Grow Your Business Through Engagement - 3 Tips

Never in the history of business has there been so many ways to engage consumers and grow Customer Engagement Puzzleyour business. At the same time you can use many tools to satisfy and retain your current customers. It may very well be "The Golden Age of Business".

But, it all takes work.

How about some first steps?

Know Your Current Customer Base - You would be surprised at the number of business people who don't know why people choose to do business with them. The best way to find out is to ask them. Ask what it is about your business that has driven these customers to you and make a list;

Rinse and Repeat - Once you've got a list of why customers have come to your business the goal is to keep them coming back. Look at your list. If they are impressed by what you've done...do more of it; 

Where is Your Customer? - This is a critical step in the process. Where does your customer hang out? What are they reading? What interests do they have? Once you know where they prefer to get their information, be it traditional or new media, start to spend more time in that space. This does two things: 1) Re-enforces their loyalty because they see more of you and; 2) If they are here so too are others that you want to reach, engage and turn into customers.

Three simple steps to get yourself aligned with your current customer so you can build your business through retention and recruitment.  

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It's About Relationships

Not long ago, on my daily business news broadcast, we had a story about how the Internet has  Car Sale Promotion
changed the way many buy their vehicle. It's not only that you can buy "on-line" but, more importantly, the consumer now has the same, or more, information about the vehicle than the car dealership.

That fact changes the dynamic greatly. Now, the purchase isn't so much about "best price" or "availability" but how the salesperson at the dealership builds a relationship with you the customer.  

No longer "hard data" it's now all about "soft skills".

This shift has happened across the business landscape. The power of knowledge is in the hands of the consumer in most instances. Now the focus, for salespeople everywhere, is about building long and lasting relationships. And, given the availability of social media, it is easier than ever to engage your existing and potential customers.  

Oh, and that hand-written note that's put in the mail with a real stamp...bet your customer will smile and keep it long after that shout out on Facebook.

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Why Knowing Trends Matters

We follow trends because it's important to understand where business is going rather than Closed Storewhere we've been. Not to say we should forget about our history but our eyes should always be on tomorrow so that business can adjust to the market. And we're not just talking about color schemes. We're talking about major shifts in consumers that drives marketing/advertising.

Home Depot is a case in point.

Last week, on the Business News Hour, we had a story about how Home Depot was changing their marketing mix away from the Do It Yourself person and focusing more on professional re-modelers and contractors. For a business that has built their brand on DIY this is a seismic shift.

Why?

Because the understand the trends in home-ownership. Consider:

  • Home-Ownership at an All Time Low: Only 63.5% of Americans own their home the lowest number since 1967;
  • DIY Gives Way to Do It For Me: As Baby Boomers age they are not as interested in tackling a kitchen or bathroom re-do and would rather hire it done;
  • Got No Skills: In many parts of the country "Shop Class" is a thing of the past. Shop was replaced by computer science and a generation didn't learn about building stuff;
  • More Renters: Blame it on the recession, stagnate wages, the desire to have fixed monthly expenses; whatever the reason more and more people are turning to rentals. Check the chart below.

Rise of RentersIt all adds up to a trend and Home Depot responded even though it meant moving away from what made them the best DIY store in the nation.

So, here are some questions for you:  Are you staying ahead of the trends? Are you paying attention? If sales are in a slump, or just not as robust as they once were, is it a trend away from your product or service? Do you know?

Maybe it's time to think about it...

Thanks for reading!

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Social Media Marketing in Northern Iowa

I'm honored to have been asked to be part of this amazing group of  NIACC Oct 2015 Two Use
professional marketers who will do a full day event about Social Media Marketing for Business.  I'll post a link to the registration page toward the end of this post.

Here's the deal: As a business person you've been told "Social media is free and everybody should use it." That, my friends is a lie. Social Media Marketing is not free it takes time and talent. That being the case why not attend a session where some of the best professionals in marketing will share their tips, suggestions and demonstrate what works...and what needs work. Here's more:

 

If you are in business you want to add more to the bottom line...while engaging consumers with your story.  Spend some time with us on 24 October at NIACC during the Midwest Social Media Summit! Here is that registration link.

Seek...answers.

Thanks for reading, watching coming by!

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Turning a Blind Eye...

Have you ever been so enamored with one or two forms of media Woman Blind Eyeadvertising that you turn a "blind eye" to everything else? Hey, you're not alone. That's why, years ago, we made the decision to listen to all the pitches we got from advertising folks. You never know when you might hit on the "silver bullet".

So, let's talk about an ancient advertising vehicle that you may dismiss because, heck, that "social media stuff" is new, flashy and..."free"! (Well, not really but you know what I mean.)

So, let's talk radio.

What? "Boring old radio?", "Nobody actually listens to radio anymore." "I only listen to satellite radio!" I've heard them all and never mind that, according to the Pew Research Center on Journalism and Media"Traditional AM/FM radio, meanwhile, continues to reach the overwhelming majority of the American public – 91% of Americans ages 12 and older had listened in the week before they were surveyed in 2014."

Yeah, never mind.

Chuck Meford MPL Talking Two 3 march 2015The issue isn't that "nobody listens" to AM/FM radio the issue is that you don't know how to advertise on radio and you won't listen to people who know the business. So, rather than seek the answers, rather than ask the question, rather than do the work...you turn a blind eye toward radio.

So, let me make this really easy for you. And if it seems like I'm shilling...well fine...but it's because I believe this might help your business.

On the 3rd of November, here in Des Moines, a fellow by the name of Chuck Mefford is presenting a FREE seminar on branding and radio. Chuck isn't some "fly-by-night" huckster he's got years and years of success in Chuck Mefford Book helping big and small corporations focus on their brand and their brand message with a focus on increasing sales. (Because that's the real measurement.)

Here is a link to the Des Moines Radio Group Registration Page and NOPE they are not paying me, they did not ask me, they don't even know I wrote this (until now). If you need more proof here is a link to Brands Formation the Chuck Mefford company. (Don't let the BIG NAMES scare you..radio is still affordable!)

Your cost to attend?  A little time.  And, if you tell me, "Michael, I've been to these free radio seminars before and they don't work!" I'll tell you that the reason they don't work is that you didn't work the system.

Does that mean "print is dead"? Nope but that comes later.

Thanks for reading! 

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How To Buy Stuff - Chapter Two

My friend and I have been working on a book idea.  Both he and I believe How to Buythere are enough "How to Sell" books.  What business needs is a book on "How to Buy Stuff".  Tips on how to move your business forward by paying attention to sales and marketing...not yours...but "The Pitch" and then how to and how not to take action.

Chapter Two, we've decided is "How Not to Allow Deadlines to Assist in Not Buying". Ready?

Here is the set up: Let's say you manage or own a business and every day of the week you are called on to listen to a pitch. (Here's what I think about your duty to listen to every one!)  When the pitch is complete you say to the salesperson, "This is fantastic! It's exactly what we need. Let me get back to you in a week."

Then the week goes by and the salesperson, who has kept in touch with you during the week hears nothing back. Crickets!  

The day comes and the salesperson finally catches up with you and you say, "I know today is the deadline for the offer but, I just can't get it done today.  I'm sorry!"

So, we went from "Gotta have!" to "I don't have time to put my signature on a document."

The customer used the deadline to help him/her fail to follow through with the buy.  Sad.

What should happen is the buyer, during one of the interactions between the pitch and the deadline, should have said was, "Look we considered this but, in the end, it's not going to work for us because..."  It's important the salesperson hears the "Why.." because perhaps the objection is something you just don't understand.

Or...you just made up your excitement during the pitch which is phony and not a good way to do business. 

Your thoughts?

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So, What's The REAL Cost?

We'll listen to any pitch. We've always thought that if you don't you run the Sales Pitch Image risk of missing out on the magic bullet that will drive customers to our clients. That's also a tip for you. Don't just wave somebody off.  Listen to the pitch; who knows, it might be magic!

We recently listened to a pitch about some online marketing.  It went like this: "Our customers get 70,000 impressions each month and it's only going to cost your client $500 each month."

Sounds like a heck of a deal right? Less than a PENNY per impression! But then you do the math: 70,000
impressions, divide that by their stated "click through rate" of .03 percent. That comes to 2.3 page views...before the industry standard conversion rate of 8% (Conversion rates mean converting a "looker" into a "buyer")

But, let's just go with 2.3 clicks onto our client's offer.  The cost now comes to $217.39 to attract each new customer.

Not bad if our client were selling $150,000 cars or legal work that could amount to $200,000 in billable hours...but our client, in this case, has an average ticket price of $45.

Marketing Tip:  Impressions do not mean sales. They mean impressions like in, "Oh, I see that."  Getting the consumer to then DO SOMETHING and convert them to becoming a buyer is a whole different discussion. 

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What's Your Value?

We've always believed that if you live by the price, and are a commodity, Man Value you'll die by the price.  However, if you build value into your business people will continue to ask you for...business.

There is always somebody out there that can match your price or, just for kicks, beat it.  However, if you build value into your product/service nobody can take away your customer.

Of course there will always be people who buy on price alone and couldn't give a rip about value.  And, those consumers are usually less loyal and can cause most of the trouble for your brand.

So, how do you add value to your product or service?  Exceed the expectations of your customer.  How do you do that?  By thinking of them...first.  If your focus is always on the bottom line if you are scrambling to make ends meet you're in a commodity business.  If you think, really think, of how you can bring extra value to your customer you'll have a transforming business.

High Value trumps Low Price

That's what we think.  How about you?

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Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications is a full service advertising agency and is also the fuel that powers Insight on Business the News Hour.

Thanks for coming by!


Selling Value

I was having a conversation with a client the other day and we got Man Sales around to talking about different sales techniques.  He's seen companies that are selling value because they have high margins and high costs and he's been witness to companies that sell items like a commodity...low margins and low cost.

I asked him which, in his opinion, was the easier sell.

"I would much rather sell high-cost/high-margin products because it's easier for me to sell the idea of the value this type of product brings to the consumer."

He went on; "But, that's me.  I know sales people who like to sell on price only and, based on my experience, the sales professional who sells on price has a very hard time switching over to sell the idea of value for higher priced products."

I thought it was an interesting discussion.  So, what about you?  Is there a difference?  Do you think a salesperson who can sell value can also sell price?  Which is better?  Selling on value or selling on price?

Thanks for reading..

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Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications is a full service advertising agency that is also the fuel that powers Insight on Business the News Hour heard Monday - Friday between 5PM and 6PM on 1350-KRNT with our business interviews located on our Podcast Page

 

 

 


Sending Folks to the Competition...

The other day I was visiting with a sales and marketing professional who works in a very competitive industry.  He was calling on a perspective client, learning how they approach the marketing their product. Man Pointing Away

When the discussion came to "leads" the perspective client said, "This is the email I send out to individuals who have contacted us and want more information about our company."  The form email said, in part, "If you would like to see photos and find out more information please go to..." and at the bottom of the note were two live links to national websites that specialize in this industry.  No, not THEIR website...but sites that contain nearly every competitor in their business.

My friend asked, "Why would you send your leads to the competition?"  The employee had a "blank look" on her face and said, "Because it helps me get leads!"  My friend answered with, "But, Susan, you already have the lead in your hand.  When you send the person to a mega industry site that has nearly every competitor also vying for business your begging them to look elsewhere."

She still didn't get it.

Sometimes business people don't "get it" and just because they have always done something the same way, over and over...it makes it "right".

The question needs to be asked, "What changes can you make in your marketing/advertising methods that will improve your chance of closing the sale vs. sending your customers elsewhere?"

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Let's connect by email, give us a call or on Twitter it's @InsightADV and our advertising agency Facebook Page is right here.  Thanks for coming by!