The 4 stages of a complete marketing strategy - David Lee-Schneider Consulting

Marketing is a bit of a mystery for many small business owners. After all, most of us didn’t go into business to market and sell, but to do whatever we are great at and love doing. 

But when we break it down, marketing really isn’t such an overly complicated thing. There are very specific steps you can follow to implement a successful marketing strategy in your business and set yourself up for success. More specifically, there are four pieces to the marketing puzzle.

Customer Journey: Attract, Convert, Close, Delight

The big marketing mistake

Most business owners make the mistake to try and “close” people before they are ready to buy. You can see this reflected in most advertising. Whether that’s on TV, on the radio, in magazines or online ads, the message is pretty much always “buy our product now!”.

But before someone is ready to do business with you, we should consider a couple of other steps and implement a system that helps us to turn strangers into visitors, visitors into leads and leads into customers.

The 4 stages of a complete inbound marketing strategy (free download)

Inbound marketing strategy for small business - Small business marketing by David Lee-Schneider
Download 1-Page Marketing Cycle (PDF)

Let me explain each stage in a little more detail.

1. Attract

First of all, every business needs the ability to continuously attract new potential customers. No customer, no business. It’s pretty self-explanatory. We need to have visitors before we can have customers — whether that’s online or in-store.

Ways to increase traffic and get more visitors

  • Have a great website
  • Share valuable and relevant information on your blog
  • Search Engine Optimisation to attract organic traffic
  • Engaging Social Media Content (with the goal to drive people back to your website/blog)
  • Paid advertising (i.e. Facebook ads, Google ads, print ads, TV ads, Radio ads etc.
  • Joint Ventures (partnering with complimentary businesses to help each other grow)

2. Convert

Secondly, we need to be able to somehow “capture” these potential customers, so that we can reach out to them again to build a relationship with them. This is where we talk about leads. People who have given us permission to contact them, but haven’t bought from us yet.

Ways to convert visitors into leads

  • Offer a free download (i.e. e-book, checklist, cheat sheet, discount voucher, video etc.)
  • Use optimised landing pages to increase your conversion rate 
  • Split-test your free offer to identify the most effective one
  • Re-targeting ads to past visitors

3. Close

Thirdly, and probably most importantly, we need to be able turn these leads into actual customers. Because all the visitors and leads in the world won’t help if we can’t get them to buy our product or service. 

Ways to turn leads into customers

  • Use automated email sequences to nurture your leads and help them with their buying decision
  • Keep educating your leads to increase their understanding and awareness
  • Send out irresistible offers that will get people to take action
  • Use multiple channels to initiate a conversation with prospects
  • Re-targeting ads designed to move your leads closer to the purchase

Now, this is where most businesses stop. But there’s one more crucial step that makes your marketing strategy so much more effective.

4. Delight

Would your customers buy from you again? This is an important question that you should be able to confidently answer with a big fat “yes”. You want to wow your customers and aim to over-deliver, so that the great customer experience you deliver will be reflected in customer reviews, repeat business and word-of-mouth. 

Ways to turn customers into advocates

  • Deliver a great and consistent customer experience 
  • Aim to over-deliver and surprise your customers
  • Collect feedback to constantly improve your product or service
  • Invite those who gave great feedback to leave reviews on Google, Facebook or TripAdvisor
  • Showcase customer testimonials on your website and social media channels

This fourth step will close the cycle and, in turn, generate even more organic traffic, leads and customers, ultimately helping you to perpetually grow your business.

With these four elements in place, you will be able to take your business to new heights and maximise your return on every marketing activity in your business.

To your success,

Smart Ways To Grow Your Business

In essence, there are only three ways to grow your business. Increase the number of customers, increase the purchase frequency, and increase your average transaction value. However, there are a number of not so obvious ways to increase sales and make your business more profitable. Here are four of them. Are you ready? Let’s go.

1. Automate as much as possible

Today, there are hundreds of tools out there to help you automate repetitive business processes. Simply automating a few things can help you significantly reduce wages and free up valuable time. Start with things that don’t directly contribute to your profit. Here are a few things you can automate quickly and easily.

  • Social Media Posts
  • Invoicing
  • Email Marketing
  • Online Advertising
  • Lead Generation
  • Sales Processes & Follow Up
  • Internal Task Management
  • Review Management

Tools like Zapier and Integromat can help you connect various services and software to make processes even more efficient. 

Some examples:

  • When you have a new lead -> automatically add contact to a list -> then send follow-up sequence
  • After a customer makes a purchase for the second time -> send invitation to review on Facebook
  • When a purchase is made on your website -> automatically create invoice in Xero

2. Launch a re-targeting ad campaign

Many business owners already use ads to attract new customers and generate new business. However, if you only run direct ads, you are missing out on a huge chunk of potential customers by ignoring this simple strategy. Re-targeting ads are a powerful tool that allow you to show specific ads to people who have already interacted with your content in the past, adding continuity to your customer experience and significantly increasing the chances of turning them into customers.

Se if you can offer them something of value in relation to certain pages or blog posts they have visited on your website. 

Example: A yoga studio might show a re-targeting ad for a free yoga pass to people in their area who have read blog posts on the benefits of yoga on their website. When people see the ad, they can enter their email address to claim the free yoga pass and automatically be subscribed to an evergreen campaign. (See next point)

3. Stop focusing on one-off promotions and develop an “Evergreen” campaign instead

The majority of business owners think of marketing and promotions in terms of one-off activities. It might look something like this:

  • January -> Promotion #1
  • February -> Promotion #2
  • March -> Promotion #3

While this might work well, it also requires you to continuously come up with new promotions, which can be exhausting and feel like you’re always running behind.

Instead, create an “evergreen” funnel that sends new leads or customers a series of pre-designed offers from the moment they join your list. Then keep adding new offers to that sequence. Over time, this strategy allows you to develop a marketing machine that continuously produces sales without ever having to worry about what your next promotion is going to be. You just need to make sure that offers in that sequence are timeless and not seasonal.

All you need is a good email automation tool, like Mailchimp or ActiveCampaign.

4. Make Partnerships “evergreen”, too

Partnerships and joint ventures with other businesses that complement yours is a powerful strategy. You might have already partnered with another business in the past to run a one-off campaign promoting your products or services. Maybe you’ve asked the other business to hand out vouchers to all their customers.

See if you can turn this strategy into an evergreen campaign, too, like in the previous example. Look for businesses that already have an evergreen funnel and see if they are happy to plug your offer right into it, while you can do the same for them. 

Example: One of my clients owns a massage clinic, while another owns a yoga studio. I got both of them to add an email to their existing evergreen sequences promoting the other business. Now, everyone who receives a massage at the massage clinic, also receives a complimentary yoga gift card, and everyone who joins the yoga studio, receives a discount voucher for a massage a month later.

There you have it. Four (not so obvious) ways to grow your business over the next few months. All four are “set and forget” strategies that you only have to set up once and will profit from forever.

To your success


The biggest challenge most of my clients face, is knowing what to focus on in their marketing. It can be incredibly overwhelming with all the different options and tools out there – social media platforms, advertising platforms (print and digital), search engines, autoresponders, tech tools, productivity tools – the list goes on and on. How do we know what’s right for us, and at the stage we’re currently in?

The big mistake many business owners make is that they focus on lead generation BEFORE getting their conversions right, only to realise that they’re spending way too much money and time on marketing without getting the results they’re after.

I have created a free Marketing Road Map to help you focus on your marketing activities in the right order, so you can maximise results while minimising cost and effort. It’s divided in three pillars.

  • ATTRACTION
  • CONVERSION
  • AMPLIFICATION

I call this the ACA framework. It’s the exact framework I use in my 90-Day Marketing Transformation, where I help business owners transform and automate their entire marketing strategy in 90 days. The order in which you focus on your marketing activities is crucial. As you will agree, it doesn’t make sense to launch an ad campaign (amplification pillar) before knowing that you can actually convert these people. It would be like increasing the amount of fuel you pour into a car that only has 2 wheels. More fuel won’t make it go any faster, unless you have a working vehicle.

The Marketing Roadmap – 3 Ways To Grow Your Business in 2019 (FREE Download below)

First things first. Most business owners would like to jump straight in and throw money at ads (either print or online) before having layed a solid marketing foundation. You wouldn’t start building a house before having a solid plan and foundation to built on. In the same way, you need to address your marketing activities in the right order. Here are 3 things you need to focus on BEFORE spending a single cent on advertising or other costly marketing activities.

1. Create a Lead Magnet

A lead magnet is a tool to help you build a list of potential customers. It’s something of value to your target audience that you can send them for free, but in return for their name and email address. This is a crucial part of any marketing strategy and should be the very first thing to decide on, as it gives people a way to connect with your business even before they’re ready to buy. Here are some examples of lead magnets you could use in your business.

  • Free ebook
  • Free video
  • Discount Code or Value Voucher
  • Free Checklist or Time Saver
  • Free Report

2. Email Automation Software

Once you decided on your lead magnet, the second step is to choose an email marketing provider that you will use to build your list. There are loads of options out there, some very basic and some with more advanced marketing automation features that you probably won’t need at the start. The important thing is to just get started.

When starting out, a free service like Mailchimp will suffice (they offer a free plan until you reach 2000 subscribers). Here are two options that I personally recommend for small businesses which I use myself.

3. Map Out Your Customer Journey

Once a potential customer opted in for your free lead magnet, what are the next steps? What information will they be looking for before they are ready to become a customer? It’s important not to treat every person as if they are ready to buy from you right now. Instead, focus on building a relationship with your list first, so that when they are ready to buy your product or service, your business becomes their natural choice. Here’s what that customer journey looks like in one of my other businesses (a yoga studio).

Step 1: FREE Yoga Gift Card –> Step 2: Introductory Offer –> Step 3: 10-Class Pass –> Step 4: Membership –> Step 5: Workshops & Retreats

This is a natural progression that eases people into their journey of becoming a long-term customer, moving them from ‘free’ to higher price points. Make sure that the communication you send people is relevant to the stage they’re currently in. This can be automated using email automation software (see previous point). Focus on educating them more than you focus on selling.


FREE DOWNLOAD: The 1-Page Marketing Road Map to Transforming Your Marketing In 90 Days


Business Metrics For Small Business

Today, it’s easier than ever to collect vast amounts of data about our customers. There are many low-cost Point Of Sale systems out there which provide you with some nice reporting features that you can take advantage of to help you grow your business and make better business decisions.

However, many small business owners aren’t aware of how important it is to track your progress and how to use metrics to make sense of it all and measure their success.

Here are three simple metrics every business owner needs to know that can provide a starting point for taking your business to a whole new level.

Average Transaction Value (ATV)

Average order value (ATV) is pretty self explanatory. It gives you the average of how much is spent on average with each transaction made. This metric is very important, as it can help you decide on whether you should be focusing on increasing your order frequency (by using more touch points in your marketing) or your average transaction value (using up-sells and cross-sells).

How to calculate Average Transaction Value

Simply divide your total sales for the day by the number of total transactions for that same day.

Example:
$5000 turnover / 100 Transactions = $50


Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

What is every new customer worth over the lifetime of their relationship with your business? It’s a simple metric with big implications. Knowing the lifetime value of a customer is a crucial part of understanding how much is reasonable to spend on acquiring a new customer. Measuring CLV is also a good way to determine whether your business is taking full advantage of its customer relationships. In many, if not most cases, it costs less money to increase revenue from existing customers than it does to acquire new ones. Yet still, most business owners are still more focused on acquisition than retention.

How to calculate Customer Lifetime Value

CLV = Average Transaction Value * Customer Frequency * Average Customer Lifespan

Example:
$50 Average Transaction Value * 1 purchase per month * 12 months average retention = $600


Cost of Customer Acquisition (CAC)

What does it cost you to acquire a new customer? While the importance of knowing the cost of acquiring a new customer is obvious, surprisingly a lot of business owners don’t pay as much attention to this metric as you’d expect them to. Keeping customer acquisition costs top of mind can benefit a business in numerous ways.

For starters, many companies spend more than they estimate on customer acquisition and in many cases, they continue to invest in marketing channels that make little sense given the lifetime value of their customers.

How to calculate Cost of Customer Acquisition

CAC = Total Ad Spend / Number of New Customers

Example:
$500 Facebook Ad Spend / 50 New Customers = $10

If, like in the example above, your Customer Lifetime Value is $600, it makes sense to spend $10 to acquire a new customer. However, if your CLV would only be $20 you might need to look for a new strategy to acquire new customers or focus on increasing your Average Transaction Value, Purchase Frequency and Retention Rate.


Are you currently tracking any metrics that have helped you grow your business and make better decisions in your marketing? Let me know in the comments below!

Best Audio Books for Business Owners & Entrepreneurs

If you’re like me, you love reading (or listening to) lots of books! A great book offers us a glimpse into the vast knowledge and experience of an expert in our field of interest and provides us with a deeper understanding about a topic; and often about ourselves.

If you’ve met me before, you’ve probably seen me with headphones glued to my ears. I listen to audio books pretty much everywhere I go, always looking for little nuggets that have the power to transform our thinking and improve our life as a result. Whether you’re looking to improve your business skills, delve into personal development or build your emotional intelligence this list of timeless must-reads is for you. So, here’s my list of all-time favourite audio books (in no particular order) that I can highly recommed. Enjoy!

5 Insanely Valuable Audiobooks For Guaranteed Business & Personal Growth

I will keep adding to this list over time, so these books are listed in no particular order.

If there’s a particular book you think needs to be on this list, feel free to let me know in the comments below.


The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

by Timothy Ferriss

This was one of the first ever self-development books I read in my life. It surely has transformed my thinking and my views on life. I must say, for this particular one, I preferred the hard copy book over the audiobook. It’s got some great tools and exercises to help you redefine your life and to go outside your comfort zone and push your limits. It’s definitely at the top of my personal favourites.

iTunes Description: If your dream is escaping the rat race, high-end world travel, monthly five-figure income with zero management or just living more and working less then this audiobook is the blueprint. Forget your tired, old retirement concepts and throw out that deferred-life plan – there’s no need to wait and every reason not to. You can have it all! This audiobook is the compass for a new and revolutionary world. Start living now!


The Richest Man in Babylon & The Magic Story: Two Classic Parables about Achieving Wealth and Personal Success (Unabridged)

by Napoleon Hill Foundation

Beautifully narrated and creatively brought to life, this audio book is both, informative and entertaining. The information herein will be life-changing if one can grasp the essence of it. I have gifted this book to many people and listen to it again every few months to remind myself about the great lessons in it. Highly recommend this version of the book, as it’s easy to listen to in about an hour without losing its essence (the original version of The Richest Man in Babylon goes for a few hours).

iTunes Description: These two parables – one ancient, one modern – contain time-tested secrets that will put you on the road to happiness and prosperity. They offer simple, yet powerful truths about the challenges we all face, and must overcome on the road to success. The Richest Man in Babylon: George Clason’s motivational classic story of Arkad, a man of humble origins who became the richest man in Babylon. In dialogue with his fellow citizens he reveals the attitudes and behavior that brought him wealth and happiness. The Magic Story: What turns a loser into a winner? Jay, a down-on-his-luck writer, sees his once struggling friend Sturtevant transformed into a man of supreme confidence and achievement. How did his friend do it?


Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself

by Dr. Joe Dispenza

During a time where I could barely get out of bed in the morning, this book has helped me to redefine my purpose and given me new motivation. It teaches why we feel certain emotions, the bio-chemical processes behind the reason for why we subconsciously decide to put ourselves into a negative state and how to break this crushing habit of self-sabotage and depression. This is a book I would recommend to everyone, as it deals with the underlying thought processes and bevaviours that determine our emotional state, and ultimately our actions.

iTunes Description: You are not doomed by your genes and hardwired to be a certain way for the rest of your life. A new science is emerging that empowers all human beings to create the reality they choose. In Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, renowned author, speaker, researcher, and chiropractor Dr. Joe Dispenza combines the fields of quantum physics, neuroscience, brain chemistry, biology, and genetics to show you what is truly possible. Not only will you be given the necessary knowledge to change any aspect of yourself, but you will be taught the step-by-step tools to apply what you learn in order to make measurable changes in any area of your life. Dr. Joe demystifies ancient understandings and bridges the gap between science and spirituality. Through his powerful workshops and lectures, thousands of people in 24 different countries have used these principles to change from the inside out. Once you break the habit of being yourself and truly change your mind, your life will never be the same! This audiobook comes with bonus downloadable content. Please go to www.drjoedispenza.com/bhby to download this material.


The Miracle Morning Audiobook

The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life – Before 8AM (Unabridged)

by Hal Elrod

Hal Elrod’s phylosophy is simple. The way you start your morning, determines how your day pans out, and ultimately, your life. This might sound overly simplistic, but this book has the power to transform your life into a miracle. It clearly shows how important it is to proactively design your life and create habits and rituals that support us in our journey to fulfilling our true potential. The Miracle Morning gives you a clear road map, as well as the specific tools to do just that.

iTunes Description: What if you could miraculously wake up tomorrow and any – or every area of your life was transformed? What would be different? Would you be happier? Healthier? More successful? In better shape? Would you have more energy? Less Stress? More Money? Better relationships? Which of your problems would be solved? What if I told you that there is a “not-so-obvious” secret that is guaranteed to transform any – or literally every area of your life, faster than you ever thought possible? What if I told you it would only take 6 minutes a day? Enter The Miracle Morning. What’s now being practiced by thousands of people around the world could perhaps be the simplest approach to creating the life you’ve always wanted. It’s been right there in front of us, but this audiobook has finally brought it to life. Are you ready? The next chapter of your life – the most extraordinary life you’ve ever imagined – is about to begin. You deserve an extraordinary life. It’s time to wake up to your full potential.


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People & The 8th Habit (Special 3-Hour Abridgement)

by Stephen R. Covey

Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is one of those books that you can read again and again, and each time learn new things you didn’t pick up previously.  This book is full of incredible life lessons that are guaranteed to enrich your personal relationships, in business and personal life. I have read this book four times and will be reading it many more. Highly recommended. This version of the book is a condensed one and also includes the sequel by the same author, The 8th Habit.

iTunes Description: This new audio set is a very special abridgement of two of Stephen R. Covey’s best-selling business books, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The 8th Habit, read by Dr. Covey himself. We’ve condensed the content of two entire books into just three hours of audio, but you’ll still enjoy Dr. Covey’s lessons on powerful personal change and how to incorporate his ideas into your life to fulfill your ultimate potential.


Small Business Website Design Bundaberg

No matter the size of your business, I believe we can all agree that having a website, in this day and age, is a must. However, not all websites are created equal. A well designed website will not only look pretty, but help you to capture leads, increase sales, and ultimately allow you to take your business to a whole new level.

So, what makes some websites better than others? The ability to capture leads and predictably turn them into customers. And in order to achieve this, we require three things:

Great Content

The content on your website is a crucial element. Providing your visitors with engaging content that captivates, educates and encourages them to take action is a vital part of any good business website. Make the content about your readers, not your business and ensure the jargon and tone of voice you use are consistent and in line with your brand.

Great Design

The “look and feel” of your website says a lot about your business and leaves a lasting impression. It’s also often the first impression someone gets of your business. Lack of consistency and poor layout will result in many visitors leaving your website before you even had a chance to tell them what you are about. Great design means, your customers can easily navigate your website without getting lost (or frustrated). Again, make sure the colours and fonts you use are in line with your branding. A well designed website will help you built trust with potential customers and convert better.

A Great Offer

This might be THE most important part of any website that most business owners (and even web designers) simply overlook. I’m not speaking about your actual product offer or service, but an offer targeted at your IDEAL CUSTOMERS with the aim to collect their email address and/or other relevant data. In marketing, we refer to this as “Lead Magnet“. Not everyone who comes across your website for the first time is ready to buy from you. By giving them an opportunity to opt-in for a free download or trial of some sort, you drastically increase your chances of reconnecting with them at a later stage (using email marketing or retargeting ads, for instance) to do business in the future.

The main goal of every good website should be to build your list of leads and aid in converting them into future customers.

3 Websites of Local Small Businesses That Are Killing It

Here are three websites I designed for local Bundaberg businesses, where I have incorporated all three aspects mentioned above. They also make some great examples for when you are ready to give your business’ website a face lift.

1. Love Life. Live Yoga.

Love Life. Live Yoga. Bundaberg Website Design

Love Life. Life Yoga. is a local yoga studio in the heart of Bundaberg that has built their following solely using a great online strategy. The website is aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate. The home page is laid out in a way that you can easily find what your looking for, see upcoming classes, learn about the instructors and read up on the benefits of yoga through featured blog posts. Without being intrusive, the $25 gift card offer makes it easy for new visitors to leave their details to stay connected to the brand before leaving the website.

Visit Live Site

 

2. Bundaberg Health Foods

Bundaberg Health Food Website Design

The website of Bundaberg Health Foods conveys a clear message, both in terms of content and branding. Users can easily navigate through the different sections of the website, finding what they are looking for quickly and without getting lost. The website is designed to be completely mobile friendly and displays beautifully across all devices and browsers, including Internet Explorer, Safari, Google Chrome and Firefox. A quirky popup captures visitors’ attention and offers them a $10 health food voucher in return for their email address – a fast way to build a loyal following.

Visit Live Site

 

3. Holistic Chinese Massage Therapy

Holistic Chinese Massage Therapy Website Design

One of the biggest mistakes most business owners make is that they ask for the sale to early. The website of Holistic Chinese Massage Therapy in Bundaberg is designed to educate visitors and offer Bundaberg locals a massage voucher as an incentive to trial the service. I have found that this strategy combined with a good follow-up email sequence can consistently deliver conversion rates of 15%-30%, depending on the nature of the business.

Visit Live Site

 

If you would like help with the development and implementation of a sound marketing strategy for your business, let’s have a chat to see if I might be able to assist you.

In my 90-Day Marketing Transformation, I will personally work with you 1-on-1 to to get you the results you are looking for. However, there’s a limited number of clients I can take on each quarter. Click here to learn more about the program and how to apply.

To your success,

Seven Marketing Assumptions That Can Hurt Your Business

In order for your business to succeed, you need a clever marketing strategy. Unfortunately, most companies hold some marketing assumptions that can restrict their ability to promote their services and products in a cutthroat marketplace. The idea of marketing is quite obscure because marketing is the base for various methods of business promotion. Therefore, it is easy to confuse the real purpose of marketing with the concept of it. There are many reasons why companies seem to think marketing is not the right move for them. If you do not work in the profession, marketing can seem expensive and exotic, with creatives whose aim seems to be to throw money at different projects. Marketing is actually crucial to a number of strategic initiatives. If you have growth goals for your business, be it for market expansion, an extension of your product line, or diversification, then you need to have a proper understanding of what marketing can do for you.

7  Common Marketing Assumptions:

Listed below are the assumptions that can restrict the efficiency of your market plan causing you to miss out on sales opportunities.

1. Small Businesses Do Not Require a Marketing Plan

A marketing plan gives you a master plan for how you will introduce your business to the market. It helps you outline your target audience, budget, offers, tactics, channels, and messages. If you do not have a cohesive, integrated plan, you may be wasting your prospects money if not confusing them. Any business, no matter how big or small, should plan its marketing to ensure the best return on investment.

2. Running Ads is the Only Marketing Plan You Need

Even though an advertising campaign can be relevant as a marketing tactic, it is only but a tactic. Ads are just one of the various ways you can convey your message to your target audience. You should have an integrated plan spelling out different tactics and how they will work harmoniously to help you achieve, sales, lead generation, and awareness.

3. You Already Know What Your Customers Think

People similar to your current customers are your ideal prospects so you need to understand the customer completely. You can gain insight on your customers by conducting customer research courtesy of a professional, independent resource.

4. There is No Need to Market to Your Customers

You should never assume that just because you have customers they are yours for the keeping. Your customers need to be reminded constantly of why they should keep buying from you and not your competitors. Promote to your customers and your prospects too.

5. That Marketing Channel is Too Costly for You

Marketers usually make wrong assumptions about the cost of marketing avenues like direct mail or advertising. You should not cross out a channel because you assume it is too costly. Explore all your options intensively and you might discover that you can access channels that you thought were unaffordable.

6. You Do Not Need Social Media

Regardless of what you sell, the one thing you can be sure of is that your competitors, prospects, and customers are using social media actively. If you do not participate, you will be left out of conversations that could be shaping your marketplace.

7. You Need to Cut Your Marketing Budget because Sales are Down

This is one of the marketing assumptions business owners usually do. They say tough times call for tough decisions but cutting your marketing budget should not be one of these tough decisions. Effective marketing may actually help you come out of a slump with your sales so if you do not continue engaging with prospects and customers, one of your competitors will be ready to take your place.

Five Things That Your Business is Overspending on and How to Handle It

Every coin you waste in your business is precious and can be directed towards improving services and products, or reaching more customers. Most companies face the problem of funneling their money towards irrelevant expenses and often it is because they do not take time to reassess their way of “doing things”. If you keep doing the same things over time simply because you have been doing them this way, you could be wasting a significant amount of money. Here are some of the areas in which businesses spend too much money and how you can fix it.

1.  Hiring More Employees than Necessary

Today’s era is one of independent contractors and virtual assistants, so businesses do not need to hire salaried full-time staff to deal with daily tasks. Businesses can outsource these duties to freelancers who can work on a per-project or hourly basis. Your business needs to monitor their salaried workers constantly to make sure their positions genuinely require a full-time employee and only add new positions when the workload calls for it.

2. Indirect Marketing Campaigns

Data analytics have come to play a significant role in everything that businesses do and any company that fails to measure its marketing efforts can find itself left behind. Before purchasing paid advertising or posting on social media, ensure you monitor how your efforts are faring on first. The results of your current email blast could affect your decisions on future marketing campaigns for a long time so it may be worth it. Each dollar you spend could bring in more money for your business.

3. Failing to Monitor Business Expenses

Wining and dining your prospects or clients can be essential for a growing business but you should watch out for those fancy eateries (yep, I know). You could be spending more money than you need to in this area if you do not pay close attention to things. There are various expense- monitoring apps available to help you keep track of your business expenditure. If you are using professional accounting software, like Xero, you can also pull reports at different intervals to show you where exactly your money goes.

4. Is Your Business Overpaying?

If you do not hone your negotiation skills, you may end up spending more money than is required on equipment, supplies, office space leases, manufacturing, and other resources you use to run your business. Learn how to negotiate with your vendors so that you can save money which can be directed toward business growth. You probably spend a lot of time negotiating with your clients to make sure you get the best prices for your services or products, so why not use the same skills on your budget expenditure? Use the 80/20 rule to identify which 20% of your business expenses have the biggest impact on your overall expenditure.

5. New Technology

Businesses usually feel that they should invest in the most up-to-date technology, be it operation management software or devices to help them utilize this software. In addition to spending too much money on software and devices, you could also be investing in building a better marketing foundation and building systems that will allow you to scale your business.

As an independent marketing consultant, I help business owners to design and implement cost-effective marketing strategies that more than pay for themselves. If you are looking for a way to scale your business reliably, using proven strategies, I look forward to having a chat.

To your success,

 

6 Common Reasons Why Your Marketing isn't Working (And How to Fix It)

Some common reasons why your marketing isn’t working are probably less obvious than you might think. Marketing, when not done right, can easily fail to produce the desired results. Many times, I have seen business owners sit down to come up with their own marketing strategy, only to end up with great disappointment. However, this is all part of being in business. When we fail, we pick ourselves up and go again.

Nevertheless, I have identified a few common mistakes when it comes to marketing and outlined some strategies for how to fix these problems.

Here are 5 common reasons why your marketing isn’t working

 

1. Trying to be everything to everyone

Many businesses fail to send out a clear message that is targeted at their ideal customer (Avatar). Instead they try to keep their message as broad as possible. This approach results in generic messaging that doesn’t work. Instead, be very clear about your purpose, what your product or service is about and who exactly it is for. Identify who your ideal customers are and craft copy that speaks directly to them. The clearer your message and targeting, the better your sales will be.

2. Competing on price

One approach many businesses take when competition moves in is to lower their price. In some industries, this has led to a war on price between competitors leaving little to none for anyone. Rather than lowering your prices, try to find ways to add more value to your customers. This won’t just leave you better off financially, but also position you as the expert amongst your competitors. Ever seen Apple run a sale?

3. Limiting Marketing to Just One Platform

Businesses have to consider more than one marketing platform. Digital marketing offers countless tools to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your campaigns and proactively increase your sales when you choose to. Social media is just one platform. Email marketing is another. Traditional forms of marketing are also worth testing, especially when targeting customers who are yet to embrace the digital era. Muti-channel marketing also allows you to identify where your best customers are coming from and where to spend most of your budget in order to get the best return.

4. Lack of Strategy

Without a strategy, marketing fails. This is one of the most common reasons why your marketing isn’t working. In marketing, strategy is everything. In fact, the right strategy produces stunning, hitherto unimagined results. Develop a marketing plan and stick to it. Test what’s working, repeat what does, discard what doesn’t. Numbers don’t lie.

5. Dead Techniques

Dead marketing techniques kill businesses faster than ever before. Don’t get stuck in the old ways. If it’s not working, change it. Replace it with something that works. Tweak it if necessary. There’s no need of staying loyal to ideas that cost a lot of money yet have nothing to show for all that investment. Even if it once was your best strategy.

Do you currently have a strategy that allows you to get new customers “on tap”? If not, I might be able to help. As an independent marketing consultant, I help business owners in the retail and hospitality industries to design and implement automated marketing strategies that take their business to a whole new level. When you’re ready, let’s have a chat about your business.

To your success,

 

TED Talks For Entrepreneurs

TED Talks are geared towards spreading ideas using short, powerful talks. The talks last no more than 18 minutes each, are factual and entertaining. Initially, they revolved around Technology, Entertainment, and Design (hence the name TED) when they started out in 1984.

Today, the talks touch on almost all areas of human living, including entrepreneurship.

As entrepreneurs, we can learn a lot from watching many of these talks. The good news is, the talks are easily available on TED.com.

TED Talks For Entrepreneurs

Here are my top TED Talks every entrepreneur should watch, in no particular order. Enjoy!

1. Cameron Herold: Let’s Raise Kids To Be Entrepreneurs

Cameron Herold, who founded COO Alliance, gave a TED Talk entitled, “Let’s raise kids to be entrepreneurs.” In his words, the traditional system of education does not encourage kids to be entrepreneurs. He believes that we should change the system to produce more entrepreneurs.

 

2. Nirmalya Kumar: India’s Invisible Innovation

Nirmalya Kumar’s TED Talk focuses on the link between business and innovation. As most business owners know, running a business successfully requires a good dose of innovation. A business that constantly develops new products and processes has a higher chance of success.

 

3. Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Eight years ago, Simon Sinek gave a TED Talk on the role great leaders play in inspiring action. The lessons from that talk are still relevant today. Company leaders call the shots. CEOs determine the direction a company takes.

A leader determines how successful a company’s digital marketing campaign shall be.

 

4. Regina Hartley: Why The Best Hire Might Not Have The Perfect Resume

What makes Regina Hartley’s TED Talk a must watch for entrepreneurs is the advice she gives on the role of a resume in hiring or not hiring a new employee. Entrepreneurs put too much focus on what is on the resumes.

They forget that the resumes never capture all the important details of a prospective employee.

For example, the resume may not tell an entrepreneur everything the prospective employee did in creating a marketing automation software. A perfect resume may keep us away from one who has overcome great difficulties and challenges to get here.

 

5. Philip Evans: How Data Will Transform Business

The TED Talk Philip Evans gave in 2014 was designed to help businesses understand the role of data. We have to understand the transformational ability that data has in any business. We can no longer ignore analysing the importance of technology and data for running a business.

After all, marketing automation, like all types of technology, depends on data.

 

6. Seth Godin: How To Get Your Ideas To Spread

Seth Godin’s TED Talk was titled “How to get your ideas to spread”. In that talk, we understand the importance of using bizarre ideas in marketing. Good and boring ideas are not always productive. Bizarre ones, on the other hand, capture and retain customer’s attention.

These must-watch business TED Talks are a great start for any entrepreneur who is wanting to learn and grow themselves and their business.

What are your favourite TED talks? Please share the link in the comments below.

To your success,