Why you need a strategy for your marketing – part one

Chantal Cornelius, Appletree MarketingWhy do you need a strategy? For the very same reason that you set goals for your marketing and your business. You could just set off and try lots of different marketing activities, in the hope that they will take you to your goals – a bit like just turning up at a bus stop and hoping that one of the buses that stops there is going your way. Or you could plan the best approach and only spend your valuable time and money on what you know will work. Having a strategy and following it is much cheaper in the long run than the scatter-gun approach to marketing.

There are four strategies you can use and the first two are explained in this blog. I’ll explain the other two another time!

1.       Selling Existing Services to Existing Clients

The first of the four strategies to consider is the simplest and most cost effective for many consultants and coaches. It is about selling more of your existing products and services to your existing clients.

If you provide one day of consultancy to a client each month, can you sell them more of your time and give them two days a month? If you sell coaching programmes of 10 sessions over 10 weeks to your clients, can you provide an additional 10 sessions over the next 10 weeks, to the same clients?

This strategy is the simplest and most cost effective because it involves you doing more of what you’re already doing, with clients you already have. Your clients know and trust you, making them the people who are the most likely to buy more from you. Your services are already established and getting good results, so they are the easiest to promote to your clients, who already know that they work.

Selling more of your existing services to your existing clients doesn’t need a huge investment in marketing or time. It’s about spending time with your clients – outside the time you spend working with them – to tell them how investing in more of your time will benefit them. It’s about keeping in touch with your clients on a regular basis and treating some of them to lunch now and then!

How can you sell more of your existing services to your existing clients?

2.       Selling New Services to Existing Clients

Strategy number two is about selling some new products and services to your existing clients. These people already know and trust you – and hopefully you keep in touch with them on a regular basis. This means that you can talk to your happy clients about the sort of new products and services they’d like you to provide for them. You can create new things to sell them, based on how you’re already helping them and other problems they need help with. Because they know and trust you and know that what you already do for them works, they will be open to hearing about how else you can support them.

What new products and services can you create? If your service is based around your time, think about how you can package your knowledge into products, like books, fact sheets and workshops. If you provide 10 face to face coaching sessions in a package, could you create a ‘quick start’ programme of 4 shorter, more intensive sessions, to help clients get started with a new project?

What new products and services can you create for your existing clients?

This is an excerpt from my new book about Marketing Planning, which will be published on 16 November 2011.  Pre-launch orders now being taken – click here to reserve your copy.

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Using events to promote what you do

Chantal

Do you use events to promote your business? You probably go to networking meetings, to connect with new prospects, but have you thought where else you can go, or what else you can do?

Attending workshops. If you’re attending a workshop as a delegate, you can also use it as a networking opportunity. There will be other business people there and some of them could be potential clients or suppliers. I’ve been to business workshops on a weekday, where people have turned up looking like they’re just going to the shops on a Saturday morning. Not quite the impression you want to give other people, so make sure you make an effort.

Running workshops. Do you run workshops to demonstrate your skills and experience? If you provide a service, delivering a workshop is a great way to show people what you do and how good you are. Use the time to give away advice, rather than spending time telling people what you do, and you will build up rapport with your audience. Once they trust you they are more likely to buy from you.

Conferences. Attending a conference is a great way to learn from the speakers. It’s also a great networking opportunity. Some conferences arrange networking sessions in between speeches, so make the most of. Take plenty of business cards and dress like you mean it. If you can, speak to the speakers too, because you never know who they know.

Open days. Moving offices? Launching a new product? Celebrating a success? Through a party or open day and invite everyone you know. Last summer we celebrated our 10th birthday at Appletree with a party. We put a marquee onto the lawn outside the office, wheeled in a hog roast and poured a few glasses of wine. We invited all our clients, past and present, along with lots of our suppliers. It was a great networking event for us and for everyone else who came – lots of business cards changed hands!

Think about what events you can go to or run yourself, to help you promote your business beyond the reaches of networking.

What makes you different?

Chantal

On 1 September 2010 we took over running Ladies That Lunch … And Men Too.  This networking group has been running for about 7 years and I was a member when it first started. We’re now looking to grow the business, opening new venues and increasing the membership. To do this we need to know what makes this networking group different from others and what we can do to make stand out.

Here are some of things we’re looking at:

  1. The venues – what makes our venues better than others? What level of service do they offer? What’s the atmosphere like?
  2. The website – is it easy to use? What value does it add to membership?
  3. The networking lunches – what’s on the menu? How many people attend each meeting?
  4. The added value – what else can we offer our members? We’re looking at running workshops and asking our members what else they want

You can translate this into questions to ask yourself about your own business and what makes it different from your competitors.

  1. What does your office/location say about your business?
  2. Does your website deliver the right message?
  3. Does your service actually provide what your customers want?
  4. What value do you add?

When we’ve answered these questions, we’ll let you know! If you’re a member of LTL you might notice some improvements. In the meantime, think about what makes your business different from your competitors and then tell the world about it.

Using video testimonials to spread the word

Chantal

A few weeks ago I went to a really good workshop on social media. I picked up lots more tips about using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter that we’ll be passing on to you through this blog, through our newsletter, Scribbles, and through Twitter (follow us @TopMarketingTip).

At the end of the session, the presenter, Nigel Morgan, said that he’d like to video some of the participants, if they’d like to say nice things about him and what they’d learnt. Some people immediately went shy and said they couldn’t possibly go on camera.  Then I heard that the videos would be put onto Nigel’s website, with links back to the participants’ websites and that Nigel would make sure they would be found by anyone searching the internet for them. I volunteered straight away – never one to miss out on some free publicity!

Nigel is very well known in our area (Berkshire in the UK) and across the world, because of how he uses social media. He has over 7000 followers on Twitter and is followed by many journalists, who like to quote him and ask him for comments. He gets thousands of visitors to his website every week. This is something that all of us at the workshop can tap into, thanks to Nigel’s offer to video us. The testimonials will be great for Nigel, helping him to sell more workshops; and the fact that they’ll be seen by thousands more people around the world will be great for those of us who volunteered.

So, the next time you’re offered some free publicity, don’t be shy! Jump in and see what it can do for you!

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.

How to write a book

Chantal

Last Friday morning I took myself out of the office and away from its distractions, so I could spend some time working on my book. Unless I set aside specific time and go somewhere peaceful – like my kitchen table – I just don’t seem to find the time to write. My poor book isn’t getting the time and attention that it deserves, so I’ve decided to treat it like a client and allocate time and space to it each week.

Last week’s task was to finish the proposal for my book. I want to find a publisher who will take it on, to handle all the setting, printing, promotion and distribution of the book, so I need to write a good proposal – a sales pitch – for it. My proposal talks about who should buy the book, what they will get from it and why any publisher would be mad not to take it on, because it’s going to sell so many copies! It talks about how I’m going to promote the book – through this blog, my newsletter, twitter and through running workshops on topics I’m covering in my book.

I’ve put together a table of contents for my book and this was a really good exercise to go through. It got me thinking about the main issues I want to write about – the chapters – and the topics within those chapters – the sections. Now each of the ten chapters (one for each year of my business) has four sections. I’ve written a summary of each chapter, explaining briefly what each chapter and section is about.

Now that I have that structure, writing the book is going to be much easier. Any time I have an idea of something to write about, I look for where it fits into the structure and write it into that chapter and section. If I’m stuck for inspiration, I can just pick a section and work on it. And all the time I’m writing, I remind myself that this book is about how to survive the first ten years in business; and that I want to inspire and motivate others to do the same. With that focus, I’m less likely to go off track and forget what I’m writing about and why!

Have you thought about sharing your experience and expertise through a book?