small business advertisingMost small business owners and entrepreneurs make the same fundamental mistake when they put their hard earned money into advertising. The reason why is obvious, but little understood.  They simply copy the big end of town and do what big companies do because they think that’s how to advertise successfully. After all, aren’t those companies successful?

Unfortunately, it’s the last thing a small business should ever do.  In fact, you should never do it.  Play that game and you could wind up working for less than the average wage.  A slave in your own business because your advertising is sending you broke.

You know the type of advertising I’m talking about…a big logo at the top, boring feature after boring feature and a big fat phone number at the end…sound familiar? And no sign of a sales message. This type of ad does not ask the reader to buy or do anything! What is the point of that?

And you have to have deep pockets a.k.a. a big budget to play the game of image advertising – placing ads regularly, over a long period of time.  Major companies spend millions of dollars promoting their brand hoping that when you are out and about in the marketplace, about to make a purchase, they will come to mind. Even if you do happen to buy their product they will have no idea what advertisement you saw or even if you saw it at all.

As a small business owner, you simply can’t afford to do that. And anyway, your “brand” is not important to your customer.  They are only interested in what your product or service will “do” for them. So that’s the good news. You don’t have to waste your time or money building your brand.

Fortunately, there is a better way to bring in all the customers you can handle and it’s called direct response marketing.

Once you understand the difference between brand advertising and direct response marketing – you will never make that mistake again.

So why do I think direct response is the champion? Simply because it puts you in the driver’s seat.  Using direct response you actually give your customer instructions on what you want them to do. Specifically, how to “respond” to you so you get their contact details. Which means instead of hoping (and remember, hope is not a strategy) people will come to you – you can go to them.  Again and again and again so that you create an ongoing relationship. It also means you can concentrate on building your customer list so you never have to worry about where your next sale is coming from.

It’s a proven fact but often overlooked.  It’s easier (and cheaper) to make a sale to an existing customer than to find a new one. Design your marketing funnel around meeting your customers’ needs so you can cross-sell them related products or services and up-sell them more of what they just bought – they’ll love you for it.

So take my advice and spend your marketing dollars on creating direct response campaigns designed to attract and retain your ideal customers and leave that image stuff to the big spenders.

Pleasing other people—who could find fault with that? Isn’t it a good thing to consider the needs of others, to be gracious, to be nice, to be a people pleaser? By all means! But for many, the desire to please becomes an addictive need to please others, even at the expense of their own health and happiness. It takes a toll on health, relationships and quality of life, and it drowns out the inner voice that may be trying to protect us from overdoing it. Or getting what we want.

And if you’re a business owner all this adds up to “As a people pleaser, you feel controlled by your need to please others and addicted to their approval,” writes Harriet B. Braiker, Ph.D., in The Disease to Please. “At the same time, you feel out of control over the pressures and demands on your life that these needs have created.”

Take this quiz to see whether you can benefit from learning to say no to others more often—and yes to yourself.

  1. I put others’ needs before my own, even when the cost to me and my own happiness is great.
  2. If someone needs my help, I can’t say no. In fact, I often find it difficult to say no. And when I do, I feel guilty.
  3. To avoid reactions I’m afraid of, I often try to be who others want me to be, to agree with them, to fit in.
  4. I keep my own needs and problems to myself; I don’t want to burden others with them.
  5. It’s my job to make sure everyone else is happy.
  6. I always have a smile on my face and an upbeat attitude, even if I feel sad or angry or hurt.
  7. I go out of my way to avoid conflict and confrontation; it’s better just to keep the peace.
  8. I am often on the go, rushing to get things done. When I take a moment for myself, I feel selfish, indulgent and guilty.
  9. I should always be nice and never hurt others’ feelings.
  10. I’ll do whatever it takes to get someone to stop being mad at me.
  11. I hold back from saying what I really think or from asking for what I want if I think someone will be upset with me for it.
  12. I want everyone to like me…all the time.
  13. I feel like a failure if I’ve displeased anyone.
  14. If I don’t make others happy, I worry that I’ll be alone and unloved forever.
  15. I will change my behavior, at my own expense, to make others happy.
  16. I spend a lot of time doing things for others, but almost never ask anyone to do things for me
  17. If I ask people for help and they agree, I’m sure they must be giving out of obligation; if they really wanted to help, they would have offered without my asking.
  18. It’s difficult for me to express my feelings when they are different from someone I’m close to.

The motivations for being a people pleaser are varied and usually quite unconscious. Transforming these patterns requires that we understand our pleasing behaviors and motivations and heal the childhood wounds that usually underlie people pleasing. If you answered True more often than False, you may need support in saying Yes to yourself!

It’s really a matter of setting healthy boundaries. Please don’t hesitate to book a complimentary session on the phone with me if you would like to explore how to recover from the Disease to Please.

If you’ve been in business for a while your marketing message has most likely changed as your business changed. And as your business grows, it can be easy to let your marketing run on autopilot which means it can get out of control so that your marketing message no longer reflects your brand. This can leave your prospects feeling confused. Confusion leads to apathy and a decline in readers, subscribers and affect your conversion to sales.

The good news is that a few key steps can help you bring the shine and consistency back to your marketing message.

Step 1: Review Your Calls to Action

Generally there is a call to action on every piece of content that you publish. It may be as simple as a “read more” link. Or it may be a more advanced statement designed to motivate a purchase. Review your calls to action. Look for:

Consistency – Is the voice and message consistent? If not, review the calls to action that are most effective and repeat the language. Go through your content and change the call to action. Re-publish some of the relevant pieces and test the results.

Keywords – Are you using the same keywords throughout? Are you using keywords that are timely and relevant? Do a bit of keyword research right now and identify the words you should be using to drive traffic and to capture your prospect’s attention.

Broken Links – Make sure all the links in your calls to action are working and effectively linking to the appropriate page.

Step 2: Review Your Headlines

Headlines not only provide a means to capture attention, they also help send a message to your prospects. They help establish your voice. Follow the same steps for your headlines as you just followed for your calls to action. Also review the headlines that garner the most attention and mirror that language and voice as you tweak your headlines.

Step 3: Review Your Subject Lines

Your email marketing is only as good as the subject lines that work and get your readers to open your emails. Review your open rates and click-through rates to see which were most effective and which were the biggest duds. Adjust your subject lines going forward based on the trends and insights garnered by this review.

Step 4: Identify Your Successes

Review the sales pages and content that is most successful in your business. What do those pages have in common? Is the message and voice similar? Is the message on brand? Can this voice and message be communicated throughout the rest of your website and marketing materials?

Step 5: Going Forward

Identify your message. Who are you, what are you about and what do you have to offer your customers and prospects? Ideally, you already know what your marketing message is, but maybe it has changed as your business has changed.

Identify your current marketing message and create a content plan that embraces that message. Also review your website and make sure that it consistently communicates your brand and your marketing message. Identify places where you can make changes and update your site to match your marketing message and goals.

It’s not unusual for a marketing message to become obscured or lost as a business grows. Stop. Assess and evaluate. What do you want to say and how can you update your existing marketing to reflect a consistent and powerful message?

Perhaps it’s time to up level your brand and align your marketing message. Clarity on the promise you make is extremely important – brands and promises aren’t just for the big companies. If you want the brand power of a big company with the focus of your small business, develop your brand today with me. https://puym.com.au/business-branding/

Money is such an amazing resource – it’s what keeps our businesses afloat, after all.

Unfortunately, so many of us can start to lose our grip on our finances, until things get so out of hand that money starts to be a negative influence on our lives and our businesses.

If you avoid looking at your bank account because you’re not sure what you’ll find if you open it up or you’re often having arguments about money with your loved ones, you might be falling into the category of someone who is being dragged down by money. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, there are ways to get on top of your finances again!

Know what you owe

Be aware of all the payments you need to make, both in your business and personally. Just being aware of what’s coming up and what’s being taken out of your accounts means that you won’t be taken by surprise.

Get out of your debt

It’s easier said than done, but getting out of debt is the only thing that will help you to move forward to financial freedom. Don’t keep treading water, make some headway and pay back as much as you can, as soon as you can.

Check in regularly

Don’t wait until the end of the financial year or even the end of each month to balance your budget. Check in every week to make sure everything is accounted for and everything is correct. Don’t let yourself be open to nasty surprises down the track.

Set a bold money goal

Know what you want your money to achieve and know where you want you and your business to be by a certain point in the future. Write it down and work towards it. Without goals, our money can go unchecked so make sure you’re always working toward a goal either in your business or your personal life.

Most of all, know what makes you tick when it comes to money …

At the end of the day, it’s your attitude towards money that will define the role it plays in your life and in your business. Everyone has a different set of Sacred Money Archetypes that shape their attitudes towards money, almost like a money code that is waiting to be cracked open!

It can be difficult to recognise these Sacred Money Archetypes within ourselves, but that’s where I can help you to achieve a Money Breakthrough. Together, we can get down to the nitty gritty of what is holding us back when it comes to our finances and find a way to make money positive again.

If you’d like to know more about the Mind Over Money workshop or just find out more about how money can be a great resource for us all, get in touch at https://powerupyourmarketing.com/money-breakthrough-coaching/

Are you asking your clients why they use you?

Many of us plod along in our businesses happily doing things the way we’ve always done them. When everything is ticking along nicely, it’s easy to forget to ask our clients why they’re really choosing us over our competition.

What’s the point in asking?

It’s time to get past any hang-ups you have about asking for feedback. Any awkwardness needs to be thrown out the window because asking for your client’s opinion is priceless and can help you to work on every area of your business.

Know what’s working (and what’s not)

The biggest advantage of asking for feedback from your clients is the simple fact that you can find out what aspects of your services you are doing well and where you’re falling short. It means that you can gain insight into your point of difference: why it is that your clients are choosing to do business with you, instead of your competitors.

Make room for improvement

After you know what’s working, the next step is to zone in on what you could be doing better, and then do it. There is nothing worse than only listening to the good feedback and ignoring the less favourable comments. There’s no need to see it as a negative, just turn it into an opportunity to learn and get it right next time, so your clients keep coming back.

Give your clients a voice

Everyone likes to feel valued and when you provide some kind of method for your clients to voice their opinions about your services, you make them feel important – which they are! Take it to the next step and actually act on their feedback and they’ll know that they are an important part of your business.

How do you ask for feedback?

There are endless options for clients to provide feedback; surveys, feedback forms, live chats, phone calls, polls and face-to-face conversations are just the beginning. There are a few guidelines you should follow when you’re trying to get your client’s opinion, however:

Keep it simple – it’s the oldest trick in the book but that fact is that most of us have short attention spans and we don’t want to do any extra work. Keep your surveys short with 2 or 3 questions that can give clients the opportunity to answer as detailed as they like.

Make it clear – don’t hide away your feedback forms on an obscure page of your website or in the fine print of an email. Let your clients know that you value their input and make it obvious that you want them to be involved in improving your services.

Remember the personal touch – most people like to provide feedback in their own time and at their own pace through online platforms, but it is important to check in every now and then with a phone call or a face-to-face chat. Written feedback is extremely important but hearing the inflections and tones of someone’s voice can be invaluable to working out what they really mean and what they really want to see from your services.

At the end of the day, your clients are crucial in driving your business forward and knowing what they really think about your services is paramount when it comes to making sure they keep choosing you. If you’re not getting feedback from your clients, you’re missing out on an invaluable resource – start asking your clients what they really think, today!

Writing articles and re-purposing them is one of the highest payoff activities you can use in your marketing mix. Yet many business owners don’t take advantage of this relatively simple strategy and write articles consistently.

Why not?

The problem arises though when you feel you have exhausted your repertoire and begin to struggle for topics to write about. This approach certainly doesn’t help the creative juices flow so here’s a few tips that will keep you eagerly cranking out articles that your clients will not only want to read but they will want to share with their peers and colleagues.

Use a template

Templates simplify and speed up the process of writing articles. Find one that suits your purpose and work with that. For instance, the How-To article is a little different in structure from the informative article and is often used on websites and blogs as typically these articles are easy to read and teach a specific skill in a very clear way – all excellent points for effective web writing or article marketing.

Get into the mood

Writing articles can become a chore if you’re not in the mood. And it would be great if you could write when the mood strikes you but often you’ll have a deadline to meet so knowing how to create the mood will serve you well.

Where and when you write articles and how you are feeling at the time will be reflected in the words that flow or don’t! So, set yourself up for success. Perhaps it’s a walk or meditation or maybe a workout at the gym before you commence. Music soft or loud or complete silence? A cold glass of water or a hot tea or coffee? Find whatever works for you and build that into your article writing routine.

Get clear about your audience

Remember, you’re not writing articles for everyone! Who is your ideal client/audience? Write articles for them. Better still, picture a specific individual within that audience and imagine you’re having a conversation or explaining your topic to them. This will enable you to zero in and the words will flow more easily.

Get clear about your topic

Now that you know exactly who you are writing to. What is it you want to share with them? What do you want them to know or do as a result of what you share?

This will help you get clear about your topic which will in turn make sure your content delivers relevant and interesting information your clients will want to read.

Identify several main themes and chunk down to smaller aspects of the topic

Say you’re a travel agent and your topic is Cruising

Think of all the different aspects you can and make a list. Imagine you are looking at a large framed painting and you write about what you see. For instance, it could be a painting of an ocean cruise ship leaving port.

Now imagine looking at each aspect of that painting and creating smaller frames within the larger scene and write articles about them.  This could be the ship itself, the on board activities, the wharf and surrounds, the luggage, the passengers, the crew, the food, mountains or buildings in the background and so on.

Once you’ve exhausted this you can pick another topic and repeat the process.

If you take this approach you will never run out of interesting articles your clients want to read.

 

When it comes to your products or services you are the salesperson and the one who knows them best. It can be easy for you to see all the benefits but for your clients, without all the valuable background knowledge, it can be difficult to see why they should choose you.

Imagine, for a moment, that you walk into a furniture store, ready to find a lounge for your family. The salesperson starts their spiel, telling you all about the leather used, the cushioning material, the dimensions and modular options. This is all very important information, but now, you’re overwhelmed and confused by all these features.

The salesperson has just opted to sell you on the features and, judging by the confused expression you’re now sporting, it probably wasn’t the wisest decision. Feature selling is exactly that – when someone tries to sell you something by just listing the features. The problem with this is that no one really cares about the features unless they have some kind of benefit.

So what?

If you’re stuck in the rut of just listing features to your clients, the best way to get out of that rut is to imagine your clients asking, “So what?”

What do you really mean? Why should they care? How will each specific feature benefit them? How can you help to solve a problem they have? Take the focus off yourself and the service and turn it back to the client.

This is called benefit or outcome selling – where you stop selling the client the features and you show them how your service or product will alter their life, for the better. It helps your client picture themselves using what you provide, so that they already feel like their problem is solved – all they have to do, is say yes.

When the lounge salesperson asks themselves “So what?” they start talking about how the leather has been treated so it’s easy to clean off simple spills – a life-saver for younger families. The lounge is spacious, so all your friends can fit together and it’s perfect for family movie night. The modular options also mean that no matter the space, your new lounge can adapt to the needs of your ever-changing home life.

At the end of the day, all of us want to save time and effort. We like to avoid hassle at all costs and spend our time doing enjoyable things. Keep that in mind when you’re selling to clients – no matter what your product or service is. Even if you have all the features under the sun, don’t get caught just rattling off a list! Remember to stop and ask, “So what?”

Continued…..

Business Goal planning and implementation

OK, we’ve established that setting smarter business goals is crucial to achieving success but it’s only half the story. Without timely and effective implementation, you don’t stand a chance of realising your business goals.

And just like that old joke “how do you eat an elephant?….one bite at a time” you need to break your goals down into manageable chunks so you stay focused and out of overwhelm.

So now that you have your annual goals clearly articulated and written down it’s time to break each of them down into quarterly and then monthly measurable milestones. This makes it easy to stay on track from week to week as you begin to take action.

Would an example help?

Say one of your annual goals is to increase your turnover by 40%.

Your quarterly goal is to track and measure if you’ve achieved at least 10% every quarter. Achieve that and you can’t fail!

The actions you take monthly/weekly/daily are ‘how’ you will reach your 10% increased turnover each quarter. Put another way, it’s the steps you need to take to achieve the goal.

Remember, weekly & daily goals are actually the actions/steps you take and not the business goals you’re working towards.

For instance, some of the actions you could include: –

• upsell/re-enroll ‘x’ current clients
• run a workshop at a specified dollar amount
• create a new program and enroll ‘x’ clients at a specified dollar amount
• increase your prices
• attend at least 2 targeted networking events each and every week
• post, promote or advertise on Social Media or other targeted media
• run email campaigns to your database
• publish a regular newsletter
• publish a regular blog/vlog
• produce a regular podcast series
• deliver presentations to your ideal customer audience to generate leads or sales
• schedule regular meetings with key referral partners

Regular consistent action

Find an implementation process that works for you. Ad-hoc activity will diminish results as well as drain your energy and enthusiasm.

I recommend you start each week by writing down those 1-2 major goals and perhaps 2-3 lesser goals referred to in (Part One). Including the steps you’ll take and by when over the coming week.

At the beginning of every day write down the goals/actions you’ll take TODAY and focus on those as far as you can progress them. On the following day review how you went with the previous day BEFORE you write your goals and actions for the current day. This means you do not fill out the whole week with your goals and actions which is often counterproductive. Rather, you do this day by day in the context of your weekly goals. So, you won’t get ahead of yourself and you will accomplish the important things more consistently.

Aim for Continual improvement

And guess what. You never get it done. There’s always more. And that’s a good thing. The main thing to remember is you need to build on results. What works. What doesn’t. Continue to set and reset goals and supporting actions based on experience.

Keep taking action, week in – week out and you’ll see how much more focused and productive you will be as you continue to kick goal after goal to create your best year ever.

right_wrongLet me start by saying I believe marketing is simply communicating your marketing messages to the market place. You’ll either be writing or speaking. So it’s totally within your control to get your marketing messages right and avoid common marketing mistakes.

Simple right? Then why is it that so many business owners struggle with their marketing?

It comes down to understanding the process of communication. And problems arise because many business owners make these 3 fundamental marketing mistakes.

Mistake #1 – Not market ready

Confusion reigns over the difference between selling and marketing. The reason is all too often business owners do not have their marketing basics in place so that they can communicate effectively.

So they get into selling mode far too soon and try to sell to unqualified leads or worse, they try to sell to everyone. This means they focus on the medium such as social media, print, radio and the like and not on the message. So they head off in all different directions and say all the wrong things to mostly the wrong people.

Far better to work on the fundamentals to create a strategic marketing plan from solid foundations. That way the message stays on topic and on target which means you will make many more sales.

Mistake # 2 – “Me too” Branding

Branding is about positioning yourself in the market place with a brand that sets you apart from all the rest. If you have a bland brand not only will you not stand out but you could even drive your ideal clients away because they can’t differentiate you from other potential service providers.

Your brand should answer the question “why would someone do business with you over anybody else”. Your brand should portray who you are and what you are a stand for as well as the experience clients can expect when they work with you. Your brand should also appeal to your ideal client and speak to their specific problem. It’s the combination of all these things that will connect you with the clients most willing to sign up for your services and pay you well for the results you deliver.

This segues nicely into…

Mistake #3 – No marketable packages

Many service providers keep their services broad and generic in an attempt to serve everybody which means they remain a generalist. It also means prospective clients can’t clearly see exactly how you can help them. Understand, prospects are looking for certainty and a confused mind never buys.

The answer is to start with the specific problem you solve for a specific group of people and get known as the go-to-expert at that. And remember, if your prospective clients don’t have a problem then they don’t need you or your services.

Next you streamline all your services into programs and packages at different price points around delivering your solution. Give clients options and you’ll get more yes’s.

Avoid these 3 common marketing mistakes and your marketing communications will be more effective and you will start cutting through the noise out there.

You are probably familiar with the saying “When the going gets tough…the tough get going” but have you applied that to the challenges in your business?

Are you prepared to do what it takes to be successful in your own business?

When it’s your turn to get up to bat (and let’s face it, that’s everyday if you’re running a business) are you prepared to play full out?

I think I was born with a ‘never give up attitude’ and I’ve had plenty of experiences to test my metal. So call me weird but I actually enjoy the chance to create breakthroughs and do what it takes.

If you are going to start and stay in business you’ll need to learn while you earn and stay in the game.

When I discovered that my unique brilliance is to energise powerful outcomes I felt totally elated and on path. I simply can’t sit on the bench. I am up and shouting encouragement and coaching to help those who are playing one of the hardest games of all – business ownership!

My top three business success tips are

1. Start with the end in mind

If you don’t know where you are going, how can you even begin your journey? Actually, the answer is you can begin but you may not end up where you want to be. This is one of the biggest mistakes business owners make when they head off with high hopes and a huge drive to succeed but no crystal clear destination in mind. To use a sporting analogy they often get injured and retire hurt (sometimes very hurt) or waste huge amounts of time and money going down the wrong path and often can’t find their way back.

Plus without a destination in mind how will you recognise the milestones along the way as well as know when you have arrived!

2. Create your plan to get you there

Now that you know where you are going and what constitutes success in your business you will need to create a plan to get you there.

A solid plan will keep you on course and moving towards your goal as well as alert you when you fall short of your desired outcomes.

I recommend a short and succinctly written plan that you can keep in view and not buried in your filing cabinet. A couple of pages that you can glance at weekly to keep you focused is ideal.

Your business plan will incorporate your detailed marketing plan, along with implementation actions and a scheduled timetable. This will keep you from making it up as you go along so you avoid ad-hoc activities. Especially the ever present tempting distraction of bright shiny objects.

3. Assess, adjust and stay in the game

Once you are in action and implementing, your role as the business owner is to keep reviewing results to determine what’s working and what’s not. The old saying ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ is worth remembering so you can detect and act on early warning signs.

This is simple when you have a plan and you test, track and measure your results. Once you have hard data you can decide whether to adjust, or ditch and replace any aspect of your plan to keep improving your results and move your business forward.

The only way to fail is to give up – so my advice is to stay in the game and do what it takes to be successful in your business. One breakthrough after another.