Have you got green fingers?

Posted by Steve Robinson on April 19, 2017

Here in the UK, it’s a great time to get gardening. But I must confess, I’m not very good at it – but there are few things more enjoyable than seeing a plant you’ve put in the ground grow and flourish.

It’s difficult not to draw significant parallels between gardening and running a business.

Think of building your business like planting a tree.

At first, it’s so small and weak you wonder if it will even make it through the night. But, you keep watering, fertilising and nurturing it.

Your values and ideas will grow the trunk and each of the different strategies and tactics you employ will extend out as the branches of your increasingly strong tree.

Finding the perfect partners, support staff, employees, vendors/suppliers, joint ventures and other relationships will make your tree flourish with leaves and flowers.

It’s no surprise then that you often here about people in business talking about the ‘seeding of an idea’ or that ‘Seed capital’ is the initial capital used when starting a business.

If yours isn’t flourishing, then perhaps you need to rethink whether you have got the right ideas, strategies, tactics, tools and partners?

At the Imora Marketing Academy, we can’t help you with your gardening, but we can help your business to grow. Try our FREE test drive to give yours the best chance of flourishing!!

An adventurous spirit and an irrepressible ingenuity

Posted by Steve Robinson on April 7, 2017

After presenting at a recent seminar, in the Q&A session, one person asked a great question; “How can I make sure that I can run a successful and reusable marketing campaign?”

These are the 5 elements that I shared that I consider essential for any campaign to stand a chance of success.

In my opinion, the 5 essential elements are:

  1. Define your Market Dominating Position (MDP)
  2. Create an effective sales offer
  3. Avoid the marketing pitfalls
  4. Use a world-class marketing perspective
  5. Get results!

Simple! We’ll go through each one of these, so you can see exactly how to use them and how they all affect the overall outcome of your marketing campaign. Once you have these basics down, you can use them over and over again.

1. Define your Market Dominating Proposition (MDP)

Most marketing I see is about what you do, what you sell, how you operate!

Take the time to ask yourself some questions from the perspective of the customers/clients. What would it take to get your attention? What needs do you have that need to be met? What are the promises you want fulfilled?

Once you know the answers to these questions you can start putting together a plan to meet these needs. Then take a look at what, if any, MDP your competitors are using to help you develop your own MDP. Your MDP is what you are “promising” your customers/clients. This is what’s going to set you apart from your competition – you will most certainly need to specialise and you may also need to innovate!

2. Put an effective sales offer to work

To develop an effective sales plan, you need to follow a number of steps:

  • Put together a headline that interrupts your prospect and gets immediate attention.
  • Share benefits of your products/services but from the customers’ perspective.
  • Identify the specific needs met by your products/services.
  • Make it easy to do business with you by offering no-risk guarantees.
  • Share your specific sales proposition.
  • Walk your customers/clients through how they should respond and act.
  • Motivate with a clear, striking and no-risk call to action.

What this all means is, you need to put together what makes your products/services special and compel customers to buy them. But, remember, if they don’t feel like they NEED your product, they won’t buy. You also need to plan for the fact that they may need to buy but not yet. You may, therefore, need to answer a question, solve a problem or even feed an obsession.

You need to provide them with all the information they need to make an informed and confident decision. Buyer’s remorse is one of the worst things that can happen.

3. Avoid the marketing pitfalls

There are a number of major marketing pitfalls that many businesses fall into and you should avoid:

  • Ignore market testing and push on with a poorly researched and inaccurate plan.
  • Offer an incomplete case, or reasons, throughout the marketing plan.
  • Failure to understand the true needs of prospective customers/clients.
  • Failing to diversify the marketing options.

This list is not exhaustive, but these are all areas to avoid. If you’ve been working through these blog articles, avoiding these pitfalls should be easy and natural.

4. Use a world-class marketing perspective

Having a world-class marketing perspective is important, especially if you want to attract customers/clients from all over the world. You can do this a number of different techniques and activities:

  1. Benchmark against the best-in-class marketing companies. As an example, I have always viewed Guinness as one of the best examples of powerful and compelling marketing that has kept a 258 year old brand fresh and exciting!
  2. Linked to this, watch for high quality marketing everywhere you can find and keep a file for future ideas to consider.Always keep an Ideas Journal and scribble down any innovative ideas that occur to you or that you see that you might be able to replicate.
  3. Encourage your marketing department, marketing partner or yourself, to measure everything and then to try new things and dump the things that aren’t working.
  4. Continuously test market your marketing activity. This is the only way to stay successful and know what’s working and, more importantly, what’s not.
  5. Try finding your own marketing as if you were a prospect and then order from your own company under a different name and analyse the process of ordering, shipping, online store, customer service and the product itself. This may show you areas for improvement in the customer experience.
  6. When out in public, watch how consumers or business customers behave in different situations and how they consider their purchases. Look for how this might apply to your own business.
  7. Take the opportunity to step down a notch or two and work on the front lines with your sales and customer service staff.
  8. Continuously acknowledge hard work from your staff and vendors – not just the successful results. Everyone works better when they feel appreciated.
  9. Seek out and always listen to feedback from employees and customers. Remember, all feedback is a gift!
  10. Offer more relevant and engaging information in your marketing than anyone else. The more information you offer, the more products/services you’ll sell.
  11. A great marketing plan can only get better. Continue to fine tune and refine your marketing plan based on testing results and feedback.
  12. Be classy in your marketing. Make sure your marketing and advertising fits your company image, products/service and quality.
  13. Focus on what you say and how you say it, don’t worry so much about where you say it. The best marketing ideas, if implemented effectively, turn into the best marketing naturally.
  14. Develop all your ads, campaigns and sales materials as if you were wanting to include everything you’ve done into a portfolio of your work. Never produce a piece of marketing that you are not proud of!

By using these techniques you can put your name out there to the world and become one of the top brands in your chosen industry.

5. Get results!

The last area to talk about is the best-satisfied customers. If your customers aren’t satisfied, you’ve wasted all your marketing resources and all chance of positive word-of-mouth advertising. You can satisfy your customers by:

  • Providing quality products/services
  • Providing high quality customer service
  • Providing a low-pressure, highly informative sales experience
  • Taking all the risk away with a great guarantee

As an additional benefit, here’s a couple of simple techniques that work every time to generate more business and create more customer engagement:

  • Build your database with a contest.
  • Do regular mailings with sales, discounts, or other incentives.
  • Find other creative ways to keep your current customers coming back for more.

Guinness will tell you that “It takes adventurous spirit and irrepressible ingenuity to do things the Guinness® way” – perhaps if you approach your marketing with an adventurous spirit and an irrepressible ingenuity, then your brand will be standing proud in 258 years time!

Cheers

Steve

The Imora Marketing Academy

It is so simple! So, why aren’t you starting today? We can help you put together a great marketing plan that will get you results. Try our FREE test drive and find the tools and resources you need built by some of the biggest names in the marketing world.

Make It Personal

Posted by Steve Robinson on March 27, 2017

I’ve seen 2 social media posts recently where people have been reaching out for support (both with a very generic ‘Looking for a business consultant’ message which, in both cases, has turned out to be not quite what they were looking for).

Anyway, in both cases, they had a string of responses/offers on the social media platform, in one case over 100 separate offers. These were things like “I can recommend Joe Smith”, or “I can help you” or the one I really loved “Hey PM me”.

In both cases, I hunted on the internet, found a phone number and rang the individual. Now, I don’t know whether they will become clients or not – depends on whether there is a fit – but in both cases, I was told that I was the ONLY person to have made a telephone contact!!

Why are we all hiding behind social media?

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great tool for connecting, but you have to know when to drop off the social media and make it personal.

Think about it from your own perspective, when have you ever bought ANYTHING just from a social media connection?

So, come on gang, if you see an opportunity and it feels like there’s a good fit – stop broadcasting, pick up the phone and make it personal!!

If my experience is anything to go by, you will absolutely be in the minority!!

Cool Hand and Passionate Heart

Posted by Steve Robinson on February 27, 2017

Audrey Hepburn once famously said;

“Everything I learned I learned from the movies.”

I think she might just have been right!

If you have never seen the movie Cool Hand Luke played by Paul Newman, you are missing a treat. It’s a gritty, story of a man who refuses to accept the rules and will not conform to the ‘norms’ in a rural prison set in 1950’s US.

You might argue about the rights and wrongs of Cool Hand Luke’s behaviour. But you can’t help becoming entranced by the determination to escape, the boxing scene and the infamous boiled egg eating challenge – 50 boiled eggs in one hour!

In reality, this is actually a story of an passionate determination to succeed against all the odds, despite all the perceived wisdom telling our hero to conform – saying don’t escape, don’t rock the boat and stay down!

When we are running our own small businesses, harnessing that passion, determination and being prepared to break the mould are critical components of success – every small business owner knows that. But it’s not always easy to find differentiation, especially when you struggle to find time to think about anything other than the constant day-to-day pressures!

Success doesn’t have to be about luck – success is about hard work, challenging yourself and having a good system!

And sometimes a good system means challenging the norm and not following the crowd … and eating boiled eggs, of course!

Steve

The Imora Marketing Academy

Two great small business questions!

Posted by Steve Robinson on February 23, 2017

At a networking event yesterday, there were two really good questions raised about different business strategies.

One was asking about the development of a 12 month email strategy and the second was about how to make the most of social media. This second question seemed to really resonate with people as many people seem to find themselves doing social media because they feel they should,  but struggling to see any real benefit beyond accumulating followers, likes and so on … and this question may resonate with you as well.

The second question was “I have over 1,000 connections on LinkedIn, but I get no business from them. What am I doing wrong?”. There then ensued an excellent round table discussion which asked lots of questions and then generated lots of ideas and suggestions for the person asking the question.*

What was particularly interesting about the discussion of both questions was that there was a very definite need for clarity of message in both businesses.  During the round table questioning, it became apparent that both owners have strong businesses with a good client base, a clearly defined niche market and these were smart people. Both had impressive and well established portfolios of products and services. Both were clear on what they offered, had great business names and knew where they wanted to go – and yet, in neither case, did the marketing make clear what was special about these terrific businesses.

The problem here is a difference between Inside Reality and Outside Perception. You may well be a leader in your specialist niche, but if your target prospects do not see that in the way you market your business, how will they know?

There are very few, if any, markets where there is no competition. So, it is imperative that, as a business owner, you define your Market Dominating Position – by answering this question:

“What exactly makes your business different from your competitors

as perceived by your target prospects and customers?”

And here’s the secret: the second half of that sentence makes a whole world of difference!

I know this sounds brutal but in most circumstances people don’t care about your qualifications, how long you’ve been in business, that you might be family owned, that you offer the best quality, you really work to understand their business etc etc … you probably get the picture!

What people care about is;

“Does this company understand my problem(s)

and do they have a solution(s) that might help?”

If you can answer this question with your Market Dominating Position, then social media, email campaigns and all the other elements of how you market your business instantly become much easier and much more successful!!

If you want to know a little more, click HERE to watch a 3 minute animation … I promise you will find it illuminating!

*This was a very different and  very impressive format of networking event – if you’d like to know more about it, let me know and I will be happy to put you in touch with the organiser.