Archive Monthly Archives: May 2016

Time Scarcity and the Power Hour Solution

I read an interesting article about procrastination the other day.

Erm – yes you guessed it – because I was procrastinating about doing the things I knew I should.

It was fascinating. How our brains have evolved over thousands of years. Apparently we still have primitive ‘Rex’ instincts locked in a battle of wills with ‘Albert’ our inner consciousness, the voice of reason.

Apparently the problem is, ageing Albert who’s capable of great things, gets rather exhausted with energetic, impulsive Rex who governs our instincts, loves and fears. And when Albert gives up – then so do we, BIG time.

Yes, implementing those actions we know will change and grow our business, BOOM – all out of the window.

We use Albert to meekly reassure us it’s Ok. Inboxes stuffed to the gunnels, or pending vat returns, staff issues – too much to do, never enough time. We have to do that stuff first right?

Today I put Rex on a leash. I don’t need him bouncing round my head. I need to focus on what I MUST do rather what FEELS right .

I know (providing I don’t tempt fate by reading fascinating articles) Rex will listen to Albert.

Happily there are things you can do to tame your inner Rex and bring clarity and discipline to your life. I find a combination of techniques work extremely well for me and the clients I coach.

So here’s how to make AT LEAST an extra hour a week.

There’s the Pomodoro Technique, yes, Italian for tomato, bear with . . .

  1. This advocates working in 25 minute bursts. NO distractions. Close the door, off with the email and phone, advise staff that barring a REAL emergency you will be available for them and your customers once that time is up.

Anything occurs to you during that stint, write it down and leave aside for your next Pomodoro session.

Reward yourself with a 5 minute break in between each stint. After 4 stints, take a longer break.

For me that 25 minute time period is perfect. It may not be for you. Maybe it’s 90 minutes in one sitting. But get up and have a 15 -30 minute break afterwards.

  1. Time how many stints a daily task takes – this makes you so much more realistic about allocating the time required, which in turn is GREAT for easing the sense of guilt procrastination brings.
  1. Write down 3 things each night you will accomplish the following day. And make ONE of them something that’s difficult or (more likely) something you dislike and keep putting off.
  1. Find your most productive time of the day. For some it’s the peace and quiet of daybreak. If you’re a night owl like me, then use that time and energy to focus on your 3 things.
  1. Really, REALLY stop doing stuff that doesn’t have an impact on your Goals and KPIs. Remember the 5 D’s: Dump, Delay, Delegate, no Distractions and DO.

It’s the DOING which counts – Because Imperfect Action beats Perfect Inaction every time.

  1. And for extra focus and discipline, you could always don the headphones and listen to Focus@Will ambient music for study, work and concentration.

It’s amazing how energising working more productively can be.

So, quick maths, if you found an extra couple of hours a week that’s almost an amazing THREE weeks a year!!

Who says you haven’t got time to spend growing your business?!!

 

Surprising Facts You Can Discover With a Survey

 

My 2016 Survey, The Best Ways to Get Leads Online, revealed more than just the best tactics to generate leads – it gave me hugely valuable insights into my potential customers’ pain points.

More about those later – because they’re important! But here are some surprising facts I discovered with my survey:

Solopreneurs lead the way when it comes to driving growth in their business. Wow! Despite barriers like making the time and doing it themselves,  more than a quarter said they’d seen turnover grow by more than 25%* thanks to generating their leads online.

(*Over two thirds of respondents in this category were targeting small businesses and large organisations.)

Solo owners made up the largest segment of all size businesses who reported such impact – nearly a quarter of all responses.

And your top 3 tactics were….?

  • Websites, email marketing and LinkedIn were reported as the most successful ways of generating leads online.

But those getting the biggest impact on turnover were ALL adding 4 other important tactics into the mix.

You can find out what those 4 other crucial ingredients were by downloading the full report of my 2016 Survey here: The Best Ways to Get Leads Online.

Other surprising discoveries?

  • It makes virtually NO difference how small or big a company you are when it comes to the Time Challenge. Everyone finds it difficult to make the time to implement their marketing campaigns.
  • This one I didn’t see coming – if you generate between 10% to 50% of your leads online, the impact on your turnover is roughly the same. But over 50%, the impact on revenues jumps 5X! It seems there is a serious tipping point*.

When it comes to online marketing you prioritised the challenges you face which means I must tailor my training and support for the things that matter to you – not me!

Time is your single biggest challenge – so I need to talk about Mindset, Focus, Productivity and Commitment.

Doing Things Yourself is the second biggest challenge – great! Because I can give you the know how, actions and support to move you past that barrier.

But being able to Create Content is as important to you as understanding How to Make Online Marketing work. Note to self: Include Killer Copywriting training.

Others voiced worries about how to structure their teams, the lack of understanding, getting a repeatable process in place and knowing how to monitor and optimise their campaigns.

They also talked about the things they’d learned and wished they’d known while trying to reach potential customers online.

Such as:

  • Make relationships first before going straight for the kill
  • Better segmentation, more accurate targeting, more relevant messages
  • A/B testing on all campaigns to improve performance
  • Understand who is searching for solutions like ours online. What are their problems?
  • Identify the key problems solved by our solution and find the most effective language / the words people would search with.
  • More commitment, new ideas and objective feedback from a third party

You can see where I’m going with this – the power of a survey is not just to collect information which you and others will want to know. It’s to give you insights into your customers’ pains or problems.

Which in turn make your marketing messages so much more targeted and therefore effective.

This is part of the work we must do to truly understand our perfect customer profiles so we can connect and build relationships with them.

Of course you don’t have to carry out a full blown survey – they are hard work. You could just ask your clients! If you want to know how to Profile Your Perfect Customer Profile there’s an article here.

I’m reminded of a recent business event where the host asked the audience Who’s Your Perfect Customer then? To which someone cheerfully responded, Anyone who’ll buy from me!!

Really? I mean, REALLY? That’s a super scary strategy for targeting the right kind of lead to develop a profitable customer base and business. We need that perfect Someone.

That’s why selling to Anyone is definitely a Bad Idea!

Click here to download my Full report on the Best Ways to Generate Leads Online.

5 Email Marketing Mistakes and How To Fix Them

I noticed a ‘bit of a cheeky request’ in my inbox the other day . . .

No, not that kind of cheeky ; ) !! And to be honest the only reason I spotted it was because I’d seen the exact same message in my LinkedIn mail box earlier. And despaired.

Why? Well the general gist was to introduce their businesses to me and then came the phrase ‘I know this is a bit of a cheeky request but . . . would I consider referring them?’ Quote unquote.

Do I know them personally? No. Can I remember the name of their business? No. Were their services relevant to me? No. Would we go up to a complete stranger in the street, accost them about our business and then . . . ask them to refer us? No way. So why do it by email?

I say despaired because truthfully I felt sorry for the author. It sounded desperate, even if it wasn’t.

And that’s the nub of the matter: too many email campaigns like this sink without a hope of converting to a lead. But it needn’t be that way.

The statistics show that:

  • 64% of decision makers still read targeted relevant emails
  • If we build relationships in the right way email is 40x better at converting people to paying customers than social media (and that’s not to knock social media at all, it’s a very important part of the mix).

So, how to stand out in a crowded inbox and create conversations which convert?

 

There are 5 key problems:

  • Lack of consistency – if you start keep it up. What if your favourite TV programme or magazine didn’t appear, just because? How would you feel? And how soon would you forget the content or the offers. So persist, consistency is key if you want to get noticed.

I often get asked how frequently should emails be sent. Well monthly is the usual starting point and if that’s all you can manage it’s a start. But if you want to get noticed and remembered, aim to increase to at least every other week; if you want to ‘go pro’ then several times a week – always with the option to either reduce the frequency or unsubscribe.

One simple solution is to get writing first so you’ve a bank stored up and then launch. Once you’re confident you can get past the creative hurdle and maintain your output it’s a huge boost.

  • Your content isn’t relevant – by this I mean people send the same content to everyone and then wonder why one size doesn’t fit all.

There are multiple factors at play here, but your starting point is to target your Perfect Customer. You must know that persona inside out and be able to articulate it (to yourself) in a sentence. Then imagine talking to them.

Once you know your Perfect Customer profile then you will know their pain points, the problems they need solving.

Your emails should address those pains by offering advice or How to Guides, and if they’re interested they’ll click on your landing page and then you can start to build a relationship and develop trust.

See below how to get two completely free tools to create your Perfect Customer profile and identify what their pains and problems are!

This is where most people go wrong. They bring you into their List and that’s it. There’s nothing else, no experience, no stories to create emotional impact – all of which is hugely important if you want to create relationships where people give you permission to enter their Inbox and intrude on their busy lives.

If they do, then it’s because they value what you have to say and feel like they know you. Boom! The marketing magic has started.

  • Your content is Too Salesy. Again another barrier to sign ups and here’s why. I teach clients a simple methodolgy to help them get clarity about relevant marketing approaches. And by the way this works just as well offline as online!

Think of it as Motorway Mindset Marketing and your prospects are either in the Slow, the Middle or the Fast Lane Mindset.

In the Slow Lane they frankly don’t know they’ve got a Pain or Problem. It’s your job to educate them in a way that makes them think ‘Hmmm, that’s interesting I never knew that. ‘ A pdf guide maybe which takes 3- 5 mins max to consume.

Middle Laners are problem aware and actively seeking solutions, while your Fast Laners’ mindset is receptive and if you’ve done your job right, qualified and ready to buy.

Your emails need to address each of those mindsets with different content and trigger points to move them up into the next lane.

So guess what happens if you send a Slow Laner a Salesy email or irrelevant content? They don’t know you, they’re not even aware they have a problem? Delete – you’re out – before you’ve even started creating a relationship.

  • Newsletters. Hmmm. When did you last sign up for just a newsletter? Personally I only ever sign up for information I think will help me and my clients generate more leads. Something called a Newsletter doesn’t even get opened.

So if you’re sending out a Newsletter with relevant engaging content why not rename it? Say you’re an accountant, why not call it Tax Saving Tips by Email? Or if you’re an HR consultant how about People Productivity Tips?

  • Lack of Strategy. This is the glue which hold everything together. Marketing Funnels are critically important for successful email marketing campaigns and are all about crafting multi-stage sales experiences which are relevant to your potential customers.

That’s where Motorway Mindset comes in. The Slow, Middle and Fast Lanes represent each stage – and if your content nurtures each Mindset solving their Pains as they move through your funnel then you’re not only generating leads you’re qualifying them at the same time.

Ask yourself this? What if your potential customers felt connected to you and trusted you without you having to spend all that time One on One? What if you were so relevant to their needs you never had to sell?

That’s the ultimate power of email!

How To Do The Hard Stuff The Easy Way

Hands up who’s set a goal and failed to reach it? Yep, me too.

Done the 12 month plan, broken it down, got all the actions. So what’s the problem?

In a word Overwhelm.

It FEELS like too much and it gives you too many reasons to beat yourself up. For failing. FAILING to achieve this, failing to do that.

Then that negative little voice goes to work in your head. If you don’t want to FEEL like a failure why set yourself up for it in the first place?

So you get busy – very busy doing all the things you don’t need to do to avoid doing anything you’re actually supposed to be doing to get closer to your goal.

Success isn’t an accident. Achieving goals isn’t easy. IT. IS. HARD.

But we can do HARD stuff in an EASIER way if we stop getting in the way of ourselves.

First, Reconnect with your WHY and the WHAT becomes clearer. Your why is your motivation – personally and in business. It’s easy to confuse the two. So be especially clear in your own mind why you’re in business.

For me it’s because I want to motivate and inspire small business owners to grow their business by generating more leads online.

My personal why or motivation is to have financial freedom and create a portable online business.

The Whats are the actions you need to take to keep moving towards this vision.

Second, apply the KISS principle and focus on Less – because Less is More.

Third, focus on one goal and STICK to it. This is your compass and if you forget to check you’re on course, you will lose your way.

So, here’s one simple thing you can do . . .

Write yourself a 90 day letter!

Why a 90 Day Letter? Because life happens and a 12 month plan is too far out. Will you achieve everything you set out to do? Even with a 90 day plan? Probably not.

But it’s a guide, providing direction for the next quarter where you can hyper-focus on strategy, and implementation in 90 day increments.
Want to implement and write one of your own? Here’s the process:
Step 1: The Assessment

First, start by listing the top 4 areas of your life:

Business
Relationship
Health + self
Giving back
Very quickly write down how you would ‘rate’ these areas of your life. Keep it simple and don’t over-think it, just choose a number out of 10. Once that’s done, for each area, make some quick notes on what you can improve and at least one action item to make that happen.

 

Step 2: The Letter

Once you’ve assessed your current situation, start writing a letter to yourself covering these action items and what should happen in the next 90 days… be as specific as you can. The main focus here should be on your WHY – Why are you making these improvements?

 

Step 3: The Action Plan

Now that the letter has been written, turn over the page and write the specific things you are going to accomplish within the next 90 days. This is your action plan. More than a to-do list, this needs to contain strategy, methods of implementation and the results you’re looking to accomplish in the next 90 days.

Finally, add the date that you’ll open the letter and put it in your calendar.

By writing this letter, you’re committing to what you’re going to accomplish in the next 90 days.

The difference here is that it’s in smaller manageable chunks, allowing you to continue in the long-term direction you’ve set and actually accomplish what you set out to do.

Doing is key. Your actions might not be perfect, they might even be wrong. But don’t beat yourself up because you have achieved. Yes, you’ve learned a lesson and won’t repeat the same mistake twice. Simple actions continuously implemented WILL take you closer to your goal.

Your 90 day letter keeps you on course. Meaning, if an opportunity comes up that’s not in your letter beware of Shiny Object Syndrome!!
Of course we need to be able to react quickly to new opportunities, but it doesn’t mean we have to react to every opportunity. If it’s outside your 90-day direction, defer it until the next letter in 90 days’ time.  Otherwise we’re back to being unfocused, haphazard and getting lacklustre results.

So try the 90 day plan – and stop getting in the way of yourself!

Online Marketing Terms

Ever been confused by the plethora of Online Marketing terms? Just working out a strategy is hard enough never mind knowing the difference between EPN and CPA.

I’ve created an Online Marketing Reference Guide for you to help you make the most informed decisions that will lead to the best results for you. Feel free to bookmark this page and refer to it when needed. I will keep this list updated so it will continue to be a valuable resource for you.

And if there’s a term missing you want to understand then please let me know so that I can include it.

Motorway Mindset Marketing: A specific method based on using 3 sets of “behaviour or mindsets” to create 3 different “lanes” of leads. This is designed increase your reach to 80% more potential customers and decrease your cost of advertising.

Cost per Lead (CPL): Cost per Lead refers to the amount or price you pay per “sign up” or per lead generated in a particular campaign or advertising source that is being evaluated.

If you spent £100 and received 10 leads, then you have a CPL of £10 per lead. You may look at your CPL for just one source (Facebook advertising) and also for a bigger medium such as paid search in general.

Although CPL is important to look at, what is more important is the quality of the leads that are coming in. Are the leads converting to sales? Are the leads the sort of customer you are looking to work with? If not, there are lots of ways to address this.

Cost per Click (CPC): Cost per Click refers to how much you pay for an individual ad click. The way this is determined differs based on every platform. Advertisers can use different techniques to decrease their CPC. Many techniques involve writing more compelling ad copy which resonates more with the audience and leads to a higher Click-through Rate (CTR). Most ad platforms will give you a lower CPC when you have a higher CTR.

Cost per Acquisition (CPA): Take your total revenue over a period (year/month) and divide by the number of customers you had during the same period.

Conversion Rate: In internet marketing this refers to the number of users who “convert” out of the total number of users who visited. An example of a conversion rate from an ad would be to look at how many people filled out say an email optin form (which would be defined as ‘the conversion’) vs. clicked the ad.

Click-through Rate (CTR): This refers to the number of people that clicked on an ad vs. saw the ad. Clicks ÷ Impressions = CTR.

Internet Marketing Funnel: An internet marketing funnel is a marketing strategy where the goal is to develop a relationship with the prospect by setting up a funnel. All new potential leads are poured into the top of the funnel, with the aim of ‘converting’ some to drop out of the bottom.

The techniques you use to convert as many of these leads as possible before they leak from the funnel are based on the MMM formula where you provide them with relevant valuable information about you and your product based on their mindset and your knowledge of their pain point. The goal is that they become a customer at the end of the funnel.

Web Analytics: A program or software that analyses and measures the activity on a website for the purposes of understanding the visitors, optimizing the pages, and creating better content. An example of this is Google Analytics.

Content Management System (CMS): A web application that helps users develop, add and edit website content. These system allow users to manage content, add new content and also store content such as videos, articles and other digital content.

Bounce Rate: The number of people that click a page and leave immediately after visiting just one page. Online marketers strive to have as low a bounce rate as possible. Low bounce rates usually mean the visitor is interested in the content of the site.

Landing Page: A single web page, separate from the main body of your website that has a single goal of capturing information about the visitor for sales purposes. It usually provides a form for the visitor to fill out and is part of a marketing funnel.

Content Upgrade: A content upgrade involves allowing a visitor to opt-in to receive a free relevant resource in return for their email. They are then added to an email marketing campaign.

Lead Magnet: An extremely enticing piece of content or a free resource that entices visitors to give their information (usually an email address) in order to receive the content.

Call to Action (CTA): The call to action in advertising refers to content that provokes the viewer to take action such as “view now,” “start now,” “buy now” or “learn more now.”

Retargeting: Retargeting is a extremely powerful form of marketing where a piece of code is installed on your website which allows you to create cookies (small pieces of data sent from a website and stored in the visitor’s browser). These cookies then allow you to create remarketing lists and advertise to visitors based on their past visits to their website.

Retargeting can help increase conversions, but it can’t drive people to your site. Your best chance of success is using one or more tools to drive traffic and retargeting to get the most out of that traffic. Remarketing campaigns usually have lower CPCs and higher conversion rates.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV): Customer Lifetime Value refers to the total value of a customer over the entire course of their relationship with a business. A business can increase revenue by marketing to current customers and increasing their CLTV.

Email List: The number of subscribers who opt in for your emails. This should not be confused with a Contact List you send emails to.

Email Deliverability: When sending out an email campaign the “email deliverability” refers to looking at the successful number of emails that were not sent into “spam” “bulk email” or other categories which lead to them not being properly delivered and opened by a potential lead.

Earnings Per Name (EPN): This is a measure of the revenue you earn from each email subscriber per month. Sometimes also known as Value per Subscriber. It’s difficult to get this kind of data until you have c500 + subscribers. Once you have this figure you can work out your ROI from your advertising spend. The Industry average is $1-3/person/month.