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first marketing, first sales, new business success

Who starts first – marketing or sales?

I wrote this email to a client today.  I have been working with them to set up and activate the things which will move them towards sales.  And I answer the Chicken and Egg question too…. read on

I think you have made significant progress in understanding three things which are essential to a successful new business development process.

  1. Deep focus on the target prospect companies and how to find individuals and make contact with them 
  2. Validation that there is a flow through activities from awareness, interest, desire, action (AIDA)…. e.g.XYZ is moving down that funnel well.  Also you have closed off the funnel for ABC and won’t waste time with him – he got returned to a ‘holding pattern’ in the newsletter mailing list.
  3. Recognition that we need to get to know more new people and to find ways of becoming relevant to them – from personal chat / email to newsletter subscription to face to face meeting.  
My guidance is being acted upon and you are seeing results which will bear fruit.  Also it’s forcing you to challenge presumptions and to run little experiments to see what the market responds to.  These both change over time and so I have learned never to guess.  But you knew that, didn’t you?

New Business is a Process

Creating a set-up that delivers a stream of leads for your business is how successful sales and marketing combine in a B2B organisation.   The underlying principles are the same for every firm yet the implementation and the diligent persistence of action is frequently what sets apart the successful from the rest.
first marketing, first sales, new business success

Who starts first? Marketing or Sales for new business success.

Can I help you?

If you’d like an appraisal of your current situation and recommendations for improvement which you can implement yourself, get in touch.

What we will do is

  • Review your recent new business success (or otherwise)
  • Assess the process
  • Research the possible bottle-necks, gaps and successful elements
  • Guide towards an improved method

Chicken or Egg; which comes first?

So to answer the question – it depends.  No, that’s not a cop-out.

Marketing comes first when the firm already has revenues and is looking to grow average size of sale, launch new products or new markets.

Sales comes first when the firm has a product and is not yet profitable enough to invest in intensive marketing or isn’t converting enquiries to revenue.

Trendosaur SaaS, retail find products

My SaaS has 7% conversion rate, how to improve?

My eCommerce SaaS has a conversion rate of 7% (2 new subscribers a day). I only get 1200 page hits a month though. How can I get more traffic?

The service is called Trendosaur. It helps online retailers make money by showing them the most profitable products to sell. My subscribers love the service. I’ve been running it for just over a year. The landing page is converting really well, but now it’s time to scale up the traffic numbers. Finding it really hard to get more than 40-50 page hits a day. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I know you should not rely solely on inbound traffic.  That’s a fool’s errand in today’s crowded market.trendosaur logo

Other marketers will suggest SEO, Content Marketing, Lead Funnels, Keyword search terms, LinkedIn Content, SEM, Social adverts, remarketing.  All good ideas and definitely part of the marketing mix needed – but they miss one fundamental comprehension of how modern marketing works.

Inbound and Outbound is the key strategy

When you take a product to market you need both awareness and targeted prospective buyers.

The joy of inbound is that if someone is looking, with good SEO, Keywords and Content Marketing you can appear in search results.  But for B2B markets, rarely is someone looking and the search volumes are so small, so niche that these volumes won’t deliver you the customer buyers in any great size or at scale.

I recommend  2 things

  1. Outbound Selling. Research a list of retailers who could use you and approach them direct. Direct sales is very powerful – it draws attention to you and then your content marketing / SEO will serve to bring them back to your site.
  2. Sponsor a retailers podcast like Ecommerce Fuel with a landing page / special sign up deal.

I used both of these to grow Rowperfect.co.uk/shop such that we now have a paid Christmas promotion page based on that list which is a great case study for this method.

How To Make Your Anniversary Promotion Campaigns Better

posters for anniversary campaigns

posters for anniversary campaigns

Celebrating an anniversary whether it be one, ten or a hundred years is certainly something to be proud of. You, as a company should almost be bursting at the seams to tell potential and existing customers the news.

Of course, for customers to get as excited as you, they expect something in return. That’s how the system works. They support you for x amount of years and at each anniversary expect a little appreciation. As Mark Twain astutely noted: “It is better to give than receive- especially advice” and following this I will offer my own – He’s right. And this is why businesses offer sales; they give a little in order to gain a lot. 

The question of course is how to celebrate and promote your anniversary. This can depend on a variety of facets such as the length of time of existence, the size of the company and the type of company.

It is for this reason I have come up with 4 simple categories.

4 types of anniversary campaigns

  1.  Sales & Giveaways
  2. Promotions & Interaction

  3. Reincarnation (Sticking with the religious theme)

  4. Internal Appreciation

1. Sales & Giveaways – Clever discounts and freebies

This one is relatively straightforward. Simply reducing the final bill for the customer will obviously get them interested – more bang for your buck has traditionally been the ‘go-to’ strategy. Giveaways however can work equally effective. The total bill may not reduce however the value perceived would still have increased. Better yet, it means more of your product is being consumed by your customers.

A common tip often acted upon is to link the number of years celebrated to the sale/gift. Whether it be 10% off if you’re celebrating your tenth anniversary or every 5th item is free for your fifth, linking the years to the deal instils that number into your customers brains, meaning they will be more likely to associate your business with success and longevity. As has been hugely publicised, customers who associate success and longevity with your business are more likely to purchase from you.

Remember, you can be clever about it – 40 years 40% off may be too much of a discount for some stores so be clever! 40 = XL in Roman numerals so have an XL sale, whether it be just a larger sale than usual or a sale focused on extra-large items, it will most likely prove cheaper than 40% off but have a similar effect.

2. Promotions & Interactions – Get the word out there

This deals with how your company reaches out to your customers and the general public. Obviously, if no one has heard that it’s your anniversary no one will be excited. This therefore is critical that it is done right. Larger companies may not have to worry about it and let word of mouth do the work. Smaller companies however have their own competitive advantage – personalization.

Personalized, handwritten notes prove effective time and time again. These interactions will obviously be critical to making your customers aware of your anniversary. Under interaction I have associated cut-cost ways to deliver value to your customer – tours. Customers are always interested in how their favorite good is actually made, so offer it! They aren’t expensive to run as attendees would actually prefer to see the business running as normal as possible and give your business greater exposure to the public..

3. Reincarnation – Bring back the past

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the reincarnation of old products and methods when companies celebrate birthdays or anniversaries so I won’t go into any detail about it. However, many don’t even consider replacing current prices with the traditional ones. An example would be if Coca-Cola were to sell cans for 5c each – their original price. You may be thinking, this should be under the sale category and you’re probably right, but as it refers to the original price, it could be seen as the rebirth of the price; okay compromise, it’s both.

4. Internal Interaction – Celebrate your team

They say nothing is more important than the customer; if that’s true then employees can’t be far behind. When celebrating an anniversary, celebrate your employees’ efforts. They are just as much a part of the company as the customers and therefore, deserve similar recognition and perceived benefits. Traditionally a party always goes down well, however ensure that at least the long-time employees receive a memento, something which they can be proud of and something that will portray your eternal appreciation.

Most successful anniversary campaigns utilize more than one of these categories so for greater success, try and aim to hit at least two. And remember, no matter what strategy you choose, conveying your appreciation for the past and enthusiasm for the future never hurts.

Need help brainstorming and planning ideas? We’d be glad to help. Click here to get in touch with us.

 

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What Does A Client Brief Look Like?

Thanks to Dawn who wrote in asking “What does a client brief look like?” 

Let us help you out.

What to do when hiring an agency

If you sub-contract your marketing to an agency or to freelancers, you want to be sure that you pay for and get good quality work.

A lot of the quality of output is due to high quality input.  By that I mean, briefing documents.  If you can explain clearly what you want, how you want it done and timeframes, you are far more likely to get high quality work back.

We use Upwork and People Per Hour to find freelancers and expert sub-contractors.

 

Ask the freelancer to write back

For briefing we always give a lot of detail and we also ask the freelancer to write back with answers to our questions.

We choose these carefully in order to show us that THEY have read the brief.

  • Please tell me what access permissions you need before you start the job

And we also ask them open questions whose answers tell us if they understand the scope, how they would approach the job and allow us to assess how good their English is.

  • Estimate how long the job will take
  • Tell me what problems you anticipate

Below is a template document which we use when we receive instructions to do some marketing for our clients. You can download it from the link.

Each sub-heading is self explanatory – as a client you should fill in each section as clearly as possible and then send it out to the agency or agencies you want to work with asking them to send you price quotations.

Alternatively, you write longhand what you want and the agency will fill in the gaps in the document.  Then you should approve it before instructing the work.

DOWNLOAD Master Client Planning Brief Template

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How To Introduce A Business By Email

Connecting two compatible businesses with each other can be one of strongest networking tools for you and other businesses. By connecting the groups, not only are you solidifying your own network, but also helping the two businesses who may be able to benefit each other.

But often times this can be difficult over email.

In my networking group, we’re working hard to make it really EASY for members to introduce each other to new prospects and new clients.

I was asked by the group to help coach them in the best way to write an introduction that others could use.  So let’s say you wanted to introduce my firm to another business. Here’s how you would do it.

 

Hi [their name],
I just wanted to connect you with Rebecca from Creative Agency Secrets. I know you were interested in increasing your business’s online presence, and I’m sure they’ll be able to help.
Creative Agency Secrets is an expert in marketing and promoting businesses using traditional and online methods.  They work as the outsourced marketing team for busy businesses doing marketing that starts conversations and leads to sales.
I have seen their work for [name a client] and used them for my own business to write the copy on our website About Us page.  And I’ve also recommended them several times and had great feedback especially about their careful attention to detail.
I will leave you two to connect – I’ve spoken to you both about each other and shared your emails and phone numbers below.
[both parties’ contact information]
Best,
[Your Name]

The 5 elements of an effective email introduction

  1. Introduce: explain why you sent the email
  2. Start: with their one-liner…. who are they and what do they do
  3. Build: with an example of their work for someone you both know, preferably.  If you can’t say you have worked personally with them, a mutual acquaintance is a positive reinforcer.
  4. Memorability: Add an anecdote that describes your experience – if you can make it funny, cute or WOW that’s best but not strictly necessary.
  5. End: Include all the information they need to continue a dialogue without you….
    We plan on creating a shared document for everyone so they can cut/paste the text into emails for business referrals for new business development.

    The best introductions are when you’ve spoken personally to both parties.  NOTE not emailed, spoken….

    The Top 5 most popular articles of all time

How to Migrate to Digital Marketing

Migrating to digital marketing from traditional marketing is a question I get asked frequently.  Giving a talk to the Te Atatu Business Association, I was able to showcase both business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) examples of ways to work out these things

  1. Where to start your digital marketing
  2. Which marketing methods will work best for your business
  3. What communications will work best for your clients and customers

The resources on the last slide are worthwhile saving / bookmarking.  They relate to directory listings and tips for local marketing.

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.
trade show, exposition, marketing B2B, trade show marketing

Trade Marketing tips

You asked us about Trade Marketing.  This is when you sell something to another business and they sell it to the ultimate customer.  Fundamentally it’s just selling but because it’s restricted to selling within a single industry or “trade” it gets another name…. the key thing for you to know is that the principles of B2B marketing still hold true.
 

Trade marketing is a sub-type of B2B

What I love about any B2B is that the audience is individually identifiable. You can get or build a list of actual individuals who you can sell to.  The best way to start that is through identifying these things

  1. industry type
  2. sub-type of industry
  3. job title of decision makers and decision-influencers
Then you are within reach of a clearly identified audience.  List broker will sell you lists, you can research and build your own too.  If you choose the latter, please start with the trade association or professional body for the industry.  That’s a great way to short-cut list building.

After the list, how to approach

Getting a list is only the beginning.  You need to brand build with specific campaigns so that prospects recognise your business name or your product name (or both).  Trade shows can be useful here because people who are interested are all gathered into a single location on a single day and you can meet many face to face.
Getting your strategy aligned with the prospect’s need is critical.  Because it’s so easy to mess up an approach and build bad feeling against your brand.  For this reason we always create a hypothesis and we test this out before a general launch.
Today a mailing list of 100 names is being tested for a client.  When we see how it’s received [Good so far, thanks for asking 54% open rate 4% click through] then we can make decisions about whether to adapt / improve or just to roll it out to the rest of the prospect list.

Top 10 tips for trade marketing

  1. Automate follow ups – have a pre-set process for capturing and following up
  2. Time is always short – but don’t cut short conversations on the stand.  Invest in the people who do come to build relationships
  3. Connect on LinkedIn to everyone you meet if possible
  4. Be very clear about what you are promising to prospects
  5. Have a “cute” offer [fidget spinners are popular now]
  6. If you use scrolling video at a trade show, always sub-title it so people get the message from afar
  7. Put on your best smile.  It’s my biggest business success tool – people remember my warm smile
  8. Make eye contact and be the first to break contact after smiling and saying hello.  This is un-threatening
  9. Have a ‘golden question‘ or two ready for your prospect discovery questions
  10. Turn up every year – as long as the show brings in prospects, plan to be there.  Consistency pays off
Creative Agency Secrets is expert in B2B marketing.  We understand how to research trade buyers, how to build a list of possible buyers, how to present your product or service to them and how to get them to buy from you over and over again.
If you want to learn more, read this article about Trade Show Marketing.  And this case study about your business location
Groups on LinkedIn

Become an expert in the eye of the client  

Getting recognition for your “expertise” in selling professional services is paramount if you’re to make good profits.  

The stages in the process include –

  1. Setting out your credentials
  2. Outbound publicity – demonstrate you know your ‘stuff’
  3. Getting to one on one conversations around the client’s desired future state
  4. Discussing your services, their needs and fees

I was working with a financial services client and recommended he use the Monte-Carlo method to establish the prospective client’s need for advice. (Go to the sub heading on Finance and Business).   I think it’s very suitable way to frame a discussion when talking about personal finances

Monte Carlo simulation is commonly used to evaluate the risk and uncertainty that would affect the outcome of different decision options.  

First be recognised as an expert

You can’t get these conversations going without first establishing yourself as an expert.  Nobody wants their finances managed by an amateur.  Nor their marketing services.  Just working for a big name firm is no guarantee of expertise – it’s a step in the right  direction.  

Groups on LinkedIn

Groups on LinkedIn

Getting in front of future clients is possible via step 1.  As you establish yourself as an expert you will get noticed (particularly if you use key words relevant to your expertise and audience.  Maintaining your position as an expert in the eyes of your audience can be continued through outbound articles and publicity.

These are best delivered using sites aligned to your industry niche and audience.  For my area there’s a great Reddit thread, a couple of Facebook Groups and a Linked In Group which is very active.  You need to find the ones suited to your needs.  Don’t forget to check out in-person events on places like Meetup.com too – not all communication has to be written!

Finding the right things to say in your publicity and how to start a conversation with your reader are the things you will need to practice.  Conversations in a public forum can lead, later, to a private discussion which is preliminary to taking on a new client.

 

Book a personalised coaching session with the Creative Agency Secrets team – pick the person who best suits your need.