Tag Archives: strategy

Why a written process is so important

Why a written process is so important

Many businesses start up with one or maybe a few people in an office, often your processes or systems have evolved from the beginning, and are now a collection of activities. When we write down our processes we can see more clearly what we are doing. In terms of our sales funnels writing down our processes can help us to track the numbers.

For example if an enquiry begins with filling in a website form, and then moves through phone calls and then onto meetings, we can keep track of the numbers each step of the way. It is important to know this, as if we know 100 website enquiries leads to 5 sales, we know that if we can improve the website to increase the number of enquiries to 200, this should result in 10 sales, thereby doubling our turnover.

Marketing is far more effective when you track the results, when you systematically work your way through to see what has an affect and what doesn’t. Haphazard assortments of marketing techniques flung together make it impossible to understand what is working and what isn’t. Spending time concentrating on your process will improve your understanding of the process, highlight any weak areas, and give you the opportunity to successfully track and monitor your activities.

If you would like to review your process with people who understand, contact Aardvark Marketing Consultants today on 0121 2225743

To learn more about successful selling watch the video below:

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Are you selling to a business or a consumer?

Are you selling to a business or a consumer?

Every business is different, so every business needs different marketing to communicate in the right way to the right people.

Multi-touch marketing is designed for B2B sales, as it allows you to precisely target your marketing so that you can send out your message to the correct people. In B2C marketing you need to speak to lots of people in order for them to buy your product, but B2B marketing you are looking to build relationships which will convert into the long term.

A multi-touch marketing program enables you to engage in continuous communication with your suspects and prospects, so that when they are ready to buy, you are there.

If you would like to discuss whether multi-touch marketing would be beneficial for your business, call us today for a confidential, no obligation discussion on 0121 222 5743.

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

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Consistency is key to creating effective marketing

Consistency is key to creating effective marketing

Everyone is familiar with the feast and famine cycle that seems to afflict so many businesses. It can be difficult to manage, but understanding why it occurs is key to reducing it.

The cycle comes about as follows; the business gets busier, we are forced to simply deal with the day-to-day needs of the customers, and we put to the back-burner activities that we consider unnecessary. So, our marketing gets pushed back, and we concentrate on the customers that are right in front of us. Which is fine, but what happens when those customers are no longer right in front of us? At this point we panic, our sales have dropped, and we act in response by pushing our marketing quickly and suddenly, this then creates a sudden surge in sales, which we then tend to, forgetting once again about our marketing. This cycle of behaviour is both tiring and inefficient, for you, your employees and your business.

If we regard marketing as an on-going process, we are consistently refilling our sales funnels, and cultivating them as they come to fruition. Businesses run more efficiently with a consistent flow of customers, you are able to handle your resources effectively and optimise your processes when you know the level of output that is required. By creating a structured plan, you allow the capability of turn your marketing up and down, as necessary, which is a far more controlled method than marketing in bursts of activity.

As we approach the New Year, now is a perfect time to lay your foundations for the coming year. By creating a feasible plan for the year ahead, with carefully controlled activities at regular intervals throughout the year, you have the power to the reduce the feast and famine cycle.

There are so many fantastic automation solutions available today, that have made it much easier to build continuous marketing through the year. The time spent on implementing the plan, and ensuring that it is running smoothly, is time well spent. When you are busy, those scheduled activities that you have built into your marketing plan will work away in the background for you, providing you with reliable and consistent marketing that lasts throughout the year.

And those tiny seedlings that you plant? Well, they grow into abundant crops, waiting for you to harvest them…

If you are struggling to implement and manage a coherent marketing campaign for your business, why not consider our Marketing Manager service, providing you with consistent marketing at a surprisingly affordable rate.

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Aardvark marketing Radio ga ga

Radio Ga Ga

Radio Ga Ga

What’s more important – visual or audio? In 1983 the rock band Queen released this single. It’s theme lamented the demise of the radio program, unable to compete with the new, brash and sexier medium of TV and, in particular in their pop music world, music videos. The theme of competition came up in the discussion this afternoon, when I was invited along to the Black Country radio studio. I took part in a live discussion on ‘marketing’ as part of the regular monthly business slot with Steve Parker and the host, Dave ‘Balti’ Homer. The challenge for many smaller local businesses is how to make their voices heard when larger businesses dominate the airwaves?
For many smaller busineses the managers are overwhelmed with too many choices and typically want answers to these questions:
Which medium is best?
What type of website do I need?
How much should I spend?
What does good value look like?
The existence of many forms of digital marketing, social media and more ‘traditional’ marketing methods often makes them feel fearful of getting it wrong and making expensive mistakes. New products such as marketing automation and web tracking appear to demand ever increasing levels of spending and yet this can dilute their efforts across too many channels. The end result is less effective marketing. Some owners feel that all marketing is a waste of money, others are fed up with being sold ‘silver bullets’ that fail to deliver the promised results.
So, how does a David beat a Goliath? The answer lies in learning and imitating. Big businesses invest in marketing, they don’t see it just as a cost, and they spend consistently on marketing because it works. Small businesses rarely take the same approach. A small business will typically neglect their research and most don’t have a plan in place. They have a tendency to dive into marketing activity as a spur of the moment decision, and often neglect marketing when they go through a busy period, rather than sticking to their plan for the medium and longer term. You can compete with the big guys if you adopt some of their thinking.
Here are our top tips
Define your overall marketing strategy – where are you going and what route will you take?
Understand how your customers/future customers behave
Plan how and when are you going to reach your customers
Implementation – did you stick to your plan and did it work?
Review and refine your activity – what did you learn and what can you improve?
All these steps involve taking more time to consider and to think. This afternoon I illustrated this point with an iceberg analogy. We tend to think of marketing as the stuff we see around us – adverts, websites, social media posts, leaflets etc, These are like the visible part of an iceberg, standing proud above the waterline, and they only represent 10% of the iceberg. For successful busineses of any size the rest of the iceberg is more important. The 90% beneath the surface (invisible to the end consumer), is the planning, research, customer understanding, strategy and measuring. And finally, improving each time.

If you’ve done your homework, you won’t get bogged down in decisions about different media and whether audio or visual is best!

Happy marketing,
Gill

Still unsure? For a confidential chat about the homework bit, why not give us a call on 012 222 5743?

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Aardvark Marketing | Productivity = the right mix of quality and quantity

Productivity = the right mix of quality and quantity

Productivity = the right mix of quality and quantity

One of the joys of working with owners and managers in small companies is watching the speed and effectiveness of innovative changes in their organisation. It means that they can be faster and better at adapting to changes in their environment than larger businesses. However many business owners find it difficult to be innovative, often held back by their own self-limiting beliefs or lack of quality thinking time.

This week I met with a director in a small company who typified these issues. As a co-director in an IT business he was held responsible for managing everything in the business that wasn’t directly related to customers and IT issues. The biggest sales and marketing challenges involved setting the right strategy and implementing a plan. However day to day management pressures were preventing this from happening. Although he was working very long hours in the business the effectiveness of their ad-hoc approach to sales and marketing was being limited by this lack of time to implement a planned and systematic approach.

A conversation yesterday with a business coach highlighted a similar issue. She was faced with launching a new service and had been kept awake at night by worry about recruiting sufficient customers in time for the planned launch date.

Thus people who are high achievers can self-sabotage their business growth because they may not be able to overcome their perfectionist approach. They are often very demanding of themselves, have a fear of what others will think of them, fear failure and tend to work all hours constantly trying to be better than the competition. The end result is too much stress and anxiety, which can be counter-productive.

In order to better manage a small business, the managers have to be exceptional time managers themselves. Time at work has to be spent wisely and the long hours culture needs to be ditched in order to keep up high energy levels without becoming stressed.  This is difficult if the managers set the bar too high for themselves by being perfectionists or being afraid to make changes because of the fear of failure.

So what steps could we take to prevent the stress of running the business becoming overwhelming?

Firstly we need to be able to step back from our business by taking time out to think about how we can make changes at work or at home to reduce our stress levels. It helps to think about what’s important to you at home and at work and perhaps to set yourself some new, more realistic priorities. Things that cause you stress but that are out of your control need to be accepted, rather than fought. Have a bit of courage and make some changes that will help you create thinking time and space in the working day. In this digital age many of us are wedded 24/7 to our phones – great when we need to work flexibly but not always helpful if you never truly escape from the workplace. Plan times in the day when you can and cannot open emails or answer phone messages, frequently a great distraction from work that is far more important.  Limit your time on social media by having planned times to use it and times when you ignore the latest tweets coming in.

Secondly allow yourself to celebrate success and your achievements, whether at work or at home. One of the strategies I employ is to keep a daily written journal and I write down things that I’m grateful for both at home and in the workplace. It helps me to keep a sense of perspective when work stress levels increase.

Third, be kinder to yourself. If taking sufficient time to sleep, to look after your diet and for exercise makes you better able to cope with a busy work/life balance then it’s worthwhile investing that time.

These small changes in behaviour mean that separation of work time and family or social time become easier. Less time at work, but concentrating on the important tasks first, means that we are more, not less, productive overall.  Your business can only benefit from more quality thinking time.
Get your thinking caps on!
Gill

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