Four marketing lessons your customers can teach you

Your customers are one of your most valuable assets in business. They not only provide the necessary income through sales to help your business survive, but they also provide valuable insight into your products and services, and the best way to market them. 

If you want to find out how to be more strategic in your marketing, spend your budget more wisely and attract more of the customers you want to work with, the answer lies in your existing customers. Here are four marketing lessons your customers can teach you.

1. They can tell you what customers to target

One of the best lessons your customers can teach you is who you do and don’t want to work with. Make a list of your most challenging customers. What made them challenging? Why did you not like working with them? Do they have any characteristics in common that may help you qualify potential customers better?

Now make a list of your top customers. What did you love most about working with them? What made them a great customer? Do you see any commonalities or patterns that will help you find and identify your top customers easily?

2. They can tell you where to find more customers

Once you have identified your top customers, look at where you found them or how they found you. Are there any commonalities or patterns here?

Did a particular advertisement, message, referral source, marketing activity, incentive, product or service, attract your top customers to you? Is there a particular social media platform, publication, website or influencer they were influenced by? 

If you can, also compare how your most challenging customers found you. This will allow you to qualify your sales and marketing efforts and ensure you attract more of your top customers into your business.

3. They can tell you what customers will love most about you

Often in our marketing we will pick out the features, benefits and solutions that we think will appeal most to our customers. 

While we can often be right, a customer can give you a more practical example or application that you or a potential customer may not have thought of. They can also find additional benefits or prioritise benefits differently to how you would have imagined. 

4. They can get new customers to trust you

Your current customers play a major part in your marketing and sales process; they minimise the risk of your new customers purchase decision. While you can address the frustrations of potential customers, offer solutions and provide an incentive, your existing customers provide the ‘proof’ that what you say or do works.

Without their stories, testimonials, case studies or referrals your sales are hinged on how much trust and rapport you or your sales people can build, or how competitive your pricing is.

What marketing lessons have your customers taught you?

Amanda


Why you need to ask questions in your sales and marketing

Questions are powerful in sales and marketing. When you use them right they uncover needs, challenge thought processes, demonstrate your uniqueness and increase conversions. 

If you aren’t convinced already, here are four reasons why you need to ask your potential customers more questions in your sales and marketing.

1. Questions engage

Questions draw readers into your words and make them involved. When a question is asked (a closed question in this case) we naturally answer it, we can’t help but agree, disagree or form an opinion.

When this happens, your potential customers are more likely to read on. Your potential customer will want to see if you share the same opinion, have an interesting point, or can provide the solution to the issue, problem or ‘what if’ scenario raised in the question.

2. Questions challenge beliefs

A well-posed question can help you challenge your potential customers beliefs, disrupt their thought process and help them uncover needs they don’t know they have so your message or point of view can pierce through. 

These piercing questions are particularly important when people have “heard it all before…” or when you are launching a new product, service or concept and need to educate people on why they need your business.

3. Questions break down perceptions

A lot of times potential customers bring perceptions to your business and industry. They make assumptions about what you do and how you do it based on their level of understanding and experience with competitors. 

While this can work in your favour (the education is done for you), it can also work against you and fuel their objections if they have had negative past experiences.

When you pose a question based on your point of difference or a failing in your industry (think “Tired of [insert point]?” “Sick of [insert point]?” or “Isn’t it time you [insert point]?”), it can change your potential customers perceptions of you, demonstrate your understanding of them and separate you from competitors.

4. Questions can make sales

Leading questions, where you ask your potential customer a series of questions you know they will say yes to, have been proven to increase sales conversions.

When you can get potential customers in the habit of saying “yes” when you ask them to act or buy they are more prone to say “yes” again. 

What questions could you ask to engage and convert your customers?

Amanda


Three simple reminders to stop business comparisons

Every now and again in business we can find ourselves obsessing over achievements. But not our achievements, someone else’s – and their success always seems to be greater than ours.

I’m sure you’ve experienced it too, where you wonder why you didn’t have that idea, position your business as cleverly, or win that account, employee, award or media coverage. You look at their success and wonder why you too don’t have the same results or growth. 

If we’re not careful, these business comparisons can consume us with doubt, blind us from our wins, wreak havoc in business relationships, and even cause us to sabotage our success. 

To guard against this, here are three simple reminders that will stop business comparisons and help you to focus on growing your business. 

1. Someone else’s success doesn’t spell your failure

It can be so easy to get discouraged and doubt ourselves when someone else achieves success. But their success doesn’t mean you have failed. In fact, if you are wise you will use their win as an opportunity to learn. 

Analyse the situation and ask yourself, “What can I learn from their journey that can fast track my success and make my life easier? What worked or didn’t work for them? What methods or strategies did they use? How could I do it more effectively or efficiently? What mistakes can I now avoid?” 

You can save yourself significant time and money if you can learn from the lessons and mistakes of others who have gone before you.

2. You’ve had wins too!

Put the focus back on you for a moment and look back on your achievements. The happy clients, big sales months and glowing testimonials you’ve had. The accounts, awards, media coverage and speaking engagements you’ve won, and the results, outcomes and goals you’ve achieved. 

Allow yourself to celebrate your achievements because chances are there is someone looking at what you’ve accomplished with admiration. 

3. You add serious value

Your experience, expertise and skills are individual to you. No one will bring the same approach, opinions and knowledge that you will and because of that you provide immense value. 

While you may not have the have the fastest growing company, the best contacts or the greatest knowledge, your approach, interpretation or implementation may be exactly what someone needs. 

So the next time you find yourself comparing your business, offer yourself these reminders because the truth is the only limitations to your success are the limitations you have placed on yourself. 

Amanda


Why you need customers to want you

One of our greatest strengths as entrepreneurs can also be one of our greatest marketing stumbling blocks – our vision. 

Our ability to disrupt industries and think up products and services that fill needs our target market doesn’t even know they have yet can make for some incredible businesses and profits. 

But for the very big picture disrupters and entrepreneurs with new and unique ideas, it can also lead to a lot of education to convince customers to buy from you. 

While you may have the next brilliant idea that people need, if your customer doesn’t want your product it won’t matter how good it is. Still not convinced? Here are three reasons why you need your customer to want you.

1. Want translates to need

I’m sure you’ve experienced it, where you have wanted something so badly you have convinced yourself you need it? It’s the main reason I have so many shoes and notebooks. 

While a customer may need your product or service, and even see the purpose or benefit in doing business with you, it doesn’t mean they will want to.  Want brings motivation. It is why great ideas that have met customer needs have still fallen flat – customers don’t want them or know why they should want them and fail to act.

2. Want creates urgency

Think about the last time you wanted something. If it was a larger purchase, it might have consumed your thoughts for a while, and if it was a smaller purchase, chances are you bought it immediately. 

When the want is strong enough, it doesn’t ease until it’s met. While a need can build interest, a want creates the urgency to act.

3. Want persuades 

When a customer wants your product or service they will often push past objections, justify concerns and persuade other decision makers to come on board. Want increases desire, creates excitement and builds anticipation. 

Building a customer’s want for your product or service will make them the best sales person, and if happy with your product or service, they’ll become the best advocate for your business.

Do your customers need and want you? How can you create more want for your products and services?

Amanda 


Four truths to accept when positioning yourself as an expert

Having the confidence to establish yourself as an expert doesn’t always come easy, particularly for the more humble among us. But to build your profile, and make the difference that most entrepreneurs want to in business, you need to.

To give you a little more confidence that what you have to say is of value, here are four truths to accept when positioning yourself as an expert.

#1 – It’s a matter of opinion

Becoming an expert isn’t just about what you do or how you do it – it’s about what you know, and what you think. Put forward your opinions, derive conclusions based on your experiences and share your passion. 

Your opinion and experiences will help you bring a different perspective to the information you share.

#2 – What you know is NOT common sense

This is one of the biggest hurdles you need to overcome in your own mind. We each have skills, strengths and specialties. While something may be easy, or seem like common sense to you, it doesn’t mean it will be the same for others. 

Chances are you have studied, researched, serviced customers, learnt lessons, overcome challenges, had wins, sought council and grown in experience to know what you know now. For this reason, most people will never have the distinct skills, knowledge and perspective you do.

#3 – You don’t need to know everything

You don’t need to know as much as others in your industry – you only need to know how to package it better. There will always be someone who knows more than you, but that doesn’t mean what you have to say is of any less value! 

You might be able to package up your knowledge in a way that is more relatable, easier to understand, or more profitable to a customer. Your explanation might just be what they need to take action, get the breakthrough they need or achieve the result they want.

#4 – Everything has NOT been said

There is a lot of information out there – and a lot of experts, but that doesn’t mean everything that needs to be said, has been said yet. Times, needs and challenges change and consumers  will always want the latest tips, hacks and facts.

Amanda


Three marketing time savers

While marketing is an essential part of business, it can also be one of the first areas we put on hold when we get busy. Sure it saves us time in the short term, but with consistent marketing being the key to consistent business, it can cost our cash flow in the long term.

To help you streamline your marketing efforts and stay consistent even when you are short on time, here are three marketing time savers you can implement without impacting your results.

1. Develop a promotional calendar

One of the fastest ways to waste time (and money for that matter) in marketing is to not have clarity. By mapping out your promotions for the next three to six months, you take the last minute panic out of your communications and ensure your social media, newsletter and promotional content are aligned for greater results.

To do this, firstly identify possible themes for each month. Your theme could be around the different products or services you provide or want to sell more of, the time of year it is (seasons, Father’s Day, Christmas etc.), or trending products, services or topics.

Once you have a theme in mind look at the products, services or packages you want to promote (or need to sell) and the promotions, calls to action and incentive you need to use to get people to act. 

2. Repurpose your content

Whenever you write content, whether it is for your website or a brochure, a blog or social media post you should be thinking of how else you could use the content. 

Could a social media post be expanded into a blog post? Could your blog post or speaking presentations be broken down into several social media tip updates or an image/infographic? Could you expand your blog post for a longer feature article to submit? Could your newly revised social media profile also form part of your About Us page and speaker introduction?

What about the past blog posts you have written could you provide an update, follow up or a ‘top blogs/tips on [topic]’ post to get more out of your existing content?

3. Leverage your time through tools and team members

One of the biggest hurdles for many business owners to get over is to realise you don’t have to do it all. If you don’t enjoy a particular area of marketing, aren’t good at it or are wasting too much time in it outsource it to another team member or professional. 

If you do enjoy it, and you are good at it look to simplify, streamline and leverage your time through technology. Chances are someone has had the foresight to develop a tool, website, app, program or process to help. Search around, get recommendations and experiment until you find your match.

How do you minimise your time in marketing? Do you have any favourite marketing tools you use?

Amanda


The top three selling emotions – and how to use them

As we are discovering “why?” is one of the most powerful questions we can ask. Not only in terms of problem solving, but also for motivating and influencing our customers and prospects. 

When we can convince our prospects as to why they should buy from us, and take them on an emotional journey to get there, we are in a far greater position to make the sale. 

But what emotions should you appeal to and where do you start? In my experience here are the top three selling emotions and how to use them. 

1. Discontentment

To move quickly, people need to experience discontentment with their current situation. As much as we want to move towards pleasure, we are far more motivated to move away from pain. Just think about it if we were all motivated by pleasure, we’d all have what we want, or be well on the way to getting what we want. 

The purpose of using discontentment is to create a need or desire in the mind of your prospect. Discomfort can come from many different emotions including frustration, envy, resentment, regret, guilt and even fear to name a few. You might find yourself appealing to current emotions or the possibility of them experiencing them in the future by taking prospects to the ‘worst case scenario’ (think life insurance for instance). 

When you can demonstrate their pain and frustration or potential or pain and frustration, you start to make your prospect discontent.  If you can make them uncomfortable and then show them a way to be more comfortable than they have ever been, you have increased your chances of making the sale. 

A word of warning: When you are appealing to emotions, particularly strong, negative emotions tread carefully and sensitively. You need to make sure the feeling is about one specific area that you can move your prospect out of quickly to not leave those feelings associated with your brand. 

2. Hope

Hope is a powerful emotion. It can motivate us to act completely out of our comfort zone and do some crazy things for the potential of a reward. 

Once your prospect is discontent, give them hope that there is a way out. If discontent is your ‘worst case scenario’ then hope is your ‘what if…’ scenario. 

A word of warning: Hope is where expectations are made. While you do need to build up your ‘what if…’ scenario, don’t build it up to a point where they could experience disappointment if they buy from you. 

3. Excitement

Now your prospect has hope it’s time to build excitement. Excitement motivates us to move forward, and it also ensures that whatever we are excited about stays at the forefront of our mind. 

To get your prospect excited though, they also need to see the value, incentive (“what’s in it for me?”) and urgency. You need to demonstrate to your prospect that they need and most importantly want to act now.

A word of warning: When someone is really excited they want to act immediately – and you want them to act immediately because the feeling can be fleeting. To cater for this make it easy for them to act by being clear on the next step. The fastest way to squash excitement is to make the process too hard or long.

Are you appealing to the right emotions in your marketing?

Amanda


The Danger In Burning Bridges

There comes a point in business when relationships end. It could be due to wrongdoing or simply outgrowing. Sometimes it’s because you end it and sometimes it’s because someone else does. How it ends though, can make all of the difference, not only to your reputation, but your bottom line, future connections, and business opportunities. 

While it can be tempting (and let’s face it in some cases completely justified) to say exactly what you feel and burn bridges behind you, if you are wise, you will try to end every relationship as amicably as possible. By leaving the bridge intact, even if a little rocky, you at least still have the option to pass by again in the future if you ever need to.

In case you’re not convinced, here are some of the dangers you can face when burning bridges – regardless of whether you are in the right or the wrong.

1. The business world is small

While it can often seem as though you are dealing with a person or business in isolation, it is rarely true. The business world is small, and it’s made even smaller with online communities. 

People are well connected and often with people you least expect. You never know who knows who and what influence the person you are dealing with may have over their connections now or further down the track. You also never know what future opportunities could be missed or tainted because of a strained relationship or conflict. 

2. Everyone talks to someone

Everyone has at least one confidant, a sounding board who helps them work through their challenges. If you are lucky, then it is only one person, but if the situation is heated or interesting enough, it can spread like wildfire. Suddenly a lot of people know – or think they know – what has happened before you’ve even had a chance to share your side. 

The trouble with conflict, bad news and scandals is that it’s juicy, it spreads wide and fast, and can take longer to die down than good news. When you decide to burn bridges and react instead of respond, you never know who is behind the person you are having challenges with. Whose ear they are whispering in, what they are saying or increasingly, what they will write on social media. 

3. What you do and say can be held against you

When you are angry or upset, it can be easy to say things you either don’t mean or would normally leave unsaid. But a moment really can change everything. You never know who may be watching, listening or reading and what opinion they can form of you based on that one experience with you or impression of you.

While it is important to keep things in writing, be mindful that your tone, emphasis, and intent can and will often be misconstrued. Before you send anything ask yourself, is this a good representation of my character and what I stand for? Could this have legal ramifications? Would I be happy for this to be made public? 

4. Who you burn on the way up, can burn you on the way down

In business, there are never any guarantees. You can have a booming business one day and the next, due to circumstances that may or may not be in your control, end up right back where you started.

You never know when you will need a relationship or connection again, this is why it is so important to maintain relationships at all levels of your business journey. 

Yes, relationships will end, and you will outgrow suppliers, associates, and even customers. Just make sure it is done without ego or high emotion, because if you do fall, you normally see or need to lean on the same people as you climb back up.

There is no question that in business, there will be times where you will have to stand up to injustice, defend your position and point or view, and even burn a bridge or two. When you do though, do it with the full knowledge of how it will affect you and your business now, and how it could affect you in the future.

Amanda


Five ways to qualify an idea

When you are an entrepreneur, it’s not unusual to be flooded with ideas. From your midday brainstorms to your midnight inspiration, when you are always asking questions or looking for answers the ideas come.

But with so many ideas coming through and only so many hours in the day, how do you know which ones to follow and which ones to keep locked away for later?

While there is never a black and white answer to that question, there are some ways you can help qualify your idea to know if it will be the next big thing or the next big flop.

1. Uncover the problem

When the idea is forming, look at the problem/s it solves. Is it a prominent problem that a lot of people have? Is it a problem they are aware of or do they need to be educated about it? How much education will need to be given?

This will start to help you uncover your target market and how big this market will be.

2. Determine if it’s a need or want

Once you have the problem, determine if it is a need or want. While your market might need the idea you are developing, if they don’t want it, your market will be limited. You know you are on to a good idea when your target market both needs and wants your product or service.

3. Benchmark

As your idea is developing, look at what else is out in the marketplace to compete with it.  Do you have many competitors or just a few?  Is there a market for what you are doing? If you have no competitors is it because it’s an uncharted territory or because others have failed before you? If people have failed, why did they fail? How is your idea different to what is already out there?

4. Delve into the senses

Imagine your idea in use. How will it look, taste, touch, smell or feel? How will people interact with it or use it? What limitations or objections do you imagine people will have? What barriers might you encounter? 

5. Seek opinion

Once you have formulated your idea, it’s time to seek feedback. While you need to be protective over your idea (and use appropriate confidentiality agreements) you also need to test your idea before you start investing significant time and money into it. 

To do this effectively approach people that will give you different perspectives, from trusted advisors like your accountant, business coach, solicitor or marketing consultant, to trusted friends and most importantly potential customers. 

Keep in mind that you want more feedback than “that’s a great idea!” you want specific details on whether they would buy it? How much would they pay for it? What would they want from it or be able to do with it? How would they want it to look or be packaged? 

The more research you can do in the idea stage, the more time, money and potential heartache you will save yourself in the development stage.

Over to you, do you have any tips or tricks for qualifying ideas? 

Amanda


Five ways to overcome blank page paralysis

There can be something quite intimidating about a blank page. The pressure to fill it with words can be overwhelming. Even the most experienced writers can, at some point, feel as though their ideas have dried up, and they don’t know where to start. But it can be overcome.

Whether you need to write a presentation or proposal, a book or a blog, an advertisement or an anecdote, a newsletter or news release, here are five ways to help you overcome blank page paralysis.

1. Work backwards  

When you are stuck, it can help to look at the end goal. What do you want to happen as a result of this? What is the next action step? What do you want customers, readers, journalists, staff members or other stakeholders to take away from it or do as a result of it? 

Once you know the end goal, it is easier to determine what you need to write to achieve it, giving you a place to start.

2. Be inspired by the work of others 

Need to give a presentation? Watch some TED Talks and other great speeches in history. Have a blog to write? Read other blogs and publishing websites. Need to develop an advertisement? Look over the most successful advertisements developed over the years. 

Sometimes we need a touch of inspiration to get us on our way. To see an example of how it is done right or to see it achieving results for us to know it is possible and make a start.  

Inspiration should not be confused with plagiarism though. You don’t want to copy what you have read, listened to or watched. Instead, look at the subtle details that appealed to you like their tone of voice, presentation of facts, how they formulated their argument, captured attention or used imagery.  

3. Reconnect with your creativity  

Sometimes sitting behind a computer can stifle our creativity. We can get too caught in the humdrum of routine and are too easily distracted by the noises of new emails and social media updates coming through.  

Think back over the times when you have been the most creative. Chances are it wasn’t in front of your computer screen; it was with a pen and paper, over a whiteboard, away from your desk or talking with others. Also, take into consideration the time of day it was. Identify any patterns and do what you can to recreate these moments of creativity.  

4. Write your way 

You don’t need to write from start to finish. If you are more inspired to start at the end or halfway through then follow your inspiration. Pressure will only fuel procrastination and overwhelm.  

Make notes under different sections or headings and come back to them when you feel you have more clarity. There is no right or wrong way to fill a page. You need to find the process that most suits you.  

5. Delegate it 

If you are experiencing severe writers block and can’t find a way around it personally, then delegate it. Give yourself something to work with by asking a staff member, ghostwriter or copywriter to do the first draft for you.

It might just take someone else’s interpretation of your business, product, service or topic to help you gain more clarity around your positioning and what you do and don’t want to say.  


Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Youtube
Consent to display content from Youtube
Vimeo
Consent to display content from Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from Google