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The 12 Days of Marketing

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A Christmas presentation to members of the DEN Birmingham, highlighting 12 booster ideas for marketing over the traditional 12 days of rest, relaxation and entrepreneurial focus!

A Christmas presentation to members of the DEN Birmingham, highlighting 12 booster ideas for marketing over the traditional 12 days of rest, relaxation and entrepreneurial focus!

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  • 1. The 12 Days of Marketing A presentation to the D.E.N. December 2010
  • 2. Day 1: Test Lead Generation Activities
    • Trying to reach new customers can be a risky and expensive process. But by generating leads and starting the relationship rather than attempting to make the sale, you can understand more about your customers' buying process.
    •  
    • Some of the most well-known lead generation activities include website banner advertising and Pay per Click campaigns. Both work with the intention of bringing visitors to your site (where you can capture their contact details with the compelling copy you’ll develop on Day 10). There is no reason to think that big companies with deep pockets are better at internet advertising. In fact the reverse is often true, because they often don't understand why their customers buy.
    •  
    • And Pay per Click has the advantage that you only pay when prospects click on your link, so you don't waste a single penny of marketing spend.
    •  
    • You can also identify other non-competing companies who already have relationships with the customers you want, and bypass a lot of the wastage in attracting new customers. And by working with companies who want to reach the same prospects as you, you can share the costs.
    •  
    • Reciprocal advertising and promotion (where you display each others literature and information), profit sharing or formal joint ventures are just some of the relationships you could establish with these other companies, depending on the value and the situation. For example, if your customers are other businesses, who else is trying to reach them? Stationers, lawyers, recruitment agencies, printers? And if your customers are individuals, where else do they spend money? Hairdressers, travel agents, car dealerships, restaurants?
    •  
    • So today you have a choice of tactics to introduce. If you don't currently have a Pay per Click campaign, visit Google Adwords and learn how this can bring you a constant stream of prospects with minimum wastage. Or, if you've already mastered the art of Pay per Click, think as laterally as possible about who already has a relationship with the customers you want, and how you can benefit each other?
  • 3. Day 2: Focus On the Benefits
    • Almost without exception, customers don't care how long you've been trading, how many staff you employ or how keen you are to make money and retire to the sun. They only care what you can do for them.
    •  
    • Benefits build rapport by demonstrating that you understand their point of view. Benefits encourage prospects to take the next step and contact you, and they reassure customers that they are making the right decision when they buy from you.
    •  
    • What are the top three benefits you provide right now? If you don't know what they are, ask your customers. You can never know too much about why people buy from you. And if you don't know what the benefits are, how will they?
    •  
    • Remember that price really isn't important until you've demonstrated value. So if your customers benefit more by buying from you than from your competitors, and you can clearly communicate that, price stops being an obstacle.
    •  
    • When you know the benefits of your products or services, relentlessly focus on them. And if you find yourself coming up a list of features rather than benefits, a quick way to get into the right mindset is to write "which is good because...." after each feature, and then describing clearly how your customer benefits.
    •  
    • Today's tactic to introduce is as simple as a conversation. Whenever you speak to customers this month, ask them why the buy from you.
  • 4. Day 3: Have a Proper Referral Strategy
    • Customers buy for their own reasons, not yours. And when you meet their expectations and they see the benefit in your product or service, they may well refer you.
    •  
    • A happy customer could refer you to seven people. And some of your customers probably already refer you to their friends and family. But what about all those happy customers who've just never thought to? Just three happy customers who are encouraged to refer could potentially mean more than twenty prospective customers!
    •  
    • Research shows that the top three things that would be required for a customer to refer you to a friend or relative are:
    • Always doing what you say you will
    • Being on time
    • Always saying please and thank you
    •  
    • These sound so straightforward. But today's tactic to introduce is to spend one week really checking to see whether you ALWAYS do these things. The results might surprise you.
    •  
    • If you ask customers to refer you, make sure you have some form of system in place to track and record referrals, so you can incentivise or just say thanks. And explain why you're asking for referrals - if they respect your business, they'll understand why you want to grow and promote it.
  • 5. Day 4: Search Engine Optimisation
    • Although the complicated algorithms and technology of Google and other search engines are not to be underestimated, and are best left to the professionals, there are a number of simple ways that you can promote your website.
    •  
    • One of the first things to do is download the Google toolbar. This device sits in your internet explorer window and ranks pages according to Google's importance. You should aim to get a Google ranking of three or over (and you can also check your competitor's websites). Search for "Google toolbar" on Google, and you can install it very quickly
    •  
    • This ranking is based in part of the number of other sites that link to you, and your aim is to establish as many incoming-only links as possible. Reciprocal links (you link to them, they link to you) are usually disregarded. Have a look at www.alltheweb.com and see who links to you.
    •  
    • Today's tactic to introduce is to find the current ranking score of your website, and try to generate three incoming-only links by listing your business in online directories, posting classified ads, submitting PR articles to online news-sites, and asking if your suppliers, colleagues and associates will add links from their sites.
  • 6. Day 5: Capture Email Addresses
    • Less than 1% of web visitors will take any action at all from viewing your website. And after they've gone, you may never hear from them again. 90% of your sales will actually be in the follow-up rather than the initial action.
    •  
    • To transform a casual surfer into a real prospect, you must provide something of value on your website. Even if your site is 100% commerce, you still need to provide reviews, competitions, information, top tips, offers, entertainment etc. If you want visitors to hand over their contact details, you must give them a reason. Even if you are offering something free, or something that could be really valuable, you still need to sell the benefits.
    •  
    • Newsletters are not often strong enough as an opt-in on your website, unless they are renowned for the quality of information they contain, but they are a useful reason for ongoing communication.
    •  
    • Your website should act as a complete source of information for customers and prospects, where they can find answers to their questions, learn new information and decide whether or not they want to take the first step to doing business with you. And today's tactic to introduce is a review of your website and your email capture process. Is it compelling enough for visitors to hand over their details?
  • 7. Day 6: Create the Irresistible Offer
    • You have to give McDonalds credit for the "supersize me" offer. It may only generate another 40p or 50p per sale, but because it's such an irresistible offer, more than 30% of customers will say yes. And that 40p or 50p is almost all profit, as the company's fixed costs have already been absorbed in the price of the smaller item.
    •  
    • The scale of the offer must be relative to the purchase, but once you have acquired the customer you can start to create lifetime value.
    •  
    • By creating something that people would be crazy to say no to, you have an instant upsell. It could take the form of "get more of something you're already buying", "buy a product for a period of time, get a related product for free", or "pay for a high-price service, get a one-off bonus". Or it could tie in product lines that you want to sell quickly. Or even invitations to exclusive events, raffle tickets, valuable information, or whatever is most appropriate.
    •  
    • By creating the irresistible offer, you break down another layer of buyer resistance. So today's tactic to introduce is the irresistible offer. What could you provide that will make small amounts of additional profit, and customers can't say no to.
  • 8. Day 7: Aim High With PR
    • It's easier than you think to get very extensive PR coverage. Which is effectively free advertising, if you do it right! You could realistically generate £50,000 worth of free advertising every year with PR.
    •  
    • PR is often considered completely unbiased, although this isn't really true. Unless journalists are running a story that they've researched themselves, which has a risk of libel, whatever you submit to the media will go through the very lowest possible confirmation process. More often than not, they will just run an edited version of your release.
    •  
    • However, journalists have seen it all before, so they won't fall for anything! Having something unusual and wacky is always great. But consistent coverage is the key to building rapport with your customers.
    •  
    • You could use this channel to educate your customers about new and different products, the benefits of certain services, or "fashions" in the product ranges you sell. Customers often don't know what questions to ask, and feel quite intimidated and vulnerable admitting that, so PR is your chance to educate the widest group of potential customers.
    •  
    • You should also be positioning yourself as an expert. By providing information and answering your customers' questions, you develop a level of trust that price can't touch. If you can position yourself in the mind of your customers as the most professional and caring provider, competitors wouldn't even be able to steal these customers with freebies!
    •  
    • By explaining the value and focusing on the benefits you've achieved for other customers, people feel reassured and comfortable approaching you. People buy from people they like, and if they can relate to you and your testimonials, they'll "like" you.
    •  
    • Today's tactic to introduce is a draft press release focused on "Five Top Tips..." on your specialist area. How can you educate your customers to use your products and services to best effect? Could they maintain their hair colour/ computer capacity/ personal finances/ flower bouquets etc better by following your advice? Would they enjoy their holiday/ office equipment/ personalised stationery more if they'd followed your guide before they started?
  • 9. Day 8: Give Away Free Stuff
    • By developing relationships and overcoming barriers, you move your prospects closer and closer to a sale.
    •  
    • Prospects that test your product or service risk-free will hopefully recognise its value and continue purchasing what you offer. Or even better, your prospect will get "hooked" on your product or service and won't be able to live without it.
    •  
    • And the fact that it was given away free will compel them to return the favour by continuing to purchase from you. This principle is called the "Law of Reciprocity". Simply stated, people naturally feel an obligation to return favours as a way of expressing their thanks.
    •  
    • So today's tactic to introduce may need some lateral thinking. What could you provide as a way for prospects and lapsed customers to spend again or spend more? How can you get them hooked on your product or service?
    •  
    • By understanding lifetime value, you know how much customers are really worth to your business, so you might choose to give them their first purchase free. Or what about a consultation, a trial period, or a free sample?
  • 10. Day 9: Offer Explicit Guarantees
    • When the free sample has your prospective customer on the brink of buying, what can remove the last barriers to sale? Explicit guarantees, where the customer loses nothing by purchasing from you.
    •  
    • According to the American business guru Jay Abraham, there are three kinds of people commonly found in business:
    • People who offer an incredible product or service and know it, but don't tell it
    • People who offer a good product or service, but don't know it and don't tell it
    • People who don't offer a good product or service
    •  
    • Not much can help the last group get beyond a first sale, but for everyone else, it is vital that your customers view you more distinctively or advantageously than your competition. And to do this, you can make it your responsibility to allow customers to preview and experience your offering, entirely at your risk.
    •  
    • Sometimes all the positive messages, the benefits and the discounts just aren't enough to convince a buyer to take advantage of an offer. By reducing the risk of the purchase, buyer resistance is also lowered. When you acknowledge the risk that the buyer faces, you can choose to reduce or eliminate the risk. Or you can opt for risk reversal, where the customer benefits more by purchasing, even if they decide to request a refund.
    •  
    • Every business really guarantees the transaction, through standard practise or legal obligation. But they brush it under the carpet rather than highlight the benefits of this for the customer. By making the guarantee a powerful condition of sale, you can state specifically how the customer will come out protected, advantaged and ahead of the game. Imagine from your customers' perspective the choice of suppliers available to them. Four other businesses might not mention their guarantees, or might state it is a basic legal requirement. But you not only mention it, you insist that it be a condition of doing business! Which company would you choose?
    •  
    • It might seem too daunting to offer guarantees for every element of your treatments, but everything that performs at the level you promise can be guaranteed in some way. Today's tactic to introduce is to find as many ways as possible to guarantee your products, your services, your customer experience, your delivery.... whatever elements are relevant to your business.
  • 11. Day 10: Change Your Marketing Copy
    • Sales are made on emotion and rationalised afterwards. Does your marketing copy encourage your customer to engage on an emotional level?
    •  
    • By understanding the psychology of buying and selling, you can appreciate the key elements that your marketing copy should include, and design your written words to be salesmanship in print.
    •  
    • Compelling, emotional, marketing copy tells a complete story, with factual, specific reasons why your offering is superior at meeting the needs of your audience. It is your permanent, 24-hour a day, sales force in print. It overcomes sales objections, it answers all major questions, it promises performance or results, and it backs those promises with warranties or guarantees.
    •  
    • It should include a headline to attract attention and offer a single, impressive benefit. It should detail the offer in terms of value and benefit to the prospective customer. It might include testimonials, and it will certainly provide a very clear call to action at least four times, but possibly as many as ten times.
    •  
    • As you would imagine, providing all that information takes a lot of words. And it should. Long copy wins over short every time. You need to say enough to convince the reader to take action. And pretty pictures just won't do it.
    •  
    • How does your marketing copy measure up? Today's tactic to introduce is a good, objective review of your literature. Is it a 24-hour sales force for your business?
  • 12. Day 11: Give Them the Live Experience
    • It's been said many times before, but its cliché status doesn't make it any less true - people buy from people.
    •  
    • Even if your business provides completely automated sales, your customers will develop an "image" of you in their mind as nice, efficient, trustworthy people, which is why they continue to buy from you.
    •  
    • So giving them the live experience involves creating the personal side of your business. I'm not suggesting for a minute that you become a professional networker, or that you have the time for that, but a face-to-face interaction creates a very strong mental association for prospects and customers alike.
    • And by getting out there you build relationships, understand the benefits of your offering and the customer needs that you meet, and start to address any potential obstacles that customers have to buying from you.
    •  
    • Do you have a polished "elevator" pitch, where you must explain the benefits of your offering to a fellow elevator passenger in less than 1 minute? What about a "stadium" pitch? This new variation asks what you would say about your business to keep the attention of a stadium full of prospects, any of whom could get up and leave whenever they felt like it.
    •  
    • Today's tactic to introduce is a review of the live experiences you are providing. If formal networking events aren't your thing, or wouldn't be appropriate to your business, what about hosting an event, like a seminar, a charity fundraiser, or a demonstration? And now that you know how customers can experience your offering for free, could you offer samples at exhibitions or events?
  • 13. Day 12: Understand Lifetime Value
    • To grow a business you must a) get new customers, b) increase the average value of each sale, and c) increase the frequency that customers buy from you. Lifetime value measurement quickly moves customers from high-risk a) to lower risk b) and c).
    •  
    • Deciding on a market budget to attract new customers and encourage existing customers to spend more can be a difficult, but there is a revolutionary way of thinking that sets once and for all what you need to invest in your marketing.
    •  
    • By establishing the customer lifetime value, you understand what a customer is worth and you can decide how much you are prepared to "buy" customers for.
    •  
    • The formula for establishing lifetime value takes the average initial sale value, the average lifetime, and the average annual spend. For example, if a customer spends £6 on an initial purchase, remains a customer for two years, and spends £370 per year with your business, you could choose to "buy" the customer for £6, i.e., give the first purchase session free.
    •  
    • If a customer spends £100 on their first purchase, remains a customer for five years, and spends £410 per year with you, you may decide their value is higher as there is more opportunity for upselling over the five years, so you could choose to "buy" that customer for £120, i.e., the first purchase free plus additional bonuses and special offers.
    •  
    • Depending on your business, there may be two or three categories of customer that you need to analyse, as their patterns may be quite different.
    •  
    • By "buying" customers in this way, you minimise the risk of your campaigns as your investment is focused on offers and opportunities after their initial purchase. If you really want success for yourself and your business, choose to act on today's tactic to introduce and set your targets and the price you are prepared to pay to achieve them. Then visualise your plan, and you will achieve it.
  • 14. YOUR BONUS DAY: Pricing
    • Most businesses don't charge what they're worth.
    •  
    • This is often through fear of the effect of the competition. "If I put my prices up, my customers will just go somewhere cheaper.“ But it's worth remembering that people often don't buy on price. If we did, we'd all be driving the cheapest car and buying the cheapest food. And yet BMW, Waitrose and Selfridges all still make money.
    •  
    • The difference is in selling the value. If you don't give your customers any other information, all they can possibly do is compare prices. But once you make the invisible visible, they start to understand how your products and services meet their needs better than anyone else's offering.
    •  
    • But this is not just about customers; this is good business sense too. Pricing decisions have a huge impact on the bottom line.
    •  
    • If "the numbers" aren't your thing, I urge you not to skip over this - the impact of a 10% discount on a 30% gross profit margin means that you would have to sell 50% more to achieve the same overall total. At a 30% gross profit margin, you could afford to lose 25% of your customers if you introduced a 10% price increase, with no loss of revenue.
    •  
    • Most businesses can usually sustain a 10% price increase if the value of their offering is clearly stated. And by adding in guarantees and irresistible offers, price becomes even less of an issue. Ultimately, only your customers will decide what price they are prepared to pay.
    •  
    • Being great at marketing means being able to set yourself apart from the rest, create long-term relationships with your customers, and ultimately set your price.
    •  
    • A great way to trial this on a smaller scale is to introduce a high-end range or move towards exclusive markets through your positioning and advertising. So the final tactic to introduce today is a decision on pricing. If you could communicate value more effectively, where could you start to charge more?
  • 15. Want more?
    • To see more tips, ideas and techniques for your sales and marketing, visit www.tangerinetrees.co.uk
    • You can also follow us on Twitter – twitter.com/ttbookclub
    • Join a TT BookClub in your area, and network with other businesses while you discuss ideas and experiences – visit www.tangerintrees.co.uk/booklub -locations for your nearest group
    • Happy holidays from Tangerine Trees

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