It’s not about you

Ever heard the expression “they’re we’ing all over the internet”?

It’s when a business says we do this, we do that, we’re good at delivering, we are award winning, we offer great service etc. etc. They’re “WE ing” everywhere. People do it with their LinkedIn profiles too, only this time they are “I ing”. I did this, I ran that, I deliver exceptional service. Get the picture?

It’s not about you

Well, the bad news is, it’s not about you. It’s actually about your client, your customer, your prospect. They want to know what you can do for them. What the benefits of working with you might be. What it is that you bring to the table.

Deliver some value

So whether it is your website or your LinkedIn company page or your LinkedIn profile, start out by delivering some real value. Offer your prospect or your client some of your best stuff. Some real inside knowledge. Some insight into how you work and how you deliver benefits to the people and companies you work with.

If you can generate some interest, some engagement by delivering real value you will have earned the right to explain how you can help them by delivering more of that value for them, but this time with them as paying customers.

Get that message right, and back it up with case studies and customer testimonials and you are over half way to making the sale – and you haven’t even spoken yet.

The power of LinkedIn

This ethos of speaking to your prospects needs or pain, to the benefits you bring applies to all of your marketing channels but never more so than on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is your personal shop window. Whatever your role in the business, be it owner, sales, marketing etc. people like to do business with people. So prospects will check you out. Yes, they will check out the company website too, but there’s an expectation that that will be all about the products or services the company offers. But they want to do business with another person – you. So they will check you out.

Is your profile up to the scrutiny? Does your profile explain what you and your company do for your clients? Let’s look at an example.

My son is looking for a new job so we’ve been updating his profile. His summary started out saying what he had done for his clients in his last role. It was good, but it was about him. So we turned it around to describe how a consultative approach allied to appropriate market research could deliver effective propositions for clients. A valuable structured approach to delivering benefits for clients. He went on to elaborate more on this before explaining how he had used these approaches to delivering value for the clients he worked with. It’s a subtle change of emphasis, but much more engaging for the end reader.

Such an approach, backed up by a case study and suitable customer recommendations makes for a hugely powerful profile summary. It’s not about him, it’s about what he delivers for his clients.

Your credibility

A well-crafted LinkedIn profile is a hugely powerful tool for you to demonstrate your credibility and that of your company. LinkedIn’s recommendations amplify that credibility many times over. What somebody else says about you is so much more powerful than anything you say about yourself.

So LinkedIn should be a part of every businesses strategy whether you sell B2C or B2B. It should be a place where you deliver value to prospects and have that backed up by the recommendations of your clients. And if you are selling to other businesses, really smart companies leverage LinkedIn to find connect and engage with the ideal target customers.

If you want to leverage LinkedIn in your business, you need the LinkedIn Business Advantage programme.

Click on the link or the image to find out more.

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Just 150 – that’s all!

Have you noticed how social media can become a bit competitive?

I have more Twitter followers than you.

Have you reached the magic 500 LinkedIn Connections? (Magic because above 500 is shown only as 500+ on your Profile front page).

Then you get the social media beggars: please like my page so I can get this or that or the other. Everyone thinks it’s a numbers game.

 

Well the bad news is:

Followers/Connections/Likes are vanity

Engagement is sanity

Leads are king

Monetising social media is about converting your audience into leads and that can only be achieved by engagement.

The really bad news is there is a limit to how many people you can have a meaningful, stable, social relationships at any point in time.

 

Just 150

Yep, just 150 – give or take a few. That’s the maximum number of meaningful social relationships that any one person can have with other people at any point in time. This was identified by anthropologist Robin Dunbar who came up with the number from his research into the brain sizes of primates. Hence, it is called Dunbar’s number.

 

But don’t despair. If, like me, you have large social media audiences you need to find innovative ways of engaging with them, or at least of tracking the engagement they have with you so that you focus on returning the engagement with those parts of the audience that will be most beneficial to your business.

 

Lists and tags

I use lists and tags to group all of my social media contacts and, in fact, all of the prospects in my database. I can then use those lists and tags to see what level of engagement I’m getting from any particular group or segment of my audience.

I can tailor messages and the media used to reach each segment of my market, and I can monitor and track the responses and interactions I get.

 

Let’s take Twitter as an example. I have (at the time of writing) around 3,300 followers on my social media business ID and follow around 3,600. I can’t possibly read all the tweets I’m sent – they come in too fast. Twitter does notify me of key interactions by my followers and I always try and make time to respond to these personally if I can. But engagement is two-way so I need to engage with the people I’m following based on their tweets, their content.

 

My lists

So I group the people I’m following on a number of key lists. Here are some of them:

  • People who have added me to lists – they’ve taken the trouble to do it so show a higher level of engagement than the average follower
  • People who retweet or like my stuff – as above but not quite such strong engagement
  • My customers – always good to engage with them
  • My hot prospects – people that have shown interest in my products or service
  • My dream customer list – people I really want to work with
  • Key influencers – people with large followings that might be interested in my stuff

There are a few more and you should come up with your own.

 

I regularly spend a few minutes engaging with the members of each list, reading and commenting on their tweets and content, developing the engagement and making them aware of me. It’s that engagement that encourages people to share your stuff and that grows your audience.

 

This approach, whether it is using Twitter or Facebook Lists, LinkedIn tags or whatever your particular favourite social media tool uses, enables you to focus in on a small section of your audience at any given time and give them the attention they deserve. The attention they need if they are to begin to know, like and trust you and, eventually, buy from you.

 

Don’t try to be all things to all of your audience. Use lists and tags to segment, get focused and get personal. How do you segment your social media audiences? Leave a reply below.

Key numbers you should know 1-4-15-60-20

Most of the people in your business sector are wrong, most of the time.

That’s a pretty bold assertion. Let me explain why.

Market dynamics

In any given market of a reasonable size these key numbers reflect the distribution of performance in that market.

  • 1% are super successful
  • 4% are doing really well
  • 15% are doing ok and getting there
  • 60% are getting by, often hand to mouth
  • 20% are failing

So 80% of business in your market are getting it wrong.

Today.

Right now.

That’s why so many businesses fail within the first two years of setting up.

The dawn of the internet

15 years ago the internet was relatively new and businesses were only just starting to explore the possibilities. Google AdWords launched towards the end of 2000. Businesses that were enlightened took the plunge and made millions of pounds and dollars from being early adopters.

I know several businesses that have spent over a million pounds per year on AdWords campaigns. These are not large multi-nationals. These are savvy, switched on small businesses. They knew for every £ they spent on AdWords they would generate £3 or £5 or even £10 in sales. They knew because they could track what they spent and the return they got from it.

They did things differently from the mass of businesses. They stood for out and took action. They were in then 1% and 4%. Those that spotted their success and followed pretty quickly were in the 15%.

The 60% dabbled but couldn’t get it to work or didn’t track the numbers. They didn’t get educated in the new areas of marketing. The 20% stuck their head in the sand and hoped the internet would go away.

It happened to me – so I learned

My first consultancy business was in the 80%. Started in 2003 we bumbled along for 7 often painful years, just about surviving the financial crisis before calling it a day. When I set up my current business, I looked back at why the first had struggled and it was because of a lack of knowledge and understanding about marketing and sales and I vowed to put the right.

Social media

In the mid to late 2000’s social media was born and once again the early adopters creamed it, leaving the 80% in their wake. Now, every business needs to have a presence on social media. The 20% still have their head stuck in the sand and pretty much ignore it.

The 60 % are forever in catch-up mode. They know they need to do something, but what? Facebook changes almost as frequently as Google and there are new entrants all the time. So they end up throwing stuff out there hoping some of it will stick.

What the top 20% do

What are the top 20% doing? Well the top 20% really know their markets and have clear, targeted messages they want to get out to those markets. So as they see new developments in social media they look to see which markets adopt them. If their target market is using Snapchat then they test, measure and adjust their use of it. And if it works, they go large! They amplify their use and make it their own.

The 1% and 4% lead the charge here. Being really successful gives you the confidence and the funds to try these things. The 15% look at what the top 5% are doing and quickly follow suit on what works best.

What can you do?

The difference between the top 20% and the 80% isn’t as great as you might think. Yes the difference in financial terms can be huge but that is merely a consequence of the real difference. It’s not about the funds to invest in stuff or even the knowledge of how to do stuff. And it’s certainly not about luck.

The real difference

The real difference is attitude – your attitude. If you have a “can’t do” attitude then the age old saying will always be true:

 

If you always do what you always did,

you’ll always get what you always got

You have to be different from the pack, different from the masses. Different from the 80% that are almost always wrong!

So you have to have a “can do” attitude and get yourself educated. With the right networking and business support groups and plenty of high quality e-learning available, there really is no excuse.

But learning is only productive if it leads to implementation. That’s what the top 1% and 4% do – they learn and implement. Then they test, measure and adjust. You can do the same but on a smaller scale. And the 15% see what works best for the tope guys and apply it in their markets, also testing, measuring and adjusting for themselves.

You CAN emulate that. But remember, it starts with knowing your markets and having clear, segmented messages for those markets.

My experience

When I set up my current business I was focussed on project management consulting and training. A clear market, segmented by industry. I had clear messages on what I had to offer – the benefits I brought to the table. Where did my target market hang out – LinkedIn. So I had the three magic criteria sorted:

Market – Message – Media

The result

Virtually all my project management training and consulting revenues since 2010 have been generated as a result of LinkedIn. If I could have cloned myself, I could have made 3 or 4 times as much money.

  • LinkedIn was the place that I knew I could find my target market
  • LinkedIn enabled me to demonstrate the benefits I deliver
  • LinkedIn provided the recommendations that backed up my statements with social proof
  • LinkedIn provided me with the means to find and connect with my target market
  • LinkedIn enabled me to bypass PAs and gatekeepers and get conversations with target clients

Help for you

Whatever market you are in LinkedIn provides the platform to showcase you and your business, to demonstrate your credibility, to prove your expert authority. If you are selling to other businesses then it can also be the source or high quality, qualified leads for your business.

I now help businesses leverage online marketing and social media – especially LinkedIn – to step out of the 80% and into the 20%. If you have the attitude I have the programme that provides the learning for you to implement. Check out the LinkedIn Business Advantage Programme by clicking on the link or the image below.

 

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Does your marketing stick?

Most business owners are good at what they do. Whether you’re a plumber, a photographer, a Chiropractor – whatever your business is – you’re good at it and you probably have a passion for it. But being good at what you do is very different to being good at marketing what you do and all successful business have to become highly adept at marketing what they do.

It used to be easy:

Once-upon-a-time marketing was easy.

  • Ads in the yellow pages
  • Ads in the local paper
  • Cards in the newsagents window
  • flyer drops
  • word of mouth

That’s about it. Simple.

Now it’s complicated:

Now there’s:

  • Twitter ads
  • Facebook ads
  • Google Adwords or Pay-Per-Click
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • e-mail marketing
  • Websites
  • Blogging
  • etc.

Oh, and you can still do all the old stuff too. Where do you start and where does it all end? How do you make your marketing stick.

All too often businesses start with the latest fad they’ve heard about and it ends with tears and a bottom line drained of profit by wasted marketing spend. They throw stuff out there and hope the marketing will stick. That some of it will resonate with someone and provide that elusive return.

It doesn’t have to be like that.

But to make it different, you have to think differently and behave differently. Instead of jumping into the latest shinny marketing gizmo, or just sticking with the one you feel comfortable with, you need to have a strategy and a plan.

3 key questions

But before you can have a strategy and a plan, you need to do some homework. You need a few critical pieces of information to base your strategy and plan on. These are:

  • Who is your target market
  • What pain are you going to make go away or what pleasure are you going to make a reality for them
  • Where do they hang out

Your target market

You might be thinking “but I can help everyone” or “anyone could benefit from my product or service”. But you can’t market to everyone or anyone. You have to identify a target market so that you can create messages that will resonate with them. If you were a weight loss coach, your messages to target the over 50’s suffering from middle-age spread would be very different to those looking to appeal to new mum’s looking to regain their pre-pregnancy figures.

You have to think market first, and then the message to target them becomes easier to craft. You may have several different target markets or segments. Each needs the same level of attention to detail if you are to be successful in marketing to them. Trying to appeal to everyone ends up with you appealing to no one.

Pain or pleasure

Effective marketing address the pains your target market are feeling or the pleasures they want to have. For example many people feel the pain of tradesmen that turn up late (or not at all) and leave a mess behind when they leave. How about if your marketing offered to pay the client if you are late and promises to leave your house cleaner than when they arrived or your money back? Or how about “if you don’t love your pizza, we’ll make you another one free”.

You need to be clear on the pains you are going to take away r the pleasures you are going to deliver.

Where are they?

It’s no use putting out the best marketing messages in the world if your target audience are not there to receive them. If they’re not on Twitter, don’t send them tweets – they won’t see them. You need to understand what media your target market use so that you can go there and show them your messages.

Your strategy

Now that you have clear answers to the 3 key questions you can create your strategy. You need to get your target audience to a place where you can show them how you can relieve their pain or satisfy their desires and provide them with the necessary social proof to back it up. This probably means getting them to move from where they hang out to where you can show them the how and the proof. The latter is probably your website or it could be your shop, office or consulting rooms. The trick is working out where each component fits in the bigger picture.

Let’s look at this post as an example of my strategy in action. My target audience is business owners and marketing and sales people. Many of them are on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. So I will put out regular tweets about this post. I will comment about it on Facebook and LinkedIn. It will also go out in an e-mail to my existing list of subscribers. I’m going to where my audience hangs out and asking them to come to my website to read my article. I encourage you to check me out on LinkedIn – Allen Ruddock on LinkedIn – to see what I do for my clients and to see who has recommended me. That’s the social proof.

Your strategy needs to address how you are going to get your messages in from of your target audience and how you are going to provide them with everything they need to know, like and trust you so that they will then be comfortable buying from you.

Your plan

Your plan turns your strategy into actions. Those actions are about creating content appropriate to your target audience for the stage of the process they are at and then getting that content in front of your audience through the appropriate media. Tweets with an engaging and relevant image for twitter users. Facebook or LinkedIn posts with an image and link. An e-mail with an intriguing or provocative headline and good opening copy to capture the reader’s interest. It could be one of many formats.

Your plan should map out your engagements with your audience and the calls to action you want them to take. It might be a piece of content to address a specific query or challenge, such as ‘how easy is this product to use’ – perhaps addressed with some examples, screen shots or – even better – a short ‘how to’ video. Or it might be a simple engagement piece to demonstrate the value to bring to your audience be giving them some useful hints, tips or information.

Where does LinkedIn fit in your strategy

LinkedIn should form part of the core strategy of every business. To be successful in business you need to demonstrate your credibility – you expert authority – in what you do. Your LinkedIn profile enables you to do that, showcasing what you do through documents, sideshows and videos on your profile. Through posts on the Pulse publishing platform, and from contributions to groups and other peoples posts. It also enables you to gather the all-important social proof critical to developing trust and rapport with your target market through recommendations that have to be input by the recommender themselves. They can’t be faked.

So you need a powerful personal profile to build that credibility.

And there’s more….

if you are selling to other businesses LinkedIn should be your target acquisition tool of choice.

With 400+ million profiles worldwide and over 50% of all professionals having a profile, your target business client is almost certain to be on LinkedIn. With advanced search tools it’s easy to find them by industry, job title, company, interest or location. With a powerful profile of your own, connection and engagement can be easily achieved. It’s what I call the LinkedIn Business Advantage. It’s targeted marketing that sticks!

 

Find out more about the LinkedIn Business Advantage by clicking on the link or the image.

 

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