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The risks with referrals

We all love getting referrals. 

Who doesn’t like getting a useful referral? They are usually an easier sales pitch as the referrer has already done some of the work for you.  I acquired a new client at the end of last week from a referral, so I am particularly positive about them at the moment. 

There is one real issue that stops people giving referrals – the risk to them. 

Let me explain: 

When someone refers you, particularly to one of their clients, a little bit of their reputation goes with the referral.  There is a, hopefully, small risk that you won’t do a good job.  If that happens, there is a potential risk that your referrer could lose their client.  

On the positive side, if you do a very good job, their reputation is enhanced with that client. You are then far more likely to get more referrals from that person.  

The principle of liking comes into play here which can be broken up into three simple points;   

  • having a preference for those that we consider like ourselves in behaviour, values and attitudes,   
  • those that pay us genuine compliments, and most importantly,  
  • those that cooperate with us towards shared goals and vision 

Therefore, when some refers you, by managing to match the positive perception of the referrer, their reputation is enhanced with that client. You then gain an increased trust, improving the likelihood of you gaining further referrals from that person. 

So the morale of this blog is simple, if you are looking at getting referrals from your network, make sure you deliver on your promises.  

If you are looking to further improve your prospects of effective networking and gaining relevant referrals, our marketing experts at SME Needs are here for you.  

Preparing for 2020

2019 has flown by and 2020 is waiting just around the corner. If your 2019 was full of growth and successful marketing you’ll probably want to continue that through to the new year. However, if your year was lacking in that department, then even more reason to keep reading to see our top tips helping […]

Nine questions to choose the right marketing channels for your business

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

The dangers of too much content

too much content

 

Content is Good. Content is Wise. That is what you will hear from most marketing consultants, from a lot of SEO companies and many of your peers. Good content is great at two things:

Read more

Dump those who aren’t engaging with your marketing

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.

Listen to improve your marketing

Marketing is often considered to be more about talking than listening. Whilst the talking is important, learning to listen can help you in numerous ways. Let’s have a look at how we believe listening can help your marketing performance.

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No marketing budget – no point

 

no marketing budgetThere are very few SME businesses who aren’t looking to grow, but let’s be honest up front: if you have no marketing budget you will commit to spending, there is no point in seeking professional help.

Let’s look at this in detail.

Read more

What is your 2018 Marketing Strategy?

what is your 2018 marketing strategy?

2018 is coming fast

January 2nd 2018 still seems a long time away. In reality, it is only 15 weeks or so.  If your financial year is the calendar year, what are you planning to do to attract new business? What does your 2018 marketing strategy look like?

Read more

7 reasons why your business must have a marketing budget

image of multiple £20 notes to illustrate article about marketing budgetsYou must market your business if you want to attract new prospects and then convert them into new clients. So why it is that less than 50% of small businesses have a marketing budget?
Quick Poll: Are you one of these 50% or more?

If you want to achieve the growth targets you have set for your business, these are the reasons why you must have a marketing budget. Read more

So just what is a marketing strategy?

what is a marketing strategy

There is a difference between a marketing plan and a marketing strategy, but many people get them mixed up.  Let’s discuss…

Perhaps the simplest way to explain the difference is this:

  • Your marketing strategy is what you aim to achieve
  • Your marketing plan is how you are going to do it.

The development of your marketing strategy and plan is the 3rd step in the process we take all new clients through, after measuring the marketing performance over the last 2-3 years and then understanding exactly who is in the target audience.

Your Marketing Strategy

As a business, you will have a set of goals and targets for the next year. They usually include a growth target – we want to grow by 50% in the next 12 months. Your marketing strategy is the first step in achieving that goal.

What does it include?

Your marketing strategy will include the following:

  1. Your long-term business target (50% growth for example) alongside what this means in reality
    1. Are you going to sell to more clients or sell more to your current clients (market penetration)?
    2. Are you going to sell more products to your current market (product development) or, are you going to sell your current products to different markets (market development)
    3. Perhaps you are taking the trickiest route to growth – diversification (new products to new markets)
    4. How many net new clients does this mean?
    5. Whether you assume you are going to lose any current clients – or keep them all
  2. What you sell and why
    1. For stakeholders and for staff to understand the business
  3. The key routes to market
    1. Not the tools you are going to use, but whether you will primarily be using online or offline, whether you are using predominantly a referral strategy or an account management one.

Your Marketing Plan

Your marketing plan will include:

  1. The specific marketing channels and tools you will use
  2. What you expect to achieve from each tool/channel:
    1. How much website traffic
    2. Which social media channels have how many followers?
    3. How many phone calls?
  3. How does each channel contribute to achieving your overall goals?
    1. Which are primarily awareness generation tools?
    2. Which will engage your target audience?
    3. Which are aimed at generating the leads you need?
  4. What is the competitive situation?
    1. How many competitors do you have?
    2. How does your product/service differ from the competitors?

Your marketing strategy shows what you want to achieve, with the plan showing how you are going to get there. You cannot develop a marketing plan without having a strategy in place that matches your business plan. After all, there are two key parts of your business that will help you achieve your business goals:

  1. Operations: ensuring you deliver on your promises to your clients and, ideally, keep as many as possible.
  2. Marketing: developing new leads to generate the clients you need to grow the business.

If the two don’t work together, it will be very difficult to achieve your business goals.

I hope this helps.