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Welcome to the July newsletter.

Marketing strategy and planning
Marketing strategy and planning

Is your business summer ready? How can you remain on track?

Do you easily lose focus when it comes to Marketing?
Do you run  campaigns without measuring after?
Do you wish you had share your ideas with?

Our latest newsletter will help answer these questions with marketing solutions.

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The what and how of communication?

This current time of change has got me thinking about communication. In particular, I have been reading and hearing comments in the media about how we are all communicating and how we are being communicated to, with good and bad examples. Mark Twain said, “It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.” But it seems not everyone has such attention to detail when it comes to accurate communication.

It comes back to the old adage of what you say and how you say it. The way we speak, the words, grammar and imagery can really make a message clear or it can make it totally confusing. Clarity not confusion is required when getting your message across, whether from the media to its readers or us marketers to our target audience. Using negative words vs positive ones can also impact the take home message that the reader or viewer comes away with. Attention grabbing headlines can be written intentionally to scaremonger and to alarm people into reading. Using emotion in marketing is ok but it must be done responsibly and only with good intentions. The aim of any communication in marketing terms is AIDA. Attention (grab it)

Interest (create it)

Desire (develop it)

Action (encourage it)

The art of communication is key across all walks of life. As George Bernard Shaw said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Saying too much can cause confusion and overload whereas saying too little can lead to assumptions and misunderstanding. Saying nothing, though, will leave people to dangerously make their own decisions which may go against what you are trying to achieve. Summarising at the end of a talk or a post or article is also a good idea when delivering a message.

If I am promoting my marketing services to a potential prospect, I may say do you understand marketing, business and planning? But what if I didn’t add commas, it would come out as do you understand marketing business planning? Does that even make sense or is it a list of words? Or if a restaurant is offering tables for dining in, they should say tables reserved for customers eating only. If they wrote it without consider grammar and punctuation, they may say tables reserved for eating customers. A totally different meaning and message!

When it comes to how and what we say, we also need to consider how we publish or put across this messaging and communication. It is all about the right marketing or media channels. For example, a complex message may be easier to put over as a video rather than a lengthy article. Or if your message includes lots of instructions then bullet points or an infographic may be a good idea. This is where imagery and design comes in. Choosing the right image can make or break the clarity and understanding of a message. Font size, colours and layout can also have a real impact.

In my business as a marketing consultant, I am lucky to work with some communication experts in the world of words (copy writing) and in branding and imagery (graphic design).  Check out what these experts do and how they help with communicating a business’s message:

Emma Rundle, Melting Pot Communications  “In my corporate days, I was responsible for keeping the information flowing to an audience of thousands. We always worked on the basis that “in the absence of information, people make things up.”

Alison Joshi – JWJ Design  “Establishing a brand that reflects your business and your values is crucial for your business to stand out and talk to your desired target market.”

So next time you put pen to paper or start typing or press record, be clear on what you are going to say, to whom and what you want the recipient to then do with this information. Have a clear goal and a clear call to action. If you feel writing and creating isn’t your area of expertise, ask for help. A second pair of eyes and ears who isn’t in your business nor are they an expert in your industry, can help iron out typos, misunderstandings, confusion, and errors.

How you communicate will impact, good and bad, on your brand as well as on yourself as a potential market expert. Keep it simple and keep it clear.

 

Is your business summer ready?

Marketing strategy and planning

We may not be jetting off overseas this July and August but you may be planning a staycation or just a week or two off from work.

So how can you make sure business remains as on track as it can do over the summer period? Some of this will be out of your hands with the current situation we are in, but equally there will be things that you can do you your business to help transition to the new normal and to improve your marketing and future successes.

Here are some top level ideas on how you could spend time on and in your business this summer to set you up for the months ahead:

Get a Marketing plan to help you set some goals, plan how to achieve these goals and create processes and partnerships to streamline and manage your marketing whether you are here or abroad? A goal without a plan is just a wish as they say. So what does a plan include? What are the steps? Why bother with a plan? Find more more

Set up a Newsletter and send monthly (you can even pre-schedule these for when you are away) to keep customers up to date and keep you in their minds. GDPR rules apply so ensure you have consent to email your contact list. Many of us don’t know what to include in newsletters. Try not to make it all about you if you can. Include industry or market news. Include tips and stories. Images are also good to brighten up and break up text. Use this content also to form blogs too?

Create a Social Media content plan, then write and pre-schedule your Social media posts to ensure customers carry on buying and receiving your messages. Use the content from your newsletter and your themes from your plan and plan out your content. Make sure it is two way as well. Ask your readers to respond and comment and get them involved. Engage with them.

Could you free up some time to work on your business by outsourcing?  If you are also planning some time off over the summer, outsourcing to a trusted pair of hands on a short term basis could be an option. For example, a marketer to help with your social media and newsletter or a VA for your phone answering, email monitoring and admin. Or a bookkeeper for your invoicing and payment chasing. Or a copy writer to write some blogs.  

Find out more about our packages, and market your way through the summer.

Have a good summer!

12 Reasons why Coaches and Consultants need a CRM. Guest blog by Julia Blake

Capsule CRM

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system has been an essential sales and marketing enabler for many years at a corporate level.  But if you’re a coach or a consultant you might consider a CRM unnecessary.  You may be concerned that the return doesn’t justify the investment.  I’m going to help you see this in a different way by sharing the top reasons why ambitious coaches and consultants need a CRM.

  1. To keep all your contacts in one place

Firstly, today’s CRMs are fully customisable.

This means you can keep all your contacts in one place. Currently, you might have a client list in one spreadsheet, suppliers in another, and maybe some contacts in Outlook or Google. And what about that stack of business cards on your desk, collected while networking, still waiting to be input? Sound familiar?

  1. Turn your 2-dimensional spreadsheet into 3-dimensional data.

I love spreadsheets but they don’t work for keeping in touch with people and you end up with too many versions, stored in different places.  A CRM is purpose built for interaction. They change a two-dimensional list into a three-dimensional, tool, which can be played with like a Rubik’s Cube, allowing you to slice and dice your data any way you want. Perfect when you’re looking for a certain type of customer or people that you’ve worked with in a particular way.

What’s more, a cloud-based CRM will enable you to record a contact’s details, automatically with an app, and create a follow-up task, email them directly from the system and log phone conversations.

  1. To reduce feast and famine

With the best will in the world, you simply cannot be in two places at once.  When you are delivering your productised service, you can’t be generating interest, keeping on top of your pipeline or doing any back-office jobs that keep your business not only ticking along but growing.

  1. Efficiency breeds success

The right CRM will prompt you to do things in a predetermined sequence; you’ll be nudged to action tasks so that you don’t forget them.  The right CRM will not only help you manage your contacts, but will move opportunities through your pipeline, your existing clients along your product staircase, and manage your deliverables – so the tasks that it reminds you to do can be across 100% of your business. If you set up a CRM correctly (ie in a bespoke way for your business), you will save time, money and lost opportunities.

  1. There’s a limit to how many things you can remember at any one time

It’s been shown that we can only hold around 7 things in our head at any one time – George Miller, a cognitive psychologist at the Harvard University Department of Psychology identified this way back in 1956; it’s now known as Millers Law – so don’t worry when you forget things, or your head feels like it’s going to explode. It’s not just you!  Let’s face it: running a business means all the jobs fall to you, even the ones that aren’t making you money.

A CRM will help you run your coaching or consulting business in a more efficient, organised way. As a result, you will free up head space, be able to grow your business more effectively and still deliver the quality of service your clients need.

Make life easy for yourself and get some CRM help. Here are some examples of how this can work:

  • keep a note of a conversation with a contact and set up a task to make a follow up call
  • set up best-practice processes for converting opportunities to sales and for delivery of services
  • remove emotion from business transactions by establishing processes beforehand (your CRM will then prompt you to undertake the next task)
  • save yourself from re-inventing the wheel and stop being unproductive.
  1. To set up your business for growth

Until you are ready to take on some dedicated help (be that an employee or a VA), you will need to stretch yourself as far as you can, and that will be a lot further with a bespoke CRM system .

A good CRM will integrate with an email delivery system and your accounts package, thus automating a lot of your business processes while  you are with your clients.  Not only that, relationships with any associates or suppliers can also be managed, keeping them in the loop on joint projects, which is vital when you are growing your coaching or consulting business.

And, when you are ready to ramp up a gear and grow your team, the whole thing will take less time and energy because all your processes and systems already exist. They can simply pick up for you with the CRM to guide them.

  1. To adopt best sales practices and keep an eye on the pipeline

So many coaches and consultants don’t have a pipeline, but how can you truly run, let alone grow, a business unless you do?  Understanding where opportunities are in the sales process helps you plan and manage forecasts – and keep the boat afloat.  Understanding what actions need to be taken to convert the lead into a sale, and being reminded of those actions, will give you the best chance of winning the deal.  A good CRM will enable you to see the total value of your opportunities in one place and understand what needs to be done to realise that value.

  1. To adopt best service delivery practices

Your clients come to you because they have been referred or searched for you. They are bought in to what you offer, they want or need your services, and they deserve the best, which is  a tried and tested, consistent service.

With a CRM you can set up a series of tasks which enables you to deliver best practice consistently.  A good system will prompt you to carry out actions when you need to, so you are able to help more clients.

  1. To get a 360˚ view of your client and still communicate 1:1

A good CRM will give you the ability to have a 360˚ client view and offer 1:1 communication as it will integrate with your email delivery system and your accounts package.

GDPR comes into play here too – make sure you use the correct lawful reason for processing for the correct group of contacts.

  1. To encourage your clients along your product staircase

The easiest source of new business is most likely from your existing clients – they already trust you, so if you’re not helping them along your product staircase, you’re not doing them any favours and your business will be missing out too.

  1. To find more sales opportunities among existing leads and accounts

By understanding who your ideal client is, you also understand the problems they face and how best to contact them.

Having your leads and prospects in a CRM means that you can use the data to ensure you send communications containing messages which resonate with them, so increasing the chances of them wanting to work with you..

  1. Save you money and time

This is by far the most important reason to have a good CRM. It will save you money and time. It will enable you to increase revenue and decrease costs, meaning you increase net profit.

Most of all, a good CRM enables coaches and consultants to be out in their business, doing more of what they want to do and less of what they don’t (but need to).  Whilst you are out there helping your clients, your CRM is capturing any new enquiries and getting ready to remind you to undertake actions when you are back at your desk (or on the go – the mobile apps are very good too 😉 )

 

In Summary

As a coach or consultant, you need a CRM as much as an enterprise does, but not the same CRM. Instead, you should look for a CRM that has been designed with the small to medium business in mind.  You need one that is flexible and created to be a bespoke tool reflecting your ideal client avatar, business model and goals.

Just make sure you invest the time in thinking about how your processes work, who your ideal client is and what you offer them, then populate it with your clean and enhanced data. And learn how to use it, so it becomes part of your day-to-day business life.

If you are unsure why you need to know who your ideal client is, or how to create your own Ideal Client Avatar you might like to check out my free eBook which will help you.

You never know, it may just be a life-changing experience for you and your growing business.

How I can support you

My goal is to help you, as a business owner, to grow your business by getting the most value out of your three most valuable assets:

Your contacts/data

Your processes and systems

Yourself

When you make the most of your contacts/data you are in the best place possible to increase your revenue. When you have efficient, repeatable processes in your business, you reduce the cost of sales. Both these things give the you  more headspace to focus on growing your business. The overall result is an increase in net profit.

I’m always happy to have a chat – you can contact me at julia.blake@blakeconsultants.co.uk  I have been working with CapsuleCRM for over 9 years and helped many clients like you increase revenue, reduce costs, make the most of their contacts, manage their pipeline and deliver great customer service.

I do this by designing and installing Capsule to meet your needs, offering a bespoke CRM to suit your business requirements.  Capsule really is a great solution for coaches and consultants and when it is integrated with Mailchimp and Xero you have really solid foundations in place to grow your business.

To find out more or arrange a time to discuss how I can help you, please contact me. Thank you.

When Iife gives you lemons, make mangos?

Marketing strategy

No I haven’t pivoted Pinpoint Marketing into a catering business, but I want to tell you a food related/shopping story instead. I was in my local shop (shopping safely and at a distance of course) looking for mango chutney to accompany a dish I was making for us back at home. The shop I am talking about has been so convenient with its location, its range of stock and the friendly staff. They literally sell all things and never seem to run out of stock. I hope they continue to do so well once this pandemic is over. Anyway, I couldn’t see the chutney so I checked at the counter when I was paying for my other items. The young man kindly told me no they didn’t have any and they didn’t stock it either in general. Plus he told me I was one of a few that has asked recently. I was tempted to suggest they did start stocking it as they were clearly missing out on sales and service and value. I thought that might be seen as rude or pushy, so I didn’t.

Have customers or potential customers asked you for something that you don’t offer? I know have been asked. How do you respond?

Marketing is a wide ranging subject with many meanings and perceptions, so I often get asked about building websites or designing a brand or copy writing on a technical matter.

How do I respond? I don’t change to be a jack of all trades and loss my authenticity. And I don’t overpromise and undersell.

So, how do I help? I have built up a network of associates so I am able to say “I don’t offer that service no” but I can refer you to someone who does! This way, I don’t stress about taking on work I can’t or don’t want to do, the client doesn’t get let down with no solution and someone I know and respect gets some new business. Everyone wins!

So next time you are asked for mangos, lemons won’t do, but don’t say a flat no. Think how you can say yes, directly or indirectly and offer a solution that doesn’t compromise but one that adds value and what is actually needed!

Putting yourself in your customer’s shoes and go on a journey …

user experience

Empathy is a word that is very much relevant in today’s world, both personally and business wise. Therefore, the phrase putting yourself in your customer’s shoes is also very much relevant. As business owners it can be easy to sometimes think and feel and act in a way that only we have considered eg what suits us or our budget or our timelines and goals. More than often this way is the right way, but sometimes this way or our actions haven’t taken into account our customers. Customers as you all know are key as without them, we do not have a business, let alone a thriving business.

So what do I mean by putting yourself in your customer’s shoes and with empathy? I am not saying don’t do what feels rights or put yourself/your business at the bottom of the list. I am saying and suggesting that perhaps you use this time or set aside another time in the future to review your customer journey or otherwise known as the user journey.

What is a user journey?

According to my dictionary, user means “easy to familiarise oneself with, understand, and use”.  And journey means “act or process of travelling from one place to another”.  So essentially a user journey is about taking someone who uses/may be intending to use your product or service from the place they are in, to the place they/you want them to be eg the place where they can make a purchase.

Why would you look at or review your user’s journey?

What experience does you user or customer have? Is the journey or the process easy for them or tricky? Are there lots of steps or unnecessary points of contact? Is the interaction complicated or too involved? Do they get the information they need to decide quickly and efficiently or is manual intervention needed from the business that slows things down? Is it easy for them to make a payment or book a slot/get a delivery or make an appointment?

How is it for you from the owner’s point of view? Is it clunky or automated and streamlined? Is it easy for you to miss steps or forget to do something?

How can you map out your journey?

There is no right or wrong way for your user journey to flow, but it is worth considering and reviewing if improvements can be made easily, that make a real difference to the customer. This mapping looks at the journey itself. The steps or the touch points.  For example, for a customer looking to buy a skincare product from a small business, may follow this route:

Step 1 – hearing of the product – social media, website or via a networking event or word of mouth referral

Step 2 – sample – can they request one by email or phone or a form online? Or, in the past and hopefully again, can they order one via an event or from a shop?

Step 3 – to buy – can they buy online if ecommerce is set up on your site or via links on your social media profiles? (a lot of people do expect online purchasing as an option these days) or do they come to the supplier and buy face to face? Or can they buy via an email or phone order? Or are all of the above options available?

Step 4 – payment and delivery – if face to face purchasing hasn’t happened, is there the option to pay safely online and arrange/book in a delivery?

Step 5 – after sales – do you follow up and check they received the item? And importantly, have you asked if they are happy/satisfied with the product?

It’s all about thinking things through eg making the process as simple as possible and involving as few steps as possible and automating as much as you can. It is also about minimising their frustrations or opportunities for them not to make the transaction. And a good and easy user journey is also about good customer service.

What next?

Test out your user’s journey. Get a big sheet of paper and some pens and mind map it out. Write out the steps and draw lines connecting them up. Once you write it out then it is easy to see the number of steps involved as well as how it flows or doesn’t. Or ask someone to test this journey out for you and feedback with their experiences, good or not so good.

Once you have done this, ask yourself how do the shoes fit now?