The One thing … in marketing

We all need to be focussed if we are to achieve to our potential. And if we can focus on just one thing, even better. A couple of events recently have brought this home to me.

 

Focus example

The first is my 16 year old son. He’s in the midst of his GCSE exams. This week he has an exam every day with two today. He’s coping really well because he has a revision plan and he is focussed. He focuses on one thing – one subject – at a time in short bursts with an intense effort on that subject the evening or morning before the exam. It’s a great approach which is serving him well.

 

Project focus

The second example is a project to launch a new online training and assistance resource. The launch is part of the Entrepreneurs Circle which I have been a member of for a few years now. They recognised that in helping thousands of entrepreneurs over the years they had developed a lot of expertise in getting things done. So what did they do?

  • They took a team of their best people
  • They ‘locked’ them in the boardroom for 9 weeks
  • They took away their other responsibilities
  • They had a clear plan written large on the wall
  • They had a deadline

That focus on one thing – the project – resulted in 53 separate Implementation Plans  covering everything from the basics of starting a business, through every aspect of marketing and running that business. It’s a hugely powerful set of resources and I’ll tell you more about them in another blog but if you’d like to know more about getting your hands on these valuable resources send me an e-mail at allen@arra-li.com

The lesson here though was that they produced a huge amount of high quality output in a very short space of time because they had focus.

 

Getting your marketing focussed

So getting focussed in your business can really pay dividends. But what should you focus on, particularly in your marketing, as everyone says you should have multiple marketing pillars or activities.

The initial focus should be on your marketing strategy.

  • What pillars should you have
  • How do they fit together
  • What are their respective objectives:
    • Awareness
    • Traffic generation
    • Lead generation
    • Lead capture
    • Initial conversation
  • Which pillar(s) first – the priority order
  • What can be automated
  • Where should the direct engagement be focussed

 

LinkedIn prominence

If you are in the business-2-business space I believe LinkedIn should be a prominent, if not central, component of your marketing strategy.

Social media strategy

LinkedIn is the platform we you can demonstrate  your expert authority in your field. What other people say about you speaks much louder than anything you can say about yourself. Through its recommendations system, LinkedIn provides your clients and contacts the ideal platform for that.

I drive traffic from my other social media platforms to LinkedIn to prove my credibility and my website to harvest their contact details by providing further added value.

I can then use e-mail, Facebook and offline automated systems to deliver ongoing continuity engagement.

 

Automated to personal engagement

As soon as the automated marketing triggers a meaningful engagement, that’s when  I switch from automated to personal mode and the platform of choice is LinkedIn. Why? Because LinkedIn enables me to find out about the person I’m interacting with – their background, experience, interests and their approach to things through their posts and contributions.

By interacting through LinkedIn the contact is more than likely going to check out my profile. That is written in such a way as to demonstrate the benefits I deliver to my clients and offers real value to the reader. This reinforces my positioning as the go to person in my field.

Once I have built a level of engagement through LinkedIn I then look to take the conversation off-line to either the phone or face to face.

 

Targeted engagement – focussed conversations

This approach enables me to automate the top part of the marketing funnel and identify or home in on the key interactions that are more likely to lead to a sale. It’s like having a laser targeting system through your funnel

LinkedIn sales funnelIf you’d like to develop your own LinkedIn laser targeting system sign up for my online LinkedIn Business Advantage Programme – it takes you through each of the steps I’ve described above. Click on the link or the image below.

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Are you engaged?

A steady stream of warms leads is most businesses idea of nirvana. A sentence I often hear is:

“I convert over 50% of the leads I get in front of, but I can’t get enough leads. Help!”

These businesses often have multiple marketing streams feeding prospects into their sales and marketing funnels. But the funnels are either not generating enough leads, or the leads are lukewarm at best. What’s going wrong?

Usually it’s one or both or two things and they are related to a very important adage:

 

Social Media Mantra

 

Most businesses are familiar with the finance side of this. Turnover is no good if it isn’t profitable. But even profitable businesses go under without adequate cashflow. The social media equivalent is also true. You need connections, followers etc. But unless they are engaged they won’t become leads.

Back to the funnel. Most businesses use social media to drive prospects into their marketing funnels. That is where the first problem occurs.

  1. The wrong prospects.

It’s easy to get followers, connections, Facebook likes etc. You can even ‘buy’ them off the internet. There are so many people offering x’000 followers for $20 etc. etc. But these followers have little or no affinity with, or interest in, your business.

You need to have a clear vision of your target market – who your ideal customer is. You then need to work out where they hang out and then go to their place. Then you need to offer them something enticing to come into your place. That way you get much better quality leads coming in to your funnel. It’s the first step in Market – Message – Media, the mantra of all good marketers. Know your market. Give them appropriate messages through the most appropriate media and you’ll get them into your funnel.

Once they are in the funnel, problem no.2 occurs.

  1. Poor engagement

Engagement is sanity. Are you engaged with your followers or connections? Too many business focus on getting prospects into the funnel and then forget about making real engagement. They have a couple of drab e-mail exchanges and then start pumping out the offers and then wonder why the leads don’t buy. You need to be able to identify which of the prospects you’ve enticed into you funnel are the hot prospects.

The clue is usually in their engagement with you. So you need to monitor e-mail open rates, social media likes, re-posts, comments and other interactions. Then you need to respond to those interactions and in as personal way as possible.

You see people like to buy from people and if they see you personally interacting, they know there is someone really there. Not just an auto-responder or Direct Message generator.

You need to start conversations.

The LinkedIn Advantage

LinkedIn gives you a distinct advantage over other social media and marketing activities in solving these two problems.

  1. Targeting the right prospects

Most people treat LinkedIn like an online cv and then use it to connect with old colleagues in a similar line of business. Well cv’s are stuffed full of the keywords you need to search for your ideal target prospects. So that just made finding good prospects easy. Better still, if you are connected to your best clients, who do you think they are also connected to. Old colleagues in a similar line of business – your next ideal prospects. You could even get your existing client to recommend you and then introduce you. How easy is that?

  1. Easy engagement

Having found your ideal prospects, LinkedIn tells you all about them.

  • You can see shared connections offering the possibility of introductions.
  • You can see their interests – a great way to start a conversation
  • You can see and comment on their posts
  • You can see which groups they belong to and join them there in the conversation
  • You can comment on their current or past roles

In short, there are any number of ways to strike up a conversation and get connected. And once that happens you can start to build a rapport and that all important trust.

From that engagement you can also judge where the prospect is in the buying cycle, enabling you to focus your efforts on the hottest prospects. In other words, turning engagement in to genuine leads.

Don’t just pile followers into the funnel. Have an engagement plan and turn followers into genuine leads. If you’d like to learn more about how LinkedIn can help you do this, email me at allen@arra-li.com or connect with me and the message me on LinkedIn.

One small step – converting leads to clients early

Deciding to buy something from someone can be a big thing, especially if that something is quite big.

But what if you had a smaller product that you offer. A starter product. And what if you could make a one-time only special deal available on that starter product.

Wouldn’t that be an easier sell. Something to tempt your prospect to become a client now.

Get them to take one small step now, converting leads to clients early.

A product to demonstrate how great your products are and how good the service you give really is.

Wouldn’t that be a great way to build trust with a new, fledgling client.

 

Welcome mat

This is the world of the tripwire or welcome mat.

I prefer the latter as to me, tripwire has negative connotations, of being tripped up or tricked into buying something.

In reality the best welcome mat is your one of your best products at its lowest ever price – but for this one-time opportunity only. It’s a great way to welcome new clients into your tribe

 

How does it work

For this to work you must already have a lead magnet – a report, ebook, video or something else that you give away free in return for somebody giving you their contact details.

When they input their details and click the submit button (or ‘Give me my Free Report’ button or whatever your call to action button is) they get taken to a thank-you page.

But instead of your standard thank-you page they get taken to an offer page.

That page offers a really valuable (to the buyer) product that costs you very little to provide at a knock down price – at least 50% below the normal price for that product.

They must be able to find the product elsewhere on your site at the regular price to validate the offer.

Now here is the key – this offer is a one-time only offer. Buy now, from this page, or you don’t get this product at this price again.

So your marketing system must be able to record and recognise the prospect so they don’t get the offer again.

If they buy, you have a new client. It’s a small purchase but it enables you to demonstrate the value you can deliver.

If they don’t buy, you have a new prospect. You could re-enforce the value they missed out on by using re-marketing techniques to display ads to them for the product at its full price (how to do that is another topic for a future post)

 

What sort of products can you offer?

This will of course depend on your business.

  • If you sell physical products, you could put together a useful and enticing samples pack.
  • It could be a one-time offer of a huge discount on one of your most popular products – this works really well if it is a product people are likely to repeatedly purchase if they like it
  • If you sell online courses or information products, offer a starter course or product
  • Offer a module of a much bigger course – it needs to have real standalone value and I prefer this as a lead magnet offered free myself
  • If you sell memberships to a site or service, offer a hugely discounted trial period
  • If you are a coach, offer a hugely discounted opportunity to try your coaching – maybe 50% off a power hour

 

These are just a few ideas. Go and sign up for as many lead magnets from other people so you can see what they are offering – particularly your competition. It’s a good indicator of how switched on they are with their own marketing.

 

Test, Measure, Adjust

As always with marketing, you need to test, measure and adjust. Track how many people are signing up to your lead magnets and then either buying or ignoring the welcome mat.

Test and measure different combinations of lead magnet and offers. It might be that someone attracted by one lead magnet may not be tempted by a particular type of offer, but may be by another. So if nobody is taking up your welcome mat offer, try something different.

 

Further upsells

Some people don’t stop with a one-step welcome mat. Having tempted the prospect in to making a small investment, they then make a further offer, again discounted, but this time for a bigger product or longer term engagement. This can also work if you are offering low cost starter type products direct to your existing list.

For example, I recently signed up for a $9 online course and was immediately offered a whole range of additional starter type courses for just $1 more, but with the proviso that I also signed up for continuous membership to access them beyond a thirty day intro period at a much higher monthly fee. It was a neat approach as it offered some interesting stuff for a dollar, but with the extra sign-up required.

Yes, I could cancel on day 29 and avoid further charges, but many people either forget to or don’t use the products that much and don’t really get the value from the monthly membership, so I declined and stuck with my $9 purchase.

It’s really important to put yourself in the shoes of your prospect/buyer. Think about how they are going to react to your offers and how you structure them. One thing that put me off going for the extra offer in the example is a felt a little bit tricked by the $1 extra bit. It felt like there was a hidden sting in the tail. If it had been offered as a $1 thirty day trial of their membership site I would have been much more inclined to proceed. As it was, I felt I had been a little mislead.

 

So that is the world of welcome mats or tripwires. Why not sign up for one of my lead magnets below and take a look at my welcome mat. I’d love to get your feedback.

 

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What makes a great post?

 

If you are using social media for business purposes and you are posting blogs, articles, Pulse posts on LinkedIn etc. you want people to read them. You want people to find them interesting and engaging. Above all, you want people to remember you (for the right reasons) so that when they have a need in your area of expertise, it’s you they think of first.

Yet so many business posts I see fail to hit the target. They go off on a rant or fail to engage the reader. They state an opinion but fail to deliver any useful value to the reader. How do you create a great post?

This post tackles the issue of poor posts head on, with a proven method to structure a great post!

Let’s take a look at the anatomy of a post. I’ve summarised this post into a cheat sheet which you can sign-up for further down, but let’s start with an acronym: A I D A. This is a great way to look at all aspects of a post.

Attention

To get your post read you need to get people to open it. The way to do that is with an attention grabbing headline. If your headline is boring, too long or full of jargon it will switch off your audience before they have even started. There are thousands, if not millions of articles on great headlines so I’m not going to go into huge detail here, but think about who your target audience is and create a headline that will appeal to them. There are a number of approaches you can use such as:

  • talk about a pain or problem the article will solve
  • talk about a benefit the article will deliver
  • talk about a secret the reader is missing out on
  • talk about a series of key tips or steps to….
  • make a controversial statement – but be wary of alienating a portion of your target audience
  • etc.

Do you get the idea? You have to make the reader want to find out more.

Interest

The rule of 3’s means you have 3 seconds to grab people’s attention with your headline. Hopefully we’ve achieved that above. Now you have around 30 seconds to pique their interest. To do that you must focus on the need you are addressing, and you must help them see you are doing it. So use headings and/or bullet points to draw their attention to the key needs you are addressing. Did you see how I’ve done that in this post with the heading:

This post tackles the issue of poor posts head on, with a proven method to structure a great post!

Issue or pain, with solution all in one bold line.

Desire

With the interest piqued, I have earned my 3 minutes (the rue of 3’s) to immerse you in the desire for my solution. I want you to understand how using this AIDA technique can create powerful, compelling posts that your audience will want to read. In your own posts you can emphasise what the reader has to gain from your advice. You can explain the logic of you solution, your product or your service – whatever it is you are promoting. You can also play on the fear they will have of continuing to suffer the pain or distress you highlighted above.

By following the AIDA structure you take the reader through a proven process on a path to a solution they need and want. It’s laid out in simple steps, supported by examples (this post itself in my case) and social proof (just look at the structure of pieces from any of the successful bloggers you follow – notice the pattern). And it means you can post with the certain knowledge that by following this best practice, your posts will be read and not ignored like those of the many bloggers and writers who have never really thought about the structure of what they write.

Through this section of your post you are emphasising the gains your readers can make, the logic of your proposition, and then play on the fear of not getting the desired result if they don’t do as your post suggests.

Action

If you have got the first three steps right, your reader will be desperate to take action, but only if your Call To Action (CTA) is strong and congruent with the rest of the post. If the CTA is weak, woolly or only vaguely related to the content of the post the reader will be deflated and will leave. Tell the reader clearly what to do and what they will get in return for doing it. It needs to be easy to do and compelling value for them. They must desire the solution you are offering to their need.

For this post my CTA is clear – I have created a 1-page cheat sheet of the key tips in this post. Download it, print it out and have it in front of you whenever you write a post or article. Just click on the button below and enter your details to get instant access, and stop worrying about whether your posts will get read.

As a bonus, you get my future posts full of further marketing and social media tips direct to your mailbox.

There’s more….. WIIFM

AIDA is a great structure for any post or article, but whatever you are writing for consumption by a third party must be full of WIIFM – What’s In It For Me (that’s me as in the reader). When they read your headline, the decision on whether to open the e-mail or click through to the post will be based on WIIFM. Does your headline offer anything to the reader? Likewise, to gain their interest you need to be talking directly to their needs. Your post must address those needs directly. If they can’t see something directly related to them, they’ll click away. And finally they must have their desires met. The solution is what they are reading for.

So knowing your client or customer is paramount. It’s why breaking your clients onto separate segments or niches and targeting your marketing messages is so critical. So that you can get clarity on the WIIFM for your target audience.

Review before you submit

There’s an old adage in carpentry – measure twice, cut once. The corollary in writing is read twice, post once. You’ve read your post as you’ve written it. But you should always go back and re-read it from start to finish in one go and challenge yourself, perhaps using my ‘Great Post’ cheat sheet, to make sure the post fits the AIDA model and delivers on the WIIFM factors for your target audience.

And when you read it ask yourself one or more of these questions about what you have written:

  • So what…
  • In what way…
  • What specifically…
  • Which means that…

If the questions aren’t relevant or the post answers them, you’re good to go. Hit the publish button. But before you go…… I have created a 1-page cheat sheet of the key tips in this post. Download it, print it out and have it in front of you whenever you write a post or article. Just click on the button below and enter your details to get instant access, and stop worrying about whether your posts will get read.