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Why multiple mailing lists are a big problem

multiple mailing listsEmail marketing is a great tool when used correctly.

It’s cheap, completely trackable, and it can be personalised so that the content only goes to the right people.

It is also causing a lot of heartache as people get their head around GDPR and what they can and cannot do via email.

Let’s ignore for a moment that email is covered by PECR (Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations) rather than GDPR. The biggest issue for email is consent.

This blog is about the issues that multiple mailing lists can cause with consent.

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Lessons from a Brighton Bar

Demand generation lessons

The beachfront at Brighton is rarely a quiet place. Even in the winter, you will see a number of brave/foolhardy/daft* souls walking on the beach, the promenade and the pier.

This weekend was always going to be a busy one, with plenty of sunshine and the Brighton Marathon, but my wife and I took the kids anyway. Whether we’d remembered about the marathon or not is besides the point.  It was when we went looking for some lunch that I noticed a great lesson in demand generation.  Let me explain.

The bar in the picture is the Brighton Music Hall.  As we arrived, it looked very busy, with few tables available. What I hadn’t seen at that time was the stack of picnic benches to one side.  By not having all of their tables out, the crowd is concentrated together and makes it look busier than perhaps it really was.

The clever piece was the way they managed the addition of tables. As they saw that the turnover of guests seemed to slow, they added another row of tables that were quickly filled by new guests walking off the promenade. After all, there are few people who don’t measure the quality of an unknown restaurant by the crowd of diners.

I was looking at another company earlier today – a completely different business – who also managed their demand well. They did it by saying, on their website, that they are completely booked for April & May, but they are still happy to talk.  Again, by suggesting they are really busy, they portray themselves as providing a sought-after service.

The lessons here:

  • Keep a good eye on your customers
  • Make them think you are popular – meaning more will want you
  • Keep talking to them. Keep them informed, even when you are really busy

 

 

 

*delete as appropriate

How to develop your elevator pitch

If you had 60 seconds with your perfect client, what would you say?

How would you explain just why your company is perfect for supply just what they need?

Would you describe what you do or would you how you’ve helped other clients recently?

If you describe what you do (the features) you are asking your perfect client to work out for themselves just how your services will help them. If you describe just how you’ve helped others, not only do you make it easier for them to understand how you can help, but you give evidence that you can deliver a great job.

Which do you think will help your sales process more?

The question is what do you say and how do you ensure they will remember you?

My suggestion for what your elevator pitch should contain:

  • 20 seconds on the benefits of using your services
  • 30 seconds on an example of how you’ve helped others in the past
  • 10 seconds on a strapline that is memorable
If you’ve got it right they should be asking for, or giving, a business card about now so that further conversations can be had. If not, your elevator pitch probably needs some work.
I am sure you’ve heard something like this before but it is still great advice and so worth repeating.

 

What do your clients think about you?

When was the last time you asked a client for feedback on the quality of the work you did for them?

What do your clients think about you? Do you know?

The more you understand about how your work is perceived, the better your work will become and the results of asking for feedback will help your marketing too.

The feedback will be somewhere between love and loathe and hopefully much closer to love than loathe. The closer to love it gets, the more you can ask for to help with your marketing.

When was the last time you asked a client for:

  • a personal recommendation on LinkedIn?
  • a referral to a connection of theirs who could use your services?
  • a services recommendation on your LinkedIn Company Page?
  • a testimonial?
  • a case study about the project you’ve just delivered?
  • a video testimonial?

All of the above support your marketing and provide a little extra proof that you do a great job. The more of it is available for prospects to read, the more likely they are to pick up the phone and ask you to help them.

Of course, there is a chance that the feedback will be closer to loathe than love. In some ways this is the best feedback because it gives you an opportunity to improve. You may even get a chance to improve your performance for that client, but even if you don’t the feedback will be invaluable for when you start work with your next client.

Either way, make sure you thank them for the feedback as they have helped you, no matter what they actually say.

Networking – quality or quantity?

There are many approaches to networking  and plenty of articles written about it.  A google search whilst writing this blog identified 341,000,000 in 0.33 seconds – that should keep you busy for a little while.

Broadly speaking there are two camps when it comes to, particularly, online networking: collecting as many people as possible or, know the people you network with.  I fall firmly into the latter.

Right now I have 388 connections on LinkedIn.  Fifteen minutes ago I had 445.  Although I spend a good amount of time trying to maintain the relationships I have developed I looked through my connections and found that I had 57 in there where I couldn’t remember what they did or why I was connected to them.  If I cannot remember what they do, what is the chance that I am going to introduce them to other people I meet?

What does this mean to me?  I have roughly 15% more time to maintain the relationships I have built up on LinkedIn, further improving the quality of them

What does it mean to the 57? Absolutely nothing at a guess, as they don’t seem to be worried about maintaining the relationship either or they would have been in contact recently and I would know what they did.

What’s my point?  Simple, invest your time in developing your network and ensuring it is mutually beneficial.  If there is “dead wood” in your connections, a little light pruning is a good thing

Consistency is Key

As you develop a following, whether for your newsletter or on social media pages such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, they will come to expect a certain amount of information from you. Let’s explain why marketing consistency is key.

Your followers follow you because you have provided them with interesting information and they would love some more. If that flow of information falters, you risk upsetting them. They will probably forgive you the first time you miss a blog/article/post but their patience will diminish rapidly the more you fail to deliver.

Maintaining marketing consistency over long periods of time is not always easy.  As you get busier delivering to clients you find the time available for your own marketing gets more rare. It is therefore best to have a series of blogs (etc.) planned ahead. That way you can maintain your consistency and keep your followers happy.  You never know, they might even start to refer you to others and your following increases.

Marketing is all about getting more people interested in your services, so keep your consistency levels high and the followers will come.

 

 

The 6 things Potential Buyers are looking for before they will consider buying from you

There are 100’s, if not 1,000’s, of potential buyers of your products/services out there right now and you want them to buy from you.  This is what they are looking for BEFORE they talk to Sales.

  1. Visibility – fairly obvious but if you’re not visible to them, they cannot buy from you.  They will often look to see if they can find you in other ways.  If they find you on Google, are you on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook etc.?
  2. Cleanliness – I don’t mean proof that you use a lot of soap.  What I mean is a clean website; one that is easy to read, to understand and to navigate to find the information they are looking for.
  3. Headlines – Newspapers tell millions of copies based on the headline that day, with some of them employing dedicated headline writers.  When you’re found through an internet search your landing page(s) have seconds to grab their attention or they simply bounce.
  4. Pain Relief – Buyers rarely go shopping if they are happy with what they’ve got.  Does your marketing material make them believe your solution will make their life easier or better?
  5. Evidence – You can talk the talk but can you walk the walk? Evidence, in the form of case studies, testimonials, published articles etc. develop confidence in the mind of the buyer and draw them towards you.
  6. Experience – Even new companies have experience of delivering the product or service they sell and they’re usually more passionate about it too.  After all, how many people do you know who started up a company to do something they hate?  Buyers want to know that you know what you’re doing so talk about your previous experiences to increase their confidence in you.

70% of the buying process is complete before anyone talks to Sales.  Are you helping people to make the right decision and buy from you?

 

 

Business and Football

Which type of football does your business look like?
What can businesses learn from football?

Each version of the beloved game has different rules, different playing periods, team sizes and injury levels/quantities.

The reason I use football here as a sporting metaphor is the varying stop and review periods:

Footballers have one real aim: to get the ball down the other end and into the goal/across the line more times than their opponents do. Small business owners aim to win customers more frequently than their competitors do. That way they grow their profits and meet their goals.

The use of rest periods in football as a business metaphor is to compare and contrast how often small business owners take time out from the business to look at what is going on; to work on the business instead of in the business.

Working in the business brings in the money as you deliver on each customer order. Working on the business ensures the company is heading in the right direction, is meeting its targets and everyone understands is what direction they should be pushing.

Within large businesses there are layers of management to be doing this type of work constantly; for smaller businesses this isn’t the case. There is rarely enough money to have somebody doing this, unless you consider that to be the sole purpose of the Managing Director. The problem is that even he, or she, often gets pulled in to the business; meeting customers, going to sales meetings, talking to the bank etc. So what do you do?

In my humble opinion, you monitor constantly and assess periodically. Monitoring constantly doesn’t mean looking over everyone shoulder every minute of the day. Football managers are lucky as they have the TV cameras to record everything and the statisticians to produce relevant statistics. Small business owners should identify what is important for them to assess and then ensure the necessary information is being recorded constantly.

What do I mean by this? Lets consider some examples:

  • If you are a manufacturing business, keep records of raw material costs, the time used in the manufacturing process and the rate at which stock is moving.
  • If you are a services business, record the time used to deliver on each project.
  • If you are a retailer, look at the footfall patterns, the stock levels and ensure the date codes are being watched.

Above all else, make sure you know where your sales opportunities are coming from, no matter what type of business you are.

If you look at your financial year as a football match, how often should you be assessing and communicating? Again, let’s look at the various versions of the beautiful game:

  • Mob football had few, if any, rules. I doubt there was a manager and the free for all meant that lots of people got hurt or simply buggered off because they didn’t know what was going on.
  • Sunday League teams will stand at the side of the pitch at half-time for a fag and an orange segment, listen to the manager for a couple of minutes and then slag each other for either not doing something or doing it badly.
  • Premiership teams will return to a private space (their dressing room) to receive, hopefully, constructive information about the performance and direction on how to improve in the 2nd half of the game.
  • Aussie Rules and American football break the game into quarters. This means there are more opportunities to assess and communicate so the players know what is going on and how it can be further improved (or fixed dependent upon the score at the time).

Which do you think is better for your business?

How often do you take time to assess the performance of the business and then communicate matters to your staff?

How often do you listen to them about what ideas they have that could improve the business and generate more profit?