This is why your phone doesn’t ring!

A few weeks ago I described what I do as “making the phone ring and generating enquiries” but I am no salesman. I am creative marketer who has REAL life experience working to make sales, and in some cases to help keep a company alive!

Firstly, marketing is the process of attracting customers, retaining customers and winning new business. It permeates every department, every person and process. Marketing, done well, will pay you dividends in the future. Marketing builds and builds, yes, you advertising as part of a marketing strategy to make immediate sales, but it isn’t the most effective way to utilise marketing resource.

Rather than looking at this from a typical ten steps to make the phone ring angle, I thought I would share my reasons why your phone is not ringing DAILY with enquiries.

What we all want, which is a sure sign of a successful business, is organic enquiries, no google ad’s, no heavy SEO guru fees…here are my reasons why your phone isn’t ringing

You are boring

I don’t need to add to this. If you are boring and uninteresting you will send people to sleep. Long copy aka waffle is the most frustrating thing for a prospective customers.

You are not talking often enough

It takes, on average, 4–7 times for someone to remember your message. Too many people give up sharing their message or campaign too soon. Radio jingles, whilst generally are a thing of the past, everyone can remember one, why? because it has been heard so often.

You are not talking in the right places

Go where the customers are! Not where you can brag to your competitors or do some backslapping. Get onto social media, produce content which will help people in their daily work. Give away value. I recently had a client who was more focused on industry magazines, winning awards and accolades than winning new business. Spending £5k on adverts in professional publications only works if your clients read them.

You are not communicating consistently

Red, Green and then Blue. I have seen clients where their advertising is all over the show. Following the latest trends at the expense of consistency is suicide. Sure you will make great looking designs, but there will be zero brand recognition. Consistency of presentation is essential to be remembered. Inconsistency in presentation tells me one thing, you don’t know who you are!

You are not listening

The key to getting the phone to ring with enquiries is to listen to what the market is saying. If you’re offering isn’t fitting the needs of your prospective clients, they are never going to make an enquiry.

That’s my thoughts, agree, disagree and comment

The Number One Marketing Tip

We all want that hidden tip that will propel our product, brand or service to become world-leading. Well assuming you have something of substance and standard to sell I want to share with you the number one marketing tip.

You can spend hours researching, planning and deliberating what strategy to follow but here is the universal strategy…

Pursue Reach

Reach is the number of people who see your brand, product or service. Pursue reach so that it penetrates a market. It takes between four to seven times before someone can remember you but more like 15 times before they will consider making a purchase. Pursue reach.

So, some clever cloggs will tell me there are better, more focused strategies. For campaigns they’re probably right but for all-out making your name known, you have to just go all-out on reach.

In developing my brand and content I am looking to get a target of 100,000 eyeballs a day. I am not there yet, but I am well on the way.

When launching an app or new business you have to push massive energy into getting as much awareness as possible as fast as possible. You need to create a juggernaut of attention grabbing actions to give you the reach that gets your name, product or service known.

Once you have cracked this, you can then deepen diversify and be more surgical in your campaigns.

A few years ago I was working on a project to take something to market. After ripping up the clients existing creative and starting over, we pursued the following strategy:

If we want 40,000 sales we have to get 2,000,000 eyes on it. It worked!

Are you ready for the crap that comes with growth?

So you want to grow. You know your business has scope and potential to grow. But are you ready for the pain that you have to go through to grow?

Whenever I meet business owners there is tons and tons of enthusiasm for the growth but not so much eagerness or a glossing over the problems and pain of taking it to the next level.

So what are you getting yourself into?

The bigger you grow the bigger the problems will be. The truth is growth gives you a new set of problems. You will never escape problems. It is a fact of life. The sad thing is some people are never prepared for the problems that come with growth.

The bigger you grow the slower you go. The bigger you build the more people you will have and as such what takes you 5 minutes now takes someone else 7 minutes. Processes that make things work at a larger scale inevitably mean you sacrifice some of your agility.

The bigger you grow the bigger your beast is to feed. You have to be prepared to move from £000’s to £0000’s. The same tactics that bootstrapped you to your first million won’t work to take you to your second. You need more food to feed the machine. That means creating more sales at a lower acquisition. The artist has to become a production line.

Before you push for growth you have to be prepared to accept that you will not be moving into a paradise you will be trading different problems. Increasing sales means increasing people, increasing problems but increasing profits!!! It’s a harsh truth…. but it is truth.

3 reasons I stopped giving a damn what people think

For years I struggled with what other people thought of me, how I dressed, what I said and what I did were all subjected to scrutiny of what I thought other people thought. Fast forward to today and I can see how I tortured myself emotionally and sabotaged my future.

I now have removed this from my life and these are my reasons why you should do the same…

You will never please everyone

Whatever you do, someone isn’t going to be happy. You cannot please everyone. So don’t try. Try to do what is right and do the best you can. Pleasing people leads to marrying the wrong person, choosing the wrong career path and generally being unhappy. Don’t hurt people but at the same time you have make your own way or in a few years time you will resent where you have ended up.

Opinions are subjective

We know this is true. We can be wrong and so can other people. All our opinions are subjective, its nearly impossible to have an impartial view, no matter how hard we try, we bring all our emotions and past experience into every decision we make.

When you care what people think you will compromise on your future and decisions (compromise can have its place but..) I would rather pursue something I believe in and fail than do something to keep people happy.

Lots of people have defied opinions and won. Don’t ignore advice or opinions but reach a decision for yourself.

Sometimes you need to go against opinion to learn a valuable lesson to make you a better person. Sometimes you go against opinion and change the world.

Opinions can be loaded. Loaded with other peoples hopes, dreams and disappointments. Sure take advice but make your own decision.

You will not run from controversy

Despite what we see standing out or being embroiled in difficult thinks, taking risks or going public with something can be controversial. As humans we inherrently seek approval and respect. When we end up in controversy we receive questions and criticism. We want to be accepted but we shouldnt seek acceptance at any cost.

Look at all our notable people from history, the vast majority had to court controversy, go against ‘norms’ to do some incredible things.

Think Galileo, Newton, Jobs, Zuckerberg, Gates… you get my point.

If you are trying to do something difficult, you will have controversy. You have to set aside others opinions however tough they are and pursue your goal.

Why business leaders should stop having one-night stands

We have all been impressed by beauty. We have all imagined what it would be like. Captured by the allure of what might happen. The suspense. The tension. The excitement.

I am not talking about the conventional one-night stand you may be thinking of. I am talking about the metaphorical one-night stand many business leaders have in their business.

  • The one-night stand where you act on impulse and make a strong decision that later don’t see through.
  • The one-night stand where you commit resources to an initiative and then try to cut the cost.
  • The one-night stand where you want to build something for the long term but still want short term success.
  • The one-night stand where you position as premium but want to promote like a discounter.
  • The one-night stand where you hire people to do a job for you and then want to micro-manage and control how they do it.
  • The one-night stand where you start building your brand but don’t follow through next week or next year.
  • The one-night stand where you get in expertise but don’t like what they will say.
  • The one-night stand where you commit to marketing but when times are tough it is one of first things you cut.

One night-stands in business are just like the real one-night stands.

  • They are based on feeling. It feels good at the time.
  • It is a moment of gratification but doesn’t change the rest of your life.
  • Making a go of a one-night stand will not be a bed of roses.
  • It highlights you are missing something from your own life.
  • It will never change your world.

We have all flirted with one-night stand ideas, relationships and deals. Something is presented to us, we are teased and tempted. It’s pleasing but we cannot commit ourselves to it fully or we imagine it to be more than it is.

Marketing and brand building is the biggest one-night stand for business leaders.

It has the potential to explode their business but they want to get it forever without commitment to a course or relationship.

Here are some stats from an industry survey:

  • The average marketeer stays in post less than 23 months.
  • Marketing agencies say that almost 30% of their clients drop out of monthly marketing programmes within the first 3-6 months.
  • Agencies report that Client retention is just over 50% in those surveyed.

What can a marketeer achieve in 23 months realistically? A lot of tactics but not a lot of strategy.

What can an agency do in 3-6 months? Strong campaigns but very little long-term impact.

Every agency will drop the ball and every professional agency can and will blow you away with ideas and programmes. Every agency and marketing person will get it wrong and get it amazingly right.

These statistics across the industry show me despite the challenges of marketing in such a quick changing world, there are too many one-night stands.

Some of this comes from agencies lifting or creating unrealistic expectations. Marketing people know how to engage and excite people. It is their biggest stength and their biggest weakness. Agencies can create awesome ideas and plans but they will take time and money to implement. Often the critical claim made against agencies (which is probably true) is that they oversell the outcome and undersell the process to get there.

The reason most agencies handle more corporate clients is because their usually more stable in their process and decision-making. Corporates tend to think longer term. Whereas, SME’s tend to react more quickly, are less long-term and are more susceptable to changing moods / market changes. Agencies working with SME’s have the most one-night stands.

A good or bad month in a corporate doesn’t have the potenetial to change the operations of the business in a large corporate, where as it can affect the whole business in an SME. That is why agencies love corporate work.

Sometimes the agency flirts with a client, giving short term signals, but offering a long- term process. Sometimes agencies offer long-term and a client gives long-term signals, but really isn’t ready for commitment long term. One-night stands are a two way street.

There isn’t an agency on the planet that hasn’t experienced the frustration and disappointment of a one-night stand. A client who likes the big picture or end result but isn’t prepared for or didn’t realise it was a long term process.

Marketing success is over-estimated in the first 3 months and under-estimated in the first 3 years. It’s a long-term thing.

If a client comes to our team, we tell it straight: Our programmes are not about the next week or month. Yes, we will work to secure quick wins along the way, but if quick wins are the most important thing to you, you should probably go elsewhere.

It is harsh. I am certain we lose clients because of it. Our clarity (and honesty) allows us to focus on making our clients succeed longer term rather than scurrying around finding quick wins that probably undermine their brand and deviate from their long term strategy. It takes time for an agency to learn about you, your client base and your way of working. Client involvement will help guide and speed that process but it is a process of learning.

If you want 4 month success, you want a sales campaign or promotion. It can be executed by an agency or marketing team but that doesn’t substitute a long term marketing plan.

I have seen and met with companies that change agencies every 6 months because they were unhappy with short term results. Honestly, changing so often doesn’t help the business and none of the agencies get the opportunity to do their best work.

If you want solid business growth you need a long term marketing programme that can survive your budgeting decisions, delays, frustration or occasional disinterest. When the problems and setbacks come (and they will) you could become your worst enemy and flirt with a one-night stand opportunity.

If you want or are offered a marketing one-night stand…. You know what to do.