The best marketing Christmas present

 

Looking back at when I closed down my first consulting business I wondered why it hadn’t been more successful.

My business partner went back into ‘big corporate’ life because, although we’d delivered some great work for our clients, we couldn’t attract enough of them on a consistent basis

 

The conclusion?

Our marketing just wasn’t good enough.

In fact, it was awful.

 

So that got me thinking. If your business isn’t firing on all cylinders. If it isn’t quite making the sales you need. What would be the best marketing present Santa could bring you this Christmas?

 

Back to my experience…..

The realisation about our marketing wasn’t one of those seminal moments. Thanks to my LinkedIn connections I found a new client and started a new consulting business straight away. It wasn’t until months later that I started to assess what hadn’t worked in the first business.

 

How bad was our marketing? We produced a newsletter with some great content – but the subject line was “Monthly newsletter”.

We exhibited at trade shows – but we didn’t tell anyone beforehand.

We never allowed enough time for follow up after the shows.

We had a website, but no strategy to drive traffic to it.

We’d have made more mistakes – if only we’d known the opportunities to make them.

 

So I needed to get better at marketing if my new business was to succeed.

But where to start?

With so many tools and systems to choose from – it’s was a bit like being a kid in Toys-R-Us for the first time.

The website was rubbish – should I get a new one?

I needed a better newsletter/e-mail system?

Should I try Google Adwords?

What about Facebook, Twitter etc.

 

A plan

I’m a project manager by trade so I decided to tackle this just like any other project. I tried to write a problem statement and hit my first blocker. Although I could articulate my end goal or strategic objective, I didn’t know enough about marketing to come up with a meaningful problem statement.

 

That changed the project, and I realised that first, I had to learn about marketing.

BFO

That’s Blinding Flash of the Obvious, or lightbulb moment.

 

So I started out on a journey or learning. I joined a entrepreneurs group that focuses on providing learning and support for small business owners and started to educate myself. In doing so I learned a number of lessons.

 

Key Lesson 1

Who you hang around with matters – a lot.

By joining that entrepreneurs group I met a lot of people like myself. All eager to learn and grow. But I also met a lot of people that the group had already helped become very successful. So I started learning from their successes.

 

I also signed up for a programme where an expert took a small group of business owners through the process of building their first marketing campaign.

 

Key Lesson 2

Start with your target customer – and be specific. Really niche it down. Because although you might be able to sell your stuff to anyone, the marketing message to any specific group will be different.

 

Key Lesson 3

Linked to lesson 2, the order of focus needs to be Market, Message, Media.

The tools you use are the last consideration, not the first. So many people pile into Facebook ads or Google Adwords without thinking if that is where their market will look or if that is the best way to get your message out there.

 

This was all new to me but made absolute sense. But with so much new stuff overwhelm started to set in. This led to lesson 4

 

Key Lesson 4

Baby steps to Get It Done. Implementation is key. All the learning in the world means for nothing if you don’t put it in to practice.

 

So having learned my 4 key lessons I started building my lists and my following and started to become known for what I can do for my clients.

 

Key Lesson 5

It was sometime later that I realised the answer to my marketing needs was staring me in the face.

It was where my target audience hangs out.

I was already using it to promote my marketing messages and build my credibility.

As a media it covered all the bases and drove traffic to where I could capture it.

And it had generated my first client for my new business.

So key lesson 5 was – use what is already freely available:

LinkedIn

With 400 million professional profiles worldwide and over 19 million in the UK my target markets are definitely on there. With the data and group structures I can niche down easily to identify specific client groups. With updates and posts I can target my messages.

 

So I suggest your ideal marketing Christmas present is to educate yourself in how you can use LinkedIn to target your ideal clients and grow your business.

 

Connect with me and send me a message on LinkedIn to get some free resources to help you get started.

Does e-mail run your life?

Why do I love Outlook? Because as a business owner and consultant I get inundated with e-mail and it’s Picture1easy to get a sense of overwhelm. And when that happens you become much less efficient. You get distracted from running your business and making decisions. Outlook, when used properly, can prevent that.

 

I’ve seen many e-mail horror stories. Inboxes stuffed with hundreds or thousands of unread e-mails. Folder structures that stretch on for page after page. Messages that go missing, presumed deleted only to be found mis-filed months later. One lady I worked with claimed to receive a thousand e-mails a day. How can you cope with that?

 

You need a system

E-mail is just data and whenever you handle any data you need a system or process to handle that data. A system that ensures you handle that data consistently and promptly. You need a system that automates as much of the data handling as possible. And you need a system that sets aside specific times to manage that data.

 

Data automation

Picture2Outlook includes a powerful feature that lets you set up rules and alerts that automatically performs tasks for you. I subscribe to a number of blogs and feeds. I don’t need to see any of this stuff urgently so I set up rules to add an appropriate category (we’ll get to categories later) and then move the e-mail straight to an appropriate folder.

 

I set aside time in my daily/weekly/monthly schedule to review the messages in each of these folders depending on their importance. If I’m directed to the content of a particular message, say for example by a conversation with a client or contact, I know exactly where to find it. In the meantime, these messages are no longer cluttering my inbox.

 

 

Managing the inbox

Picture3I use the four D’s process to manage my inbox.

Delete – If I don’t need to see or keep an e-mail I delete it – straight away. If it’s information I may want for later such as a blog subscription I’ll probably already have set up a rule to automatically move it. If it’s regular information you don’t need, unsubscribe or ask to be taken off the distribution list.

 

Do it – If it is something I need to deal with and it can be handled in less that 5 minutes, I do it – there and then.

Defer it – If it is something I need to deal with but it can’t be handled in less that 5 minutes I defer it by scheduling it in my calendar. The easiest and quickest way to do this is to flag the e-mail and add a reminder. This sets up a task in Outlook.

Delegate – If it’s something that needs to be done, but not by me I delegate it to the most appropriate person. I will either forward the e-mail if that person was not included in the distribution or I’ll reply to the e-mail but replace the To: with who I am delegating to. I’ll probably also add a reminder so that I follow up and ensure the task is completed.

 

Categories

Now for each of the last 3 of the 4 D’s I also do something else. As I read each e-mail to decide which D to apply, I also add one or more categories to the e-mail. The categories I use vary depending on what is going on at any particular time but could include:

Client name

Project name

My team

Admin groupings such as marketing, training travel & expenses, recruitment etc.

 

These categories make it much easier to find e-mails. If you stick to using just the folder structure you’ll find yourself debating which folder to put some items in because it could easily go in several. It then becomes much harder to find later on when you can’t remember which folder you decided to use. I create search folders based on categories for the ones I use most often.

 

Categories are effectively metadata – data about data – and make searching so much easier. For example you might have had an e-mail from John about his concerns about a marketing piece. Now there are at least three folders that could have been filed in – Johgn, marketing, the product name etc. Also, the product name might not have been in the subject so even a search may not have thrown up the right e-mail. But if you have categorised your e-mails effectively as you processed them you could do a category based search for marketing, for product X and John.

 

Personal planning

Picture4So far I have focused on using Outlook to handle e-mail and tasks generated off the back of e-mail.   However, I use my Outlook Calendar and Task list as my personal plan. On a daily basis I review my calendar and task list to ensure I have scheduled enough time to do everything that needs to get done. I’ll do this in conjunction with Evernote which I use to track my To Do lists, brining in things form Evernote to my calendar as time permits or urgency demands.

 

I review my calendar/personal plan on a daily basis, usually towards the end of each day to ensure the next day is properly planned and I can get off to a flying start in the morning. I also make sure I look forwards in my calendar for upcoming meetings and deadlines that I may have to deliver stuff for. It’s no use finding out you have to complete a task tomorrow if there are three days work required to do it!

 

Outlook enables me to keep my e-mail under control, my schedule organised and my my delegations tracked. For m business I use Microsoft Office 365 which gives me the to track my e-mail and schedule on the move using Outlook Web Access through the cloud.

 

And that is why I love Outlook. How do you manage you e-mails and calendar? Leave a comment below.

Are you building your expert authority?

 

If one of your potential customers were to ask a friend

“I need an xyz, do you know anyone that’s good that can provide me with it?”

Wouldn’t it be great if that friend said

“You need to speak to <first name>, they’re the best in the market for that”

 

Instant qualified referral. Kerching!

How do you get yourself known in the market for your product of service so this happens to you – all the time?

 

The right product

Firstly, you have to have a high quality product or service. A product or service that delivers exactly what you said it would. In fact it should over-deliver. It needs to be better quality, more reliable, more durable than you promised. Not over-engineered, but just plain great.

 

The right service

The service accompanying your product needs to be great too. Make every contact with the client a pleasure, even if you are dealing with a complaint or problem.

If you have a receptionist then make sure they are your director of first impressions, because if you great every client or prospect with a smile and a helpful demeanour , you’ll be surprised how quickly word gets around about your quality of service.

Make sure your telephones are answered promptly and politely. Every missed call is a missed opportunity to create the right impression.

Use a quality call answering service to take over-flow calls. Make sure they are well briefed and that you have a prompt call-back process if they can’t answer the callers enquiry.

Even if they can answer the enquiry, still follow up with a call back from one of your own team to ensure the caller is happy with the outcome.

 

Spreading the word

Great service is the first step in spreading the word about you and your business. It’s also the cheapest way to generate repeat and referral business.  Your clients will do if for you – for free

 

Referrals – on the subject of word of mouth, many clients will tell other people about you. But why leave it to chance. Ask them – “who do you know who might also benefit from our product or service?”

Offer them an incentive – a gift or rebate for both the client and the referree. Or perhaps create a referral scheme or prize draw.

Run a prize draw – but make the prizes worthwhile. One dentists referral prize draw has prizes of a weekend in New York, Apple iPads etc. right down to apples. Total prize fund of £5,000. Total new revenue generated from the campaign – tens of thousands of pounds. Knowing your numbers is key here.

 

Testimonials – do you ask your clients for a testimonial you can use in your marketing. Most business owners don’t. I don’t know if it’s our naturally reserved nature or fear of rejection, but actually, most happy clients aqre even happier to oblige.

 

Telling the world – one of the best ways of building your authority is to share your knowledge and experience with your potential clients – for free. I’m not suggesting giving your core products or services away for nothing. But your experience and knowledge are vast. Sharing just a little free will really boost your credibility.

That’s exactly what bloggers like me do.

That’s exactly what the lead magnets you give away to get contact details do.

The more freely you give, the quicker your reputation will build.

And as people taste your wares, they will want to come back for the full menu.

 

Get others to tell the world – this is the dark art of PR. But actually, it’s not that dark an art. It’s about having an interesting story to tell and finding the right people to tell it.

Successful PR is partly crafting the right message in the right way and partly finding the right outlets for that message.

 

Help is on hand

If you are selling business to business, LinkedIn is the perfect platform for you to tell the world.

With over 370 million users worldwide and 18+ in the UK alone, your ideal business client is bound to be on there.

With a powerful personal profile and through connecting in the right way, you can find and attract your target clients.

With special interest groups and the Pulse publishing platform you have the perfect tools to showcase your knowledge.

And LinkedIn has a built in referral system.

Perfect.

 

Properly harnessed, LinkedIn can give your business a distinct advantage. Want to do more with LinkedIn, then  listen to a recording of my webinar: LinkedIn – making the selling easy.  Sign up for free here.

Blogging to build your credibility

 

 

You’re good at what you do – right?

You’re products and services are ‘best in class’.

But how do you convince prospective clients or customers of this?

How do you build the necessary trust and rapport with them and build that all essential credibility?

 

Testimonials, reviews and recommendations are by far the best source of credibility, but if you are just starting out it can be hard to gain enough of these to really make a difference. And they may not show the breadth and depth of your offerings.

 

A great approach is to showcase your knowledge and capabilities by delivering value to your prospects free of charge. And the easiest way to do that is blogging about the business you are in.

 

Notice I said about the business you are in and NOT about your business. Your prospects are not interested in your business (at least not yet). But they are interested in the business you are in.

Because you’re in the business of solving their problems.

Of taking away their pain.

Of providing the benefits they need.

They just don’t know that you can do that yet. So you’re going to tell them – through your blog.

 

Blogging – a short history

Blogging has been around since the internet started.

It started with hobbyists using the internet as an outlet to share their thoughts, views and knowledge on their hobbies.

Some started to turn this into a business by writing about subjects people would pay for like stock market tips, of technical help in the early days of personal computing. Some charged for their best stuff and others sought to monetise their blogs through banner ads.

 

Then companies big and small cottoned on to the idea that a blog was a great way to engage with their clients and prospects. The market became crowded with lots of ‘me too’ blogs either focussed on the companies themselves or on generic industry news and tips – just look at the websites of the accountancy firms and budget time – they all blog their assessment of what the chancellor has announced.

 

Most of these blogs are just noise and provide very little real value to the reader.

For you, that’s both good news and bad.

It’s good news because if your blog really delivers value to your prospects it’s easy to stand out.

The bad news is, how do you get noticed in amongst all the dross.

 

Content first

Let’s focus on the content of your blog first. Once we get someone to look at your blog we want it to have the wow factor to keep them coming back and also telling other people about it.

Your content needs to focus not on what your business does, but what your knowledge can do to help your prospective client.

Let me give you an example.

One of my blogs is about everything to do with project management. I have a business that offers project management consulting and training, but I rarely mention either of those business aspects in that blog. Instead I focus each blog post on a potential problem area and discuss the causes and potential solutions for the problem. I’ll weave in examples of how I have dealt with similar situations for my clients. I use the post to demonstrate my understanding of the problem and how my experience can be used to find and implement solutions.

All the while I am giving real world examples and demonstrating my knowledge and capabilities.

I’m building my credibility.

 

Some business owners think they will struggle to find suitable topics or material to write interesting or informative blog posts. But that is often because they are thinking of blogging about their businesses and not the problems and pains of their prospects.

Turn your thinking on its head and things will become clearer and easier.

Even then, the ideas can dry up so you need to have some strategies to find new ideas in your back pocket. Here’s a few to get you started:

  1. Look at what the leaders in your industry (or similar industries) are talking about, then swipe and deploy (see last week’s blog for more on this)
  2. Look through the press and news coverage to see if there is some news item you could leverage or put a slant on for you field of business
  3. Look for the national day of ‘X’ or the international week of ‘Y’ – no matter when in the year, there is always some sort of weird or wonderful national or international day or week. Just Google ‘international days’ or something similar and you’ll see what I mean. It can be a great trigger for a blog post
  4. Look at what’s happening in your business right now. This post was inspired by a conversation after a related talk. Many of my project management blog posts are inspired by situations I see in my consulting or training.

I use Evernote or OneNote to note down blog ideas or clip web pages or articles that could form the basis of a post. I sync the notebooks between all my devices so I always have somewhere to capture an idea when I get inspired.

 

Frequency and length

There are no right answers here, but plenty of wrong ones!

 

Blogging once every three months isn’t going to get you a following or build much credibility. I think it has to be at least monthly and preferably weekly. But don’t set yourself up to fail. Consistency will build your credibility much more than random intermittent bursts of posts. So create a plan and map out your posts. Pace yourself and you won’t run out of gas.

 

How long should your posts be? Short enough to keep your reader interested, but long enough to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding. It will depend on the subject matter. Some people get hung up about optimising their posts for Google and the other search engines. That requires writing anything from 1000 to 1600 words per post. That can be daunting when starting out on a regular blog and could stifle your enthusiasm very quickly.

I write for my audience – any hits as a result of searches are a bonus.

One of the most frequently read blog posts is Seth Godin’s. Most of his are less than 300 words.

Ironically – this post is turning in to one of my longest.

 

Getting your content read

Great content is worthless if nobody reads it.

So how do you get your wisdom in front of your ideal prospects.

I use social media – primarily Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

For Twitter I look for where my target audience hand out. For small business owners I will target small business organisations such as chambers of commerce and organisations like The Best of…. I follow the people that follow them and invariably get a high percentage of people following me back. Once I have followers I tweet about my blog posts to grow my readership. If you want to learn more about how to grow your Twitter following read my blog post “6 steps to growing your twitter following“.

 

LinkedIn is a lot more targeted. I deliberately connect with my target audience. Once connected they get my status notifications, including details of all my new blog posts. I addition I join groups that my target audiences belong to – it’s where they hang out. I then post links to my blog posts in those groups. All informational – no selling. Look at my blog post “Making the selling easy” which talks about using LinkedIn to make it easier to sell to your targets. If you are reading this on the first day of posting there may still be time to sign up for my free webinar on the same subject. Click here to find out more.

 

So that’s great content created and two excellent ways to share it. Expert authority on its way.

Swipe and deploy

 

 

Isn’t it interesting how many of the ‘super successful’ suggest that ‘stealing’ is not only acceptable but should be encouraged!

I prefer to call it swipe and deploy.

But in essence it’s stealing someone’s idea, modifying it for your own use and deploying it in your business.

Oscar Wilde is famed for saying “Good writers borrow, great writers steal” and he’s not alone, Samuel Becket said “If you are going to steal, steal from the best”

It’s a practice that not only is encouraged for the writers amongst us, but for the business owners and entrepreneurs.

Steve Jobs identified this when he said “We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas”.

Take the iPhone – mobile phones had been around for quite a while but Apple took the idea and gave that extra something to make a ‘new’ product. It made calls and sent and received texts like all mobile phones but it did much more.

Inspirational creative minds know that using the ideas from others, building on them, and making them your own is a great way to improve your own work. Swipe and deploy!

 

All around you

Where do you find these ideas to swipe and deploy? They are all around you.

Newspapers provide the best source of headlines for your e-mails, blogs and marketing pieces. The Sun and the Daily Mail often produce the most eye-catching.

Subscribe top your competitors e-mail lists and get ideas from them. Look for other companies that are great at engaging with their customers. They may be in very different industries but the ability to use material and cross over to your business is immense.

I listened to a presentation by Ben Hunt-Davis entitled “Will it make the boat go faster”. It was all about how he and his team won Gold in the rowing 8 at the Sydney Olympics. Nothing to do with business per se, but it inspired my own blog article (click here to read) about how the same philosophy can be used to improve your businesses performance.

 

Swipe, modify and deploy

Even this blog post is a shameless swipe from a colleagues e-mail. Yes, I’ve broadened and deepened the content. But the idea was swiped and deployed.

I belong to several entrepreneurial groups and one of the key things they distribute each month is material specifically to be swiped and deployed. They even call them the swipe files.

I also maintain my own swipe file. Anything I see in print that could be tweaked and applied in my business get’s indexed and squirrelled away for future use. For online stuff I use Evernote or OneNote to swipe electronic copies.

 

For you to swipe and deploy

Here are two immediate examples of things you can swipe and deploy. Both relate to growing your network and connecting and engaging with your audience which is a creative endeavour.

Firstly, take the advice of the successful creative types and swipe my tips and tactics on growing your network from my new guide – How to Connect With Anyone in The World.

With over 400 million members in the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn owns this business space. The guide will show you how you can connect with your ideal targets.

You’ll discover how to search for the right people and companies, unlock profiles, build more leads, expand your reach and close more deals with the power of LinkedIn

To connect and engage with anyone, anywhere click here to get your free download.

 

Now an essential element in the connection puzzle is having a Powerful Personal Profile.

So swipe and deploy no.2 is to join my free webinar and get some hands on tips for doing just that. Click here for my Making the selling easy with LinkedIn webinar.

So two great things for you to swipe and deploy in your business to grow your connections and make selling easier.

 

Tell me a bout your own swipe and deploy experiences by leaving a comment on the blog.

Happy swiping.

Is technology getting in the way of your marketing

 

 

Technology is supposed to simplify things. To make them easier and quicker. But for marketing, technology has made things more complex and distracted businesses from what they need to focus on – the customer.

 

In the pre-internet days a small business would think about where their customers would go to look for their product or service. There weren’t many options:

  • The Yellow Pages or equivalent
  • The local paper
  • The newsagent’s shop window (you know – the little postcards offering cleaning etc.)

Add to that leafletting and possibly local radio advertising and that was about it for a small business.

 

Today there is e-mail marketing, Twitter, Facebook, Google search and ads, Instagram, Pinterest, podcasts, webcasts, Periscope – the list grows almost daily.

 

So many business owners have a go at one or more depending on their comfort level with the technology in question. They also hear the mantra that you need to have multiple marketing pillars so they strive to add channels to expand their reach. But in reality the real question is, is technology is getting in the way of your marketing

 

 

But they’ve forgotten the key message from the old days – where their customers go. In the old days, if you wanted a plumber you’d go to the local edition of the Yellow Pages. A year or two ago, you’d have probably started with Google search. Today, you’re probably looking for recommendations so you’d start with Streetlife or Checkatrade.

 

The key here is where are your potential customers going to look for your product or service. If it’s a product or service you need to make people aware of – that you want to prompt them to think about buying – where do those customers hang out in the biggest numbers?

 

So the first thing to think about is your market, not your marketing. Who are you trying to speak to and where do they congregate? You need to be as specific as you can so that you can tailor and target the next part. You might say that anyone can benefit from your business but you can’t market to everyone at the same time with the same message.

 

For example, let’s say you are in the weight loss business. Your marketing to post-childbirth mums needs to be very different to the over 50’s trying to lose that middle-age spread. Their reasons for buying will be different even though the ultimate goal is the same.

 

Having identified the ‘who’ and where that who is (or what technology they use) you can start to craft the message. This is where copywriting comes into its own. You need the right sort of headline to appeal to you ‘who’. You then need compelling messages well-crafted and laid out to draw the reader further into the piece. Finally you need a great offer or call to action. One that is a ‘no-brainer’ for the customer.

 

So we’ve identified the market and the message. Only now do we consider the media. What media do your target market consume information on. How is your message best projected. As a general rule, images perform better than text alone and the right video can be the best performer. But the size and length must be driven by the market.

 

The media is only the delivery mechanism, not the focus of the marketing.

 

That’s why I like and recommend LinkedIn for any business selling to other businesses. LinkedIn announced recently it has hit 400m user profiles worldwide so you know your market is on there.

The combination of niched Groups and LinkedIn’s powerful search capabilities, your target customers are easy to find and connect with.

LinkedIn provides all the facilities you need to get you marketing messages across.

And whereas the majority of e-mail marketing messages get deleted without a glance, most LinkedIn messages get opened and read.

 

If you’d like to find out more about how to use LinkedIn to target your ideal clients join me for a free webinar – LinkedIn – making the selling easy. Just click the link to register.

The simple success formula

 

 

Can success be distilled down into a simple formula?

Is there a silver bullet or bullets that you can load up and use to fire your business to growth and profitability?

 

The simple answer is yes!

That’s a ‘yes’ to both questions.

 

So what’s the catch?

Why am I sharing this for free?

 

Well, the formula is simple and the bullets are readily available in every business.

But success only comes with implementation.

That’s the catch.

And I help people with implementation.

So the more business owners that know the formula, the more I can help.

 

The formula

So what is the formula?

MA x RS x C = R

MA = Massive Action: Nothing will happen in your business without taking action. The bigger the action, the more you can make happen.

Let’s take an example. If you follow up with your leads once or twice (the typical rate of follow up) you are missing a huge amount of sales. Most people only buy on the 4th to 7th contact. So your massive action could be to follow up at least seven times.

 

RS = Right Stuff: You can take massive action, but if you are doing it wrong, then you won’t get the right results.

If your sales process is poor no amount of effort will secure sales.

 

C = Consistency:  You have to take massive action with the right stuff to achieve results. But if you only do it once, those results will be pretty small. You need to do it over and over again.

 

R = Results: We gave a hint in consistency. The formula is a multiplier. If any component is small or zero it dramatically impacts the results.

If you do the right stuff consistently but only a little of it, then you are not going to get huge results. Likewise, massive action of the right stuff done once will generate a blip in your business, but no more.

You need to take action on all parts of the formula to achieve results.

 

The silver bullets

So now you know the simple success formula.

But what about the silver bullets I mentioned?

They exist in every business.

From the one man band to the largest corporations.

They are the people.

You and, if you have one, your team.

 

You see the success formula – MA x RS x C = R – can only be implemented by people.

Yes, there are marketing systems that can automate posts and follow up sequences.

But people have to set them up.

People have to right the copy.

And when it comes to the sale, people like to buy from people.

 

So it’s the people that make a business go round.

It’s the people that make the difference between success and failure.

 

So you and your people are the biggest asset in your business.

Are you investing in yourself and your people?

 

If you’d like to learn how to apply MA x RS x C = R to your use of LinkedIn, join me for a free webinar. Click here for more details.

Could you be wrong about LinkedIn?

 

 

The conversation started along these lines:

“Yeah, I’m on LinkedIn but I don’t really use it. I’ve never really found it much good”

 

Now this guy is a contract business analyst in a fairly specialised area of banking and finance systems.

So he’s a business owner.

He needs to find and keep clients.

His clients are banking and finance professionals.

Where are his target clients most likely to be active in a professional capacity on social media?

Yep, LinkedIn.

 

OK so he has a contract now.

In fact, he’s had contracts pretty much continuously for the last few years.

He’s got them through recruitment agencies and contacts.

So he doesn’t really need LinkedIn, right?

 

Wrong.

Recruitment agents move around – a lot.

Contacts move jobs more and more frequently.

Both have LinkedIn profiles that stay with them.

 

Multiple lead sources

My contractor colleague has two lead sources – agencies and contacts – and he’s not really doing a good job of keeping in touch with either.

How many lead sources do you have in your business?

I know of one successful online business owner who generated ALL his business from Facebook ads.

That was until Facebook changed its rules and overnight his business died.

He effectively needed to start again.

That’s why every business needs multiple lead sources.

 

Why LinkedIn

So you can probably see the reason why my contractor colleague should be actively using LinkedIn. But why should you use it in your business? Why should LinkedIn be a key part of your business to business marketing strategy?

 

I usually here three reasons why business owners think that LinkedIn is not for them

  1. It’s just a glorified online cv to attract recruiters

Yes it does get used as an online cv. Which means everyone puts there job titles and descriptions on there.

Which means you can easily search for and find your ideal target clients.

  1. It’s just for keeping in touch with old colleagues

Yes, it gets used a lot for that too. But the chances are your best clients are on LinkedIn.

So who do you think they are connected to?

Old colleagues in trhe same or similar lines of business.

They could be your next best clients.

And you already know someone who can introduce you.

  1. I just get spammed by people selling me stuff.

Spam and sales messages are a fact of life.

But they are much less prevalent on LinkedIn because to message someone you are not connected to requires an InMail which has to be paid for.

Spammers don’t like paying for anything much.

 

So these three reasons that business owners don’t use LinkedIn are the very reasons they should. Their ideal clients are there, easily found and available to be contacted. Could they be wrong about LinkedIn?

 

Making the connection

So let’s get sending those sales letters right?

Wrong.

LinkedIn is online networking for professionals.

You wouldn’t turn up at a networking meeting and start asking people to buy your stuff would you? So don’t do that on LinkedIn.

All the rules about social selling apply.

Build rapport, give value and ask questions.

And make sure your profile sings your praises and proves your credibility.

 

If you want to find out more about how to use LinkedIn to make your business more successful join me for one of my free webinars. Click here to sign up.

Make your own luck

Is luck a factor in success when it comes to business?

Somehow I just struggle to believe that it is.

You see there is a saying attributed to the Roman philosopher Seneca that goes:

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”

 

If you look at successful people, whether from the world of sport or business, it’s the preparation that gets them into a position to take opportunities.

 

A couple more quotes:

“I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” – Thomas Jefferson

“Well, the harder I practice, the luckier I get.”  – Gary Player

In both these quotes it’s the hard work that generates the opportunity.

 

Luck is about attitude and application

Jefferson and Player weren’t successful just because they worked or practiced hard. There are plenty of hard working people that are not super successful.

Yes they had the application to hone their business and sporting skills.

But they also had the right mindset or attitude.

One that was open to possibilities and opportunities.

One that wasn’t restricted by limiting

 

Who you hang around with

Something that can influence your attitude is who you hang around with.

Yet another quote – “You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.” Jim Rohn.

Successful entrepreneurs tend to hang around with other successful entrepreneurs.

They spark off each other. They learn from each other.

And it can rub off. Observe how they operate. How they spot and then take opportunities.

But you need to be there to see it

To be with them.

The bottom line is that who you hang around with matters.

A lot.

 

Make your own luck

So can you make your own luck in your business?

I think so.

Hone your business skills and set your business up for success.

Network with other smart entrepreneurs and learn from them.

Be open to opportunities.

 

I often hear stories of people that see something successful, but because it’s in a different line of business or other area unrelated to their business that close their mind to how it might work for them.

It’s a bit like the “I know….” attitude I talked about a few weeks back.

They need to open their mind and think “how can I apply that to my business…”

 

I even talked a bit about this last week in my blog post “Making the selling easy“.

That was about working hard to make the right connections.

It was about being open to the possibilities that those connections might throw up.

That’s how I ‘got lucky’ with two LinkedIn connections generating five and half years consulting revenue.

 

Work hard.

Work smart.

Be lucky

 

PS If you’d like to learn how to use LinkedIn to generate your own luck there’s still time to sign up for my next Online Bootcamp now. Just click the link.

Making the selling easy

 

Here’s the secret to me getting 5½ years consulting work….

 

…….LinkedIn.

 

Yes, just two connections on LinkedIn have kept me in consulting work for 5½ years.

 

The first role arose when a connection reached out to a number of her connections looking for people with just my sort of skills. A quick e-mail and less than 48 hours later I was signed up as an associate to a consultancy that kept me at the same client for 4½ years.

 

The second role came about when a former colleague and LinkedIn connection saw one of my blog posts through LinkedIn and asked if I might be interested in a role one of her connections needed to fill. A few conversations later and I was signed up for 6 months in Oslo.

 

I then got poached back by the first client because I built such a good working relationship with them.

 

That’s another 6 months and counting…..

 

All because:

  • I had the right connections
  • I maintained contact
  • My profile demonstrated my credibility

 

Now I talk to a lot of people about using LinkedIn in their business and get a few challenges. They typically fall in to one of three categories:

 

  1. Firstly they think LinkedIn is just an online cv used by people to get new jobs and recruiters to find candidates.

Yes it is used for that a lot

But with over half the world’s professionals on LinkedIn, with job titles and descriptions, it means your ideal prospects are almost certainly on there and are easy to find.

Oh, and when you do find them, their contract details are there too 🙂

 

  1. The second objection I get is that LinkedIn is just to keep in touch with old colleagues.

Yes it gets used for that a lot too.

But if your best clients are on LinkedIn who do you think they are connected to?

That’s right, old colleagues in a similar line of business.

They could be you next ‘best client’

 

  1. The final objection goes along these lines “I’m on LinkedIn but never get any business from it and just get spammed by sales people”.

Well if you treat LinkedIn like a cv or an old boys network, that’s all you’re likely to get.

But if you treat it like the lead generation goldmine that it is you’ll get vastly different results

 

Making the selling easy

I made my consultancy sales easy because:

  • I made the right connections
  • I maintained contact
  • My profile demonstrated my credibility

 

You can make the selling easy for your business too.

 

It’s a three stage process:

  1. Get yourself an awesome personal profile.
    One that delivers real value to the reader and builds your credibility from the off.

 

  1. Find you ideal prospects using a combination of search and self-publicity through publishing and Groups – that way they’ll find you

 

  1. Engage and connect in the right way

 

Employ all the social selling tactics of

  • delivering real value,
  • reciprocity and
  • asking the right questions.

 

Taking these three steps in the right way means your prospects will see the value you give to your clients without you having to sell. They’ll be coming to you asking for your help.

 

If you want to have LinkedIn make your selling easy, sign up for my Online Bootcamp now.