Want to break up with social media? Don’t!

Dear Social Media,
I’ve been unliking you for a while. I can’t believe how low your reach has stooped and I’m tired of your gold digging ways. I’m afraid we just can’t selfie anymore.

#breakingup #itsnotmeitsyou 

It’s the break up letter so many want to write. With so many changes, low reach and a push towards paid advertising, many people are fantasising about breaking up with their social media accounts. 

But before you act on your desires, it might be worth making some changes first.

1. Switch platforms

Not all social media platforms work for all businesses and industries, if you are struggling with one, keep a presence there but put more effort into another. Look at the audience you are targeting and determine what social media platforms they are using most.

2. Set realistic expectations

The truth is social media won’t always result in instant sales. It should be just one channel you use to market your business, and it should have a distinct purpose – like building your list. 

Keep in mind that to many of your followers, you are a faceless business, to build their trust in you, rapport needs to be established and value needs to be given and this can take time. 

So instead of seeing it as a sales channel, think of it as another touch point with your customers and potential customers. Unlike a newsletter that may go out monthly, or a blog that may go out weekly, your social media followers have given you permission to be in touch with them daily – sometimes multiple times daily allowing you to build trust, credibility and rapport quicker.

3. Mix it up!

The same messaging and approach, won’t always work. Social media audiences change very quickly, so do their needs, wants and life stages. To stay relevant you need to be constantly changing and innovating too. Frequently test and measure to see what works best and don’t be afraid to mix up your content.

4. Plan ahead

Use the insights available to you. Work out who your audience is, what posts they interact on and what time they are online or respond best. Then write more of it – and write it ahead of time. 

A lot of time can be wasted and a lot of stress felt, in the brainstorming and writing of status updates on a daily basis. By theming content and writing a month ahead, you can save yourself significant time and frustration.

5. Delegate or outsource it

If social media is really giving you grief, get someone else to do it before giving up entirely. Whether you delegate it in-house, or outsource it entirely, sometimes a fresh perspective and personality can be just what you need to engage your followers and bring back your social media joy.

Amanda


Influencing the influencer

Could you be marketing to the wrong person or leaving off a key influencer and costing your business sales? While we spend most of our marketing budgets targeting the end user of our product or service, the truth is in many situations that one person rarely makes the purchase decision alone. 

They consult with someone else, present their findings and in some cases even ask for approval or make a joint decision to proceed. In other cases someone else (think of the child in the supermarket) can have far greater influence over the buying decision, convincing your potential customer to buy your products or services in a more persuasive way than you doing it direct. 

So how do you influence the influencer? Here are three tips to get you started. 

1. Identify who your potential customers’ influencers are 

There can be different influencers of a purchase decision depending on the product or service you provide. From business partners, colleagues, employers and different departments within their organisation, to husbands, wives, kids, mothers, fathers, extended family and friends. 

Not too mention the trend setters, ‘in crowd’, celebrities and even the ‘enemies’ or competitors of your potential customer can influence the way they buy and determine if they’ll do business with you over someone else. 

In order to influence the influencer you need to identify who else you are marketing to in addition to your potential customer. Ask yourself who will be in their ear? Who else will need to sign off on the purchase? Who else will have a vested interest in the purchase? Is my customer aware of this influencer and trying to convince them too?

2. Get in the mind of the influencer

Marketing to an influencer often requires completely different messaging than marketing to your potential customer. They have different needs, frustrations and motivations and tend to be less engaged with your product or service. 

Normally only having the incomplete, second-hand information to go on, the influencer may even be wary and skeptical of how you can help, planting seeds of doubt in the mind of your potential customer. For this reason, you need to ensure you give them the information they need to get on board with the purchase. 

To do this ask yourself, what will your target markets influencer be saying in their ear? What concerns and objections will they have? What benefits will they want to see? What information do you need to share (either directly or give to your potential customer) to help the influencer to fall in love with your product too?

3. Target the influencer in your marketing  

Once you know the influencers you are targeting and what concerns and motivations they have, address them in your marketing messages. 

It could be as subtle as working in benefits and features that will appeal to them and address key objections, or it could be as obvious as a ‘how to convince your husband/wife/business partner’ guide. 

How can you influence the influencer in your own business? 

Amanda 


How to make more impact in less words and time

With limited time and shortened attention spans, it is becoming increasingly important to get to your point across quickly and concisely to make an impact with your audience. 

From the home page on your website and the first email you send to a lead, to the tweet you post, the infomercial you recite or the quote you give a journalist, you need to be able to get your message across quickly, powerfully and succinctly.

So to help you make more impact in less words and time, here are three steps to follow when creating your message.

Step 1 – Think it through

Whether you are preparing for a media interview, planning your website copy or writing a social media post, think about the most impactful message you have to share.

Do you have compelling statistics, interesting information, key industry insight, knowledge of upcoming trends, impressive results, powerful testimonials, or a great emotional pull?

When you have identified your message, write it down without worrying about how long it is or how many characters you are using. It is more important to get the message right before making it concise.

Step 2 – Revise and Refine 

Once you have brainstormed your message, take a break. Come back with a fresh perspective and evaluate as objectively as possible. 

Is this really the best message to us? Does it address a problem or frustration? Does it give value? Does it solve or start to solve a problem? Does it make your audience smile, laugh or become engaged? Does it appeal to emotions making your audience scared, uncomfortable or motivated? Does it intrigue your audience? Does it leave them wanting more?

While your message objectives will depend on the channel you are using, it should have some purpose and lead towards the goal you want to achieve by undertaking this specific marketing activity.

Step 3 – Sharpen and shorten 

Only once you have refined your message should you be concerned with sharpening and shortening it. This time when you read over your message look to eliminate words that over emphasise your point or don’t need to be there like ‘very’ or ‘actually’.  Even words like ‘that’ can be used when not needed. 

Also look for different words that can simplify or shorten your message. Let’s use “it is becoming increasingly important”, part of my opening statement as an example. Before I chose the word ‘increasingly’ I had the words ‘even more’, while it says the same thing increasingly was more concise and one less word. 

If my focus was on the amount of characters though, and I had the choice of these words I would use ‘even more’, which has one less character despite being two words. 

However, if I was really concerned with word count, amount of characters or time I could shorten it further to “it’s crucial” turning five words into two. 

Give it a go next time you need to create an infomercial, post or marketing message. You will find by following these three steps you will cut the waffle and create more strategic, sharper and shorter messages that will carry more impact with your audience. 

Amanda


Four tips to increase newsletter opens and clicks

With over 100 billion emails sent last year alone, and many of us receiving tens if not hundreds of emails a day, it can be easy for your newsletter to become lost in a sea of your readers emails. 

But before you start waving the white flag, regular newsletters and emails are still a great way to create another touch point with your customers and build your profile and sales. But how do you stand out in a crowded inbox and keep readers opening? Here are four tips to increase your newsletter opens and clicks.

1. Never underestimate the power of your subject line

Your subject line is the headline of your newsletter and in many cases the only opportunity to capture your readers’ attention. 

For best results don’t just go for a generic ‘[Month] Newsletter’ subject line, include an incentive or information teaser. It could be to address a challenge or need, or include a desired benefit, a sneak peek of the tips contained within, an emotional pull or special offer.

2. Personalise your newsletter

General statements like ‘Hello Business Owner’ immediately rid your newsletter of the personal touch and people are less likely to read on. Readers want to feel like you are talking directly to them so where possible personalise your newsletter by using their first name.

If you don’t have the names of the people you are emailing, or a program that will insert their names for you, consider using a pain or benefit driven headline that will appeal to most if not all readers. A targeted headline like this, despite not being personalised is often more effective then a group greeting.

3. Value your reader’s time

People are busy and inboxes are crowded. Value your reader’s time by keeping your newsletter brief and relevant. It is not the place to waffle about everything you’ve done for the month; it is another touch point to connect with your readers, so think about what they will want and need.

If you do have long articles and detailed information you want to share, publish them as a blog post on your website so you can provide a short sentence or two with a link to “read more” this not only saves space and time, it also increases your website traffic.

4. Prioritise your content

Keep in mind that the majority of your readers will be scanners looking to see ‘what’s in it for me’? They will scan until they find something relevant or of value to them – and if they don’t your headed for deleted items.

To appeal to scanners outline the key selling points of your newsletter early and link to each area where possible. Also make sure that the most interesting, relevant or hard-hitting information is at the start of your newsletter.

How do you keep readers opening your newsletter?

Amanda


It’s all in the name: Five considerations when naming your business, product or service

Creating a name for a new business, product or service can be an overwhelming task, particularly when it can determine the identity, personality and the perception of your brand. 

With this in mind you need more than a trusty thesaurus and clever word play, you need to think about the end result, the ultimate brand you want to create and then work backwards. 

So here a five considerations to take into account when naming your new business, product or service. 

1. Know your target markets and what they want

The first step in creating a great name is to know who you are targeting. While it won’t impact the name in every case, it can be a way of appealing and positioning your business, product or service in a way that easily identifies through name or slogan who it will benefit. 

2. Research keywords

Research what words and terms your target market is searching for when trying to find your industry, products or services, and see if there is way you can use these keywords into your name. 

By incorporating keywords into your business, product or service name, slogan and domain names you have a slight edge when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as it is an easy and natural way to incorporate them into your copy. 

3. Be mindful of spelling and phrasing

While it can be fun, and advantageous for trademarking to invent new words and phrases, or change the spelling of existing words, be mindful of how your potential customers may spell it or search for it if they were to only hear your name. 

Potential customers won’t always see your logo or the spelling of your name the first time they are introduced to you. They may hear it mentioned in an infomercial, be referred to you while talking to a friend or colleague, or perhaps even hear it on the radio or a podcast interview.

With this in mind, it is wise to make the spelling clear while it becomes established and also take precautionary methods (if possible) with domain names for instance in order to pick up potential searches and enquiries that may spell it incorrectly. 

Also think about your name in terms of a hashtag. If you have multiple words in your name could they be interpreted as something else if you were to run them all together as a #hashtag on social media?

4. Use or create a verb

Using a verb or creating a word that could be used as a verb can be a great way to make your business, product or service stick in the mind of your customer and make it appear to be the best or ‘in’ thing to do. For example how many times have you said or heard someone say “Google it”. 

5. Incorporate the problem you solve or benefit you provide 

This can be a powerful positioning strategy that can set you apart from the very beginning. 

Be mindful though that when you incorporate the problem you solve or benefit you provide in your business, product or service name you are making a promise to your customers. So whatever you say, you need to make sure that you can (while thinking of all ‘what if’ scenarios)  live up to it and maintain it over the course of your business. 

Do you have a process behind choosing names for your businesses, products or services?

Amanda


Three sales writing mistakes that will lose you business

Sales letters can be an extremely effective way to generate new business. Whether it is sent via email, social media or good old-fashioned snail mail, when you get the right message, to the right people with the right call to action you can generate a great marketing response.  When it’s wrong however, it can be uncomfortably quiet.

The good news is that the common mistakes people when writing sales letters are easily avoided – when you know what they are. So here are the three most common sales writing mistakes to avoid so you stop losing business and start winning sales. 

Mistake #1  – Appealing to the wrong ego

Ego is an important part of sales writing, but not your ego. Too many people make the mistake of thinking sales writing is all about them, they build their ego through the text, when really they should be appealing to their reader’s ego.

How you appeal will obviously depend on who you are targeting and what you are selling, but comments like “as you would know” or “from your experience” can be a great start. You don’t want to be blatant with your ego stroking as people will become highly suspicious of what you’re doing or selling, being subtle is crucial. 

Mistake #2 – Selling first instead of relating 

The fastest way to turn people off is to go straight into a sales pitch. Think about it in terms of a networking event, you’ve just walked in the door and someone comes straight up to you, shoves a business card in your face and starts selling to you. What are you thinking? Chances are you want to get away from them as quickly as possible. It’s no different in writing. 

You still need to build rapport and find common ground as you are writing. Get people nodding in agreement. Be relatable and friendly. Then once you have done that while telling the story, go in with the pitch in a way that adds value.

Mistake #3 – Calling your reader to act without incentive

While you need to call your reader to act, there is a difference between a passive “call us today on [number]” and a more active incentive like “call us today on [number] and receive/save [x]”. 

An incentive doesn’t always need to be a discount, special offer or free checklist, e-book or report. It could be an emotional pull, creating urgency through a time sensitive promotion or appealing to our sense of competition by “not missing out”.

Just keep in mind that the less you know the person you are targeting, the stronger your incentive needs to be.

Do you use sales letters as part of your marketing strategy? What has or hasn’t worked for you?

Amanda


The collaboration checklist

When it comes to leveraging your time, money, contacts and resources you can’t beat the power of collaboration. Not only do strategic partnerships or alliances open you up to new contacts and opportunities, they can also help you value-add to customers and land larger accounts. 

But how do you find the right collaboration partners? This five-question collaboration checklist will help you find and evaluate strategic alliances so you can appeal to a wider target audience, attract larger clients and grow your business faster through collaboration.

1. Are you well aligned?

When it comes to building a close business relationship you need to be well aligned, not only in your level of skill and experience, but also in your personality, ethics and business vision. You need to be comfortable with referring your customers to them. If there is even the slightest doubt, address it early.

2. Do you share the same client base?

You want to collaborate with businesses your ideal customer will go to either before or after you. This way you not only supply each other with leads, but also value-add to each other’s customers and projects, share promotional costs, open up profitable promotional opportunities and can joint pitch for bigger accounts.

3. Have you done your due diligence?

When you are considering working with someone closely you need to do your research. What is their reputation like? Do they have the right credentials and licenses? Have you spoken to some of their customers? Do you know their strengths and weaknesses? Have you asked about their capacity? 

Remember you will be associating your brand with their brand and referring them customers. Their decision and actions (or lack their of) could impact on your customers and business. Make sure you’ve asked the right questions and have a strong level of trust in them.  

4. Do you have a value-add Plan B?

Business relationships, like any relationship aren’t fully equal 100% of the time. Know from the very beginning that sometimes one person will be referring more than the other. 

By openly accepting this fact you can build in a Plan B, like a commission on referrals, contra products or services or additional promotion throughout each other’s network at these times so you both feel that you are still receiving value from the collaboration.

5. Are you both equally committed?

Successful business arrangements happen when each party is equally committed and invested in the project. You both need to want the collaboration and see the value in it as much as the other, otherwise it will end up a win/lose arrangement or it will fizzle quickly into nothing.

Like any relationship you both need to be persistent, committed, invested and take the time to nurture your collaboration through communication – a quick weekly/fortnightly call to say “hey, how is everything in your world? Anything I can do to help?” doesn’t take a lot of effort; it can however generate you a strong collaboration and lot of business.

Do you collaborate in your business? How do you find the right partners?

Amanda


Three ways to be more compelling in your sales and marketing

Your ability to compel your customers, readers and followers to read on, act or buy, directly determines your leads, conversions and business profits. 

So how do you become more compelling in your sales and marketing? Here are three ways to get you started.

1. Keep a little mystery

In the same way you wouldn’t tell your entire life story in the first few dates with someone, don’t feel you need to inform your potential customer, reader or follower of every facet of your business, industry or topic in the first few touch points. Leave a little mystery by informing them slowly.

Mystery leaves your potential customers wanting more, providing of course that you give away the right details to begin with. To use mystery effectively you need to know who you are targeting and what key selling points will most appeal to them.

Infomercials and your answer to the common question “so what do you do?” are great places to practice a little business mystery.

2. Offer information teasers

Key information like statistics, industry insights, inside secrets, usability tips, and handy hints on areas your target audience are interested in can spark interest and get them to take a level of action like giving over their contact details to you.

Knowledge is power, and in this day and age it is our most valuable commodity – not to mention our biggest point of difference. Sharing relevant and interesting information builds your credibility and positions you as an expert in your field, giving potential customers the confidence in doing business with you.

The trick here though, is in knowing how much of your knowledge to give away, as it will depend on the action you need a potential customer to take. Being a ‘teaser’ your information should be limited, but at the same time it needs to be enough to build trust and leave potential customers, followers or readers feeling like you’ve given them real value.

Always keep some information under lock and key for your paying customers, or to get potential customers taking bigger steps of trust with you.

Social media, newsletters, website opt-ins, blog posts and advertisements are great places to tease with compelling information. 

3. Limit options and choices

While potential customers want to feel like they have a choice in what they do or buy, too much choice can overwhelm your buyer and cause you to lose control in the sales process. 

Before you do any sales or marketing you should map out the steps you want to take each customer through. While not all will follow and some will jump ahead, having this planned out allows you to guide potential customers to the decision you want them to take.

In a service-based business it could be having a few core packages, memberships or services with the ability to customise or value-add further should you need too. For online product-based businesses it could be having a clear category headings and links to the most popular products from your home page as opposed to listing all products immediately.

By having limited choices buyers can quickly determine the products or services most relevant to them, or what their next step needs to be without being overwhelmed by information. It also means you can use sneaky call to action tips to help boost your conversions.

Keep in mind that too much information or too many choices can stall the buying process and even drive them to a competitor who keeps choices simple. This is particularly important for websites and sales meetings.

What are some ways you can be more compelling in your sales, marketing and copywriting?

Amanda


How to identify what your customers love about you

While you know exactly what you love about your business and what you think are your biggest selling points – do you really know what your customer’s value and love about you?

More often than not business owners are selling what they want to sell rather than selling what their customers want to buy. To make sure you’re not one of them, here are four quick checks to ensure you’re not assuming what your customers want, but rather listening to what they value.

1. It’s in their frustrations

If you want to know what your customers and potential customers value, look at the common frustrations and stereotypes of your industry. What do people groan and complain about? What are the common bad experiences?

Now that you know what people don’t appreciate, list the opposite and you will start to see what your customers and potential customers will really want.

2. It’s in their objections

Don’t be put off by objections, objections are your potential customers way of voicing their concern and when handled right they give you the opportunity to make a more personalised sales pitch to get them over the line.

Though in saying this it is important to pay attention to them and make a note of the objections that keep coming up. Is there something that your customers and potential customers need that you aren’t providing? Are there benefits or features that you aren’t promoting that you should be? 

Through objections your potential customers will tell you what is important to them, what they need to know and give you insight into how they make their buying decisions.

3. It’s in their testimonials

Look over the testimonials you’ve received from your past and current customers. What have they praised you for? What have they valued? What are the common themes through all of them?

Chances are that the key features, benefits and results that your past and current customers loved are also the same features, benefits and results that will appeal to your future customers.

4. It’s in their introductions

Referrals and introductions are also a great way to gain insight into what your customers and business associates value about you. More often than not when someone introduces you in business they will lead with what they see to be your biggest point of difference, key area of expertise or your top benefits. 

So the next time someone introduces or refers you, don’t just focus on the new contact, focus on what they have said to get the new contact interested and wanting to talk to you.

When all else fails remember you can ask!

Amanda


How to make more sales through less talking

When so much emphasis is put on what we say to promote our business, how we say it and when we say it, it can be easy to forget that sometimes the best sales strategy is to talk less and listen more. 

So to remind you, here are five tips to help you make more sales by doing less talking. 

1. Give only enough information to spark interest

One of the biggest mistakes business owners and professionals make when networking, selling or talking about their business is to try and jump from introduction to sale. 

When someone asks “what do you do?” or you need to give an overview of your business, your goal should not be to try and make your listener understand every facet of your business, but rather give them just enough information to pique curiosity so they want to know more. 

2. Get people asking questions

One of the benefits of giving just enough information is that it will inevitably lead to a question, giving you the opportunity to share a little more with their permission. 

But perhaps the greatest benefit is that their questions will give you insight into their level of interest, understanding of what you do and their current needs, allowing you to hone your approach and deliver more relevant information to the person you are talking to. 

3. Only answer the questions that have been asked of you 

To keep people engaged you need to keep a level of mystery. One way to do this is to only answer the question you’ve been asked and not give any more information. This way they need to keep asking questions to find out more. 

Keep in mind though that there is a right and wrong way to do this. You want people to be intrigued not frustrated. To avoid the latter make sure you give real information and value in your answers, but at the same time keep some information guarded so they want to know more.

4. Let silence be your friend

So many people find silence uncomfortable and rush to fill it with as many words and questions as they can get out – but don’t let this be you. 

I’ve seen this happen so many times at sales meetings, pitches and networking events and you’ve no doubt seen it to. A business owner or professional, thinking that silence means they haven’t related well with you, you haven’t understood their point or that you are wavering in interest, talks more, trying to convince you of their value. But the only thing it convinces you of is their desperation. 

There is power in pausing, so embrace it. If anyone is going to fill the space with conversation let it be your potential customer so you can learn more about them. 

If you are someone who struggles with this and you feel you do need to say something, then ask a question. It could be as simple as “did that answer your question?” or a more targeted, thought provoking question that can prove your value or expertise.

5. Listen!

As it has been said, there is a reason we have two ears and one mouth. Listening is the most powerful role to be in, particularly when you are selling – and we are all selling something. It is here that you pick up frustrations, needs, queues and opportunities and get to ask more strategic questions in order to position your business as a solution in a personalised way which is key. 

So pay attention to the questions they ask, the responses they give and the experiences and frustrations they share. This is the information that will help you add more value, lead to more opportunities and bigger deals, and help you close more sales so keep those ears open! 

I am always happy to create website content  or press releases that can do the talking for you.

Amanda 


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