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?

Do you deliver what’s expected?

Chantal

Recently I was out with my husband and his parents, looking for somewhere to get some lunch, on a Sunday, in a town we were passing through . We found  pub that looked nice from the outside. When we went in, we were greeted by a waitress. We asked for a table for four, for a ligth lunch and were shown to some comfy chairs to wait ‘while a table was prepared’ for us. Drinks were ordered and we sat and chatted for a while. It was all very relaxed – just a bit too relaxed, as in the end, we had to ask to place our food orders. We only wanted sandwiches and were told that we’d be taken to our table just before our food was ready.

Twenty minutes later and we were finally shown to a table in a not very busy restuarant area. It took another 10 minutes for our food to arrive and then half of mine was missing. What eventually came was very nice, so we ate, drank and chatted and eventually asked for the bill. And asked again. And then had to take the incorrect bill to the bar, because the waiting staff had all disappeared. It took four goes to get the bill right and at no time were we asked if everything had been alright with our meal. We didn’t leave a tip.

What’s the lesson to learn from this? The pub was trying very hard to deliver a restaurant service – lots of staff, comfy chairs, elegant decor – and yet it wasn’t quite getting there. The food on the menu was good, ordinary ‘pub grub’ and yet there were hardly any people eating there. I think the locals already knew that the service wasn’t up to restaurant standard and were staying away. I dont’ think I’ll be going back.

What do your clients expect when they ‘walk through the door’ or look at your marketing messages? Do you deliver what they expect, or promise something way beyond what you can deliver? There’s nothing wrong with not delivering the earth – if you can only deliver a bit of it, then be honest, say so and get really good at what you can deliver.

Why I love PowerPoint – Part Two

Chantal

If you read my blog post on Wedneseday (30 June) you’ll have seen that I’m a big fan of PowerPoint, when it’s used properly. If you’re not yet convinced, here are three more tips to help you create professional presentations to promote your business.

When I arrived at the networking event where I’d been asked to speak, I went straight to the room to check the set up and make sure the presentation was working. There was a laptop and projector on a table to the side of the screen. This was ideal (and I would have rearranged the equipment it if hadn’t been that way.) Why? Tip four is that you should be able to see your presentation without having to look at the screen and ever have to turn your back on your audience. Make sure you can see your slides on a computer, or have notes on a table in front of you.

Tip five is that you should create a summary of your presentation for your audience. Don’t print out all the slides – no one will remember what the images meant after the event (and anyway it uses up too much paper). Create a one page summary of the key points (mine is a list of the 10 things you can do to integrate your online marketing). And don’t give the summary to anyone before the presentation, because they’ll spend more time reading it than listening to you. Instead, offer it afterwards in return for a business card; or offer to email to anyone who wants it. Both are a great way to collect contact details and keep in touch with people!

My final slide showed details of how the attendees at the lunch could get in touch with me and what was on offer. Three bullet points and my website address. This final slide stayed up during the questions at the end of the presentation and while people finished lunch and networking. So tip six is that your final slide says on view and has a clear call to action.

If you’re still not convinced that you can use PowerPoint to present your business then it is best if you keep away from it. If, however, I’ve given you a few ideas about how you could make PowerPoint work for you, then give it a go and let me know how you get on!

Why I love PowerPoint – Part One

Chantal

I often hear people saying they’ve been subjected to ‘death by PowerPoint’ at some event or other. Lots of other people advise against using PowerPoint because it can be the death of a presentation.

I’d like to stick up for PowerPoint and tell you why I think it’s a great tool and how to use it properly!

In June I was asked to give a 20 minute presentation to a Chamber of Commerce networking lunch. The topic was online marketing and how to integrate it, to make sure that whatever tools you use, they have the same message and all pull in the same direction for you.

The best way for me to illustrate how this can be done was by using PowerPoint. I started with a slide that outlined what I was going to cover, with just three bullet points. I then went through 10 different aspects of online marketing, using one slide for each. That’s my first tip – one key message on each slide; and just one slide for each element. If you can’t fit it all onto one slide, then you’re trying to say too much!

Tip number two is to use more graphics than words on your slides. We use one side of our brains to read words and the other side to listen, so unless your audience is really good at using both sides of their brains at once, they’ll find it difficult to read and listen. This means that if you carry on talking, the people reading the slides won’t hear what you say. In addition, some people take in information better if it’s presented visually, so graphics and images will get your message across better than a list of bullet points. Each of my slides has one image on it and most have no words at all – see the examples below.

These two slides how you can integrate your online marketing by maintaining your branding across all platforms. How else could I have done this, if not with PowerPoint?

Tip three is keep it simple. All my slides are static – no flashing images, no titles whizzing across the screen, no fading in or out. Just because you can do all that with PowerPoint doesn’t mean you have! If it doesn’t add anything to your presentation and doesn’t help you to get your message across, then don’t do it.

Have I convinced you yet that used properly, PowerPoint can lend a professional air to your presentations? I’ll publish another three tips in another blog post.

Can you make money by going green?

Chantal

Are you doing your bit to save the environment and reduce your carbon footprint? And if you are, can you use what you’re doing to make money, by telling people what you’re doing to promote your business?

At Appletree we’re really keen to do whatever we can to reduce our costs and help the environment. We walk to work when we can – really fun in the snow! If we only want one cup of coffee, we don’t boil enought for an army. And when we built a new desk, we gave away lots of our unneeded office furntiure to someone who needed it more than us.

So we’re already doing things to be more green. And when we realised how much we were doing, we decided to start telling people about what it, to get some more publicity for our business.

Click here to read more about making money from going green in the latest issue of my email newsletter.

What are you doing to do your bit and go green in your business and what are you doing to tell the world about it?

When not to network

Chantal

Is there a time not to go networking?

Yesterday we had a really busy day in the office, with some tricky issues to sort out. By 5pm I was ready for the TV and a glass of wine. Before I left the office I checked my diary for today and realised that I’d booked to go to a breakfast networking meeting at 8am this morning. That means getting up earlier than usual; a 20 minute drive to the meeting, instead of the usual 5 minute walk to my office; and being bright, interested and enthusiastic, instead of warming up gently in front of my computer. Given the day I’d just had, I didn’t see this happening, so I sent the organiser an email with my apologies.

Does it matter if you turn up at a networking meeting and you’re not on top form? I think so. If you’re not able to present yourself at your best, show interest in everyone there and put some enthusiasm into what you do and say, you won’t get the best from your time (and money); you could also do yourself and your business reputation more harm. Do you want to spend time with people who are yawning into their breakfast and not listening to what you’re telling them?

So, the next time you’re planning a networking meeting, think about how you’re feeling. If you’re up for it, go for it; if not, treat yourself to a dog walk in the rain and a peaceful morning in the office!

And if you need some help with your networking – including knowing when not to go – come to one of our interactive workshops in March and April. Click here to find out how not to network.