Marketing Made Easy

dr evil

The contradictions of growing your business

I’m confused… How about you?

dr evil I’ve read and thought a lot about marketing and sales in the past few years, as I suspect most business owners do. After all, as I say in my first book, “The Ten Truths for Raising a Healthy Bouncy Business”: Marketing is Everything and Everything is Marketing.

Marketing is one of the most written about topics by the business brains and gurus of the world and there are many grand theories about what works and what doesn’t and how things have supposedly changed in the past 20 years. But when you listen to all of them it’s like having your brain fried by Dr Evil, it’s all just so confusing.

All the theories

The problem lies with the many conflicting theories.

We are variously assured that:

  • People buy what’s in it for them (WIIFM)
  • People buy emotionally and justify rationally
  • People do business with people they know like and trust
  • Value is remembered long after price has been forgotten
  • We must sell online otherwise you can’t compete… on price.
  • We must give our best stuff away for free
  • Brand is everything
  • Relationship is everything
  • Content is King
  • Search engine optimisation is everything
  • Search engine optimisation is dead
  • Google and Facebook advertising is the future
  • Advertising is dead

And we are told:

  • To do blogs, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook
  • To produce content
  • To make videos and to podcast
  • To build relationships
  • To add value
  • To charge for value instead of price

Confused

confusedConfused?

I am.

I recently engaged an SEO expert to get me to the top of Google. The expert delivered. In a period of 8 weeks, I started appearing on page 1 for certain search terms.

Yet I sacked him a month or so later. Why? I learnt that Google frowns on many SEO techniques that until recently were considered good practice, and I came to the conclusion that my improved ranking was based on some of those techniques.

I talked to a number of other SEO experts and they assure me they can achieve the same results for me, using only currently accepted ‘safe’ techniques… At 4 to 6 times the cost per month of the previous SEO expert.

So I’m muddling along myself again now. (Let me know how I’m going, will you? Do a search for the kind of service I provide and see if I come up anywhere before page 25?)

Free stuff

I’m one of those who is convinced by one of the previous statements about giving your best stuff away for free, and I do exactly that. I do get lots of thank-you notes, but not much else.

Oh, that’s right, it’s all about content? Doing that, I’m all over it. Again, lots of nice comments on my newsletters and books and videos and webinars.

Giving

go givers I read a great book called Go-Givers and another one called “Give and Take” … wonderful books, great messages. The main message being that to market and sell our business successfully we must be Givers, rather than Takers and start by giving more value than we receive.

Love the concept, especially as it’s proven to work for about half the people who practice that mindset; half the Givers of this world are wildly successful … the other half? Sorry, they’re at the bottom of the heap.

How come I’m reminded about that joke: I have a magic coin that can predict the future exactly 50% of the time?

I am aware that I sound as if I’m whingeing… and that will never do.

I’m a business coach after all and we are always positive and optimistic… We are, honestly!

Actually I’m not complaining … it’s just that it’s all so dammed confusing.

And overwhelming.

Answers

I actually know what the answers are to each of the contradictions above, most of us business owners do, well in theory we do at any rate. Let’s look at the contradictions about price for example:

It’s true; people don’t buy on price, except if they have no other way to decide. Being the cheapest is actually a perfectly good strategy to market your business, as long you can maintain it. Walmart in America is the cheapest, consistently and it’s become one of the most successful and biggest businesses on the planet by being the cheapest. It’s what they do. Being the cheapest is their reason for being, and no one can beat them at that game. There are plenty of other businesses that base their marketing on price, and when appropriate I shop there too. But I bet anyone could beat your business on price if they decided to do so. We have to give our customers lots of other reasons to do business with us.

And that’s when we get overwhelmed with all the contradictions and the conflicting demands.

Nearly every client I start to work with tells me they think they need to ‘Do’ more marketing and they need a marketing plan. And you do. Accelerating the speed at which your business has been growing naturally so far can only come from increased marketing. But let’s not make it harder and more overwhelming than it needs to be.

Low hanging fruit

low hanging fruit kids I’m a great believer in always picking the low-hanging fruit first. So the question to ask yourself first is: What is the easiest way for me to generate more leads?

I bet you can actually answer that question just like that, without a marketing plan.

In my case it actually comes down to two things:

1)    Making it easier for people to obtain my books

2)    Implementing a consistent process of following up with the people who do download my books.

So I’m off to tweak some of the text and stuff on my website, implement a couple of small changes in my CRM, and I’m blocking time out in my diary to make 5 follow up phone calls every Tuesday morning from here forth.

What about you? What’s your easiest way forward to ‘Do’ more marketing?

See it’s not so overwhelming when you think of it, it just takes a little bit of focus.

Tell you what… pop me an email with your decision and I’ll check in with you in a couple of weeks to see how you’re going… nothing like a bit of accountability.

Drowning in the 21st Century

drowning

Too many gurus, too little time

Random thoughts about random reading

guruI picked up a great book the other day, more or less by accident: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Never heard of the author or the book but the title grabbed me when I saw it lying around somewhere… Some of my most inspiring reads have come to me completely randomly… try it out, I highly recommend random reading, as well as this particular book.You can always tell how much I enjoy a book by the number of folded pages. The one has many)

happiness project But it’s been a struggle getting through it, not because the book is boring but because I seem to give myself less and less time and space to just read, and especially to read anything longer than a couple of paragraphs.

I’ve started to become so used to reading short bites all over the place that anything longer than a couple of hundred words makes me impatient.

The Guardian online

I’ve noticed this same phenomenon in all the reading I do. I subscribe to the Guardian online and it’s got lots of wonderful writing in it … and sometimes the articles are long… really long and I find myself reading articles I enjoy except that I start to skim read them… just because I am impatient.

People say, that it is the negative effect of the Internet, Facebook and Twitter that is causing this phenomenon. It is thought that our focus on bits of text that are short to very short (140 characters in the case of Twitter) means that we losing our ability to focus on one thing for any length of time. We don’t pick up books anymore to read like we used to, because we are reading Facebook and Twitter. I do think that that is true, but I don’t think it’s the shortness of the Facebook messages rather the avalanche of messages, and news and information and material of interest that come to us constantly in overwhelming volumes.

Every day, the Guardian Online has more words, more articles and more information in it than the big Saturday papers like the Melbourne Age of even 10 years ago. I’m sure of it. It would take a whole day of solid reading just to read the normal daily edition and then only the stuff you find interesting. But at the same time I also have access to the Melbourne Age (as well as the SMH) and the Washington Post and the Frankfurter Allgemaine and Aljazeera. And that’s just the newspapers. There’s also the posts and articles in various groups on linkedin, your twitter feed and an ever-growing stream of blogs and online publications (I produce one of those myself and you’re reading it right now of course)

flip bookThe more I read, the less I know

The Internet, the smartphone and Facebook haven’t killed reading; quite the opposite, I read much more now than I have ever read in my life. But a lot of it is shallow reading. I do still read books, but often I get to page 50 and I notice myself starting to skim read. I just don’t have anywhere near as much patience to read deeply as I used to. I want to move on to the next thing… what else is going on… what else do I need to know now.

Because if I don’t move on, I’m missing out. I’m constantly alerted to interesting blogs and interesting developments. The gurus in my field all write blogs (Seth Godin writes one every day) If I don’t read those I am falling behind; so quick, quick; read the opening paragraphs… scroll down the bottom and go on to the next article.

Here’s the thing though, we can’t read everything and we can’t be perfectly informed and besides world news and world developments are becoming so depressing that you’d do yourself an injury trying to stay up-to-date with it all. The danger of reading more and more, and shallower and shallower is that our knowledge and understanding becomes shallower as well… I know less about more. There are more and more things I know a tiny little bit about. I noticed myself quoting some wisdom the other day that came from a post on Facebook. Did I actually know what was going on? Do I have any understanding of what is going on in the middle east beyond what I see on Facebook and in the headlines in the Guardian (no time to read the whole article of course)

My resolution

So here is my resolution: I am going to become much more selective. I am looking to find a very select group of people around the world who, I think, have something really special to say. I want to find a small bunch of people who will challenge my thinking and stretch my boundaries and who have something truly interesting to say and I will follow them and read them.

So here is my question to you: give me a name, a recommendation… who do you read, all the time, who makes you think, or gives you food for thought (Good food… not McDonalds) … If there was only one person in the world you could read regularly…who would that be? Now don’t give me a whole list of people… I only want to end up with a short list of 5 to 10 people maximum.

brene brown (Currently my candidates are: Oliver Burkeman at the Guardian, Brene Brown from Texas and Graham Long from the Wayside Chapel in Sydney).

Besides my limited bunch of gurus, I’m going to make time again, dedicated time, for uninterrupted book reading. As it is, most of the books of the world are going to remain unread by me, and that’s sad enough. Reading books whether online, in audio format or in actual honest to goodness book form, is and will always be the most effective and enjoyable way to really deepen your insight into a certain topic… Truly.

So I started my resolution this morning I got up at 6, lit a couple of candles, made myself a cup of tea and picked up the happiness project, a good solid two hours of it and I kept my phone at the other end of the room… It was great

So, please, send me your favourite guru or columnist or blogger, someone I absolutely must no longer live without.

 

Social Media Marketing

trust

trust Build Trust and Watch your Profits Soar.

I bet no one has ever done business with you unless they trusted you at least at some level.

A different level of trust is required to engage with a financial planner than to buy a litre of milk from the corner store, but without trust there is no business.

social media tree Well thought-through social media marketing can be a highly effective strategy to build trust but don’t take the lazy route, because you’ll waste your time and your money.

After years of dabbling in Social media marketing myself and putting the odd toe in the water only to pull it out again a little while later I have finally joined the social media marketing world properly or at least more properly than I ever have before.

I’ve taken on a social media and online marketing guru to drag me along kicking and screaming and make me use the various media they way they are meant to be used. (I’m sure she despairs of me often)

Star-rating

The reason I am finally stepping up is that I can see that trust is becoming more and more important and people expect to be given the opportunity to learn to trust a business before they are prepared to spend any money at all. We expect to be referred by friends, we expect to see testimonials from other consumers and we expect to see star-ratings or similar.

The other day a friend of mine asked his community on Facebook if anyone knew a good electrician. (so as not to end up with an electrical situation like on the photo below!!)

qualified-electricians Several people chimed in straight away, and my friend was able to ring an electrician who came recommended by 5 separate people more or less instantaneously.

I see this phenomenon happening all the time now. I myself gained a client in a similar manner a few months ago.

In 2014, we are simply not going to spend money with anyone unless and until we trust them.

What that means is that social media marketing campaigns (or any other single channel marketing campaigns) on their own are doomed to failure.

The electrician and Facebook

There are two approaches that work… the first is how the electrician approaches it, a three step approach:

1)    Do Great Work: Create incredibly happy customers, Raving Fans (and he does, look him up if you need an electrician in Sydney, David Jones Electrical)

2)    Build Community: Build a community on social media. Make sure that you are connected with all your happy past clients and business referral partners.

3)    Engage: Build your community by posting stuff that is of interest to you, for no other reason than that you think it’s fun or interesting or useful. When the call comes, you’ll be front of mind… just like the electrician.

Taking this approach consistently means David gets regular new business through Facebook and other media. David is front of mind with any of his past clients whenever anyone mentions the word electrician, anywhere, be that in Facebook or at a dinner party or in a cue at the local supermarket. The friend who asked for an electrician in Facebook was bombarded with testimonials and as a consequence his trust level for David was so high, he didn’t even look for a second quote for his work.

You cannot achieve that kind of result with advertising or with single-track social media posting campaigns. You have to carry out all three of the steps above.

Give away your best stuff

good free stuffThe second approach can work in a more single-track kind of way: It still relies on building trust but in a different way. As I said people will not spend money unless and until they trust you. The other way to build trust therefore is to prove to your customers that you can be trusted, by giving a lot of your stuff away for free… Your best stuff even. The stuff that is worth real money and that is truly useful. If you give people a big bunch of really good free stuff, you will also slowly start to build trust.

But be aware, it can take a long time and you have to be ok with giving away all this stuff.

So my own marketing strategies are now based on a combination of the two approaches. I do great work, I am building a community with my Raving Fans and my referral sources, I engage by sharing stuff I find interesting regularly and I also give away lots of free stuff (my books, my webinars, a lot of my resources and even one-on-one sessions). I even encourage my clients to give away my stuff to others too.

Pay per click

Notwithstanding the increasing focus of the social media giants to monetise their platforms and the fact that it is getting harder and harder to talk to your customers without paying for it in ‘pay per click’ type of advertising, it is still possible to carry out those two marketing strategies for free. It is possible but in in fact it is starting to become unrealistic. The time required to run these types of campaigns mean that you should look into hiring an expert to do it for you, especially if you want to base your trust building strategy around giving away stuff for free.

Hence I engaged my despairing marketing guru.

So when you are thinking about your marketing campaigns, especially your online and social media campaigns, ask yourself how you can best build trust real meaningful trust. and make that the corner stone of all of your strategies and plans.

It’s a wonderful experience when it works … there is nothing more fun than having customers knocking on your door saying they want to buy from you… because they trust you.

It feels great… I promise you.

Do you need more tips, advice or training in Social Media Marketing?

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