How To Create Your First Business Website – In 8 Simple Steps

How To Create Your First Business Website – In 8 Simple Steps

Your website is the foundation for your online presence.

It doesn’t matter where or how or how often you advertise online, all the leads you generate land on your website. So, it only stands to reason that your site needs to be clear, useful and well designed for the needs of your audience.

Before you start worrying about Google AdWords, banner ads, Facebook or search engine optimization, you need to make sure that your site is effective enough to convert all those website hits into qualified leads. Otherwise it’s like sending all your friends to a bad restaurant – no one is going to want to go back.

The quality and quantity of ‘useful’ information on the site will impact how many people can find it in search engines and consequently the number of daily ‘hits’ your site will earn. The more hits you earn, the more your online marketing will drive sales and profits, and isn’t that the goal?

Ready to get started?

This Post will cover:

  • How to create a website that is user-friendly
  • Why your site may need to be redesigned or updated
  • The benefits of using a firm to build your site
  • A step-by-step process for creating a website
  • How to optimize your site for search engines

Create a website that is designed for your existing and prospective customers to use.

Many business owners get really excited about creating their websites, and get completely wrapped up in the design process. Usually this results in fancy flash sites that are difficult to use, take forever to load, and drive customers away.

The website is not about the needs of your business, but about the needs of your customers. What do they need to know about how your product or service will solve their problem or meet their need? What additional information would they benefit from learning from you? What do they need to know before they pick up the phone and contact you?

Every business is unique, and will have a different purpose for their website. Some will have an online store, while others will have three simple pages relevant product and contact information. An effective website is one that meets the needs of the target market.

If your business has an existing website, it might be time for an update or a complete redesign.

It’s time to take a critical look at the website your business currently has online. Of course, if your site is experiences a high number of daily hits and has a high conversion rate (converting ‘hits’ into leads), you may not need to revamp it. However, I recommend you always look for opportunities to improve.

Does your website look professional and of a high quality design?

There are millions of websites out there, but unfortunately many look sloppy, templated, and unprofessional. In all areas of your business your first impression matters and this includes your website. Prospects who know nothing about your company will judge your product or service based on how your homepage looks and feels. A well-designed website will attract customers and begin to build trust and confidence in your offering.

Has your business grown since you built your website?

If it has been a while since you built your site, chances are your business has grown and so has your customer base. This is great, but you need to check in with your current website and make sure it still provides accurate and relevant information about your products and services.

It also may be time to take your site to the next level. Here are some suggestions:

  • Online customer support
  • Online purchase of products or services
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Customer feedback form
  • E-mail newsletters or auto-responders
  • Free ‘expert’ information

Where does your website rank when searched on Google and other search engines?

When you take the time to build a website, you want to make sure that people can find you when they search the major online search engines. If you are a dog groomer, you want your site to be in the top 10 when people search for dog care and products in your area. You want your site to rank higher than the competition on the list.

If you didn’t design your site for search engine optimization (SEO), then redesigning it to rank higher is a smart investment for any business. I’ll explain more about SEO and using keywords later on in the post.

Unless you’re a web designer, I highly recommend outsourcing the creation of your website to an experienced person or firm.

The reason for this is simple. It’s really hard to create a site that looks and functions professionally when you have little experience in web design. Plus, you’re busy running and growing your business, and building websites can be a huge drain on your time – especially if you’re building your first one.

Customers’ don’t trust sites that look like amateurs have created them, so spend your time choosing a good web designer and leave it up to the experts. Here are some tips for finding a firm or freelancer:

> You get what you pay for. Avoid the temptation to go with the cheapest web design company or contractor. If you end up with a poorly designed site, it will cost you more money in the long run, driving away customers and needing to be redone.

> Ask around for referrals. Ask colleagues and other business owners who they used to build their sites or can recommend anyone. You can also do a search to locate local web designers.

> Contact a few firms for a quote. Make sure they can turn the quote around in a timely fashion, which shows they can give you the time and service you require.

> Get a fixed fee quote with a payment plan. A fixed-fee quote will keep your costs predictable. Make sure the payment plan is fair; don’t pay more than 50% up front before the project is completed.

> Check out the company’s portfolio. Aside from deciding if the company is a good working fit for your business, make sure they do good work. Look at their past web projects and make sure they design good-looking, easy to use sites.

> Make sure they make Google-friendly websites. The majority of websites are found through search engines, so if your business doesn’t show up on the first two pages of Google searches for related keywords, you’re going to have a hard time generating hits.

website great for customer

1. Decide what your customers need from your website.

Just like any of your marketing materials, when creating a website you need to first stop and think about your target audience. In this case, you want to consider how your market is going to use your website, how web savvy they are, as well as how much information they need to know about your business before they contact you.

Ask yourself:

  • Who are my target audience?
  • What is the purpose of my website?
  • What do viewers need to know to convince them to make contact?
  • Will I need to sell products or services online?

Based on your answers, there are basically two types of sites you could set up for your business:

1. Content Site. This is the type of site you see most often, as it is fairly inexpensive and easy to create. It provides product, service and company information, as well as other useful information relevant to the business offering. The customer has to go in store or contact you to make a purchase.

2. E-Commerce Site. This is a site that sells products or services online through PayPal or a credit card processing company. This is a more expensive site to create that requires much more maintenance and attention. Other considerations include shipping, payment security, inventory updates, order forms and customer relations.

select domain name

2. Register a domain name that’s easy to remember and then select a web host.

Choose a domain name, and register it online.

A domain name is your ‘address’ or ‘location’ on the Internet. It’s the phrase a customer will type in to find your website. Your domain name can be any combination of letters and numbers up to 63 characters, and followed by an ‘extension’ like .com, .ca, or .biz.

A good domain name:

  • Is short and easy to remember.
  • Is simple and easy to spell.
  • Reflects your business.
  • Usually ends in .com

To register your domain name, simply search “register domain name,” and find a registration website. You will need to first search the availability of your domain name, then secure it by registering it to your name for one or more years.

Choose a web host.

A web host is a company that stores your web site on their servers and transmits the files to the internet so that when someone goes to your domain name your website appears.

When you have your domain name registered, you will have to choose a hosting company. The key here is to find a host that offers great tech support and is available 24/7. If something happens and your website goes down, you’ll need to be able to reach them quickly to fix the problem.

There are a variety of web hosts out there, and many major Internet providers will also offer hosting services. If you are using a web design company, they will be able to recommend a quality host.

great website wequipu.com

3. Hire an expert to help build your website.

Like I said above, I highly recommend using a web design company to build your website – especially if you are building an e-commerce site. The process for finding and hiring a firm is explained earlier in this post.

If you do decide to create it yourself, there are many website-building programs out there, and some web hosts even offer templates for you to use. If you choose this option, ensure that your copy and images are as clear and simple as possible. Don’t attempt to earn any design awards, or you may run the risk of producing an amateur site.

Remember that attractive web design will draw visitors to your site, and engage them in what you offer. Many people will judge a product or company based on the design of the site, which means that a good web design can potentially help your business grow.

However, also be aware that content is still king. It’s easy to get wrapped up in flashy design and lose focus of the content or purpose of your site. Make sure there is a healthy balance.

4. Use keywords throughout your web copy.

keywords seo wequipu.comOne of the key strategies for search engine optimization is the incorporation of keywords in your body copy. Keywords are the most common words and phrases that people use to search for when looking for businesses like yours, or any other type of information online. When the words are entered, the search engine delivers the top sites that relate to those keywords – there may be millions of them.

If your website is search engine optimized, it will appear in the top 20 to 30 sites displayed, which will usually generate a high volume of traffic to your website. If you don’t use keywords, you will have a difficult time brining your website up the search engine rankings.

If you’ve hired a web design firm, they should be well versed in SEO and able to help you write your copy with keywords in mind. To find out what keywords you should incorporate, go to Overture or WordTracker and follow the steps.

You will enter some common search phrases a customer may use to find you, and hundreds of similar search terms will be listed, along with frequency. The more often you use the high frequency search phrases in your copy, the better the SEO of your site.

5. Publish your site by uploading it online.

website wequipu.comWhen the files that comprise your website are complete, you will need to upload them to your web host’s server in order to ‘publish’ your site or make it live.

If you are using a web design firm, they will usually take care of this for you. If you are building your site yourself, you will need to use an FTP program like FileZilla to login to the host server and upload the files to your domain.

If you want to make edits to the site yourself, you will have to download the files to your computer, make changes, and then upload them to the host server again. Be clear with the company that designed the site about the procedure for making changes. The most current files should always be the ones on the host server, because it can get complicated if edits are being made in two places, with two sets of files.

6. Test your website for usability.

When your site is published, invite your friends and colleagues to “test drive” it for user-friendliness. Watch them as they fill in forms, submit quote requests, edit user accounts or profiles, make a purchase or even just find key information. Don’t help them along, just sit back and see how easy it is to navigate around your website as a customer. You may find areas that you need to tweak or improve.

test first website7. Register with search engines and tell everyone about your site.

Ensure that your site will get listed with major search engines. Register your website address with the top search engines so prospects can find your business. 70% of web surfers find sites through search engines, so you really can’t afford not to. Most a free, but some will charge a nominal fee for the registration. It’s worth the investment.

Click on the following links to register your site:

Send your friends, customers and colleagues an email announcement. Send an email announcement to your customer database, as well as your business partners and colleagues announcing the launch of your new site. Provide a link for them to easily access the new page.

Exchange links with complementary businesses. If you know of other complementary businesses with websites (make sure they’re not competitors) offer to exchange links and post them on each other’s sites. Generally, the more sites that legitimately link to yours, the higher your search rating will be.

Promote your website offline too! Don’t forget to include your website address everywhere you include your contact information. This goes for ads, brochures, direct mail pieces, business cards, business listings and letterhead. Use an email address with your domain name.

8. Implement a system for tracking traffic on your website.

website analytics wequipu.com Establish an in store system for tracking leads generated from your website. Include your website as a lead source in your tracking systems, or when you ask customers where they heard about your business. This will give you a sense of how many people you are converting from website hits to qualified leads.

Build a tracking system into your website with Google Analytics. Use an online metrics measurement system like Google Analytics to monitor the traffic your site generates. Google Analytics is free to use, and easy to set up. Register at http://www.google.com/analytics/ and have your web design company insert a small tracking code on each of your web pages. Google Analytics offers a comprehensive range of tracking and web analysis tools, and will measure metrics like:

  • how many people visited your website
  • which pages they visited
  • where they came from (geographically)
  • where they came from (online – search engine, link, other site, direct)
  • at which page they left the site

You can then use this information to restructure the copy on your website so that the pages with the highest traffic also have the most important messages. You will also be able to see which advertisements are drawing the highest traffic, and drop the ads that are generating the least.

The world of online marketing can be a confusing and challenging place, but the best strategies start with a strong, user-friendly website.

Once your website is up and running, remember that it’s an evolving tool for you to use and change as the need arises. Keep the content fresh, and look for new opportunities to make it more useful to your customers.

Don’t forget to monitor the site’s performance on a weekly or monthly basis. Like everything else in your marketing plan you need to track the results to find out what is and isn’t working.

Here’s To Your Success!

 

Top 6 Ways to Write Headlines That Stop Them in Their Tracks

Top 6 Ways to Write Headlines That Stop Them in Their Tracks

All your headline needs to do is convince your reader to keep reading.

Just like your lead generating offer, your headline has one job. It doesn’t need to close sales, or win copywriting awards, it just needs to grab and hold your reader’s attention long enough to keep them reading.

Studies have shown that around 80% of people read headlines when they’re looking through the newspaper, but only about 20% actually read the ad or article.

Your headline is the only tool you have to get the rest of your copy read, so you’ll need to focus the majority of your copywriting efforts on catching and holding your readers’ attention. The rest of your copy only matters if you can get them to read it!

In this post we will cover:

  • The role of strong headlines in all of your marketing materials
  • Headlines as emotional motivators
  • How to create strong headlines for your audience
  • Examples of strong headlines
  • Headline templates
  • Testing and measuring headlines

Headlines shouldn’t be limited to advertising alone – they’re essential elements of sales letters, direct mail cards, websites, newsletters and brochures.

Headlines are used to grab and hold reader’s attention in ALL marketing materials – not just advertisements in newspapers. Most readers take only a few seconds to decide if they want to spend any time reading what you have to say, in an email, website, sales letter or direct mail postcard. Just like you, your audience is bombarded by information every minute of the day, so if you haven’t convinced them to care in a few seconds or less, they’ve already moved on.

Your subheadline is almost as important, because it’s your second chance to tell the reader why they should care and keep their attention. It also creates a transition between your headline and the body of your letter or advertisement, and acts as a teaser.

Every headline should:

  • Grab the reader’s attention
  • Be something the reader cares about
  • Offer your reader something
  • Trigger emotional reactions
  • Incite curiosity

Headlines need to trigger an emotional response and motivate your reader to keep reading.

When you’re writing, you have to put yourself in the mindset of your audience. People are pressed for time, so your headline has to offer something to them that is going to solve their problem, make their life easier, or give them information that they know they need. Otherwise, they’ve already turned the page.

For example, if I were to write a headline like this – Give me three hours of your time and I’ll show you how to double your annual income by creating a passive income stream – I’m probably targeting overworked, overwhelmed, underpaid professionals who are struggling to provide for their families. I’ve tapped into their emotional motivators and caught their attention.

There are a few categories of basic human needs that most purchase motivations come from. When you are aware of these, you will be able to incorporate them into your writing and appeal to your target market’s emotions.

By identifying your target market’s needs, wants, and desires, you’ll be able to identify the words and phrases that will effectively trigger emotional reactions, which will motivate them to take action.

Using the list of basic human needs below, identify which apply to your target market and create a list of words that will trigger the emotions related to these needs, wants and desires.

  • Personal, financial and emotional security for self and family
  • Convenience and time management
  • Freedom from worry, including peace of mind, comfort
  • Self-improvement, including spiritual, intellectual, physical
  • Acceptance and recognition from others, including self esteem, achievement, attention, respect, companionship
  • Basic needs, including food, shelter, clothing, love, personal maintenance

When you begin writing your headlines, you will discover that certain word combinations are also very powerful. You can combine your list of emotional trigger words with these power words in all of your copywriting.

According to a Yale University study, the top two rows of words are the most powerful words in the English language.

create-headlines-work

Here’s how you can write effective headlines for your business in a few easy steps.

1. Identify who you are trying to target.

You need a clear understanding of who you’re writing for and what their motivators are before you can attempt to reach them. This is the target market you identified for yourself in the target market Blog-a-Lesson.

If you are trying to target a more specific group within your target market, you can chose to segment your market into sub-markets by demographic or behavioristic characteristics. For example, you might choose to focus on only men or only women with children under five years of age.

The more specific you can be with your market, the easier time you will have identifying and reaching their emotional ‘hot buttons.’

2. Identify what you are trying to communicate.

Once you know who you’re speaking to, clearly define what message you need to communicate to them. Be specific, and even write it down in plain language before you start drafting your headlines.

To clearly articulate your message, ask yourself questions like:

  • Do you have a solution to their problem?
  • Do you offer a new product or service that they need?
  • Can you provide the information they’re looking for?
  • Do you have a better option for them?

3. Identify the motivators or “hot buttons” that will elicit an emotional response from your audience.

Take the list you drafted above, and highlight or write down the words that will pique your target market’s interest, or trigger their ‘hot buttons’.

If you’re selling vacuum cleaners to young mothers, you’re going to want to identify words that would appeal to her desire to keep her home germ free for toddlers, and make her cleaning efforts easier and less time consuming.

When you’re writing for sales and marketing, always try to paint a picture for your audience. Carefully select descriptive words they will relate to and resonate with, and strong power words like the ones listed above. For example, phrases like “challenging outdoor experiences” would appeal to physically fit readers, but not those who don’t like to exercise.

4. Choose a type of headline that will work best based on the emotional motivators you have identified.

Direct Headlines clearly and simply state the offer or message, without any attempt at humor or cleverness. Pure Silk Scarves – 40% This Weekend Only | Brand New Security System Just $99 Per Month

Indirect Headlines are subtle, and often use curiosity to pique a reader’s interest before providing an explanation in the body copy. Clever puns, figures of speech and double meanings are often used. The key to weight loss success lies in your backyard.

News Headlines mimic a headline you would read in the newspaper and are a great option for a new product announcement or industry scoop. These work best when you actually have news, and can stay focused on benefits, not features. Newco launches the ultimate timesaver for new moms

Question Headlines ask the reader something they can closely relate to or would need to continue reading to discover the answer. Questions are easy to read, and can immediately tap into your reader’s emotions. Are you tired of worrying about your children’s education fund? | Do you know what’s in your fruits and vegetables?

‘How to’ Headlines indicate that the rest of the copy or the offer itself will describe a step-by-step process of interest or use to the reader. These two words create headlines that work wonders. How to find a job in a recession | How to start a profitable internet business from scratch.

Command Headlines are similar to direct headlines, but always start with a strong verb or command for action. It usually focuses on the most important benefit you offer your reader. Triple your energy in just three days | Stop wasting money when you travel.

‘Reasons Why’ or ‘Ways to’ Headlines precede lists of tips, suggestions, product benefits or even mistakes of interest to your target audience. Keep the list to a reasonable length or you’ll run the risk of losing your reader. Eight ways to save money around the house | 25 mistakes you could be making at the grocery store.

Testimonial Headlines use other people’s opinions and expertise to persuade a reader to keep reading and begin to build trust. Quotation marks are used to indicate that the words are a testimonial, not the words of your business, and they can increase readership by almost 30%. “ToneYou Bootcamp completely changed the way I look at my body” – Miley Cirrus | “I never thought I’d get out of debt before I discovered Money Saver Inc!” – Grace LePage

5. Draft at least ten different headlines using the templates below, and pick your best three to test and measure.

I often get asked how long a headline should be. This is something that is debated in the marketing community quite a bit, but I always tell my clients not to stress about it. Use the number of words you need to get your point across, without writing a paragraph. Remember that your headline needs to do one thing: get the reader to keep reading.

Don’t be afraid to draft pages of headlines or sift through the pages of a thesaurus before you get yours just right. Sometimes you’re only a word or two away from transforming a boring headline into a really effective one. If you’re having trouble, you can rely on the headline templates I’ve included in this Blog-a-Lesson.

Headline Templates

  • How to become the smartest _____ in _____
  • How to end ______
  • How I improved my _____
  • How to develop _____
  • Seven ways to add to your _____ without cleaning out your bank account
  • How to begin _____
  • 12 innovations in _____ design
  • How to enjoy _____
  • Introducing the four key rules for _____
  • How I _____
  • Six things to check when buying a new _____
  • How to conquer _____
  • Complete these three simple steps for a _____
  • How to start_____
  • Five hints to make your _____ rise above the rest
  • How to have______
  • How to become _____
  • Announcing eight powerful answers to your “what _____ to buy” dilemma
  • Which _____ do the experts use?
  • Powerful ways to update your _____ for free
  • How to keep _____
  • The four components that make up a successful _____
  • How to improve your _____
  • Six essential questions to ask before you buy a _____
  • How to get ______
  • Three clever ways to impress _____ without breaking the bank
  • The six warning signs you don’t want to miss in _____
  • How to get the most out of ______
  • Nine tips from the _____ experts
  • How to avoid _____
  • How to stay ahead of business _____ trends in _____
  • How to get rid of _____
  • Five proven advantages that _____ enjoys over the competition
  • How you can _____
  • Finally! The latest _____ secrets revealed!
  • Learn how xxx has improved since you bought your last _____

6. Always test and measure the effectiveness of your headlines. Try two at a time and compare which generates the best results.

As always, you will need to test and measure the strength of your headlines. Try to test at least two “hot buttons” in different media to determine where your target audience’s reaction is the strongest.

You can leverage off of the information gathered from testing and measuring your powerful offer as well. For example, if the offer geared to safety and security concerns was a roaring success, headlines that tap into those motivators will also be successful.

You can apply these headline writing techniques to all your marketing materials, as well as your copywriting.

In our fast-paced society, nearly everyone has become a skimmer instead of a reader. Strong, well-written headlines are the only way you can lure a browser into reading your message – so use them on every piece of marketing material you have.

In upcoming Blog-a-Lesson, you’ll work on creating brochures, newsletters, direct mail pieces, sales letters and sales scripts – all of which need strong headlines to get noticed.

Next week we’re going to work on a really popular lead generation tool that also relies on effective headlines for success – ads. You’ll focus on how to use print advertising to bring in qualified leads, as well as how you might benefit from trying some inexpensive forms like classifieds and Yellow Pages.

To Your Success,

wEquipu-small-business

We help you develop breakthrough marketing strategies and put groundbreaking small business consulting ideas into action with our Silver Bullet System ultimately improving small businesses decisions and business results through proven methodologies. 

As John Maxwell Certified Coaches, we have the management and team coaching expertise to tackle team challenges head on.  We help small businesses overcome fierce competition, modest budgets and solidifying their sales and marketing engine by improving lead generation, conversion rates, transactions, higher prices and profits generation strategies. – wEquipu Team.

How to Increase Your Conversion Rate In 5 Easy Steps

How to Increase Your Conversion Rate In 5 Easy Steps

Now that your target prospects are answering your call to action, how can you get them to actually become your customers?

A big part of your focus to date has been on identifying who your ideal customers are, deciding how to reach them, and how to communicate with them so that they take action and contact you.

Converting leads into customers is your next point of focus, and step two of the five-step process. You’ve spent so much time and money enticing the right people to raise their hands and identify themselves that now all you and your staff need to do is convince them to become your customers.

Generally, how your potential customers perceive your business and your staff, as well as how much trust you can build and how fast you can build that trust are the two key factors that impact conversion rates.

Secondly, the strength of your sales process and scripts as well as the level of risk involved in purchasing your product or service also have a powerful impact on conversion rates.

Here are the 5 Steps

  • How your conversion rate impacts the bottom line
  • How to measure your conversion rate
  • How to evaluate your conversion rate
  • How trust and qualified lead generation impacts conversion rates
  • Strategies for improving your conversion rate

Your conversion rate is the second factor in the customer equation.

conversion rates website

A conversion rate is simply the number of transactions divided by the number of leads during a specific time period. It’s a ratio between the number of people you attracted with your lead generation strategies, and the number of people who purchased from you and became your customers.

So if 150 people come through your store in a day, and 50 of them make a purchase, your conversion rate is 33% for that day.

# TRANSACTIONS / # LEADS X 100 = % Conversion Rate

Converting leads – which is essentially the sales process – is likely the core of your daily business efforts. You’ve spent time and money setting up lead generation systems and strategies, so it stands to reason that you should put equal time and energy into converting those leads into loyal customers.

I’m going to show you in a few minutes how you can improve your conversion rate with a few simple strategies, but first I want to show you how increasing your conversion rate alone will have a dramatic impact on your bottom line.

Using the five-step formula, here is an example of how a 10% and 30% increase in conversions can impact your total profit.

Starting Point 10% Increase 30% Increase
Leads 4,500 Leads 4,500 Leads 4,500
Conversion Rate 30% Conversion Rate 33% (10% increase) Conversion Rate 39% (30% increase)
Customers 1350 Customers 1485 Customers 1755
Transactions 1.3 Transactions 1.3 Transactions 1.3
Average Dollar Sale $140 Average Dollar Sale $140 Average Dollar Sale $140
Revenue $245,700 Revenue 270,270 Revenue 319,410
Margins 24% Margins 24% Margins 24%
Profit $58,968 Profit $64,864.80 Profit $76,658.40

Do You Know Your average conversion rate for your business?

To figure out your conversion rate, choose a specific time period (day, week, month, campaign) and then divide the total number of sales transactions by the number of people who inquired about your product or service (leads) and multiply by 100. This is a percentage value of your conversion rate.

For example, 50 transactions / 150 leads x 100 = 33% conversion rate.

Now, if I wanted to look at conversions over a specific time period, the rate would vary:

Leads Sales Conversion Rate
Day 150 50 33%
Week 910 286 31%
Month 4050 1196 29%

If you’ve been tracking your leads over the past few weeks, you’ll be in good shape. All you may have to do is look at your lead tracking sheet, and divide into it your total number of sales over specific time periods. You’ll be able to analyze what your conversion rate looks like over the course of ad or direct mail campaigns, as well as over various weeks in the month.

If you haven’t started tracking your leads, you’re going to have to start in order to understand what your true conversion rate is. In my experience, many business owners overestimate what this percentage actually is, so I feel this is an important step in the process.

Keep track of the following items in your conversion rate measurement sheet:

  • Start date and end date of the measurement period (by ad campaign, week, or month)
  • Total number of leads (divided by source – telephone, in store, online, etc.)
  • Total number of sales transactions
  • How trust and qualified lead generation impacts conversion rates

If you’re starting to track leads and sales today, by the end of a week you’ll have a reasonable understanding of where your business stands.

How do you evaluate if your conversion rate is “good” or not?

customer price

I have clients ask me this all the time, ‘Once you know what your conversion rate is, how can you tell if it’s “good” or “profitable”?’

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t a black and white one. The truth is that conversion rates vary and depend on the product, service and customer base. Different businesses can have dramatically different rates, yet both rates can mean the respective companies are highly successful.

For example, a thriving dollar store may have a conversion rate of almost 80%, while a profitable furniture store may have a conversion rate of 30%. Other businesses might have rates of anywhere from 4% to 99%.

You can put it into perspective if you think about how differently these businesses operate. Dollar stores generally have a high volume of foot traffic and offer a wide variety of products. The price point is low, and most people who walk into a dollar store buy something.

Furniture stores, on the other hand, offer products of a higher value that usually require more thought prior to purchase. The store generally advertises to attract leads that are looking for specific items and features. Lastly, the product requires a much more substantial investment.

So, instead of focusing on how close your conversion rate is to 100%, you need to think of conversions as relative to your break-even point – either for a campaign or for regular business operations. To do this, you need more information than the rate itself. You need to know how many leads you need to convert into customers to see a return on investment. You need to know how much money each lead costs you, on average how much they spend, and how much of their spend is actual profit.

For example, if you have $4,000 to spend on advertising and you want to see $20,000 in sales, will a 20% conversion rate be enough to do the job?

To answer this, you need more information on other measures in your business. You need to know your average dollar sale and average customer acquisition cost. In this example, let’s say your average dollar sale is $42 and your average customer acquisition cost is $2.50. (You’ll look at customer acquisition costs in the next post).

If you take your $4,000 advertising budget and divide by your $2.50 customer acquisition cost, you’ll expect to generate about 1,600 leads.

So 1,600 leads with a 20% conversion rate would equal 320 sales – not bad. Now, take the 320 projected sales times the average dollar sale of $75, and you’ll get $24,000 in revenue. That’s a reasonable ROI for a $4,000 investment!

But is the 20% conversion rate a ‘good’ one? To answer this, you’ll have to factor in your profit margin to determine the answer. You wanted to achieve $20,000 from your $4,000 advertising investment.

Let’s say your average profit margin is 45.3%. So, on each $75 sale, you made $34 profit. So, let’s look at your actual profit after costs:

320 sales x $34 profit per transaction= $10,880 in take home profit.

So, when the rest of your business measures are factored in, you actually only achieved a 272% return on investment, which is about half of what you were targeting. Therefore, in this case, a 20% target conversion rate isn’t necessarily a strong one for your business.

Now, before you dive into any conversion rate boosting strategies, focus on building trust and generating qualified leads – the cornerstones of a profitable conversion rate.

You likely already know that trust his a huge factor in any exchange with a potential customer. When you first learned about sales and the selling process, you learned about building trust and rapport with the people who are giving you their money.

So, trust is therefore a big factor in having a healthy (and profitable) conversion rate. Your prospect needs to trust in the value of your offering, as well as the credibility of the business and the knowledge of the people who work there.

The issue here, of course, is the length of time it takes to truly establish trust, or credibility. With all your new leads – practically strangers – walking through the door and picking up the phone, you need to establish instant trust and credibility in order to make the most of the time you spend with each prospect.

The other important point I want to make is about the role that qualified leads have in your conversion rate. It’s one thing to have hundreds of leads contact you on a daily basis, but if they’re not qualified leads, they’re less likely to buy from so, and thus potentially wasting your time and squashing your conversion rate.

Here are five ways you can boost your conversion rate with little improvements to your business.

conversion rate optimization

1. Build instant trust.

Use testimonials. Ask happy customers to write testimonials about their experience at your business. Use their words (or even their whole letters) in your marketing materials, or post them in your place of business. Testimonials boost confidence in what you’re offering and establish trust in the eyes of prospects.

Showcase your good news. Post awards, accolades, media articles and other ‘proof’ of your credibility around your business and on your website.

2. Create an image of quality.

Consider the appearance of your staff. How do you and your staff members dress? Does your appearance communicate the right message to potential clients about your offering? You don’t need to show up in a suit every day, but make sure everyone’s appearance is professional and appropriate for your business.

Improve the perception of your business. This includes the physical state of your place of business, as well as the quality of your marketing materials and the quality of the service customers’ receive when they purchase from you.

Give merchandise displays a boost. Can you make your products look more attractive through the way they’re displayed or arranged? Put complementary products together, and create feature product displays to create variety and interest.

3. Train and develop your staff.

Give staff conversion targets and incentives. Remember that you’re not the only one who can contribute to an increase in conversions. Involve and support your staff in tracking and boosting conversion rates. Give them individual targets, and incentives for meeting them.

Review and improve sales process. Everyone can improve their sales skills, and refine the process they use to close sales. Take an opportunity to watch and give feedback to your staff members, or hold a brainstorming session to discuss what techniques, phrases, objections are most effective when selling your product or service.

Develop and continuously update scripts. If you’re not using scripts, it’s time to start. If you are using scripts, make sure you’re revising and improving them on a regular basis based on what you and your staff experience during the sales process.

Focus on customer education instead of sales. Face it, no one likes to be ‘sold’ to. Focus your sales process on building a relationship with and educating your customer on the benefits and solutions of your offering. The more they learn, the more they’ll believe what you have to say, trusting the business enough to make a purchase.

4. Improve your offering.

Increase quality, exclusivity or range. Can you improve the quality of products or services that you offer? Carry a more exclusive product, or extend your range of products? Take a look at your merchandising mix and service menu and identify areas where you can expand or specialize.

Make great offers. Strong offers can also serve as an incentive for a potential customer to complete the sale. Offer great perceived value, or exclusive and time-sensitive products or services, and you’ll see a spike in your conversion rate.

5. Take away purchase risk.

Provide free trials and demonstrations. Allow your customers to test out your product or service for free, with no obligation to purchase. Or, offer free demonstrations so your customer can see the benefit or solution your product or service provides.

Guarantee product or service performance. Take away the purchase risk from your potential customer, and you’ll have a powerful strategy for closing sales and increasing conversions. This is also an immediate trust and credibility booster – you are so confident in your product or service’s results that you’re guaranteeing them.

Work with your staff on a daily or weekly basis to consistently measure and increase conversion rates.

converstion rate

Post a calendar in the staff room or common area, and track your targeted and actual conversion rates on a daily and weekly basis. This will give you and your staff a visual reminder of the company’s goals, as well as an indication of how the team is performing.

You don’t work in your business alone, so involve and motivate your team to support you in growing your business. Give them incentives and help them develop their sales skills, and I promise you’ll see an impact on your conversions.

The next step is about customer loyalty – how to keep your clients coming back to make new purchases, instead of continuously trying to buy new clients.

As always, let me know if you have any questions.

Good Luck!

 

How to Use Testimonials Strategically

How to Use Testimonials Strategically

So now you have a pile of glowing customer testimonials. What’s next?

Testimonials are enough to convince people for now. – Alex Chiu

Well, obviously your next step is to use the testimonials you solicited. Generally, you want to place them in your marketing materials and other places where prospective customers will see them.

But you probably have a variety of testimonials, in e-mail, letter and verbal format. These testimonials probably speak to a wide range of aspects of your business, and your product or service offering. You may have some that sing the praises of a particular product, and others that rave about your customer service standards. Some might be from customers, others from the media.

We have created this blog to show you how to use your testimonials strategically and to get the most out of their power. Testimonials may be more believable than sales copy, but they way you use them in your marketing is the same: with a clear purpose in mind.

In this post we will cover:

  • Why testimonials need to be used strategically
  • How to choose the right testimonials
  • Where to use testimonials in your business
  • How to make the most of your testimonials

Testimonials need to be used strategically to maximize their value and their impact on your business.

Testimonials website www.wequipu.com

Let’s say you were reading a brochure about a new product that you were interested in purchasing. The copy describing the product claims that it is the ‘best product you’ll ever use’ and that the quality ‘far exceeds the competition.’ That might be true, but I bet you’re a little skeptical.

Next to the sales copy, there is a quote from a customer that reads, “Exceptional customer service. The salespeople made every effort to ensure I found what I needed, and left the store happy.”

What does that do to increase your confidence in the product? Does it help to eliminate some of your skepticism? Probably not. It’s just telling you that you’ll be treated well in the store.

In order for you to really harness the power of testimonials in your marketing materials, you have to put some thought into where you place them and why. They need to support the message you’re trying to communicate, even though the words aren’t yours. They need to make sense in the context of where they’re used.

Each time you use a testimonial you need to decide what you are trying to accomplish or what message you are trying to support.

Testimonials have the power to achieve a variety of things for your marketing and customer retention programs. They can:

  • Overcome buyer skepticism. Use a testimonial to shine light on your credibility, or on the quality of your product or service. This type of testimonial builds trust and overcomes natural barriers. In the example above, the testimonial could have read: “Best product I’ve tried in this price bracket – and I’ve tried many. Great value for money, and no shortcuts on quality.”
  • Overcome objections. Your readers are going to be naturally skeptical of any claims, promises or bold statements. As much as you can back yourself up with facts, a third party experience or opinion will work wonders to overcome unspoken objections in the customer’s mind. “It all sounded too good to be true, but when I used the hair straightener, there was more shine and less breakage.”
  • Simplify or make a point. A customer’s personal experience with your product or service will work to persuade your audience like a story does. Complex explanations or abstract applications will make more sense when applied to real life examples. This works well with highly technical products or complex services where the customer doesn’t need to understand all the details.
  • Break up and maintain interest in long copy. Readers have short attention spans and they will get bored unless you can change up the structure on a regular basis. Quotations and testimonials will break up the tone or voice of the copy, and sound like the customer is reading dialogue, which will keep them engaged. You can also break up paragraphs with a testimonial that supports the point you have just made.
  • Target anxieties or doubts. Just like they can overcome skepticism and objections, they can also overcome hidden anxieties or doubts at each stage of the sales process. Anticipate questions like “is this worth my money?”, “do I really need this?”, “can I trust the guarantee?” and “will they sell my information?”, and place testimonials accordingly.

When you have established what you’re trying to do with the testimonial, choose credible ones that will support your purpose.

testimonial www.wequipu.com

When you’re going through your stacks and stacks (hopefully!) of customer testimonials, it can be hard to choose which one will suit your purpose best. I’m usually so proud of mine that I want to use every word of each of them, but of course that’s not possible.

Use these guidelines when choosing your testimonial:

  1. Is the testimonial credible? (includes customer’s full information)
  2. Does the testimonial describe or prove the top benefits or results of my product/service?
  3. Is the testimonial detailed and specific, and describe their experience as a customer?
  4. Is the testimonial from an expert source or organization that will be recognized?
  5. Does it describe the problem the customer was experiencing before the purchase and the relief or happiness they experienced after?

Of course every testimonial won’t be all five of these things, but they’re a good way to identify strong testimonials that will have impact.

Remember that more isn’t always better. Choose quality over quantity, and try to support what you’re saying, not distract from it. A single strong testimonial will have more impact than a page full of mediocre ones.

Now, make the most of each testimonial you choose.

Chances are, you won’t get testimonials in convenient paragraphs of copy that support what you’re trying to convey. Usually, they’ll be in letter form, and potentially a few pages in length.

Sometimes you’ll use the entire testimonial, perhaps on your website or posted in store. However, most of the time you’ll need to choose an excerpt that will fit your needs. You can always use a different part later. To identify what part of the testimonial should be used, ask the following questions:

  • What is the most convincing part of the testimonial?
  • Is the author a recognizable name?
  • Is there a specific sentence or paragraph that sums up their experience?
  • Are there several sentences or paragraphs that will be of use?

For example, if you need to group testimonials under a specific category, like “Here’s what our customers had to say about their experience,” you’d only need to pull sentences that speak to customer service. If you’re looking for a killer testimonial that will speak to product quality and service standards, you may want to pull a full paragraph and let it stand alone.

You can use testimonials in your business wherever your customers can see them. Here are some suggestions for placement:

Put them on your website.

  • Create a page of your website dedicated to customer testimonials.
  • Include testimonials on every page of your website – especially the pages that generate the highest traffic.
  • Put your best testimonial in a prominent location on your homepage – in sidebars, call out boxes or above the headline – and put a new one up on a regular basis.
  • Use testimonials to break up long bits of sales copy throughout your website.

Put your best 25 to 50 letters in a waiting room book.

  • Keep a binder or album of testimonial letters, printed on source letterhead, for your prospects and customers to flip through.
  • You can keep this binder in the waiting room, your office, your point of sale, your boardroom, or anywhere else you prospect may have an opportunity to look at it.
  • This strategy allows customers to build trust while-they-wait, and usually results in prospects being more open to what you have to say.

Hang your best testimonials in your store or office.

  • Frame your best testimonial letters (again, printed on letterhead) and hand them up in your business or your office. Hang several in a row for maximum impact.
  • Even though your prospects may not read each and every one, the presence of testimonials will send the message that you have happy customers. They may even want their company names on the wall too.

Put them in your advertisements.

  • Testimonials are highly effective in advertising. Use short, clear, purpose focused testimonials for the best results.
  • Avoid cluttering up your ad with paragraphs of testimonial copy – save that for your website and brochures.

Put testimonials in your direct mail.

  • Let the words of others speak for you when sending a direct mailing. Attach a page of testimonials to a direct mail letter, or include them on postcards or brochures.
  • Since you can’t physically be there to sell your product, the use of testimonials in direct mail campaigns can boost response rates.

Partner with a complementary company for a joint mailing.

  • Send a joint mailing with a company that offers a product or service that is complementary to yours, and you’ll gather a host of qualified leads.
  • The way it works is you send a letter to your clients on your letterhead introducing and offering the other company’s product or service, and they do the same for you. Since your existing customers already trust your business, and you endorse your partner company, the letter acts as a testimonial.

Use video testimonials on your website, in presentations and in store.

  • Put videos of happy customers on your website for browsers to find when they’re looking at your offering. Videos tend to be more interactive, and may be seen by more people than plain text.
  • If you attend trade shows or sales presentations, keep video testimonials on a CD or DVD to play on a loop or in strategic points of your presentation.
  • Transcribe the audio to written testimonials that can be used in your print collateral, and make the most of your customer’s comments.
  • In your marketing materials, invite customers to visit your website to view videos of other client’s experiences and thoughts after using your product or service. It’s always more interesting to see something live than read it on paper.

When you put some thought into how you use testimonials, they will have a stronger impact on your target audience.

Remember that the key to maximizing the power of your testimonials is making sure that your prospects see them when they need to see them.

You want to use testimonials to back you up when you’ve said or claimed something unbelievable, or are trying to build credibility. You want to place them so they’re seen right before you ask for the close, or the call to action. Let others speak for you when it matters the most.

To Your Success!

5 Easy Steps to Test and Measure Your Marketing Results

5 Easy Steps to Test and Measure Your Marketing Results

Testing and measuring your marketing is critical to the growth and profitability of your business.

In fact, unless you have some form of measurement system in place, how will you even know if your business is growing or making a profit?

Of course if your net income is greater than your costs, you know you’re making money, but how do you know that cost of one marketing strategy isn’t eating all the profit of another? You need to know that each penny of your marketing budget is bringing in an acceptable return on investment so that your business grows and stays profitable.

Too many business owners fail to test and measure their marketing, and end up spending way beyond their budgets or leave heaps of money on the table. I find that there are three reasons for this:

  1. They don’t know how to test their marketing
  2. They think the testing process is too time-consuming or complicated
  3. They don’t know how to evaluate their results or make decisions based on them

Let’s get started and make sure you don’t fall into any of those categories.

We will cover:

  • How testing and measuring relates to your bottom line and business growth
  • How to test and measure on a small scale before you go big
  • How to track responses on your marketing campaign
  • How to split-test your marketing
  • How to evaluate your results and make decisions
  • Campaign rate of return and break-even analyzes

Testing and measuring is an overall, ongoing system or habit that you need to implement in your business.

You need to consistently test and measure your marketing to make sure you don’t make mistakes that cost you money. You also test and measure your marketing to make sure you’re making the most money possible from each marketing strategy you execute.

Since you should measure every time you market your business, you will need to have an ongoing system integrated into your business operations.

There will need to be a clear system for tracking responses and sales, and attributing each to a specific campaign. You will also need to make evaluating your results and making changes based on them a regular part of your weekly or monthly routine.

This may be as simple as a tracking sheet placed at every point of sale and phone in your business. It could be as high-tech as a web-based lead tracking system like SalesForce. Either way, you need to use a system that works with your business. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting into the habit of asking every customer how they heard about your company.

Your marketing strategy or campaign will never start out perfect – it will be a constant work in progress. The only way you’ll be able to establish what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong is to test and measure the results. When you make these tweaks, one at a time, on an ongoing basis, you will leverage your marketing to get the best possible return on investment.

You can learn something from every mailing, ad, newsletter or promotion, but if you fail to test and measure you’ll run the risk of making mistakes that cost you money, and repeating them.

Always test and measure your campaign ideas on a small scale before you go big.

Like I said, none of your marketing strategies start out perfect. To perfect them and maximize your return, you need to test and measure your results. This means all you perfectionists need to just dive in and start your campaigns instead of waiting for the time to be perfect or for yourself to be absolutely sure of the results.

This is a straightforward strategy when you run regular advertisements in the local paper, mail to your base of existing customers, or are thinking of a cool promotional idea. However, if you’re about to embark on a big marketing strategy and make a big investment, it’s best to test on a small scale before you commit to a large campaign.

Failing to test on a small scale before you go big will put you at risk of blowing your entire marketing budget, and having nothing left but a flopped campaign. You need to take a small portion of that budget to test your idea, and then evaluate the results to determine if it’s worth committing the rest of the budget to it.

Depending on the size of the strategy, I would recommend testing with about 10% to 15% of your overall budget. Here are some suggestions for small tests:

> Direct Mail. From your direct mail list, choose at random 10% of the contacts and send your mailing to that 10% first. Then measure the results, and make changes based on the response rate and sales generated. You may wish to split test if you need to evaluate the impact of your offer or price point and compare the response.

> Website. If you’re creating a website or redesigning the one you have, start by creating a simple splash page or a simple five or six page starter site. Then track your website hits and which pages your visitors are click on most often. This will tell you which areas of your site you need to invest the most time on.

> Advertisements. If you’re planning a big ad campaign in multiple publications, try testing your headlines and offers on a smaller scale in smaller or less expensive publications. If you were planning a series of ads in the same publication, try measuring the impact of one to see if the rest of the series will be worth the investment.

Remember that it can be difficult to get a true understanding of the impact of a big campaign when you’re testing small because often prospects will have to see your messages multiple times. The cumulative impact of a campaign can’t be measured over the short term. However, small tests will allow you to see if a campaign is going to be a big flop, or if you can tweak it to have more power.

Use this process to track, test and measure each of your marketing campaigns.

1. Conduct a break-even analysis to identify the results needed to recover cost and make an acceptable profit.

Before you a run an ad or a campaign, it’s essential that you work out exactly what response rate you need to recover your costs and turn enough profit to make the campaign worthwhile. This will prevent you from running campaigns with a low chance of success.

What should I target as a response rate?

While response rates will vary dramatically, it’s best to be conservative. If you require a high response rate – anything about 20% as a rough guideline – to break even, the campaign runs the risk of costing you money.

Once you begin tracking and measuring response rates on all of your marketing initiatives, you will gain a better understanding of typical response rates for your company, target market and industry. You can base target response rates on averages of these figures.

How do you know if your profit target is ‘acceptable’?

Profit targets will also vary by ad, campaign and, of course, business type. You need to establish what a realistic figure would be for your business, taking into consideration your average revenue and the relative cost of the campaign.

For example, it would be unrealistic to try to double your revenues in a month with a single advertisement, but a 10% increase with three advertisements may be a more attainable target.

Also consider the relative cost of the campaign. If you’re spending $5,000 on a direct mailing, $100 in profit doesn’t justify your time investment or make the campaign worthwhile.

Use this simple break-even analysis to plan for an advertisement, direct mailing or entire campaign.

A break even analysis will tell you how many sales you will need to generate to recover your costs and turn a profit.

A. Costs: Determine the total costs involved in your offer, both fixed and variable.

$ fixed costs + $ variable costs = $ total costs

B. Profit: Assess how much profit you generate per average sale or transaction.

$ average sale x % profit margin = $ profit per sale

C. Break Even Point: Calculate how many transactions you’ll need to break even

$ total costs / $ profit per sale = # sales to break even

So, if I’m considering running a direct mail campaign, my calculation would look like this:

02-How to Test and Measure Your Results

Now, to figure out if the campaign response target is realistic, I include the total number of mailings to calculate the percentage response rate.

# break even point / # total mailings x 100 = % response rate

So, if my direct mail list included 250 people, the response needed to break even would be 19.6%, which is too high for a break even point. I’d need nearly 20% of my recipients to buy before I even started turning a profit. If the mailing list included 5000 people, the break even response rate would be much better at 0.98%

2. Implement coding and tracking systems in your marketing campaigns.

While testing and measuring is not an exact science, there are ways you can build coding or tracking systems into your marketing campaigns to make it easy to see where your leads and customers are coming from.

Each time you design an ad or create a direct mailing, think about how you will be able to tell when a customer purchases in response. Here are some suggestions for “coding” your marketing strategies so you can track their results in your tracking systems:

  • Count the number of people who walk in your store to track retail traffic before and during a campaign.
  • Compare sales figures before, after and during a campaign. Remember that advertising can have a cumulative effect, so don’t be surprised if results spike after the third campaign in a row.
  • Print a coupon as part of your print advertising or direct mail. Offer a discount or free product and require customers to present the coupon to receive it. If you advertise in several places, put a different code or number on each publication and you’ll see which publication generates the best results.
  • Give an incentive for disclosing their source. Give them a reason to tell you what ad or strategy they’re responding to: “Mention this ad and get 5% your next order.”
  • Dedicate a phone line or extension to each campaign. If you do a lot of advertising, publish a different extension for each ad. When a customer asks for “extension 53” you’ll know which ad or direct mailing they’re responding to.
  • Compare website traffic before and after a campaign. Use Google Analytics or ask your web host for a report on the number of hits on your site by day, week or month. Do the same after or during a campaign and compare.

Use a tracking sheet to log leads and customers.

Ask every customer who visits your store or calls your business where they heard about you. If you have contact forms on your website, include a “where did you hear from us?” box. Make it a part of you and your staff’s conversations with customers.

Use a simple tracking sheet like this to keep tabs on where your customers are coming from. I suggest keeping a sheet like this by your point of sale system and by the company phone, and using one per day or per week. This will give you an easy at-a-glance idea of how your strategies are performing.

04-How to Test and Measure Your Results3. Split-test your marketing to compare the impact of two offers, headlines, or other elements of a campaign.

Like I said above, no form of marketing is perfect from the beginning. You need to test and evaluate your strategies to determine which is the most effective. This goes for entire strategies – like direct mail – or elements of that strategy – like offers, color, headlines, font, layout or price. You can always improve your marketing by tweaking the details.

You can use split testing to test two elements at the same time, and see which is most effective. When you measure your results, you usually will find that one works better than the other. Then you can ditch the ineffective one, and go on to test another element, or test the successful element against another version.

For example, if you want to test offers in your direct mail, you would send one offer to half your list, and the other offer to the other half of your list. Then, when customers call or come in store, you see which offer they ask for. The offer asked for most is the strongest one. If you’re happy with the results, move on to test headlines. If not, test the successful offer against a new one.

4. When you’re testing your marketing, only test one detail at a time.

Like any good science experiment, you can only test one variable at a time to measure its impact. So if you’re testing your headline, you can’t test your offer or your price. Otherwise you won’t be able to evaluate which of the two changes generated the change in results

So, if you run a regular advertisement in a magazine or newspaper, only change one element of that ad and measure the difference in response or sales. If sales go up, keep the change and test another element. If they don’t, try another strategy.

5. At the end of the campaign or advertising period, calculate the campaign rate of return or ROI and analyze your results.

Calculate your return on investment for each campaign or ad you run.

To calculate your campaign rate of return as a percentage, divide your profit by your total spend and multiply by 100. You can also simply subtract your investment from you profit and get a dollar value.

$ profit (after costs) / $ investment x 100 = % rate of return

$ profit – $ investment = $ return on investment

So, if your ad campaign costs you $10,000 and after three months it has generated 190 customers with an average sale of $1,500, and a profit margin of 50%, your calculation would look like this:

[($1000 x 190) x .50] – $10,000 = $85,000

or

[($1000 x 190) x .50] / 10,000 x 100 = 950%

This figure will vary depending on the campaign and the business. Generally, a figure that is between 10% and 15% of your sales is a reasonable target. So if you typically bring in $150,000 in gross revenue per month, a healthy expectation for your campaign would be to bring in about $15,000 to $22,500.

Remember that a successful campaign is one that makes you money – not just generates more inquiries or leads – so make sure there has been some increase in sales.

Evaluate and analyze your results to make decisions and draw conclusions.

Once your campaign is over, compile your tracking and sales sheets and evaluate the results. Make sure the tracking and sales are captured over the same time period, and break your chosen time period down by week (if you’re looking at the month) or the month (if you’re looking at the quarter or year). This will give you an idea of how the campaign performed over time.

When you have your results in front of you, ask yourself some of these questions to analyze them and draw conclusions. Then, make decisions about changes you could make to further enhance your results.

  • Did I hit my target response rate?
  • Did I hit my target return on investment?
  • Is the return on investment acceptable?
  • Did I make money on this campaign?
  • Which (headline/offer/guarantee/layout, etc.) generated the best results?
  • How do these results compare to other forms of marketing?
  • How do these results compare to past strategies and campaigns?
  • What can I split-test next?
  • Will I run this campaign or strategy again?

Testing and measuring is the only way to make the most of your marketing campaigns and avoid repeating costly mistakes.

Like I said before, it’s just a matter of getting into the habit of budgeting for and evaluating each campaign you run. Once the systems are in place, it will take very little extra effort and you’ll really see the difference in your marketing budget and in your revenues. You can’t afford not to.

Coming up next is a two-part Class on social proof, or testimonial marketing. The thoughts and opinions of your customers have incredible power over the decisions that your prospect makes over the course of the sales process.

I’m going to show you how to collect and use testimonials to boost your conversion rate.

Until next time!

 

7 Easy Steps To Strengthen Your Marketing Message Now

7 Easy Steps To Strengthen Your Marketing Message Now

Blog-a-Lesson Checkpoint:

  • You know who your target market is, what their needs are, what their purchase behaviors are and how to reach them.
  • You know how to use market research to find out more information about your market on a regular basis.

This Blog-a-Lesson is about writing targeted messages for your target market.

In a earlier post I showed you how to isolate your target market, and then how to use market research to gather information about that group of people to use in your marketing strategies.

Today we’re going to take your market research and use it to create a powerful marketing message. The strength of your marketing message lies in its ability to speak to the specific wants and desires of your target market, and tap into their emotional reactions, or hot buttons.

When you push those hot buttons, you motivate your audience to take action. The more people you can motivate to take action, the more leads you’ll have in store and on the other end of the phone line.

In this Blog-a-Lesson we will cover:

  • How a strong marketing message will supercharge your lead generation
  • Examples of strong marketing messages
  • A step-by-step process for developing your unique marketing message
  • Strategies that will strengthen your existing marketing message
  • How to test and measure the strength of your message.
  • How to be consistent with your strong marketing message

A strong marketing message will make a huge difference in your lead generation strategies.

A marketing message is simply a statement or phrase that you use to communicate information about your business to others. A strong marketing message will do four things:

  • Speak to the reader’s needs, wants or problems (hot buttons)
  • Offer a solution, advantage or benefit
  • Describe a point of difference
  • Motivate the reader to take action

As I said earlier, the key here is to motivate your target audience to do something after they read or hear the message. It needs to be strong enough to entice the audience to ask for more information, visit the website, pick up the phone or walk in the store.

You will put your marketing message on every piece of marketing material your business uses for lead generation, so it has to be powerful and consistent and speak to the group of people that you have identified as your ideal customers. Strengthening your marketing message has the potential to dramatically increase your lead generation before you even change your existing strategies.

Here are some examples of strong marketing messages that are used by successful businesses today.

how-to-create-marketing-material-1

Let’s get started with the process you can use to create a new marketing message for your business, or refine the marketing message you already have.

Work through the following questions to brainstorm and record the aspects of your business that you will communicate in your marketing message. Take your time, and be as detailed as possible.

1. Use all the information you gathered about your target market to figure out what your customer’s hot buttons are.

Write down who your customers are, and what their problems, desires and needs are.

Take some time to revisit the behavioral and psychographic information you gathered when researching your target market. This will give you an idea of what kind of emotional hot buttons you should focus on when creating your marketing message.

Hot buttons are emotional triggers that motivate your potential customers to take action. Some common hot buttons are: price, location, exclusivity, results, safety, timeliness, convenience and atmosphere.

2. Describe the value or benefit that your product or service offers your customers.

This is what your customers get when they spend money at your business – the answer to “what’s in it for me?” How do you solve their problems? How do you meet their needs, or fulfill their desires?

For example, maybe you’re a grocery store in the neighbourhood, and you offer the convenience of being just a short stroll away instead of a car ride.

When you’re thinking about this question, think about your product or service in the context of the benefits, results, or advantages customers receive, instead of the features you offer.

3. Think about the outcome of the value or solution that you provide.

Brainstorm what happens when your customers receive the value or benefit from your product or service, what happens? Are they thrilled? Relieved of worry? Do they have more time to spend with their families, or do they put dinner on the table faster?

This is kind of like the storytelling aspect of creating your marketing message. Paint a picture of how you will improve the lives of your customers, in one way or another.

4. What is your company’s point of difference? What makes you stand out from the competition?

Your point of difference – or uniqueness – is something you will want to strongly feature in your marketing message. It is the reason that the reader should choose your business instead of your competition.

For this step, do some research on your competition and see what kinds of marketing messages they are using. How strong are those messages? What benefits and results do they promise?

If you are having trouble figuring out what sets you apart from your competition, think about including an irresistible offer, or a strong guarantee to give yourself an edge. (We’ll spend some time on powerful offers and risk reversal strategies like guarantees later on in the program.)

5. What is the perception you would like others to have about your business?

How you wish your customers to perceive you will impact how you describe your offering in your marketing message, and the kind of language you will use. Revisit the vision you created, and write down some ideas about the image you want your business to project to the outside world.

For example, if your business is completely transforming its operations to become more environmentally sustainable, you will need to use different language and emphasize different features and benefits than you did before.

6. Based on the notes you wrote in response to the above questions, summarize the information into a paragraph of 4 to 5 sentences.

If you’ve got pages of notes, this may be a challenging part of the process, but that’s okay because it means you have a lot to work with. Take your time, and wade through your notes bit by bit.

You may want to start by writing 10 to 15 sentences, and then narrow those down to 4 to 5 sentences when you have a better idea of what specifically you want to focus on. Or, you could try writing three sentences for each question, and then working to synthesize from that point.

Keep in mind that the most effective marketing messages use strong, descriptive language that triggers emotional responses. Think about how you would describe your point of difference, or value-added service to a close friend, and write with that in mind.

7. Using descriptive language, synthesize your paragraph into a single sentence of 15 words or less.

This sentence will become your unique marketing message!

I know how challenging this part of the process can be, so to make it easier, I usually write a few different sentences that emphasize different things to give myself choices. For example, if you don’t know whether to feature your company’s commitment to unbelievable prices, or its guarantee of customer satisfaction, write one sentence each and compare which is stronger.

Aim to have two or three sentences that you’re happy with, and then test them out to see which is the most effective.

The only way to find out the strength of your marketing message is to test it. Don’t be afraid of making some mistakes – you need to get feedback!

Test your three draft marketing messages internally first.

Before you go out to the public with your drafts, test them on your friends, family, staff and colleagues first. Use their feedback constructively, but don’t be afraid to stand up for elements that you believe are effective or important.

Once you have gathered enough feedback, rework your draft messages and incorporate the suggestions you believe are valuable.

Incorporate feedback, and then test a few draft messages externally.

When you have refined your draft messages and incorporated staff and colleague feedback, you can start to test the messages out on your audience.

This doesn’t have to be complicated, or cost a lot of money. Simple tests using small-scale distributions will give you the information you need to choose which message is the most effective.

For example, place two or three ads in the local newspaper – one a week with a different message each time – and compare the number of leads each ad generates. Or, send out a small direct mail campaign, with the materials split into three groups – one for each message.

The message that generates the most leads is the strongest, and will be the one you choose to be your business’ unique marketing message.

Now that you’ve got a killer message, use it consistently on all of your marketing materials and in all of your campaigns.

Consistency and repetition are powerful persuasive tools to use to reinforce your message over time. Ensuring your marketing message appears on all documents related to your business will build your brand image and your company’s reputation.

Make a list of all marketing materials, stationery, signage and internal and external documentation that your customers and clients come in contact with. Then, incorporate your marketing message onto each of them.

Here’s a suggested list of materials to include:

  • Website
  • Advertisements
  • Direct Mail
  • Listings
  • Phone Messages
  • Email Signature
  • Business Cards
  • Letterhead

Now that you know what you’re going to say, and who you’re going to say it to, let’s dive into some lead generation strategies.

The next post focuses on advanced strategies for lead generation that you can start implementing into your business right away. Our focus is to set up lead generation strategies that either immediately or over time will run themselves, so you can generate more leads with less time investment.

To Your Success,

wEquipu-small-business

We help you develop breakthrough marketing strategies and put groundbreaking small business consulting ideas into action with our Silver Bullet System ultimately improving small businesses decisions and business results through proven methodologies. 

As John Maxwell Certified Coaches, we have the management and team coaching expertise to tackle team challenges head on.  We help small businesses overcome fierce competition, modest budgets and solidifying their sales and marketing engine by improving lead generation, conversion rates, transactions, higher prices and profits generation strategies. – wEquipu Team.

The 5 Things You Should Know To Craft Powerful Offers in Your Business

The 5 Things You Should Know To Craft Powerful Offers in Your Business

Blog-a-Lesson Checkpoint:

  • You have identified which marketing materials you need, and which you can live without.
  • You have completed an audit of your existing marketing materials and identified opportunities for improvement based on the criteria in Blog-a-Lesson #10.

Focus on using powerful offers to generate leads, not to close sales.

Powerful offers that drive your audience to take action can be used in your business to do a myriad of things. They’re great for moving old or overstocked product, overcoming buyer objections, eliminating purchase risk, or even just building your customer database.

Well-crafted offers are also fantastic lead generators which is what we’re going to focus on in this Blog-a-Lesson. In this case, the offer is designed to get potential customers to identify themselves, not to close sales. Once those potential customers have identified themselves – they’ve taken action to redeem the offer – they enter the formal sales process and you can convert them into a loyal customer.

Offers designed to be lead generators drive more qualified prospects to your business. They weed out the buyers who would take advantage of your offer, but who are not otherwise a part of your target market. offer, but who are not otherwise a part of your target market.

I’m going to show you how to speak to your target market’s “hot buttons” and emotional motivators, instead of simply crafting an offer based on financial savings or bonuses. Let’s get started!

In marketing I’ve seen only one strategy that can’t miss and that is to market to your best customers first, your best prospects second and the rest of the world last. –John Romero

In this Blog-a-Lesson we will cover:

  • The elements that make an offer ‘powerful’
  • A step-by-step process for creating a powerful offer
  • Types of powerful offers
  • Examples of powerful offers
  • Testing and measuring your powerful offers

A powerful offer is irresistible to your potential customers’ emotional motivators.

In simple terms, a powerful offer gets people to respond, or take action. It will provide enough motivation for the reader to pick up the phone, visit your website, or walk into your store.

Often, powerful offers are called irresistible offers because they seem too good to pass up. They make your target audience think, “Wow! This is the chance I’ve been waiting for!” or, “I’d be nuts not to take advantage of this opportunity!”

Using emotional motivators in your offer (and in your headlines and copywriting, which we’ll review in upcoming Blog-a-Lesson) will drive qualified prospects to your business, and will make the job of converting customers into repeat business easier and more cost effective.

A powerful offer will feature an element of urgency or scarcity as a key motivator for action.

If I offered “2 for 1 Mother Daughter haircuts” every day of the year, chances are I wouldn’t have a stampede of prospects at my door. I would likely draw a few new clients a week, but the majority of those who saw the offer – even if they were interested – would probably put it off for later.

When you create an offer for lead generation, you want your prospect to take action as soon as possible. Now, let’s face it, we’re all procrastinators at heart, so you have to give your audience a reason to take action without delay.

So, instead of just “2 for 1 Mother Daughter haircuts,” I could offer, “2 for 1 Mother Daughter haircuts, Mother’s Day weekend – 20 spots available, book your appointment today!” This offer has an element of urgency – the offer is only valid for a two-day period – and scarcity – there are a limited number of appointments during those two days.

Here are some other ways I could use scarcity or urgency to ‘sweeten’ the offer:

how-to-craft-a-great-sales-offers

1. Establish who you are trying to target, and what you want them to do. Let’s walk through an easy step-by-step process for creating powerful offers that will generate qualified leads for your business.

Like all of your lead generation efforts, you need to establish who your target market or audience is before you can attempt to reach them. In most cases, this will be the target market you originally identified. In my salon example, the target market is middle-class women aged 18 to 65 with an interest in the latest trends in fashion and beauty.

You may also wish to segment that group of people into a more specific category. I could limit my target audience to those women in my target market with daughters.

Secondly, you must be clear about what you want your readers to do, and ask them to do it in your offer. Since you’re creating an offer to generate leads, in this case you want readers to identify themselves in some way, and make contact with you. In my example above, I asked customers to call and reserve their appointment today. You may ask your readers to come to the store for a free trial, or place an online order.

2. Identify the emotional motivators or “hot buttons” that will get your target to take action.

Using the categories below, decide why your target market needs or wants what you have to offer.

How do they feel in general about your product or service?

What problem does your offer provide the solution to?

  • Safety and financial security for self and family
  • Convenience and time management
  • Freedom from worry
  • Self-improvement
  • Acceptance and recognition from others
  • Basic needs, including food, shelter, love, personal maintenance, etc.

In my example, I’m targeting the emotions associated with the bond between mothers and daughters, especially on Mother’s Day, and their common interest in beauty services. The offer alludes to an opportunity to spend time with each other, an activity for Mother’s Day, and a way to save money while doing so.

3. Once you have identified the emotions you will try to target, determine which type of offer will work best.

Free Offer

Ask your potential customer to act immediately for a free reward. This is a great lead generator if you can offer a solution to a common problem for free. Examples would be “Contact me now to receive your free 10-page guide to financial freedom,” or “Act now and get your first month of home security for free – a $99 value!” Try to include the dollar value of what you are providing for free to increase the perceived value.

Guarantee Offer

Guarantee the performance of your product or results of your service, and you’ll take away the fear many customers feel when making a purchase. This is a great way to overcome barriers when a customer is making a large or important purchase, or when safety and security are involved.

  • Money-back guarantee: full refund for unsatisfied customers.
  • Double-your-money-back guarantee: double refund for unsatisfied customers.
  • Long-term guarantee: one year, multi-year or lifetime guarantee.

Free Trial or Demonstration Offer

Another great way to reverse purchase risk is to offer a free trial (7, 14, or 30 days) or to provide a free demonstration. This works with all kinds of products or services, and allows the customer to convince himself that he needs what you have to offer. Those customers who are concerned about making the right purchase decision will be put at ease by this offer.

Package or Value-Added Offer

This offer appeals to customers looking for convenience because their needs are met in one place or one purchase, like start-up kits and special packages. Packaging products also increases the perception of value, often without adding costs. For example, offering a free printer with computer purchase.

Premium Offer

Always offer premiums over discounts, as they will better serve your bottom line. Reward purchases with bonus products or services, and you’ll give new customers an incentive for choosing your business over the competition.

3. Draft several hard-to-refuse offers based on these motivators.

Brainstorm as many different types of offers as you can, using emotional keywords or hot buttons. Depending on the type of business you have, and the products or services you offer, you may wish to focus on a single product or service, or open up the offer to all the items you have in store.

Are there any freebies you can throw in? Any overstock that can be handed out as a free gift, packaged with a complimentary product? What about bonus services that you can add on to products for a limited time (with limited costs)? Will a simple guarantee make a big difference?

Remember that when you are describing your offer, be as specific as possible and avoid lengthy description of product details and benefits. Your goal is to sell the offer and motivate readers to take the next step, not to sell your product.

4. Evaluate the financial viability of each of your brainstormed offers.

Even though you’re using these offers as lead generation tools, you need to make sure that each transaction will turn an acceptable profit – or at least allow you to break even. The last thing you want to have happen is a store full of leads redeeming an outrageous offer that will leave you broke.

So, for each of your brainstormed offers, calculate your break-even point. If I were offering 2 for 1 Mother Daughter haircuts, my calculation would look something like this:

A. Costs: Determine the costs involved in your offer (hard costs – product or service, and soft costs – advertising or marketing).

Service costs:
Adult Haircut: $20
Junior Haircut: $10

Marketing costs:
Advertising: $200
Flyer Drop: $100

B. Profit: Assess how much profit you’ll generate per sale (price minus hard costs).

Adult Haircut: $40 (price) – $20 (cost) = $20 profit
Junior Haircut: $0 (offered free) – $10 (cost) = $10 expense

Profit: $20 – $10 = $10 profit per transaction

C. Break Even Point: Calculate how many transactions you’ll need to break even (how much profit will you need to make to cover soft costs).

Advertising (total): $300
Profit: $10
Transactions: $300 / $10 = 30 transactions required to break even.

From here you can assess whether or not you can realistically break even, and if your offer is financially viable. In this example, 30 transactions is a reachable target for my salon over the course of a weekend. I may also consider extending the offer over the course of a week, maintaining an element of urgency, but allowing more time to recover my costs.

Keep in mind that their initial purchase in response to your offer may only allow you to break even, but if you are able to convert them into repeat customers, the profit of their subsequent purchases may make up the difference.

5. Select two of your financially viable offers, then test them to measure which works best.

I like to test two offers at a time when I first start to use this lead generation strategy. This will tell me what emotional motivators really work with my target audience, and then I can continue to build on that knowledge.

Use your lead tracking system to measure which offers generate the highest number of leads. If coupons are a part of your offer, put a tracking code on each of them, or make sure that your staff are asking every inquiry which offer they are responding to.

Remember, testing and measuring is a vital component of your lead generation efforts, and it elicits some really valuable information. Once you know what works with your audience, you can use that information on emotional motivators to influence decisions you make when writing headlines and other copy.

Get creative and put together new and exciting offers for your potential clients on a regular basis.

Remember – you’ll need to keep improving and revising your offers to ensure you continue to draw leads from them. Otherwise, your audience will get used to seeing the same offer, assume it is always available, and it may become stale.

Use opportunities like seasons, events, anniversaries and other celebrations to change and renew offers. When you bring in a new product line, feature a new service, or try to go after a new segment of your target market, check-in to see if you can create an offer around the news and bring in some new leads.

In the next Blog-a-Lesson, we’re going to spend some time cultivating your headline writing skills. You’ll see that we use headlines in all types of marketing and sales materials, and they’re a powerful or even essential component of your lead generation tools.

To Your Success,

wEquipu-small-business

We help you develop breakthrough marketing strategies and put groundbreaking small business consulting ideas into action with our Silver Bullet System ultimately improving small businesses decisions and business results through proven methodologies. 

As John Maxwell Certified Coaches, we have the management and team coaching expertise to tackle team challenges head on.  We help small businesses overcome fierce competition, modest budgets and solidifying their sales and marketing engine by improving lead generation, conversion rates, transactions, higher prices and profits generation strategies. – wEquipu Team.

How to Create Marketing Materials that Work

How to Create Marketing Materials that Work

Blog-a-Lesson Checkpoint:

  • You have established which of your three draft marketing messages is the strongest, and incorporated it into all of your existing marketing materials
  • You have implemented a lead tracking and management system and trained your staff to use it effectively

Your marketing materials are an extension of you and your company.  How are yours working?

You can have a lot of fun creating marketing materials for your business. It’s an opportunity to work on a project that isn’t a spreadsheet or a graph or an order form. You can really get creative!

Your materials get distributed in the world to send out a particular message (or messages) about your company and what you sell. They’re ambassadors for your business because they speak to your potential customers when you’re not there.

As you probably know, it’s easy to get carried away with marketing collateral. You’re surrounded by flashy, clever advertising everywhere you look, and when the time comes to create your own, you can’t help but feel that you have to keep up with the Joneses.

Most of the time this doesn’t work. You spend more money and see less impressive results. In this Blog-a-Lesson, I’m going to show you some proven strategies for simplifying and strengthening your marketing materials and focusing on the materials you need not the materials you think you think you should have.

Permission marketing turns strangers into friends and friends into loyal customers. It’s not just about entertainment it’s about education. Permission marketing is curriculum marketing. –Seth Godin

In this Blog-a-Lesson we will cover:

  • The marketing materials you really need – and the ones you don’t
  • The mistakes you might be making now
  • The elements each piece of marketing collateral should have
  • What you need to know about the design of your materials
  • What you need to know about testing, measuring and making mistakes

It’s easy to want to match your competition piece by piece – but when you’re trying to stretch your marketing budget, focus on the materials you actually need.

Just because your competition has an eight-page, glossy color brochure, doesn’t mean you need one to run a successful business.

When one brochure has the ability to eat your entire budget for marketing materials, you have to prioritize what’s essential and what’s just a “wish” or want. You need to make sure you’re spending on the items that are going to bring in the most return on investment.

Your marketing materials need to communicate your message to your target and motivate them to act. Do you really need a glossy brochure when black and white flyers will be just as effective? Think about this when making decisions about your marketing items.

Make choices based on how your target audience prefers to receive information.

Do they prefer paper newsletters, or electronic ones? Are they environmentally conscious, or technology savvy? Do they appreciate personal contact, or just need to see information in a newspaper? Remember that how you communicate is often just as or more important that what you communicate.

Make green choices – your customers will appreciate it.

Choose recycled paper and envelopes when you can, and print double-sided. Produce marketing materials in electronic format (like newsletters), and print limited runs of hard copy materials (like brochures).

What are the marketing materials that your business needs, wants and would like to have?

  • Logo
  • Business Cards
  • Brochure
  • Website
  • Newsletter
  • Catalogue
  • Advertisements
  • Flyers
  • Fridge Magnet
  • Branded Swag (pens, etc.)
  • Employee Clothing
  • Cloth Bags
  • Product Labels
  • Signage
  • Email Signature
  • Blog
  • Letterhead + Envelopes
  • Thank You Cards
  • Notepads
  • Seasonal Gifts
  • Company Profile
  • Internal Templates (Fax Cover, Memo, etc.)

Create a list of your essential marketing materials then, below it, create a list of your “wish” marketing materials. You can use your “wish list” when you have a little extra budget, or are looking to create a “wow” piece. The list above is for you to use as a guideline – you may not need all of these items, or want to add your own ideas to the list.

Take your existing marketing materials through this audit, and look for opportunities to improve and strengthen.

Are you fighting for their attention with a powerful headline?
You have about four seconds to grab the attention of your reader with your headline. If you do, you have a few more seconds to convince them to read your subheadline. If you’re successful in doing that, you have a few more seconds to get them to read further. See what I’m saying?

You have about four seconds to grab the attention of your reader with your headline. If you do, you have a few more seconds to convince them to read your subheadline. If you’re successful in doing that, you have a few more seconds to get them to read further. See what I’m saying?

Make sure your headlines:

  • Offer to take away pain or give pleasure
  • Hit your target market’s hot buttons
  • Bring up emotion
  • Are bold, dramatic, shocking or unbelievable
  • Answer the questions – what’s in it for the customer? why should the customer care?

Are you triggering an emotional response to a problem, fear, need or want?

Once you have their attention, you need to continue to keep it. Shake up their confidence in what they’re doing now, or the urgency with which they need to solve their problem. Put their fears, concerns and desires in black and white text in front of their eyes:

Ask them if they:

  • Are doing enough?
  • Can wait any longer?
  • Can sacrifice any more?
  • Are paying too much?
  • Are getting the best product or service for their money?

Are you building their trust or confidence in your ability to meet their needs?

You’ve got their attention, and tapped into their emotions, now you need to build their confidence in you ability to solve their problems and meet their needs. You’ll need to show them your solution, and prove that you can be trusted to do what you promise.

Tell them how:

  • You’re different from the competition
  • You’re highly qualified
  • You have documented results
  • You have a high number of happy customers
  • You get recognized from others in your field

Are you wowing them with your competitive edge?

You may be the best at what you do or have the best product but if your customers can’t get a hold of you when they need you, how valuable are you? Here are some examples:

Tell them how you do more than the competition:

  • 24-hour hotline
  • Housecalls, or free delivery
  • Customer rewards program
  • Other convenience services

Are you overcoming their objections before they’ve raised them?

It makes no difference what business you are in; there will always be objections to buying what you are selling. Most often the biggest objection is the price. You should confront them head-on by explaining why it’s worth paying your price. You need to put their fears to rest before they will be ready to buy.

Are you providing an element of risk reversal with a strong guarantee?

Stand behind what you’re claiming about the quality of your product or service, and offer a guarantee in your marketing materials. Typically, the strength and length of the guarantee indicate the quality of the product in most customer’s eyes, so create a strong one.

You can guarantee:

  • Performance
  • Benefits
  • Longevity
  • Satisfaction

Are you showing them what other people have said about your product or service?

Use testimonials to speak to your credibility and merit. Let the testimonials show your potential clients how trustworthy you are, and how much benefit they’ve received from your product or service. Make sure the testimonial addresses the problem that your customer had before they used your product.

Are you giving them an easy way to contact you?

Make it easy for customers to be in touch with you, or get more information. Clearly display your phone number and website address on everything you produce, and consider including a map of your store location so you’re easy to find.

Each piece should provide the following contact information:

  • Location (with map)
  • Phone / Fax / Cell
  • Website
  • Toll free number
  • Email

Are you giving them a reason to act NOW?

The last job your marketing piece has to do is motivate your viewer to take action. You need to make them want to call for more information, visit your website, or just come into your store. Invite them to take action on every page.

To motivate customers to act, you can:

  • Offer special “bonus” offers to quick responders
  • Make a time-sensitive offer
  • Tell them how rare your product is, or what limited quantity you have
  • Offer limited-time added value

Are you telling them what your product or service will give them?

Your customer doesn’t care about the features of your product or service, they only care about the benefit that feature will provide them. Customers buy benefits, not products or services. A client is looking to buy some more confidence from a new hairstyle, not a haircut.

Are you telling viewers the story of your product or service?

Remember that you are painting a story to tap into the emotions of your viewers. Detailed technical descriptions should be replaced with descriptions of how the customer may enjoy the benefit, and how they might feel.

The story will help the reader picture:

  • How they’ll feel after using your product or service
  • What they’ll look like using your product or service
  • What they’ll have time to do once they buy your product or service
  • The relief they’ll experience after purchasing your product or service

Are you giving them a reason to keep your marketing piece?

Give your customers a reason to keep your business card, brochure, newsletter or direct mail piece, refer to it, and pass it on to others to see. If you are selling hair care products, you can give your readers tips on how to combat split ends, frizz, unruly curls and heat damage. If you sell kitchen products, you can provide recipes that use your cookware or tools.

Some ideas for keep-able marketing pieces are:

  • Top 10 lists
  • Tips for product caretaking and longevity
  • Recipes
  • How-to’s

Flashy design is not important to your marketing campaign but clear and professional looking materials are absolutely essential.

-Chris McMullan

When it comes to the visual presentation of your marketing materials, you need to strike a balance. On one hand, you don’t want to spend all of your budget on design and production. On the other hand, the cost of sending out materials that don’t look and feel professional is usually much higher.

Going back to our discussion on time management, you’ll want to check in with yourself and see if your time is best spent designing your brochures, ads, flyers and direct mail, or if you should hire other resources.

Resources for marketing collateral design and layout include:

how-to-create-marketing-material

If you’re designing your materials in-house, here are some guidelines.

how-to-create-marketing-material

If you’re going to try something new test, measure and make mistakes in small batches or online.

You will need to constantly be monitoring the success of each piece of marketing material and looking for opportunities to strengthen and improve it. Since you already have your lead tracking and management system in place, this is a matter of sitting down on a regular basis and reviewing the leads each piece generated, and how many turned into sales (we’ll review this when we get to conversion rates.

Remember, always test, measure and then make choices.

If you’re not sure about a new strategy, do a test run to a limited distribution area, or test the message out online. Do small production runs of brochures or flyers you’re not sure about, so you don’t end up with heaps of flyers that didn’t work.

In the end, the strength of your marketing piece is in what you say and how you say it.

Too often, flashy design gets in the way of the message and you miss an opportunity to attract a customer. Simple, clear marketing materials deliver an easy-to-understand message to your target audience, and result

The next Blog-a-Lesson will look at the role of your offer in motivating your audience to take action. A powerful even irresistible offer can act as an ace in the hole for your lead generation efforts. I’ll show you how to put one together.

To Your Success,

wEquipu-small-business

We help you develop breakthrough marketing strategies and put groundbreaking small business consulting ideas into action with our Silver Bullet System  – ultimately improving small businesses decisions and business results through proven methodologies. 

As John Maxwell Certified Coaches, we have the management and team coaching expertise to tackle team challenges head on.  We help small businesses overcome fierce competition, modest budgets and solidifying their sales and marketing engine by improving lead generation, conversion rates, transactions, higher prices and profits generation strategies. – wEquipu Team.

How to Make Goal Setting a Part of Your Business

How to Make Goal Setting a Part of Your Business

It’s time to put together your road map for the New Year. You need to set some goals that support the vision you created.

By now you’ve created a really clear vision of where you’re going to take your business, and what it’s going to look like when you get there. You’ve also learned a proven, step-by-step formula for making that vision a reality. You’re getting close to the end of the preparation stage, and closer to diving into Step One: Lead Generation.

But first, you have to map out the route that you’re going to take to achieve your vision, and establish which landmarks will tell you that you’re going the right way. You’ve got to set some goals.

In this Blog-a-Lesson we will cover:

  • What are goals and why set them?
  • How is a goal different from a vision?
  • Areas of your business that need goals
  • What happens when I achieve a goal?
  • The impact of positive thinking
  • Autosuggestion techniques and exercise
  • Visualization techniques and exercise

Goals are specific, attainable targets that bring you to your vision. They’re the milestones (or landmarks) you need to reach along the way.

Goals focus your efforts and intentions, and direct your motivation in a productive direction. Goals outline a plan of action, while dreams are conceptual visions.

Your goals are the milestones you will reach along the way to achieving your vision. They break down the process into smaller pieces; the little successes en route to the big success story.

Goals are different from your vision.

It can be easy at first to confuse a business vision with a goal. They are both projections of an ideal future situation that you have created based on your dreams.

setting goals for your business

Studies have shown that only three to five percent of people in the world have written goals – the same three to five percent who have achieved success in business and earn considerable wealth.

Setting strong goals and committing them to paper is the most effective way to achieve success. Goals will focus your time, energy and the outcomes that are the highest priority at a time. When you prioritize and concentrate your efforts, you avoid being stretched too thin, and produce greater results.

There are many areas in your business that you need to think about when setting goals or targets. Let’s create your unique list.

You have many areas of your business, and each need to do their part to contribute to the overall vision you have for the company. Set your goals systematically. There are many areas of your business that you can set targets and goals for. This helps to break down the process into smaller, achievable chunks.

Here are the areas of your business that you’ll need to think about when setting goals:

Lead-generation-transactions-profits-business-conversion-rates

What happens when you achieve your goals? What comes next?

You should reward yourself and your team each time a target is reached. This will not only train your mind to associate hard work with reward, but will develop loyalty and morale among your employees.

Once you’ve reached a target, ask yourself where the next rung of the ladder is. Can you improve upon the target you just reached? Can you stretch yourself and your team, or challenge yourself more? Get into the habit of setting a new, higher goal each time you achieve an existing goal. This will lay a solid foundation for consistent personal and professional growth and improvement.

Before you set goals, you need to reframe your thinking so you can support yourself and your efforts.

We’ve talked a bit about the power of intention, and how a strong belief in yourself and your ability to be successful is the keystone to achieving great things. This part of a greater concept, called positive self-talk, and it has a powerful impact on your reality.

Positive thinking and self-talk is an important technique to practice and cultivate. When you program a positive stream of subconscious thoughts into your mind, you can control your reality, and ultimately the outcome of your goals.

When you set out to practice positive self-talk techniques like autosuggestion and visualization, you may find that you have a stream of negative thoughts that continually run through your mind. This is okay – you work is to correct each negative statement that flows through your mind.

For example, each time you say to yourself, “I’ll never be able to finish this…” or “I’m a terrible public speaker…” take a moment to stop and correct the thought. Instead, say “I will do the best I can to finish this project,” or “I will get myself some training and become a better public speaker.”

Positive self-talk means getting rid of the negative thoughts that run through your mind on a regular basis – some that you may not even hear!

  • That’s impossible.
  • Don’t even bother.
  • It’s already been done.
  • We tried that, and it didn’t work.
  • You’re too young.
  • You’re too old.
  • You’ll never get there.
  • You’ll never get that done.
  • You can’t do that.

Autosuggestion is a kind of positive self-talk that will improve your performance in all areas of your life and give you a better shot at achieving the goals you set.

Autosuggestion is the technique that harnesses the power of your internal dialogue – your constant stream of thoughts and judgments and beliefs – and uses it for positive, affirmations. Often, this involves changing negative beliefs and perceptions that we learned from our parents, friends, partners and experiences.

You can practice autosuggestion anywhere, and at any time. It is especially helpful to spend 10 to 15 minutes practicing autosuggestion before a stressful situation, like a meeting or sports game. All you need to do is sit quietly, breathe deeply, and allow yourself to be open to the thoughts and ideas you are about to tell yourself. Then repeat positive statements about yourself and the future outcome of a goal or intention or event.

Some examples of positive autosuggestions include:

  • I will close the sales presentation and secure this client!
  • I am a capable and positive person!
  • I deserve the success that I have achieved!
  • I am doing the best I can!
  • I will assert my needs in my relationship!
  • I will have all the information I need to ace my exam!

Here are some helpful tips for your autosuggestion process.

  • Believe in and feel what you are telling yourself. Linking suggestions to emotion increases their potency.
  • Talk to yourself like you would a close friend. Use a calm, considerate and gentle tone of voice. Remember that you are working to develop a good relationship with yourself.
  • Phrase your suggestions positively, and avoid negatives like “not”, “less”, “won’t”, “don’t” and “can’t.”
  • Use the progressive form of the present tense to reflect acceptance of being “in progress.” For example, say “I am becoming..” instead of “I am.” Your mind may have an easier time accepting the statement.
  • Repetition is key. Each time you repeat a suggestion, try to find a way to make it a stronger, more powerful and meaningful statement.

Visualization complements autosuggestion and harnesses the power of your mind’s eye to realize your goals.

Visualization is another mind tool that successful people use to program their brains for success. It’s simply visualizing in your mind how something is going to happen or play out on a repeated basis. Visualization is commonly used in sports training, and has been proven to improve performance better than just practice alone.

The technique can be used by anyone, however, and will generate the same results on performance and outcome. When we visualize an event or situation, or an object or possession, we attract it into our life.

Teach yourself this step-by-step visualization exercise.

Visualization should be done with a relaxed and positive attitude, as well as with an openness and willingness to accept whatever outcome may present itself.

  1. Sit comfortably in a quiet space – your office, home, or in nature.
  2. Pick a goal or intention to focus on.
  3. Relax your entire body, and take several long deep breaths.
  4. Tune into your inner voice, and connect to the feeling that you truly believe this goal or intention.
  5. Begin to visualize the achievement of that goal, or realization of your intention.
  6. Create a clear and detailed mental picture, using all five senses.
  7. Allow yourself to feel how you believe you will feel when you have achieved your goal, and how much you desire to reach that goal.
  8. Finish with a positive affirmation about the outcome of your goal or intention.
  9. Repeat this process at least once per day, for about 10 minutes.

Powerful positive people have the strength to create powerful positive change in their lives and the lives of those around them.

You are a powerful, positive person! Successful people have no secrets – they’re just determined, focused people who have set goals and programmed their brain to think positive, and think big.

Spend the next few days working on your autosuggestion and visualization skills. You might feel a little silly at first, but I promise that these are powerful psychological tools that will retrain your brain for success.

To Your Success,

wEquipu-small-business

We help small businesses overcome fierce competition, modest budgets and solidifying their sales and marketing engine by improving lead generation, conversion rates, tranactions, higher prices and profits generation strategies.  

We help you develop breakthrough marketing strategies and put groundbreaking small business consulting ideas into action with our Silver Bullet System  – ultimately improving small businesses decisions and business results through proven methodologies.

 As John Maxwell certified coaches we have the management and team coaching expertise to tackle team challenges head on.  – wEquipu Team.