3 Technologies That Will Transform Your Business Marketing by 2020

The year 2020 was once the ideal setting for futuristic sci-fi movies, but now it’s just around the corner. As the world gets closer to a new era, people have to brace themselves for the changes technology is going to effect on the business world. In fact, your customers will often drive technology you adopt in your business.

Technology is the vehicle businesses use to understand customer pain points and expectations in a bid to create meaningful relationships that build customer loyalty. If your company can genuinely nail customer experience, you’ll realize that your younger consumers are more brand loyal than all other generations. All this requires your IT department to power these top three technologies for next-generation customer experience.

  1. Cloud Computing

Advanced security capabilities today at application, network, and infrastructure levels make cloud infrastructure more secure than your on-premises apps. In fact, 80% of IT budgets are committed to cloud solutions. Cloud computing offers you more visibility into what your users are doing.

Regarding marketing, cloud computing helps improve customer service across different channels. Additionally, cloud computing also provides an easy way of collecting business analytics, so marketing teams understand the purchasing decision-making process.

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) 

AI is now in just about everything you do. You check the weather reports via Google Home, start your car, and the Waze app predicts the fastest route to the office, and you shop on Amazon relying on product recommendations based on your past purchases. At the end of the day, Netflix suggests what you should be watching next.

AI is becoming a standard in customer expectations, in place of just offering a convenience, which is why IT leaders are making it a top priority. Debates like Bamboo vs TeamCity are driving AI use cases all over the business world. In fact, prepare yourself for an era where AI will automatically recommend products to your customers based on preferences.

Fortunately, you can use AI-powered content curation technology to engage your web visitors by showing content that’s relevant to them. Also, a business that nails voice search in future SEO strategies will gain lots of organic traffic. This is thanks to increased search traffic driven by major players like Apple, Amazon, and Google.

  1. Customer-Centric Mobile Technology

The business world today can be explained by a single phrase “mobile first.” This is why you will rarely find a customer’s first interaction with a business taking place outside of the mobile or the web. In fact, more than 50% of consumers are more than ready to switch from brands that do not provide easy to use mobile experiences.

Plus, mobile phones have become productivity tools. You can run your business via a telephone. Moreover, both your employees and customers have higher expectations from their mobile experiences in regards to user experience, performance, and accessibility to real-time data.

Your customers and employees want to see the hottest leads in real time, get real-time notifications, and gain the ability to work on docs and submit approvals without opening a computer. These are not just initial questions; they are expectations! Even more reason why your business should offer fully functional apps that are focused on the user and delivering a truly engaging experience.

Start Now

It’s up to businesses and IT to offer end users powerful cloud computing, AI, and customer-centered technology. To deliver, you need to prioritize your resources and offload some of the burden by shifting to a low-code, cloud-based platform. This will make your work easier while serving your employees and customers with a more predictive and personalized experience that meets heightened expectations.

Featured on the 302 Temp Redirect show

Thanks to Glenn Marvin of Konnector who interviewed me on his 302 Temporary Redirect Show (that’s a geek joke – a website has a 302 error code…. ).

 

5 key activities for B2B Marketing

During the show Glenn asked me what my “always on” fundamental B2B marketing activities are.  If you want to listen it’s at 18:25 through to 20:24.

  1. Database of clients, suspects and prospects.  Regularly updated.
  2. Regular communications to your database
  3. Trade shows and local in person meetups
  4. LinkedIn to recognise the names of people in your industry – and LinkedIn Sales Navigator
  5. Speaking at conferences, events and being a PR spokesperson for your trade magazine.
Blair Enns, Author, Pricing creativity

Hacking the Value Conversation

 

Blair Enns, Author of Pricing Creativity Book

Blair Enns, Author of Pricing Creativity Book

By Blair Enns, Pricing Creativity Webinar Host – May 2018, details here.

The value conversation is where value pricing theory goes to die. The difficulty in mastering this conversation is what causes most people to give up on value-based pricing completely and revert back to selling time and materials. It needn’t be so difficult, though.

There’s a hack to the value conversation that a successful former client of mine pointed out after reading the manuscript of Pricing Creativity: A Guide to Profit Beyond the Billable Hour. When he explained it to me over dinner I thought, “This is brilliant. I should put it in the book.” In the end, I didn’t include the hack because I feel strongly that mastering the value conversation is one of the most valuable skills in all of business – a skill that can transform careers and businesses. So, while encouraging you to learn that skill, I’ll now give you the shortcut. But first, some context.

Perhaps the Most Valuable Skill in Business

There are three tiers of financial success in a creative firm that I can correlate to pricing strategies. The lowest tier of true financial success is occupied by the efficient cost-based pricers – those firms that bill as many of the available hours as possible. An efficient firm might bill around $200k in adjusted gross income (AGI) per full-time equivalent employee (FTE), whereas the average cost-based firm might bill around $140k in AGI per FTE.

The next tier of success is where you find the value-based pricers – those who charge based on the value to the client and not based on their costs or inputs of time and materials. These firms escape the limits imposed by the pursuit of efficiencies, moving their AGI/FTE number north of $200k, into $250k and maybe even the $300k range.

The very highest tier of financial success, however, is reserved for those value-based pricers who master the value conversation. These firms can push into the $400k range and beyond, with no real theoretical limit. A well-facilitated value conversation not only has a profound effect on the income of the firm, it creates more value for the client and it is a thing of beauty to behold. I consider it to be one of the most valuable – perhaps the most valuable – skill in all of business.

The Value Conversation Framework

Here’s the simple four-step framework for facilitating the value conversation:

  1. Confirm the client’s desired future state (What do you want?)
  2. Agree on the metrics of success (How will we know we have achieved these things?)
  3. Uncover the value that would be created by hitting these metrics (What’s this worth?)
  4. Offer pricing guidance (I’m going to bring you a range of solutions in the $Y to $X range.)

There’s lots of nuance around the “how” of each of the four steps above, but it’s really that straightforward. You’ll notice that by the end of the value conversation you haven’t even begun to think about solutions. Your entire focus is on the client: what they want, how you’ll measure their success, how much value you might create for them, and finally, some initial ideas on what you might charge for helping to create such value. After this conversation, you retreat to think about costs and solutions, building and pricing your proposal accordingly, while following the rules set out in Pricing Creativity.

The Reality: Few Get There

So, why are there so few firms mastering what seems like a simple conversation and moving to the highest tier of financial success?

The reasons are many:

  • This mastery is a sales skill and not a pricing skill
  • It requires you to be selling from the expert practitioner position and not the vendor position
  • It’s tactical knowledge acquired from doing, not implicit knowledge acquired from reading or listening
  • It requires you to be talking to client-side executives charged with value creation and not middle managers charged with managing a project or budget
  • The first few conversations can be awkward, and few push through the awkwardness to get to the incredible riches on the other side

All of these reasons and more make a value conversation hack so valuable. So here it is…

The Hack

Early in Pricing Creativity, I tell the story of the first time I saw a one-page proposal based on value rather than inputs. It was the principal of that firm that I found myself having dinner with while the book was in pre-production. Commenting on the manuscript he said, “You left out my hack!” What did he mean, I asked? He replied that he never mastered the value conversation. (Chapter 9: Master the Value Conversation – to me, perhaps the most important chapter in the book.)

Instead, early on in the sale – much earlier than I would advocate – he would put a one-page proposal on the table with three options. But he didn’t view this proposal as the final one. In fact, he said that the initial proposal was never the final one. It was only there to serve as a catalyst for discussion over what the client really valued. The hack, according to my client, was to put at the bottom of each option, “Choose this option if X is important to you.” X might be speed to market, customer service, low risk, knowledge transfer or anything else. He would then ask the client, “Which one of these options is the most appealing to you?” The client would point to one, and in doing so, reveal what he most valued. This would direct the conversation. “Ahhh, so educating your team as we develop the product (or programme) is something important to you?”

In this way, the early proposal led to a more targeted value conversation in which the client and the firm could talk through specific value drivers that the client had revealed by simply pointing to an option, all while framed by the context of the initial prices. The discussion would result in the firm coming back with another proposal more specifically targeted to what the client most valued.

To Hack or To Hold Firm?

As someone who values rule-breaking as much as I do rule-making, I love this hack while I simultaneously worry about sharing it with you. There is no substitute for mastering the value conversation. I’ll repeat that I believe it might be the most valuable skill in all of business, but I also know that the size of the gap between those who understand value pricing and those who truly implement it is problematically large, especially in the creative professions.

As I craft this parting advice I find myself wondering what I would do if I were in your shoes (Win Without Pitching is a productised service business – we don’t value price the way a customised service firm like yours should) and I don’t think I would deviate from proper sales process and a good value conversation. But not all value conversations are good and easy, especially in the beginning. And like all good hacks, I would keep this in my back pocket for those situations where I saw that an elegant theory was clashing with my harsh reality.

So use at your discretion. If you do try it, I’d be interested in hearing how you make out.

Pricing Creativity Webinar Registration Details

Pricing Creativity Webinar Registration Details

 

What the F(acebook)?!

WTF? That’s likely a thought running through many people’s minds as they hear that Facebook has just announced one of the biggest changes to the social media platform – ever.

With over 2.13 billion active users each month, there’s no doubt that this news has made a groundbreaking difference in the way that people and businesses use Facebook.

What’s the big news and what can we do about it? Below, we uncover what these changes are, how they will impact the way businesses use Facebook, and give suggestions on how you can adapt your Facebook strategy by creating meaningful content.

We will also share details of a seminar on how to stay up to date with the most popular social media platforms and their ever-changing algorithms.

So what’s changed on Facebook?

Algorithms, that’s what. Complex algorithms are what determines your unique experience on Facebook. Your news feed is catered specifically to you – based on what you like, how you interact and even search history from outside of Facebook.

When it comes to using Facebook for business, many strive to create content that resonates with their audience. Competitions, giveaways, new products – these are all important business updates that are shared on Facebook everyday. Techcrunch reports that there are over 50 million small businesses that use Facebook’s Pages app. For many companies, Facebook is one of their key business assets.

However, Facebook has made some drastic changes that will affect business pages on the platform. On January 11th, 2018, Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook announced algorithm changes that may indicate the start of what Michael Stelzner calls a “Facebook apocalypse”:

  • Personal posts from friends and family will have preferences over posts from groups or pages in your news feed
  • Videos will get less views – this is because video is content consumed passively
  • Focus will be on meaningful social interactions, so comments will be valued more than likes
  • Links to external pages will get less visibility

Source: https://blog.bufferapp.com/facebook-algorithm

As you can see, this is possibly one of the biggest changes that Facebook has ever made to the platform. Zuckerberg himself has even stated that he expects the market price will drop due to these changes. On the one hand, it appears that these changes are purely to improve user experience. But, it can also be debated that these changes are a move to encourage more businesses to turn to paid Facebook advertising to get the traffic they want. And, it’s highly anticipated that Facebook advertising costs will increase following the surge in advertising campaigns.

What does this mean for businesses?

These algorithm changes will start with your news feed, but this is only the beginning. Likely, it will be an update rolled out across all Facebook products.

For businesses, there are a few changes that will invariably happen – something to take into consideration when adapting your marketing strategy to adopt this algorithm change.

For pages that thrive on short, viral videos (think LADbible), they’re likely to be affected the most. Bloggers will also see a hit in organic reach, as will pages that exist purely to share memes, quotes and ‘tag-worthy’ photos.

How to create meaningful content on Facebook

These changes all hold one key goal in mind: to promote meaningful interactions. It’s more than just getting your audience to tag their friends or liking a picture. Meaningful, by Facebook terms, involves interacting with friends, family and other users in insightful conversations.

Here is what will no longer work:

  • Asking people to comment
  • Short text posts
  • Quote graphics
  • Videos

Basically, posts that exist purely to gather likes will be phased out from your news feed.

What can you do to create meaningful content?

  • See first – prompt your audience to change their news feed preferences to see your page’s content first
  • Post less frequently, but with more relevant content
  • Start discussions on your posts that encourage your audience to talk to one another
  • Use Facebook Live to reveal exciting updates and news
  • Adopt a Facebook advertising strategy

This all seems fairly straightforward, but as Facebook continues to make these changes to more than just your news feed, it will be more important than ever to understand these each and every one of these variables that will be affected.

Ultimately, your audience on Facebook isn’t yours – it’s purely borrowed from Facebook. And now that Facebook has set the ball rolling, who is to say other social platforms such as Instagram and Twitter won’t follow suit?

Stay up to date with social media changes

We have a seminar coming up that will cover Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even Snapchat. There will be an insightful analysis on the algorithms that prioritise content, and what you can do to stay ahead of the crowd when it comes to creating meaningful content.

Click the button below to secure a ticket.

Event info:
WTF Happened to your Social Media Traffic?

Date: Wednesday 18th April, 2018, 7:30am – 9am
Where: Ponsonby Community Centre, Glue Pot room – 20 Ponsonby Terrace
Cost: $30

BOOK NOW
 

Business Accelerators in New Zealand

In doing market validation research for a client, we researched the Business Accelerators who are best known in New Zealand.  Since I couldn’t find a place where they are all listed, I thought I’d create one.  [We did this before for Youth Entrepreneur Organisations in New Zealand].

The Mums Garage group have pulled together a pretty comprehensive “Startup Ecosystem Map” list which goes from pre-seed investment upwards including regional connections – highly recommend as they encourage you to submit additional resources not yet on the list.

Check out these as a starting point for your own individual needs.  And please use the comments to add others to the list.
local directories

Boost Your Business with Local Directories

Don’t let your business get lost in the crowd

Yellow pages directoriesIt’s that time of the year again where we remind you about the benefits of good ol’ directories! Before the internet, we relied on finding services through the big yellow brick of a book we received each year. Thanks to the world wide web, we now find them stuffed under uneven table legs or as a booster seat. Today we find what we’re looking for with a click of a button. Does your business stand out?

In 2016, Google took away the right-hand sidebar where the paid adverts were displayed. Now the paid posts soar straight to the top, making it a tough battle for smaller companies to get noticed. Directories can be a cost-effective way to help get found via search engines. Being active on directories increases the chances of your business getting noticed.

Why updating your information is vital

yelp directoriesIt is important to keep your business updated in directories. If your business has gone through a recent change and you didn’t update your information, you could lose a lot of potential customers!

Never forget to NAP, this means not sleeping on the details. Make sure your Name, Address and Phone data is accurate and up to date. Location and accessibility are two of the most important factors when it comes to customers. If your telephone number is an old one and a customer can’t get through to you, they’re unlikely to try again. Likewise, if you were to put your address as a small town in South America, a New Zealand customer wouldn’t follow up with your business!

Pro tip: Check the directories your company is listed in and confirm your details are correct. Some websites take their information from others; resulting in a cycle of incorrect information.

Updated List of Directories*

This year, we bring you an even bigger list of potential directories your business may be found in. Take a look to see where your business is listed and where it isn’t.

It’s the only thing standing in between you and your next big client.

NB: Not all directories will apply to every type of business, some are more specific to particular fields. (eg. Tripadvisor will benefit restaurants and hotels over a telecommunications company.)

 

*The directories list has been ranked by domain authority, with the highest ranking at the top (accurate as of July 2018).

 

New Zealand Directories

 

RateBeer – Directory of beers, breweries, bars and stores.
Express Business Directory – Business directory.
Yellowpages NZ – Search for anything in NZ .
Enroll Business – Browse through local businesses and services of New Zealand.
MyHuckleBerry – Business directory.
Finda – Find anything in NZ.
Info News – Directory connected with membership and news.
Wises – Services based off an interactive map.
Hotfrog – A site where people register their businesses for free.
WowCity – Lots of different listings including hotels, real estate, stores, services and health. Get all this information by selecting a city.
Lawlink – Connect and share with attorneys around the world.
Neighbourly – The easiest way to keep up with everything in your neighbourhood.
Localist – Search local areas for shopping, restaurants, things to do, popular services and more.
NZPages – Collection of sites of all kinds and purposes.
NZ Search – New Zealand businesses and sights.
Localist – Local and authentic Kiwi businesses.
Zoomin – Businesses broken down by New Zealand city.
Zenbu – Collaboratively edited directory of businesses and places that help you find anything, anywhere.
ZipLeaf – Online business directory.
PathLegal – Directory for lawyers.
BusinessMe – New Zealand business directory.
Cylex – Business directory of New Zealand.
Fyple – Efficiently sorted local businesses and services.
Local Store – Local stores with updated listings.
My Wedding Guide – Everything about weddings.
RankedByReview – Find local businesses with the best reputation.
MySheriff – Does all the work in finding the best service for you.
LocalBD – A local business directory.
Search Local – Site with all kinds of companies and businesses listed.
New Zealand Websites – New Zealand business websites.
NZ Localizer – A directory with many New Zealand companies.
Directory NZ – A list sorted by category of need.
New Zealand Search – Directory of websites, a search engine and New Zealand articles.
Homeimprovement2day – New Zealand companies for home improvement.
99Nearby – The latest listings of local businesses.
The Local Business Network – Free listing of your business and a paid versions with enhanced SEO.
OpenDi – Business directory.
Directory Pages – Local directory with a premium category option.
NZ Blue Page – Business list based on city and map.
NZ Business List – Business listing by category and city.
Opening Hours – Local businesses and their hours of operation.

 

 

International Directories

 

Google+ – Google’s social media platform.
LaCartes – Find anything. From local activities to exotic destinations. Worldwide site.
Maps Connect – Add or update your company details to Apple Maps so customers can find you.
Yelp – Directory of a wide range of services and businesses. Worldwide.
Issuu – Articles about businesses and services all around the world.
Foursquare – Find best places to eat, drink, shop or visit.
Community Walk – Create a walk in a neighborhood and find businesses nearby.
BrownBook – Global business listing database.
Tupalo – Find the best spots in your surroundings and see what other people think about it.
2FL – Local businesses worldwide.
Yello Yello – Global business directory. Helpful to find out what’s going on in your city.
Spoke – Business information.
Sales Spider – Site with multiple purposes. Lots of reviews and products but also business directory. Has a community on site.
Kompass – Businesses worldwide (requires tax/vat number).
TripAdvisor – For things to do on your trips. Claim your business at https://www.tripadvisor.co.nz/Owners.
Zee Maps – Create and publish maps of business lists.
CallUpContact – A directory based on maps
Link Centre – Internet directory and search engine.
Viesearch – Find the most popular businesses based on 5 star ratings.
Cybo – Business directory with a wide range of categories.
Where2go – Business directory.
Find Us Here – Global business directory.
Factual – Location data company.
Lekkoo – Give a street name and find anything around there.
Epage – Free classified ads and business options.
iGlobal – A global community of businesses, professionals and events.
So Much – A link directory without ads.
Expatriates – Classified ads for expatriates.
Top Design Firms – Reviews and rankings of top web design firms, ecommerce development, graphic designers and design agencies around the world.
CompanyFM – Create a page to promote your company and brand, showcase your product or service, expose your content, build customer loyalty, or just be found.
Wand – Worldwide directory of businesses.
Place Reference – Place yourself on a map and see what’s around you (with the list and streetview).
BeanHunter  – For finding the best cafes and coffees in various cities.
Fonolist – Find businesses, events, and reviews. Narrow it down by the country and city you’re looking at.
Local Wall – Free classifieds and advertisements wordwide.
Places Map – World places map directory.
Nettica – Online directory of products and services worldwide.
College Zoom – College directory with reviews and achievements.

Customer Feedback and Reviews template email

I got this question from Quora and here’s the answer I submitted.

How can e-commerce companies encourage customers to submit reviews?

There are ethical methods and less ethical methods of getting client testimonials for ecommerce.

A bribe is not ethical – but people do it. Give us a review and get a coupon / discount / freebie.

Tools for encouraging reviews

There are paid services that encourage customers to submit reviews, or you can set up an automation inside your ecommerce shop (integrating with AgileCRM, MailChimp, TrustPilot or similar).

My preference is this: two weeks after the purchase, set up an automation in your email sending out a message. Sample messages are below.

 

Another thing you can do is buy a reviews service – SellerLabs is a good one for Amazon sellers. Learn more about this on eCommerceFuel | The Private Community for 6 & 7 Figure Stores

The links are very important. The three below are for a client and setting these up correctly is key. Get in touch if you’d like this set up for your shop.

Note that at the time of writing, Facebook’s terms of service expressly forbid asking for comments, reviews or tagging friends in exchange for free product.

Amazon also forbids offering free or discounted product in exchange for reviews.

Bonus:

Customer Feedback Email templates

Thank you for buying XYZ PRODUCT – we hope it’s arrived and everything is in order. Your experience is very important to us and we learn a lot from your feedback. Please tell us how we did by leaving feedback on one of the links below.

Google Review | Facebook Review

Thanks very much

And if you are a services company….

Your experience with XYZ SERVICE is very important to us and we learn how to improve our service from your feedback. Please tell us how we did on your recent job. We would love to hear your feedback.

Can you take a few moments to follow one of the links below and give us a review:

Blowing our Creative Agency Secrets trumpet

I’m inordinately proud of my team.  This is what they’ve achieved for our brand when you search for creative agency Auckland.

website traffic drop

“Why is my website traffic dropping?”

For any business using its website as a lead generation tool, traffic is essential. The more visitors you get, the more chances you have to make your product or service known, gain connections and promote your brand. This is why an unexpected decline in organic traffic is a terrifying idea, as it might result in fewer business opportunities and less income.

Whether it’s a technical problem, a new Google algorithm implementation or lack of content optimisation, there are several possible motives why your company’s website traffic numbers have been sinking lately.

For example, older websites have higher risks of being penalised by Google’s algorithm updates because of potential coding errors and obsolete practices still applied to some of the pages. That ‘keyword stuffed’ article you wrote in 2010 that brought a lot of traffic seemed like a good idea at the time. Now, it is definitely hurting your website on an apocalyptic scale.

Content is (a mad) king

We recently had a meeting with a group of young entrepreneurs who run MI6-HQ.com, a fansite dedicated to Bond, James Bond. (cue the music)

They expressed their concern with the MI6-HQ website traffic dropping like a stone over the past months and wanted our help to:

  1. Assess the possible reasons for the decline in visits;
  2. Come up with a few creative ideas to solve the problem, like a marketing version of Q.

Even though they offer really good articles (many visitors had lots of nice things to say on their Facebook comments), their search engine rankings and organic reach keep decreasing. There are multiple marketers that repeatedly state just writing “epic content” will drive traffic to any website, period. Unfortunately, that’s not the truth.

Don’t get me wrong, I agree that good content is essential. But if you publish it in a flawed website, you’ll have your king residing in a crumbling castle. That inspires no recognition at all and the results are totally unpredictable.

Google has a license to kill your audience

Google holds more than 74% of the search engine market share worldwide. That’s why you either play by their rules or fall into the internet abyss (a.k.a. Not the first page on Google Search).

We believe part of the decline in the MI6-HQ search rankings is that their website has been running for over 20 years (!!!) and most of their ‘ancient’ content might not have been updated regularly. A quick search (on Google, of course) shows that MI6-HQ.com has 15,500 indexed pages. It’s probably really hard to keep tabs on all of them individually.

mi6-hq indexed pages on google

Optimising websites is not a one-size-fits-all process. When it comes to web content that is already published, you have the option to improve or kill pages forever. In this specific case, deleting some of the older articles might be an alternative. Having fewer discoverable pages to increase your website findability can sound very counterintuitive, but I assure you, it works wonders for some people. Learning to let go is necessary sometimes.

Analysing your website performance is a laborious but rewarding task

There’s a lot of work involved in optimising your website. You might even say it’s a never-ending task, depending on your level of perfectionism. Nowadays, the competition online is cutthroat, so any edge you have over your competitors is worth the effort.

According to research by Moz blog, more than 70% of searches result in a page one organic click. The rest is diluted from the second page onwards. This just shows how important it is to aim for the top place of the search engine rankings.