Author Archives: Lizzie Hopkinson

Are you sending the right message?

Are you sending the right message?

If you are going to the effort of designing, producing and implementing a multi-touch program, it is vital that the content of the touches is good. There is no point producing a whole touch program that solely says how great we are! Good content is essential to ensure that not only are you communicating with people, but that you are communicating the right message.

Your communication with your prospects needs to be about them, their problems, their pain. They need to feel that you understand them, and good content can do just that. As a basic rule only 25% of your communication should be about you. This could be a piece of PR around an award, a flyer showing what you offer, but only 25%.

The rest of your content needs to be about your prospect. This can be 50% solely about them and their pain points, and 25% showing relevant industry items, so that they can see that you understand the complexities of their industry.

Good content will build around the pain points that your prospect faces, and will show empathy for their difficulties as well as solutions and benefits. Whenever we create content, we need to make sure that we have these points firmly in our mind. Relationships are built on trust, and part of the job of good content is to build trust between you and your prospect, so that they will become a client. We trust people who understand us and our problems, so make sure that your marketing invokes trust in people.

If you would like help with delivering the right message to your prospects, we can help. With our marketing manager system you can outsource your marketing to us, so that we can design, create and implement your marketing, leaving you free to manage your clients. To arrange a meeting call us today on 0121 222 5743.

To learn more multi-touch marketing, watch the video below.

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How is your relationship?

How is your relationship?

All relationships go through phases and the relationships we have in our sales process are no different. Like all relationships these go through good and bad times, but as long we continue communicating and being clear about what we both need, our relationships will flourish.

The beginning of our sales process is a little like dating, we are in the getting to know each other process. We are building trust, exchanging information, we keep up an on-going contact as we build our relationship together.

After a while, the time is right, and down we go on one knee, for the engagement. This is the where the actual sale takes place. It shouldn’t be a long or hard process if your dating has gone well. You shouldn’t still be having to sell yourself when you are down on bended knee, you should be fairly confident they are going to say yes!

And they lived happily ever after…So ends all great fairy tales, but happily ever after requires work. Don’t win your customer and then forget to look after them. Don’t be so relieved the girl said yes, that you forget to carry on being nice and kind. Maintaining customers is always cheaper then finding new ones, make sure you continue to give them a reason to stay with you. Don’t behave in such a way that you make them leave. Good customer service will always help your retention.

If you are struggling with any part of this process, we can help. Good marketing will ensure that you build good relationships with your clients, making sure that your message and communication is clear and that you are building relationships that will last. We can design and deliver tailor-made marketing packages for you, take a look at our marketing manager service. Or pick up the phone today and call us on 0121 222 5743

Take a look at the video below to learn more about how relationships change throughout your sales process.

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Welcome to Mark’s Mental Health Marathon and thanks for reading.

Welcome to Mark’s Mental Health Marathon and thanks for reading.

As many of you will already know, 2018 was a difficult year…a year in which I was told I might have three-years to live, followed by extensive diagnostic health checks, regular specialist consultant’s visits, cancelled operations, learning how to cope with insulin dependence and eventually a lung biopsy to confirmation a long-term inflammatory lung disease requiring ongoing steroids and, this year, powerful immuno-suppressants that are also used in chemotherapy treatments.  My mother’s untimely death hardly helped the year along!

This year I’ve been offered an opportunity of a lifetime – so, I’m undertaking a sponsored 80km trek to Angkor Wat in Cambodia to raise money for Mental Health UK, Lloyds Bank’s chosen charity. So, why would an insulin-dependent diabetic with only two thirds lung capacity want to take on such a physical challenge in oppressive heat of 35°c and saturating humidity of over 80%?

It’s all about saying ‘thank you’ to the community that supported me and kept me going through the ups and downs of 2018.  Of course, the support from friends and family is invaluable at times like these but I had more, much more. I experienced surprising and very welcome support from my networks of clients, colleagues, professional partners. People who would regularly pick up the phone or drop me an email and simply ask…‘I was just thinking of you, how are you doing?’…and still do!

So the challenge I’ve set myself is to pay-back to everyone who provided that invaluable support network. It’s my way of saying thank you to a fantastic business community.

I want to make a difference in 3 ways:-

  • I’d like the business community to be increasingly capable of supporting people experiencing mental health issues; by being more effective and efficient at spotting issues and hopefully preventing them from developing into something more serious.
  • I’d like everyone in my business community to be able to say ” Yes, I’ve got something out of this for myself, for my team and for my business”.
  • Raising £25,000 for a truly worthwhile and practical charity – Mental Health UK so that they can support many others going through difficult times with mental health issues.

So I invite you all to get involved with me. This might be by attending one of my fundraising events, being one of my corporate sponsors or by coming along to one of our mental health awareness seminars and hearing from expert speakers on mental health issues.

Look out for regular updates on these events as the year progresses, culminating in my trek to Cambodia as part of a team of 70 Lloyds bank staff during the rainy reason in October!

So, can I encourage you, please, to give generously to a cause that at some stage in our lives we all may need to rely on to support our family, friends, or even ourselves.

Whatever amount you might choose to donate, you have my heartfelt appreciation.  Donations can be made most easily through my Just Giving page or, if preferred, by cheque made payable to ‘LBG Charity of the Year’.

Please be kind enough to ‘like’ and ‘share’ my blog posts with your social media connections so we can spread the word. With your support, together, we can make a difference to our community.

With my personal thanks,

Mark

With thanks to Mark Smith our guest blogger this week. Aardvark Marketing Consultants are supporting Mark in his fundraising efforts.

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Making the most of your marketing machine

Making the most of your marketing machine

Once you have designed your multi-touch plan, created the touches you are nearly ready to begin. But who are you targeting? The quality of your data is crucial in determining the success of your campaign.

Finding the people who might be interested in your product or service is necessary to ensure that you are putting the right people through your marketing machine. You can design and implement a brilliant campaign around eating beefburgers, but if you target a whole list of vegetarians you are unlikely to get any response. And remember that you will need a continual flow of prospects to feed into your marketing machine. The aim is to create a steady flow of good quality leads who are poised to buy.

Once we have these leads who are ready to buy we need an efficient process to convert them to customers. Don’t lose them at this step by making your sales process too complicated or lengthy. As with all processes making sure that you review them will enable you to alter the processes to make them more streamlined and efficient. Constantly monitoring and reviewing your processes will enable them to become better and better.

Monitoring and measuring is a vital part of the success of your marketing. You need to see the effect from your actions, so that you can refine those actions to make your process continually more effective. If you don’t monitor and measure you don’t know what is working and what is not working.

Don’t forget the value of your existing customers, they already like you, they are already engaged, but if you run them through your multi-touch program they might learn more about you and what you offer and come to you more frequently or for different services or products.

If you don’t have enough time to design, implement, monitor and measure your multi-touch program, why not let us do it for you? Our marketing manager package provides outsourced marketing at a surprisingly reasonable rate. Call us now on 0121 222 5743 to arrange your meeting.

To learn more about creating your marketing machine watch the video below.

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What is a touch?

What is a touch?

In our last blog we discussed the magic number of touches that you need in your marketing campaign. The magic number is twelve touches. But, what is a touch?

A touch is any piece of marketing communication that you send to your prospect. It can be a variety of things; a LinkedIn connection, an email, a piece of direct mail, a call. Each touch provides an opportunity for you to share information, educate, or simply remind your prospect of your presence.

Data gathered via extensive research into sales show that the majority of sales happen between the 4th and 12th contact. So a salesman who has made three calls and received 3 “nos” maybe only one touch away from a sale. The problem with the traditional method of sales, cold calling, is that often the potential customer says “no” when in reality what they mean is “not now” or “not yet”.

We forget sometimes that people do not buy when we want them to buy, they buy when they want to buy. The purpose of marketing is to ensure that when they are ready to buy, you are the person they come to.

You can see that if you have a multi-touch campaign which continues over a longer period of time, statistically you are more likely to be in the right place at the right time, than if you only make a few calls over a shorter period of time.

Implementing multi-touch campaigns can seem daunting, so we offer our marketing manager package which provides outsourced marketing so that your campaign is designed, delivered, monitored and measured for you. If you would like to discuss how the marketing manager package could help your business, call us today to arrange your meeting on 0121 222 5743

If you would like to learn more about the multi-touch program please watch the video below.

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What’s the magic number?

What’s the magic number?

So, you are designing your multi-touch marketing program, you have created some really first-class content that is informative and engaging and has been designed to show you to be a leader in your field. You have then used this content across a variety of media, perhaps you have created a flyer, or a video, or put together a series of emails for your campaign. But how many touches should you do?

There is a magic number. This number has been reached by research carried out in the US and in the UK. It is based on when a sale happens in a B2B relationship, and how many points of contact have happened before the “yes.” The magic number is twelve.

So, when you are designed your multi-touch program you need to bear this in mind. Obviously, you will have some quick wins, and you will have some customers who take twice as long as this to come to fruition, but as a basis on which to build your campaign twelve is ideal.

These touches don’t have to all be very elaborate, they can be as simple as a LinkedIn connection, but together they become very powerful. It takes people a while to become used to you, to trust you, before they will even consider buying from you. Taking the time to work through your multi-touch program will enable your prospective clients to accept you, trust you, and ultimately buy from you.

There are quick fixes that can be made, but in the long run it is better to build a good marketing program that will deliver you a steady flow of good quality leads, who are poised to buy. If you are struggling to either devise a long-term marketing program or to implement it, why not take a look at our marketing manager package? Or to arrange your meeting today call 0121 222 5743

If you would like to learn more about multi-touch marketing please watch the video below.

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So, what does Worcestershire’s asset finance guy actually do?

So, what does Worcestershire’s asset finance guy actually do?

Most people have heard of asset finance and assume it has something to do with corporations and the finance industry. One of the biggest hurdles we experience at Haydock Finance is helping small businesses relate the services we offer to your specific businesses, rather than assuming asset finance is not for you. Asset finance sounds distant and almost exotic in some cases but can, if used correctly, be essential in taking a small business to the next level and allowing the use of better machinery and equipment that increase production and efficiencies.

 

Firstly, it is important to note that most people have already done it in one form or another, you probably have. Asset finance is simply helping a person to get the use of an item that they do not want to pay immediately for, or do not have the immediate access to the full finance to afford it.

The most obvious example of this in your day to day life would be the local car dealership giving you a purchase method for your next car over 3 or 4 years; or when you walk into a furniture shop and they direct you to a small office at the back of the shop to buy your next sofa on a low interest plan over next couple of years. Both are asset finance.

 

Our first questions to a potential new customer will be; “What do you want and how will you be using the asset? Is it better to own the asset entirely or simply gain use of an asset owned by someone else?” Getting the answers to the above is very important as owning an asset puts more risks on a business in many ways but can be very helpful to gearing on balance sheets. If the asset is to be very heavily used in-life it may be better for you to own it outright rather than simply lease it. However, leasing as opposed to owning it may be cheaper and less risky for you, dependent upon your business.

 

Our job is to understand you and why you want to acquire this asset. How does it fit into your business? Is it the right asset? How long do you need it for? Is that asset durable enough? Does it hold value long enough? Does your cash flow need a unique repayment plan? Is the supplier good, consistent and trustworthy? Is it an asset that we think is good and we know enough about its market? Can we add value for you, and will you make essential use of the asset so that it is a valuable investment? There are many more questions and the scenarios and assets are infinite. Anything that has a value is a potential asset that can be considered for finance; from vehicles, to machines to race horses.

 

So why can leasing be cheaper? It is not always the cheaper option, but in theory leasing is different from purchase options as a lease covers the depreciation of an item over the period you have use of it. So, if you have a contract for 3 years: it is the difference between the price you buy at and the price it is expected to be sold for in 3 years’ time, plus an interest charge for the privilege of using someone else’s property. A purchase contract is the cost of the entire value of the item spread over the period it is financed. So, a lease is likely to look cheaper however you must be confident that ownership of the item isn’t important to you, just the use of the item.

 

Now there are so many methods of finance in the market and an almost infinite way of spreading the finance and matching the payments to your needs, it can be difficult to know where to start. This is where we can help you. We don’t just offer pre-packaged deals but can build tailor-made finance packages based on your business and your unique needs. So, if you want your new expensive machine to be a benefit, not a burden, you need us. If you are currently making decisions about business purchases, and would like to discuss different finance options, call Richard at Haydock Finance on 07938 377 813, to arrange your free meeting today.

 

With thanks to guest blogger Richard Frazer from Haydock Finance.

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When is it OK to cheat?

When is it OK to cheat?

Readers of the Sunday Times may have read an interesting article in the magazine on 24th March about Donald Trump and how he plays golf (click here to access article). There are lots of examples of his breaches of golf etiquette from minor to major misdemeanours. Personally, I wasn’t particularly surprised by any of the stories, but the one item that caught my eye was the comment about his attitude to cheating – he assumes everyone is cheating so it’s OK to join in.

It made me think about how we all operate in business. Throughout my career there have been occasions where decisions had to be made which had an ‘ethical’ component. Very often the debate included a discussion about what the competitors do or what we expected them to do.

It’s easy from a distance to take the moral high ground and advocate a highly principled approach, but if your competitors really are setting their bar a bit lower, there is a risk of significant adverse consequences.

How do you stay true to your principles and minimise the risk?

In most cases the source of risk is customer misunderstanding. If your prospect or even existing customer doesn’t fully appreciate the full picture, they can be misled into making an ill-informed decision, being seduced by your less principled competitor. While it may be tempting to drop your own standards to complete on a ‘level playing field’ an alternative is to turn the popular cliché around and say “if you don’t want to join them, beat them’.

Can you educate your prospects to help them make better decisions? That can not only win you more business, but it also earns you respect from the customer for helping them make the right decision for them. An easy way to do this is to offer a free ‘buyer’s guide’ on your website.

To make this really effective, spend some time (or get someone else to spend time – https://aardvarkmarketingconsultants.co.uk/research/) talking to customers so you know what really matters to them.

If you want to be the Donald Trump of your market, that’s your choice – but you don’t have to. If you want to talk to us about retaining your principles and being successful, we would be delighted to take your call or answer your email.

Chris

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So what are the 5 challenges?

So what are the 5 challenges?

In our last blog we spoke about the research done by Frost and Sullivan that showed that all businesses faced the same 5 challenges with their marketing. But what are these challenges?

The first is proposition, which basically means that you are struggling to effectively convey to your customers what you do and how you offer them value for their purchase. You can improve this by working on your communication, and clearly demonstrate to your customers why they should come to you, over your competitors. If you are not sure where to start, begin by writing down everything you offer.

The second is delivering sales-ready leads. This is important as it will prevent you wasting time on leads who were never going to buy, who were using you to gain some traction over their current supplier, or who were only ever going to choose on price. Having good process that delivers quality leads will help to increase the success of your sales pipeline.

Creating good quality content is vital to engage potential customers, and show yourself as an authority in your marketplace. The content required for different mediums will vary, and will need to be created according to the market and the way that is it presented. People tend to view creating content as time-consuming, so that it get pushed to the back of the pile.

Measuring your marketing is important. Unless you measure and monitor it is hard to work out what is working and what is not working. Furthermore, what you measure makes all the difference. Simply measuring Facebook likes, or website visits won’t give you an understanding of the engagement levels of your potential customers.

And finally, sales teams being skeptical of marketing. Many business owners struggle to get their sales teams to use the marketing materials, or to work with the marketing team. But good marketing, will deliver a good flow of warm leads to the sales team, enabling them to command a good conversion rate to customers.

If any of the above points sound familiar, give us call on 0121 222 5743 and arrange your meeting today.

To learn more about the challenges facing businesses watch the video below.

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We are all in the same boat

We are all in the same boat

One of the things that we hear when we discuss marketing with different people, from different industries is this: “but you don’t know anything about my industry.” This may very well be true, though we have worked across an impressive range of industries over the year. But the real answer to this is it doesn’t matter.

Frost and Sullivan, the well-known and respected research agency, produced a global report in 2015 which found that no matter what your business was like, large or small, local, national or international, profit or charitable, every business had basically the same 5 challenges with their marketing. Our problems, which we tend to be quite possessive of, it turns out are universal.

This actually works in our favour. Because we know that all businesses face the same challenges, we know where to start with their marketing problems. We understand what is required to meet the challenges head on, and how to implement changes that will ensure that these challenges are being met. If the challenges were unique to each business, we would not be able to tackle problems using our tried and tested marketing methods, which we know to be successful on a range of diverse businesses. We can use the knowledge we have gained from different industries and apply it to your industry, all because of the universal nature of our marketing challenges.

If you are struggling with your marketing, take a look a our marketing manager service. This provides you with outsourced marketing delivered by knowledgeable professionals, so that you can be confident that your marketing is being carried out regularly and consistently. We measure and monitor your marketing, so that we can hone your marketing to suit you.

If you would like to learn more about marketing manager, why not contact us today to arrange your meeting? Call us now on 0121 222 5743

Or to learn more about the universal challenges facing us, watch the video below.

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