collectors and distributors that inhabit every networking event. They have almost certainly added you to their mailing list, you’ll have unsubscribed and now forgotten what they do.  The B1N file is the best place for them.

Look for the ones that are most likely to be prospects or be able to introduce you to prospects.

Now add them to your database, but make it very easy for people to unsubscribe.

Segment them

Providing everyone with the same information will not help you. Dependent upon which tools you use, segment your contacts into different groups.

  • MailChimp: use data columns and segments or add them into different groups
  • For Infusionsoft, use Tags
  • For Hubspot, it’s Personas and Smart Lists

Every automated marketing tool will have its own set of tools that allow you to segment by geography, product sales, lead source,, industry sector and any number of personal criteria.

Talk to them

Finally, use the information to talk to them. Use the segmentation tools to ensure that the information you send them is relevant:

  • For clients: what other products can they buy from you?
  • For prospects: what evidence can you show them so they see you can help them with their needs? Are you running any offers to tempt them into buying?
  • For nurturing: do you have white papers or recorded webinars showing your knowledge and expertise?
  • For introducers: do they know what your Ideal Client looks like so they can introduce you?

The unmanaged mountain of business cards on your desk can deliver new business, but it takes some effort and it takes real consistency.

I hope this helps.

Be Honest

By A Helping Hand, Marketing Performance

…or your marketing will suffer!

During February our blogs were about your target audience, identifying them and about getting the right key messages in front of the decision makers.

For March we’re going to move onto developing the right marketing programme. Let’s start with a little housekeeping.

If you are going to get the right marketing programme that then delivers the leads you want, you need to be honest.

Time

We’ve discussed in the past about the amount of time you have available for marketing your business. You know you have to do it, but what time is available within the business to do it properly.  If you are tight on resources, be honest about it. If you say you can do much more than you really have time for, your marketing (and its performance) will suffer.

Skills

Everyone can do social media can’t they! Some people struggle to admit they cannot do something because they believe they should be able to do it. Social media is a prime example of this, but there is a big difference in being able to use Facebook to keep up with your mates’ habits, and generating awareness, interest and engagement with your target audience.

If you have the time to learn, all is good, but that may not be the best use of your time so think carefully about the skills you have and the skills you need. Engaging with your target audience on Twitter and LinkedIn can be lots of fun, but your role as the business leader may mean you should leave this to someone else, whether within your business or externally.

Budget

To generate and deliver a consistent marketing programme, you need to invest. The investment needs to be over a period of time and so there is no point in starting a programme that you aren’t sure you will have the money available to complete. It will be better to start on a small budget and then build up as the returns are developed, rather than start high and have to try and cuts corners when there is less money about.

Your marketing budget needs to be a combination of time, cash and skills. Your honesty when developing your marketing programme will help to manage expectations but also deliver a better return on investment.

 

I hope this helps.

Which hats don’t you like wearing?

By Customer Understanding, Marketing Performance

A few questions that may help

Small business owners wear many hats. It’s out of necessity, simply because there are so many things that need doing within a small business. The problem is that when you get busy, there sometimes isn’t time for everything to do all the jobs that need doing. Sometimes these jobs can be simply delayed a little, but what if you go through a busy patch that lasts for a while?

The question is: How do you prioritise the hats? Which hats must you continue to wear and which could you really benefit from by getting some assistance?

My thoughts: the answers to these questions will guide you to which to outsource:

Which hats don’t you like wearing?

Which ones do you lack skills around?

For most people, that will start with those involving complex legislation. For anything that needs a lawyer, you need to get help unless you are suitably qualified. For HR problems, the legislation changes so frequently, it is wise to get at least some advice and accountancy can get complex, depending upon the tax situation.

After this, there is another set that can be outsourced if you are simply too busy. For them, there is one more question to ask yourself?  What is the opportunity if you outsource?

If you can earn more by simply freeing up your time, it makes sense to outsource what you can.

If the service provider has better skills and will deliver an enhanced ROI, it makes sense to use the service provider.

You do what you do because you love doing it and it provides you and your team with job satisfaction, a lot of fun and a lifestyle you want, so why let things get in the way of doing what you love doing?

I hope this helps.

Use your marketing data wisely

By Customer Understanding, Marketing Performance

We’d like to say a huge thank you for joining us at the IoT Tech Expo Europe!

This was the opening line to an email I received last week.  That’s very nice of them, you might think, but there is a problem with this… I wasn’t there.

Don’t get me wrong. I did intend to go and I did register, but I never got the time to attend, as it was one of those “I’d love to have a nose around” events.

Up until then, the marketing team had done everything right:

  • I’d been thanked for registering
  • They sent me a link to get my delegate e-badge
  • They kept me up to date with what was happening

As you cannot get in, and sometimes even out, of these events without having your e-badge scanned, there’s no excuse for not knowing whether I was at the show. It goes without saying that these emails were written before the event even took place, but I can only assume they didn’t add attendance data to their automation tool, but they had a week to do it.

The lesson: don’t try to do things your marketing data doesn’t support

My Tips:

  • Draft your emails well before the event, so you have time to make any adjustments you need to.
  • Personalise them based only on the data you have or are going to collect.
  • Manage your marketing data and make sure the data is added to the relevant tools.
  • Keep it simple the first time. Better to deliver a simple message well than a complicated one poorly.

I hope this helps.

 

what clients have bought which services

Marketing to the converted

By A Helping Hand, Marketing Performance

what clients have bought which services

Are you communicating effectively with those you know are highly likely to open your emails?

I am sure already know that it is far easier to sell to current clients than it is to new ones, but the key is knowing what to talk to them about.

Now I could then start discussing the quality of your account management and how will they know their clients,  what the plans each client had for the next two years and where they are in their planning, but I won’t. What I will say is how many of your clients know about everything you sell and how many of them buy everything you sell?

Without a good picture of who is buying what and who knows about what,  you cannot have a relevant conversation. If that conversation is irrelevant, it is highly unlikely to produce the result you are looking for.

Working all of this out is relatively easy but I must warn you,  it can lead to identification of issues, particularly within your billing.  Let me explain.

The easiest way to calculate who is buying what is via your invoicing.  Using this instead of trying to do it from memory ensures accuracy and shows you the true value of each relationship.  The problem comes when you see some of the, shall we say eccentricities that occur in your invoicing.  Terminology often varies dramatically,  as does categorisation and even values.  I’ve often found invoices where the decimal point is too far left, meaning you’ve missed out on £100 ‘ s (if not more).

This leads to a project of billing standardisation but that’s another blog altogether.

Once you have the list of who has bought what from you,  it’s much easier to then shape your marketing communications to ensure the right people know about the products or services.

Now all you need is a set of messages to send to the relevant people, so when you’re marketing to the converted, it works.

 

Marketing by numbers

By A Helping Hand, Marketing Performance

measure your small business marketing Numbers can suggest different paths depending on the calculations you do

What do I mean by this comment?  Let me use a recent client project to provide an answer to look at how different calculations can lead to different decisions.

As I am sure you know, the first stage in any engagement SME Needs has with a new client is to help them measure their small business marketing performance, providing the data they need to make decisions about what they need to do to improve their marketing performance.

I started working with this company a few weeks, after they contacted me because they had received a Growth Voucher. I must admit I was quite impressed by the amount of marketing measurement they were doing.  Most of my clients were doing little, if any, measurement when I first engaged.  They already knew what marketing was bringing in what sales and how much each sale was costing them in marketing costs.

What this means is that knew what was definitely working and so could continue using those channels:

  • Word of mouth was generating good numbers of new clients and was costing them nothing
  • their advert in a local online community cost less than £10 a time and had generated a high-spending client
  • Their website was sending a lot of new clients their way

This was all great and it was gratifying to see a small business measuring their marketing.

However some of their marketing activities were costing quite a bit:

  • a local magazine listing was generating clients but they were spending around £100 per sale to acquire them
  • Facebook advertising was costing over £50 per new client
  • Another magazine advertising campaign was costing over £200 per new client

As they are a relatively new business, they are being very careful with their resources, but they have set a target for what they wish to pay: £30.  Although this is an ambitious target, it is great to see they have one.

This cost per client calculation led them to believe that the local magazines were a poorly performing route to market; for one they were right.

I took the calculations one step further: what was the cash being generating by each marketing channel?

This painted a different picture, particularly for one of the magazines.  They had spent nearly £700 on advertising but it had generated over £3,500!  It was actually a very profitable route to market.

This local magazine is now part of the marketing strategy they are moving forward with.

I hope this shows how marketing numbers can be misleading and lead to incorrect decisions if you don’t look at the carefully.

Of course, if you would like me to help you analyse the marketing numbers within your business, please get in touch.