3 pillars of progress

Chantal Cornelius, Appletree MarketingHave you heard of the 3 pillars of progress?

They are related mainly to business success, but I think they are also relevant to your marketing, so I thought I would share them with you.

They are:

  1. Strategy – have a good one that will get you to where you want to go. With marketing, you need to select your strategy based on whether you’ll be aiming your marketing at existing clients or new ones; and promoting your existing services or new ones. Choosing the wrong strategy will take you in the wrong direction and cost you money, so choose carefully.
  2. Laser focus – once you’ve got your strategy, whatever you are focused on, give it your full attention and don’t get distracted. Plan and prioritise what needs to be done. This definitely applies to your marketing, because you need to plan and prioritise your marketing and then stick at it, with laser focus, until you get it done.
  3. Integration – be 100% aligned with where you’re going and what you want to do. Your marketing also needs to be completely integrated. All your messages need to be pulling in the same direction, to give you an even better return than they will on their own.

How can you build your business with the 3 pillars of (marketing) progress?

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How can you use the Law of Attraction in your business?

Do you use the Law of Attraction in your business, to get the clients, staff and suppliers you want? If you ever find yourself using words like ‘coincidence’ or ‘serendipity’ or saying that good things just seem to happen, then you are probably already using the Law of Attraction without realising it.

Some years ago I was introduced to a book called Attracting Perfect Customers by Stacey Hall. It showed me how to find perfect clients – the ones you really want to work with – and I’ve been using the techniques in my business and with many of my clients, very successfully.

Recently I learnt how to take the Law of Attraction even further in business, when I heard Michael Losier speak. He’s from Canada and has written a book called The Law of Attraction. He said that the Law of Attraction works because the words we use determine the results we get. A collection of words, put together in a string, becomes a thought. A thought becomes a vibe – a feeling or mood – which can be either positive or negative. Vibes become results – either positive or negative. So if you look at the results you’re getting and you don’t like them (because they’re negative), the way to change them is by changing the vibes you give off, which you do by changing your thoughts, which you do by changing the words you use. Michael says there are three words we need to take out of our vocabulary, to help us create positive results. They are:

  • Don’t
  • Not
  • No

So instead of saying “I don’t want an overdraft,” or “I don’t want to work with a certain type of client,” we can think about what we do want. “I want a parking space right outside that shop,” or “I want to earn £X this month.”

According to Michael, there are just three steps to creating attraction and getting what you want. They are:

  1. Identify what you desire
  2. Give your desires attention
  3. Allow it to happen

The third step is the most important and is probably the hardest to do; yet the speed at which the Law of Attraction will create what you want is in direct proportion to how much you allow.

Make sense? If not, get hold of a copy of Michael’s book! He’s not in the UK much, but is running some workshops in London this weekend (9-11 September) and you can find out more at www.MichaelLosier.com. He’s a really entertaining speaker and you’ll learn loads about how to create whatever you want in your business!

The secrets of marketing

The secrets of marketing

There are a number of secrets to great marketing. You don’t need to spend lots of time and money trying to work out what’s best for your business, because other people have already done the trial and error. You can learn from them and save your business a fortune.

One of the secrets is that as ad hoc marketing doesn’t work. Ad hoc marketing is where you pay for one advert in a special magazine supplement, because the salesman told you the magazine will be sent to thousands of your target client. But it’s going to people who haven’t asked to receive it and who won’t actively use the supplement to search for your services. They might not even know that they need your services and solutions. The salesman also told you that he could give you a great price for last minute space, so you paid it without checking your marketing budget, or making sure that the magazine would be read by your ideal clients – the people who really want to work with you.

Another big secret of great marketing is that you need to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t work. This means that you have to measure all your marketing activities. If you keep plugging away at a particular marketing tactic, even though it’s not working – not bringing you the enquiries or new clients that you want – then you should stop doing it. If you’ve run the same advert in the paper for three months and it hasn’t done what the salesman promised, then either stop doing it, or change the advert – the wording, the size and/or the position. When you’ve been going a particular networking meeting for six months and you’ve not met any of your ideal clients (and the people who have met don’t know any of them either) then it’s time to stop going and try out a different group, or a different message.

So measure your marketing and you’ll be able to do more of what works and get more from your marketing budget.

How well do you do the little things?

Chantal

At a recent networking presentation, a wise man suggested that we should focus on doing the little things well. When you do, you’ll make a great impression and keep your clients really happy. So what are the little things? Here’s an example I’ve just experienced.

Last week my car needed some work done on the back breaks. While it was at the garage I asked them to check out what might be a slow puncture in two of the tyres. They kindly looked at them and didn’t find a problem, so bought the car back. When I said I was sure there was a problem, the garage said to bring the car back in and they’d have another look, free of charge.

So a day or so later I stopped off at the garage – no appointment – and asked them for a second opinion. One of the mechanics came straight out and checked all my tyres. Eventually he found the problem and suggestion a simple solution. OK, so it cost me a few quid to replace some tyres, but since one of them wasn’t going to get as far as the MOT in two months, I didn’t mind. They had all the tyres in stock and changed the ones that needed to be changed. They even put the spare back in its holder under the car, without being asked. The service was fast and cheerful. I wasn’t charged for the time spent changing the tyres – just the cost of the tyres. Nothing was too much trouble and I was back in the office in no time.

That’s how my local garage focuses on doing the little things well. What are the little things in your business and how do you make sure you do them well?

Need some inspiration? Create a new vision for your business!

Chantal

Running a business takes up a lot of time and energy. There’s a lot to do and a lot to think about. Sometimes you might find that you start to lose energy or enthusiasm for what you do. So how do you find your focus? How do you inject some inspiration into what you do, to help you keep driving your business forward?

The answer could be to create a new vision and mission for your business. A vision is what your business is really about – a sentence that says exactly what you do and who you do it for. It’s a statement that everyone in your business buys into and believes in; it’s a statement that is developed by everyone in your business. Your mission is how you do what you do – another line or two that explains to everyone both inside and outside your business, exactly how you achieve your vision.

At Appletree we recently spent half a day with Joolz Lewis, the Corporate Hippy, creating a new vision and mission for the business. We first talked about what inspires us all about working at Appletree. We all shared our thoughts on why we love coming into work every day. Then we got creative! Joolz gave us a pile of magazines, lots of coloured paper and pens, some lovely things to cut out stick down and some scissors and glue for cutting out and sticking down! She asked us all to create a ‘picture’ of how we saw the business in 5 years time. The results were all very different and surprising – we have some very talented artists at Appletree! Some of the results are shown here.

   

Next, one at a time, we talked through our creations to the rest of the team. As we did, Joolz wrote down the key messages that appeared. There were a number of themes that came up across the whole team – which shows that we are all already pulling in the same direction. From those key words and ideas, she helped us to create our new vision and mission. And here they are.

Our Vision – Appletree supports and drives growth for service-based companies that are committed to building their businesses

Our Mission – We do this by being trusted advisers, delivering creative, integrated marketing solutions that achieve our clients’ objectives

Two simple lines that explain what we do, who we do it for and how we achieve it – simple! And to us, it’s really inspiring! It’s given us focus, because we now have three strategic priorities for this year, which came out of the process. They are:

  • To build a strong reputation for providing innovative and dynamic marketing solutions (so that we can add those two words to our mission by the end of this 2011)
  • To increase our average client size (so we can deliver each client a wider mix of marketing solutions, all integrated and working together)
  • To identify and develop strategic partnerships (so that we can deliver innovative, dynamic and integrated marketing solutions to those larger clients)

It’s going to be a busy year, but at least we know where we’re going and what we can to achieve during the year. Watch this space for news and developments!

When you have both a vision and a mission for your business, you will find your focus. You’ll be able to inject masses of inspiration into your business and fill it with energy and enthusiasm.

Do you have a vision and a mission for your business this year?

10 steps to succeed in online marketing

Alice

There are many examples of online marketing throughout the internet for all of us to see, and plenty of posts and articles from gurus and experts all saying how wonderful their versions are. So I have added my tuppence-worth to the fray to let you know what I think of this subject!

1. Understand exactly what marketing is. This may sound pretentious, but marketing should not be confused with selling. It’s important to know that marketing is all about nurturing relationships with your customers and also having the chance to spread your expertise to gain trust and credibility. Once your potential customer has really got to know you and your company, only then will they make the move to do business with you.

2. Understand how important customers are. It really is worth doing some marketing analysis on your customers’ profiles, activities, buying habits, lifestyles – not to mention their needs and wants. This means you’ll be able to provide effective solutions to their problems, as well as placing your marketing exactly where your customers hang out, saving time, energy and money. And when you write copy, always present it within the customers’ point of view, to make them think you really care about them and want to help them.

3. Do you have a proper focus? It’s not worth setting up a marketing campaign without a suitable end in sight. Lots of people happily spend time marketing their business and then wonder why nothing comes of it. If you aim your marketing towards a goal, not only will it be more focused in its approach, but it will help towards measuring your results and analysing whether you are going down the correct route, being cost-worthy and productive, as well as achieving what you set out to do.

4. The importance of keywords. Search engines thrive on both keywords and links. Concentrating on the former, performing adequate research into which keywords are effective, relevant and up-to-date, plus knowing how and where to use them correctly, could make or break your online marketing.  Successful search engine optimisation may be considered a ‘black art’, but even small amounts performed appropriately is better than messy misunderstandings in large scale operations.

5. Content is king/queen. A well known phrase which can be interpreted in many ways. What you write about should always be relevant to both you and your customers. It should be focused on your customers’ desires, or aimed at filling a niche gap in the market, or promote your service/product within your customers’ point of view. It should be entertaining, educational and enterprising. It should pander to the needs of both humans and search engine spiders, to both be read and interact with the internet. It should not mention your company to say how wonderful it is!

6. Be aware of social media use. Rapidly rising in online marketing use, this phenomenon should not be ignored. Blogs are, of course, the hub of social networking, as well as all your online marketing activities, as everything can be directed back to them and thence outwards! But social media is not necessarily somewhere to dump material hoping it will be read and acted upon, it depends on social interaction and sharing with like-minded and relevant contacts. Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are facilities to collect a following and post notifications of what you are doing, whereas other social media such as StumbleUpon, Delicious, Mixx, Digg, Reddit and the like, rely on a voting system to promote your blog posts virally around the web. If you aren’t interested in what others are doing, how can they therefore be interested in you?

7. Gathering leads into lists. For some online marketers this is key. If you are able to collect a relevant and focused list of likely leads for you to market to, people who have willingly given their permission to receive information from you each month so that they can keep in touch with what you are saying, thinking or doing, being the first to know of any events or promotions you are creating, this is an extremely important source of marketing value. Email newsletters are big news because of their cost-worthiness in communication, and flexibility of use and transmission, and as long as they are used appropriately with the required focus, they are a very effective online marketing tool.

8. Using calls to action. Oh, how many times do I see online marketing with inappropriate or neglected call to actions! If you don’t tell your customers what to do, they won’t do it! And where you place these call to actions is also important: multiple mentions, within landing or squeeze pages within your website, with incentives and time-dependency, in postscripts at the end of communications – this little, much forgotten element of marketing could make all the difference towards success or failure. And the squeeze pages I mentioned before – another excellent marketing tool that when used appropriately can contribute much towards the benefits of online marketing.

9. How well are you performing? It’s no good undertaking a marketing campaign without knowing how well you are doing. Google Analytics for both your website and blog are vital to measure performance and analyse the correct procedure for future projects. Understand who is responding, why you got the responses you did, how to get more online visibility, what can you do to increase your conversions – all this is related to many of the points I mentioned above, plus a coherent understanding and focused appreciation to enhance your online marketing.

10. Nothing will happen overnight. Ignore all those marketing gurus who promise untold immediate wealth as soon as you sign up to their programmes. Online marketing is hard work, and you need to be in it for the long term. Many customers will read your newsletter and blog for years before they decide to take action, during which time they have been convinced of your expertise, have learned what you can do for them, and have formed a favourable opinion of you and your business to make the initial approach. If you show genuine interest in them (mainly through social networking) and gain a sizeable following of relevant, like-minded prospective customers, regularly communicating with them through your newsletter and providing them with valuable information that truly helps them, only then will your online marketing activities start to bear fruit.

How to get ROI through social networking

Alice

Social media is an online method of networking, which is, by its nature, a long term activity. It’s the word ‘networking’ that should give you a clue, which, as every veteran networker will tell you, is all about forming relationships, gaining trust, building your reputation and raising your expertise status within your industry or niche.

Novices and sceptics of social networking often ask about how do you get a ROI (return on investment) within this activity. This is because they have failed to understand the concept of ‘networking’, and have mixed it up with ‘sales’, which it definitely isn’t. It’s also a more relaxed form of marketing, spread over the long term, with any results (or ROI) materialising as you become more successful and expert at it, and when people learn more about what you do and the kind of person you are.

If you are canny, and provide plenty of examples and case-studies within your articles and blog posts, showing through online activity what you’re like and what you can produce, what you’ve done for others and examples of their success, you will build up an extensive list of followers, friends and connections, which all aid towards sharing and extending your audience and therefore your business’s visibility.

Two more things to consider: 1) it’s adviseable to have a proper focus for your social networking, and 2) it cannot succeed through short, intensive burst of activity with long periods of slack in between. Networking works best through long-term drip-feed marketing strategies over a period of time, with consistency having more effect than sporadic quantity. 

Social networking works best with a sociable focus in mind. Forget all your business processes for a little while and concentrate on recognition of those you are following by showing an interest in them, remembering your past conversations and their activities, with plenty of altruism which can go a long way. And it’s certainly worth your while taking the trouble to learn the etiquette of your chosen form of social networking, as each are different for their own reasons, and one method may not work or be appreciated within another.

Now your business mind can clock back into action, and start meausuring your activities (discreetly) to see how you are improving and how much your activies are noted, shared, actioned and talked about. Use the focus you have chosen wisely and remember not to sell, and eventually, if you do all of that, you’ll get your ROI.