Monday, 24 September 2012

Are You Adding Value?

Are You Adding Value?

As I type this I am on the lovely Gold Coast of Australia. I am here for a client's conference and Expo. They have asked me to host the expo floor and work closely with the exhibitors. Naturally I said yes.

Then they said, "Would you mind dressing up for the welcoming function?" I thought they meant dressing up into a formal outfit. But no, my job was to be outside the confessional (photo booth) and absolve people of their sins dressed as a religious figure.

I am sure I could have said no. But my theory is always to look for how I can add value to my clients. What can I do that is one step further? Not only does it make them happy, it also means I am more likely to get the gig again next year.

So how are you adding value? It doesn't mean simply dressing up or working longer hours. What are the things you are doing for your customers (both internal and external) that add value to them and make their experience more enjoyable?


Friday, 21 September 2012

What's the Best Marketing?

I was asked recently "What is the most cost-effective way of marketing our business?"

The short answer is to go back to your existing clients and say, "Hi, you loved the xxxx you bought. Just letting you know we also have yyyy and as and existing client here is the bundle deal we will do for you." The commonly spouted figure is that it is 5 times cheaper to sell to an existing client than it is to get a new one. Most of us will have heard that before and still not act on it. So in terms of sales, I would start with existing clients.

I am sensing that the question was focussed on getting NEW clients, so let me address that. There are so many ways to choose and so many others to get sidetracked with. I also love how you said "cost-effective" and not cheapest. There are too many people who look for "cheap" without measuring the results and cost effectiveness. Social media streams (free outlets) are clogged with people saying, "buy my stuff, buy my stuff, BUY MY STUUUUFFFF!" All they are doing is screaming desperation, annoying their fans and not getting the sales they want.

So to answer the questions, marketing is not about a "Way" but about a "Campaign" so you actually need to shift how you look at it.

Start with the very basics. Who is my target market? What do they do, where do they live, what do they eat, where do the shop, what do they drive, what do they wear, how big is their family? Get incredibly specific. Too many home based businesses think, "I can sell my stuff to EVERYONE!" No you can't. Even if they need it, EVERYONE won't buy it. So get specific. Who is your ideal target market client?

Now you know who they are you will know where they hang out the most and where they will be open to marketing most. You can then build a campaign around that.
The campaign is made up of different touch points or steps to take action. The goal of the campaign is to get additional sales. Everything you do in the campaign is focussed around how do you get the prospect to buy from you. It may not be a direct sale, it may be get them to take action into your sales funnel that will ultimately end in a sale. It is important to maintain the focus that the intent of your campaign is ultimately to increase sales.

Here is an example. Let's say your business is Freddy's Family Photos. You take family photos of younger families. Typically mum, dad and kids under the age of 10. So your target market is families, not singles, not seniors, not couples, not weddings but families. If the other work comes to you then you do it, but it is not the work you seek out. You like to do work in your local area, so you really are marketing to young families with kids under the age of 10 that live within 10km of your home based business.

As part of Freddy's marketing campaign, they do the following:
1) Sponsor the local Little Athletics by taking action shot photos of the finals. Families can then get free copies of some of the shots by entering their details.
2) The email address sends the photos (with Freddy's water mark on it) as well as subscribing the family to the newsletter.
3) A week later they receive a letter with a small poster on regular paper. The poster is an image in the local park with the image of parents and kids blanked out so it can be coloured in (it alsy has Freddy's logo and contact details on the bottom) - There is an accompanying message saying "Hope you enjoyed the Little Aths photo. Here is an image for your kids to draw in your family. We would love to see the finished results on our Facebook Page"
4) 2 Weeks later send an email with a message saying "We love kids art but sometimes it doesn't catch the situation like a photo does. Here are some recent photos we have done and what the families have said about working with us. (insert 2 testimonials and some photos). If you would like to know more about having some family photos done, simply hit replay and one of our team will be in touch."
5) 2 weeks later send another email - As one of our Little Aths family, we would like to give you this special offer xxxxx. Simply hit reply and one of our team will be in touch to make an appointment

This is a simple example of a targeted marketing campaign. As well as the marketing campaign, Freddy also sends out a monthly newsletter with stories of families getting their photo's take, Photography tips and testimonials. This newsletter is a constant reminder to the recipients of what is available without saying "Buy my stuff!" It also adds value in terms of some tips, stories of the families (including when photo shoots go bad) so there is some entertainment. Every now and again it may contain a special offer.

The campaign works on building trust with prospect by slowly introducing yourself and what you do. It builds awareness by providing desired images with branding on it. It also showcases the quality of Freddy's work.
The cost? One day every couple of months taking photos at Little Aths. Some postage and printing for each prospect (no more than $5 per prospect) and some time managing the emails and database. Not a great deal in comparison to the value of a photo shoot.

By the way, there are other business where this approach WOULD NOT WORK!! It is centred around the target market. You need to appeal to them in a way that inspires them into action.

So your action is to define the following:

    Who is my target market?
    Where do they hang out and what do they like to do?
    How can I get them on my database?
    What 5 to 7 step process can I put in place to know me, like me and trust me?
    What is the irresistible offer I can make to them?

Love to hear any thoughts?

Enjoy the day


Thursday, 20 September 2012

Best Advice EVER!


Whatever your business is, you have to have fun.

The Minister of Fun once told me the secret. If it's not fun, don't do it. If you have to do it, make it fun.

Too many business owners lose track of this. I constantly come across WAHMs (work at home mums/work at home men) who decide that now the kids have grown a bit, they want to start a business.
The business starts and is low key for awhile. Then it starts to grow. All of a sudden they don't have time for the stuff they used to do. Coffee with friends falls by the wayside. They start working late into the night. Weekends become a distant memory. The business is doing ok but still needs a lot of hands on work to keep it going. It is becoming a real burden and the fun left months ago!!


It MUST be fun!

When I am working with my Exhibiting clients, they seem to think that when exhibiting it is all about business and you have to be serious because I am spending serious money, doing serious marketing and seriously wanting this to work. The best thing to do when exhibiting? Smile!! It is so attractive. Have fun with the visitors, have a bit of a joke and they will relax a bit and be open to your offering.

How can you make your office, your business, your life have more fun? We all know what it's like. Sometimes we are hit by such challenges that if we didn't laugh we would burst into tears. Most of these challenges, when reflected back on 6, 12 or 18 months later were not as important as we thought. So have a chuckle and look for the fun side. We are only human after all.

Too many business owners don't give themselves permission to relax, enjoy and have fun. It is like they are waiting for some authority to majestically grant them permission. Well if that is you, then here it is:

I, Warwick Merry - The Get More Guy, by the power granted to me by the Minister of Fun do solemnly, seriously and sillily give you the everlasting permission to have fun, laugh and play in all that you do. Should anyone question your permission, simply state that the Minister for Fun and the Get More Guy said you had to Get More Fun.

Whew!! Now it is safe to have fun. I am yet to find a situation where it is not ok to have a little fun. Think about a funeral. As you are at the wake chatting to others and reflecting on your friend, what is better for you? The time you are all serious, considering how sad it is or when you are laughing as you recollect the silly things that they said, did or enjoyed? It doesn't mean it is not sad or tragic but you can shift your perspective to the blessings they brought into your life.

Ooops, that's a little dark, but you get the point.

So how can you make your work fun? One of my business partners sends frog lollies with all of her invoices (her customers now fight over who gets to open the invoice). Others put one liner jokes in their news letters. Some share their stunning photos with their business network. Others simply smile as much as they can. When I am chatting to people and they ask "How are you?" I reply, "Delightful!" These are only little things but they make a huge difference.

I am committed to having fun in all that I do and I tell you, it makes things so much more bearable and enjoyable. What will you do?

Enjoy the day


PS Did you know that smiling releases endorphins into the body? Did you know that endorphins are essentially human made morphine? Did you know that the body cannot tell the difference between a fake smile and a real one? So basically, if you start smiling (real or fake) your body will start to feel happy and your mind can only follow it. 
Here are a few smiles if you need them :D 8-) :lol:

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Can you Make It Easy?

Arrrrr me hearties, its International Talk Like A Pirate Day

To get in to the spirits me buccaneers, Oi have put on me pirates gear so's I have.

Aaaaany way, to prevent further pain I will stop typing like a pirate!!

Today's method to Get More Clients is to Make It Easy

I am stunned by the way so many stores make it hard to be a client. 
Myer seems to have fewer and fewer service assistants. It is not uncommon to have to walk a big chunk of the floor to find someone to help you, let alone a person at a register to help you buy the item.
Coles and Woolworths have put in new self serve checkouts all over the place. It saves them a lot of staffing costs. While some of us techno friendly people love it, I have seen non-techno people tormented by them and the assistant not be able to tolerate the customer not getting it.

What about for us as home based businesses, how do we make it hard for people to be our customers?

I love to buy resources off the internet but if it is a multi-stage process, it just gets too hard. If I have to re-enter the same information over and over again, I have cancelled sales. I find it very annoying to enter all my details and then be sent to PayPal or some other payment gateway and have to enter them again. It is a lost sale if I like what you have and then have to ring between the hours of 10am and 2pm to order it over the phone. At Trade Shows, if we make people fill out forms to enter a prize rather than just put their business card in a bowl, we can miss a prospect.

Are you getting the idea?

Too many sales are lost or prospects missed because we are considering what makes things easy for me and not for you.

The cracker in my mind at the moment is ordering movie tickets on-line from Village. They spend a lot of effort telling everyone how easy it is to order on-line or on your phone. No waiting in line, pick your own seat, all nice and easy. Yet when you go to do it, there is an additional fee of around $2 for each ticket you buy on-line. Why would you do that? To my mind, having people order on line or on the phone will save staff costs, paper cost (no issue of tickets) and increase customer satisfaction. I would make it $1 cheaper and people will flock to it. Plus you then get all of their ordering details as they have to sign in to order. You can then do direct marketing to them. Surely that is worth something?

So how can you make it easy for your customers to deal with you?  Here are some thoughts:

  • Accept credit cards
  • Give a rock solid guarantee (mine is a 200%, money back guarantee)
  • Have a single step check out
  • Smile when dealing with customers
  • Have accurate signage (don't laugh, some business signage is ridiculous)
  • Under promise and Over deliver 
  • You pay the postage (increase the price to cover it if you need)

What will you do?

Arrrr.... enjoy talk like a pirate day ye land lubbers and Oi will see you on the ocean of business

Warwick One Eye Merry

Monday, 17 September 2012

Got Synergy?

John Donne, a 17th century English author famously said, "No man is an island." Then why do so many of us try and deal with our businesses, our lives and challenging situations on our own?

I have been to several weddings where the celebrant says, "A problem shared is a problem halved" or "A joy shared is a joy doubled" and still we don't get it.

Synergy is where the energy from the whole is great than the energy from the sum of its parts. To maximise the synergy, the part has to truly commit itself to the process. For us, that means we have to be willing to be vulnerable, to listen, to be accepting, to share, to wish the best for each other.

I have just had one of the most amazing, synergistic weekends from a personal and professional point of view. My belief is I got so much out of it because I was willing to put all of myself into it.

Have you got synergy? If not, what are you willing to do to get it?

Thursday, 13 September 2012

New Monitor Stands

I have been running my computer system in the office with two monitors for quite some time. After prolonged periods at the computer I struggled to stand up comfortably. I was in a hunched lack of comfort zone - so to speak!

I had read before that monitors are better off the desk and higher up. (To find out some ergonomic guidelines for your desk, check out what Swinburne University says.) Like all good geeks, I went to eBay to find a flash, sexy and cheap monitor stand for two monitors. Unfortunately I have non-standard monitors and they are different to each other, so that was not going to work. Also, these stands were about $120 and got way more expensive from there.

In a flash of brilliance, I have raided my paper reserves and created these two monitor stands for less than $30.

How is your monitor and desk set up? Do you need a bit of creative application of ergonomics to make it work better for you? I am feeling better about my set up already!  Check it out

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

What Promotional Product Is Best?

One of the questions I get asked frequently by exhibitors is “What is the best promotional product to give away at Trade Shows?” Of course the answer is “It Depends.” Massive amounts of money are wasted on poorly thought out, poorly made and even pointless promotional products every year.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of promotional products. Like all business decisions, a little bit of strategy makes all the difference on the return that you get. As with a great deal of marketing, businesses seem to forget that the promotional product is not about them or about what they think is “cool” but it is all about their customer and their prospect. It has to meet their needs and be something that they want and will use.

Here are five of the key factors to consider when planning promotional products:

1 - What is the Outcome you want?
If you are just giving your visitors a gift then you will give them something different than if you want them to buy from you. Too often exhibitors tell me “Oh it’s just for branding purposes”. Unless you are a massive firm like Coca Cola, Apple or Ford, let go of the “branding” band wagon.

The outcome maybe that you want your existing customer to feel appreciated and show them you value their patronage. If that’s the case a branded Frisbee is not for you! Another outcome you may want is that that prospect see’s your logo frequently and is reminded of your services so that when the time is right they come to you.

Understanding the outcome or purpose of the promotional product is essential. So what is the Outcome you are after?

2 – What is the Value of the Gift?
What is the perceived value of the gift? This is different to what you have spent; it is what the gift means for the recipient. For example, elegant cufflinks with no branding may be seen to be far more valuable than a branded drink bottle.  For others who may be in to exercise, the drink bottle will be of more value.

To understand the best value, you need to first consider who is your target market and how will they perceive the gift. Everyone will place a difference value on the gift but it is your target market or gift target and the purpose of the gift that will best define its value.

3 – Do you need Two Tier Gifting?
Some of the most cost effective use of promotional product that I have seen is two tier gifting. That is, depending on the quality of the visitor you determine their gift. Trade Show visitors are renowned for their lust for “freebies” and many of them seem to arrive early and run around collecting anything that is free. They can be managed using the Two Tier approach.

The first tier is a relatively inexpensive gift that meets your outcome needs and that you don’t mind sacrificing for low quality leads. These items are given freely to any who ask for them.

The second tier is for a high quality lead. The conversation may start when they claim a first tier gift and as your continue the discussion you find out that they are exactly the customer you are after. In return for getting further information about them you can then give them the second tier gift. A higher valued object suited to your ideal prospect.

The two tier approach ensures you are financially responsible with your marketing spend and getting the best return on that spend.

4 – What is the Cost per Impression?
This is one of the least considered but most important factors when choosing a promotional product. Too often companies spend significant money on funky items that are either single use or their prospect then turn around and give the gift to their kids, never to be seen again.

If you are putting your logo or contact details on an item, make sure it is an item that your client will see time and time again. Give your details a chance to really embed into their psyche. This is why items such as branded shirts and office equipment are so effective.

For example, if you give a prospect a branded polo shirt they may wear it on many different occasions, and then as it starts to show wear and tear, continue to wear it around the house or garden. Over a prolonged period, your cost per impression or cost every time they see your brand is very low.

Another good item for this is a branded USB key. The continual use of the key with your brand on it can work out to a low cost per impression. But if you are giving out a USB key, maximise the opportunity and load it with a PDF detailing your products and services, a short video or even a personalised message saying thanks for coming to that particular show.

What is the cost per impression of your gift?

5 - Brief your Booth Attendants on How to Distribute the Gifts
You have spent thousands of dollars on promotional items, you have a strategy for distribution, you have a specific outcome you are after when they are given out and if you don’t brief your team on what you are after, you have just wasted all of that time, effort and money. It is heart breaking to see people on the stand just distributing the products at random.

Some of the most important time you will spend on the booth is the time you spend briefing your team on what you want from the stand, your objectives for the day, how you will measure your success and how they are to use the promotional items as a marketing edge.

If you consider these five factors you are well on the way to maximising the value of promotional products when you next exhibit.

Warwick Merry is the Get More Guy, an expert in how to Get More results. He is also the Co-Founder of The Exhibiting and Sponsorship Institute.
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Monday, 10 September 2012

Have You Broken The Habit?

Nun with BeerHave You Broken The Habit?

After a month of travelling, a couple of weeks of Man Flu (it was tragic) and a couple of weeks of pretty average excuses, I finally got my body back to my personal trainer.

I have to say, those first two sessions nearly killed me - but they hurt more later the next day.

It is a bit like the habits you have around the house and around your work place. They are so much easier to break than they are to make. Yet once you get into them, they seem to have a life of their own.

Be it making daily sales calls, writing daily blogs, keeping yourself OFF facebook, regular walks around the team to check how they are or simply putting the rubbish out when you need to, maintaining the focus on the your habit and it's outcome is far easier than breaking the habit and starting again.

What habits are you willing to maintain today or have you Broken the Habit?

Image: John Picken - The Habit with the Habit

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

How Good Are You?

Ok Tall Poppy Hackers, get your swords ready! It's time to talk about how good you really are.I think it is sad that the Australian culture is one that really is quite supportive but once you stand out too much, we find a reason to cut you down.

That is NOT how I operate.

In fact, how I operate probably needs a look at too. I love to support others, praise them in what they are doing and acknowledge their achievements. I think it is amazing what some people can do with their time, effort and resources. But when it comes to my own achievements, I down play them or don't acknowledge what it is I have achieved.

So today is all about being out there and bragging - not full of ego but full of acknowledgement of your skills, efforts, persistence and commitment to yourself and your goals. What have you done that is awesome? It doesn't have to alter everyone's life, maybe it was just the life of one person that has been improved. Did you get high marks on an exam, did you pick someone up when they fell, pay someones car parking when they weren't looking, be the best in your field, maybe you are an awesome parent?

Whatever you did, today is the day to acknowledge it. You are better than good, you are great. Someone, somewhere, for some reason is enormously grateful for you and what you do.

For today you have permission to share with someone how good you are, even if you simply email me.

So How Good Are You?