Category Archives: Marketing

The Number 1 Valentine Business Mistake

Valentine Business 2013 Ross Kingsland

“What can you do to make people love your business a bit more?

This was the beginning of a terrible blog written by a “business consultant” who I will not embarass by naming them. The blog entry proceeded to describe many different ways and tactics for making people fall in love with their business.

I HAD to reply.

If nothing else, incase any poor guided person actually believed what had be written as sound business advice.

“If you are serious, it helps to change your perspective.

Fall in love with your clients first.

When was the last time you met someone special in your life and said to yourself – how am I going to make them love me?

If you use that approach the results will be the same in your personal life as in business – short lived and unfulfilling.

If you want to be loved – give first. Unconditionally. Do not expect anything in return. Do not do it to receive something in return.

That by definition is a transaction and will always be measured. If you do not meet that measurement the “relationship” is over.”

Make someone love you?

You can’t “make” someone do anything! Let alone fall in love with you.

Sadly many marketers and business owners are too quick to fall in love with their product, their business or brand.

Client don’t care about that. Why would they?

Instead be curous, Be interested in them, Love them

……and they will love you back.

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LinkedIn’s Top % Award – What It Really Says About You

seal_in

Love it or hate it, this is a clever little bit of marketing that has divided LinkedIn members.

With LinkedIn now with 200 million profiles – notice that I didn’t say users – LinkedIn decided to reward their most active subscribers with a formal badge of honour.

Look at me! Oh wait hang on a second….

Let’s quickly do some sums here though to understand what it actually means. I have seen several subscribers proudly displaying their “I’ve in the top 10% of LinkedIn” so I thought it was worth breaking down what this actually is.

20% of 200 million = 40 million received these “awards”

10% of 200 million = 20 million received these “awards”

5% of 200 million = 10 million received these “awards”

1% of 200 million = 2 million received these “awards”

To give this a little perspective on this:

20 million people live in New York, California, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio and Dallas……combined.

Or

40 million people is the total population of Argentina

Here Come The “how to be as successful as me on LinkedIn” Services

So why have so many people posted this accomplishment? This has routes in our deeper psychology and self image. We all want to be respected and acknowledged for our contribution and without LinkedIn naming publicly the most viewed profiles they have given their subscribers to do the job for them.

This makes the top percenters feel somewhat exclusive – part of an elite on LinkedIn. It can also have the effect of those who did not receive an award a sense of desire to achieve this badge of honour.

As with all awards it often presents more questions than it answers. For which there is always a market. I expect that there are already some savy social marketers who have started work on their new product “how to be a 5%er on LinkedIn”.

Social proof

And this is why social media will continue to grow. One of our natural mentalities is that of belonging to a pack. In the psychology of influencing social proof is one of the most effective forms of influencing someone – “how many twitter followers do you have?”, “how many LinkedIn connections do you have?” etc. We are hard wired to believe to go with the majority. Social proof isn’t just psychology – it’s biology.

Without getting too scientific our brains evolved over millions of years – developing our use of social proof. It is only in the last few thousand years that the prefrontal cortex developed to provide rational, cognitive thought. And those who say “I’m not swayed by what everyone else does” is engaging this part of their brain.

There are other aspects of influencing psychology that this campaign develops upon very well. But these will have to wait for another time.

Finally consider this:

I was reminded this from a friend high up in the entertainment industry: “Don’t believe your own hype”. Be proud of your accomplishments, your achievements, your contributions and your successes. But be proud of the right ones for the right reasons.

Why Is Your Content Marketing Not Working?

Content is King Bill Gates Ross Kingsland

Content Marketing is consistently poor.

There are many discussions over what good content actually is, however most of it is unfocused, psychologically unsound and poorly executed.

So where is successful content marketing implemented and demonstrated? Rarely is it in large organisations. And they are not to blame for this. It is endemic. Content Marketing in the digital age has only just begun to be exploited. And most senior marketing managers have no experience of it.

But there are those of us out there who not only understand psychology and internet behaviour patterns but use them to our advantage to make content meaningful.

If you take one thing away from my post please let it be this.

All content marketing starts with this mindset: “You can have everything you want, if you help everyone else get everything they want

…….and I dont mean discounts for your “loyal” subscribers.

For a quick start on content marketing – get someone who is an expert on psychology. And I don’t just mean that they have read a book or two. Or partner up with someone who is.

The Content Marketing train is already pulling out of the station – don’t be left behind

How Are You Growing Your Business During A Recession With Limited Budget?

Grow Your Business With Limited Budget

One of the questions that I have received a lot in my inbox since 1st Jan 2013 is this:

“How can I grow my business significantly with little investment?”

I spoke with one of my clients only this morning who was facing this dilemma. He runs a small coaching consultancy, is in the process of writing his first book and wants to launch a seminar to his local community of businesses.

He recognises that his spend on marketing and advertising is limited and wants a good return. I should point out that he is highly intelligent and keen to make a positive impact on the world through sharing his message.

Here are his 2 biggest problems:

  1. His budget for the seminar and it’s marketing is limited
  2. He acknowledges that most companies and individuals are reducing expenditure

Do these problems sound similar to the issues facing your business today?

Let’s tackle these problems in reverse.

Companies and individuals are reducing expenditure

Every time there is a recession two things happen. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. It’s an interesting statistic that there are more millionaires created during recessions than at any other time of an economic cycle.

And this isn’t even the domain of the millionaires. High income families always maintain their lifestyle during recessions.

This may sound implausible, so understand the car market which reflects the buying power of our demographics.

Sales of luxury cars are up (and increasing) sales of middle value hatchbacks are continuing to fall (by the way, the car market is the litmus of the confidence of the economy which is why it is always featured so heavily on the news).

The second consideration for “reducing expenditure” is this. The psychology behind companies and individuals reducing expenditure belies a hidden opportunity.

Those companies and individuals are in pain as a result of their perception of the recession. If you are intelligent you can develop a solution to their pain that will help them, not only survive, but thrive during the recession.

If your business is struggling I urge you to seek out someone who is successful during a recession. Anyone can make money during a boom, intelligent growth specialists succeed no matter what.

My budget is limited

Most people fall into this common mindset and are then limited in their thinking of what a solution may be.

I have been sought out for my innovative approaches to business models that leverage relationships so that everyone benefits.

How can you do this?

Strategic Partnerships

Going back to my client he was hoping to land a celebrity keynote speaker with no payment by saying that a percentage of the profits would be donated to his chosen charity.

As you can imagine being on the television he gets many requests like this and when asked, he politely refused.

So when we started working together I approached it in a slightly different way.

I asked my client to approach the celebrity and the charity at the same time, including the individuals on the same email. We worked on the tone and language of the email so that it eloquently put forward a proposition that was beneficial to the objectives of the charity and the celebrity.

As my dad always used to say “what’s in it for the other fella?”

We formed a partnership between us, the celebrity and the charity that would meet their needs ahead of our own.

Outcome

As you can imagine all three partners gained significant local press coverage and we were able to leverage the brand of the celebrity and the charity through a joint marketing.

This didn’t fill the seminar.

What did fill it was the 12 strategic partnerships that we were able to form with other suppliers using this same model.

I hope you use this model and have at least 10% of the success that my client.

Ross

ross@inceptionbusinesssolutions.com

Not All Marketing Is Created Equal

Tell me if this conversation sounds familiar –

“We tried that but it didn’t work so we haven’t tried that again”

Imagine if you had a baby who saw everyone else walking around upright on two legs and tried to stand then walk….. but fell over. Do you think they have the same thought process?

I regularly hear of businesses large and small who try a marketing tactic and do not get the result they were hoping for and form a quick belief that because it didn’t work for them, it’s not worth investing further in it and look for an alternative.

Marketing has never been more powerful or influential in generating and increasing sales to a business. It is a Formula One car.

The only problem is – not everyone is a Formula One driver.

As I write this I am imagining that you can drive. However, would you be able to win the Monaco Grand Prix if you had a Formula One racing team?

Two factors will determine your success.

How well you can drive a Formula One car and how well you know the track and opponents.

In other words – exactly the same as marketing.

When you hear of companies making incredible business growth a lot of it is developed through the same marketing activities that every business has at their disposal. The difference – they know how to use their marketing Formula One car and they know the track and opponents better than anyone.

Guest Blog: A Framework To Create A Digital Marketing Team

Digital Marketing Team - Ross Kingsland

Guest blogger, Simon Swan, provides a framework that you can follow to create your own Digital Marketing Team. Simon Swan is a digital marketer who has worked with start ups and large government organisations to develop and instagate strategic digital marketing strategies.  Simon has a wealth of experience and hands on knowledge that has seen him become a trusted advisor in his field. I hope you enjoy it.

http://www.swan-e.co.uk/

@Swanny_s

A Framework To Create A Digital Marketing Team

The rise in digital marketing has created a wealth of opportunities and at the same time, removed barriers to entry to a number of sectors where a start-up, sole trader or large corporation is now competing with one another globally.

So what does this all mean?

For marketers and businesses alike, the rise in digital marketing is changing the business landscape, this means embracing new business models, test the status quo, question the Hippos (Highest Paid Persons Opinion) in your organisation, understanding new marketing tactics and changing yours and the  business mind-set (e.g. not being afraid to trial out and fail on new strategies to connect to your customer, or prospect or community) and more importantly harnessing the right frame of mind to embrace this new world of digital.

But changing your mindset and embracing new strategies is easier said than done and therein lies the problem…

Lack of relevant digital qualifications

There is a distinct lack of digital marketing “qualifications” to support the growth within universities, colleges and schools, all not offering academic options that are aligned to digital for students wanting to specialise in digital communications and marketing (e.g. social media, affiliate marketing, search engine optimisation).

Go and visit a number of organisations and they will claim they “do” digital – unfortunately
that means it’s a dept siloed off in a corner of the organisation, with a small select team to get on with the job. So how can more companies embrace digital? Well below is a handy framework that can be used to understand whether you’re recruiting the right type of skills

Introducing a Digital Marketing Framework

This was taken from a book called Inbound Marketing by Halligan & Shah, and is called theDARC framework.

  • D – Hire Digital Citizens – An understanding of the online environment and can display a working knowledge. It is important your team and individuals understand digital tactics and can display examples. This doesn’t mean having a Facebook account and tweeting random comments but they’re are using digital to support their own interests and hobbies e.g. can demonstrate they have their own blog, they have edited, created and posted videos on YouTube.
  • A – Hire for Analytics – Understanding of digital trends and have a curious and analytical approach to what impacts product sales or why there has been an increase in traffic levels to a specific web page. They should also have a good understanding of spread-sheets and be able to interpret trends.
  • R – Hire for Web Reach – They can display examples of how passionate they are on a subject area through promoting online, perhaps their hobby or interest through a blog, social media and can display examples of how they have increased traffic to their website or blog using  SEO or paid search or retail products through affiliate marketing
  • C – Hire Content Creators – The importance of good content on a website can be a key USP over your competition so look to hire someone with good writing skills and more importantly can write for the web to engage with users. The internet has removed the barriers to creating content, anyone can now create content and publish it to the world. The skill is not necessarily writing content but how your content can stand out from the crowd, what USP can you offer that no one else can and more importantly can you create your own niche?

What Is Your 2013 Business Strategy?

2013 Business Goal Setting Ross Kingsland

2012 is nearly over. Some of us met our goals, some exceeded them and some can’t remember what they said 12 months ago. And now 2013 is fast approaching.

It is at this time that we reflect on how successful our business and lives have been over the last year.

Many will blame the economy. Some will blame circumstances in their lives. A handful will blame themselves.

One thing I do know through years of coaching and working with businesses is this. For many business owners, goals are nothing more than hope.

If it happens – “great”, if it doesn’t happen then the “maybe next year” mantra is rolled out.

And it is not because our intentions were anything less than good. We set out with a strong idea of where we want to be and where we are going – but something happens along the way. 12 months is a long time in business.

Some of us struggle, get caught out, rely on a “good” economy to keep our business going. The reality of business is very different. Unless you are adapting, flowing, continiously improving you will not achieve your goals.

Then there are a few who not only survive in a recession – they actually become more successful. I am fortunate enough to say that this is one of the business principles that my business is leveraged by. When a recession is here – we celebrate.

Here’s the truth about recessions: There are more millionaires created during a recession than at any other time of an economic cycle.

Why does this seem counter intuitative to your experiences?

The amount of money that is in the world has not been reduced, it is simply in someone else’s bank. This means that while one business may be struggling that same money is invested elsewhere.

So how do the millionaires succeed where other businesses fail? Strategy

Let me give you an example.

Imagine that you are about to set off on a car trip from Land’s End to John O’Groats. Would you simply get in the car, unprepared and set off driving without a map, checking the fuel or car condition? As an intelligent person I would imagine that you wouldn’t adopt this approach.

Instead what do we do? We plan the route with the use of maps, perhaps speak wtih friends who have done the whole or part of the journey, ensure you have fuel in the tank, check the tyre pressure and water levels, assess how long the trip will take and factor in your timescales.

Then you get in the car and drive. You know where your destination is and you know what roads and changes you need along the way to ensure you reach your destination.

Imagine this, even as you are driving in the dark with your headlights just showing a couple of hundred meters ahead of you – you know that you are still on the right path.

Why does this work? You had a specific outcome that you wanted to achieve and you planned how you were going to achieve it, then you made that decision to start the journey. And if, like me, the journey has not gone quite according to plan – did you stop and give up? You ask directions, get help – maybe even use the Sat Nav.

And then you finally arrive at your destination. You’ve been through some experiences to achieve it. But it was worth it in the end.

How can you use this for your 2013 Business Strategy?

Start today by writing down your answers these questions to develop your strategy

1. What specific goals do you want to achieve by the 31st December 2013?

2. What are your current resources and skills?

3. What resources and skills will you need to achieve your goals?

4. How can you get access to the resources and skills to achieve your goals?*

*remember: what got you here will not get you to your goal

5. How committed are you to achieving your goal on a scale of 1 – 10 (1 being not very, 10 being 100% committed, nothing will stop me!)

Everytime I ask the last question everyone says 100%.

If this is so then why do so many of us not achieve our goals? Lack of action and committment.

Whatever your goal make it a MUST not a WOULD BE NICE.

Many people talk about what they are going to do, few actually take action and do something. Be one of the 0.01% that seize the opportunity and make a decision to create the business that they want, on their terms.

So, when would now be a good time to make your decision?

 

In friendship

Ross

ross@inceptionbusinesssolutions.com

 

3 Step Formula For Selling Anything Online

So, let’s imagine that you have developed a trusted relationship with your clients. You have led them through a process of demonstrating trust in your services or products but they don’t know what to do next.

All modern marketers live by the philosophy that you can always improve the effectiveness of your marketing through split testing.

And this is because the market changes so rapidly that we have to keep testing to find what works.

The biggest problem in online selling

Business owners and marketers have struggled with how to “pitch” online with variable results.

Worse case scenario: they have no strategy how to write an offer.

This is dangerous. You usually only have one chance and you can never go back and take the client through the process again. You are losing money at the final hurdle, the last step and it could be easily avoided.

This formula works consistently and across every industry because it is based on psychology. Don’t let the simplicity fool you. It works.

  • Here’s what I got – state what your product or service will do for them
  • Here’s what it will do for you – benefits on a superficial, psychological level and at a deep meta message level
  • Here’s what you need to do next – specific instructions coupled with psychological influencing strategies.

I have mentioned psychology several times during this because the formula without psychology will work. Add psychological influencing principles and your conversion rate increases considerably.

But do not read this idly. Test it against your current page. Only through split testing your web pages can you develop the most converting page for your website.

Halloween Special: How Groupon Kills Most Small Businesses

 

Groupon can make or break a small business.

As well as every testimonial on Groupon there are thousands of horror stories of small businesses losing significant amounts of money and in some instances, bankruptcy.

So, what is it that separates businesses who are successful and those who are less so?

Client Lifetime Value

In many Groupon horror stories a company will approach Groupon who will develop an advert for their email list and mail it to them. The business will then sit back and wait for the new “customers”. The business will fulfill their obligation to the Groupon voucher and the “customer” will consume the offer and leave.

And while this may work for a handful of businesses, very few actually capitalise fully with the Groupon offer.

A business philosophy of mine is this:

Customers are valuable, Clients are invaluable

The difference between a Groupon customer and a Groupon client is their lifetime value to your business.

A Groupon customer will be a one-off purchase and consumption of your service or product.

A Groupon client will be introduced to your business and will be led through a process where they can achieve the outcome they want.

To illustrate this with an example:

A hairdressing studio offers a cut and blow dry at a discounted rate through Groupon at £47.

A Groupon customer will come in for the cut and blow dry, use the voucher and leave having spent £47.  They are not contacted or marketed to again by the hairdressing studio.

A Groupon client will come in for the cut and blow dry. Their experience is increased through time spent discussing the cut, colouring, styling, products etc. The client is given an outstanding experience and their contact details are taken for further consultations. The client pays £47 and an additional £19 for hair products. THEN the Groupon client relationship is developed. They receive a follow-up email from the stylist with some suggestions on how to keep the style looking professional for longer. Over the course of several weeks they receive useful information on their hair, styling and colouring to maintain the professional look for longer. Then once trust has been developed a follow-up appointment is recommended to the client and agreed upon.

It is then possible to understand what the full lifetime value of your Groupon Client is rather than just thinking of them as customers who purchase once.

 

Profit Builders: Do You Have Customers Or Clients?

It’s interesting how we position our selves, products and services often without realising the impact of what is happening and the subsequent effect to our business.

To use one example:

Around your office or business, do you use the word customer or client?

Although this sounds like a very small difference the effect on your relationship with them is dictated by this.

To understand this we can use the Webster Dictionary

Definition of “Customer“: one that purchases a commodity

Definition of “Client“: one that is under the protection of another, a person who engages the professional advice or services of another

Consider what the impact of this really is.

If you have customers, the position that you are adopting is that they are purchasing commodities. Commodities are abundant, replicable and replaceable. If your business perspective is based on this, how do those customers then view you offerings?

It becomes very difficult to differentiate yourself, charge a premium, develop loyalty to you if that is also their perception of you – a commodity provider.

Conversely, by using the word client in its place your whole perspective changes. You are now a trusted advisor to them. You have their best interest at heart – above your own.

And what happens to you in the eyes of the client? You become trusted, they show you loyalty, you are irreplaceable, you are needed.  Your purpose is to give your clients the best short term and long term results and benefits.

That may not sound like much of a strategy for increasing profit but look at it from the other side.

You will never let they buy less than they should, or at least you won’t be shy about offering and recommending, if appropriate, that they buy more because you have their best interests at heart.

Imagine that you were a doctor. You have a duty of care to your clients (patients). If someone who was sick came to see you and at the end of the consultation they ask which medicine of the two you recommend. It is your duty to recommend the medicine that you believe will give the most benefits and fewest side effects. Or would you let them take the “cheaper” that may have more side effects with fewer benefits?

Customers will see you as a commodity provider.

Clients will see you as trusted advisors.