What’s in it for me?

So, I open up my email this morning and work through the 20 or so messages that have arrived overnight – deleting most of them.  Then I start my days work but forget to close me email.

At about 9.30 ! receive this message.  Full marks to the email marketeer for delivering it at a time when I’m interruptible and therefore likely to review the message.

Big fail on the content!  I click on Outlook with the message highlighted and what do I see?  An empty blue box…

Now, I know that I can go to the top bar and download images, but I know I’m just going to be presented with a big company image and probably a photo of the person sending me the message.

This marketer has failed to answer the basic question “What’s in it for me?” in the first two seconds of me reviewing the message – DELETE!

So, learn from this… if you want to put your company logo in your marketing emails (why would you?) at least put  it at the bottom of your email below the signature.  And please, please don’t put a bloody great photo of you, your product or anything else at the top of the message.

I want to know what you are saying to me, not how great you are.  It’s easy to get my attention: tell me what I will get from reading your message.  I may not want what you are offering, but at least you’ve given yourself the opportunity of being heard.

Rant over…!

Great service isn’t dead in Mobile phone companies…

I’ve never thought too much about our mobile phones.  Every 2 years we get new handsets and a new contract from Vodafone (it’s the only network that works in rural Wiltshire!).  The bills are not too high, so whilst I’ve checked alternatives before renewing, we’ve never found anything worth switching to.

But this time it was different… we came across a company called Sunrise.  They seem to specialise in smaller businesses so took the time to talk with us and actually listen to our needs.  It was a bit of a shock!

They then came back with a deal that was similar to dealing direct with Vodafone in the first year but they were willing to give us new handsets or a kit fund to buy the handsets ourselves.  The £360 per line that we got as a kit fund was sufficient to get new handsets.

Whilst we are on a two year contact, we get a new kit fund again next year!  Yes, in 12 months…  we need to renew the contract for a further 2 years, but this kit fund will pay for the whole cost of next years phone contacts.  So now we’re really reducing the cost of our mobile phones.

We’re pretty happy with that but Sunrise isn’t finished yet.  They then go on to talk about how by consolidating other telecoms services, we can reduce costs in other areas and reduce administration too.  Next we are going to get them to integrate our broadband, line rental and fixed line phones.

Not only will this reduce our costs further, but it will also allow us to use mobile handsets as office extensions and route direct lines to mobiles, etc, etc.  So we can work more effectively whilst saving money.

The moral of this story is that technology is moving very fast in the telephony market, not with new products, but by integrating existing services together to make everything work better.  And companies like Sunrise can help businesses to work smarter and save money at the same time.

Drop me a message if you want an introduction or check out their website: www.sunrise-uk.co.uk

The perils of segmenting your database…

We have long been advocates of segmenting your database and then sending different messages to different parts of the database.  Makes sense… and allows you to target different parts of the database with different offers.

But care is needed.  What if the same person is in two parts of your database?  Would they get two conflicting messages?  Or would the messages be complimentary?

Unlikely! I hear you say.  Well… I like the email marketing from Crew Clothing, but getting two messages from them today one offering a 15% discount and the other a 20% discount makes me ask “why am I not in the 40% discount group?”

So, take care with segmented offers to your database.

The dangers of automated emails

When I raise a support request, I do expect a degree of automation, if just to make sure that requests are dealt with.  But avoid the perils of pre-formatting email replies so that an operator typed response goes into standard text like this one I received today.

Grow Your Service Firm – Step 4 – becoming an expert

We’re putting the lessons contained in Robert Craven’s new book “Grow Your Service Firm” into action.  We’re putting the book to the test and reporting through this blog what we have done and the results we achieve.

Part 2 in the book is a step by step guide to becoming an expert.  Robert argues that if you are perceived as an expert in your market, then potential customers will deal with you over your competition.  Is he right?  I think so… If I consider the business purchases we make, especially services, then we will always want to deal with a person or a business who is clearly an expert in what they do.

Robert describes the attributes of an expert like this:









… and the starting point is the one minute intro.  Anyone that has been networking at any point will know and often dread the one minute intro.  When asking “so, what do you do?” I’ve heard everything from a one word answer to a half hour lecture!  And few of the replies were informative.

Robert describes a simple process for creating your one minute intro:

1)      We work with…  interesting businesses

2)      Who have a problem with… finding new clients or getting more sales from existing clients

3)      What we do is… put your name and offer in front of potentially interested buyers and let you know which are interested

4)      So that… You can (or we can) qualify them as potential clients

5)      Which means that … you get a stream of people buying from you each month

I’ve used this new intro twice so far and it’s generated a far better response than my previous rambling explanation.  So thanks Robert!

As part of this process, we’re reviewing our company branding, hence the website change from blue to purple and the new logo.  We’re just finishing off business cards that are designed to stand out and highlight our uniqueness.  More soon…

Grow Your Service Firm – Step 3 – what do you REALLY do for your clients?

We’re putting the lessons contained in Robert Craven’s new book “Grow Your Service Firm” into action.  We’re putting the book to the test and reporting through this blog what we have done and the results we achieve.

The next step in the book is what Robert calls “Action Point Questions”.   Here are his questions and our answers:

What is your client’s problem/need/hurt?
They want/need more sales OR have not got enough sales coming in.

Why and when do they have the need?
They have the need because most businesses are poor at finding new prospects to turn into new clients.

They feel this need most when they look at the bank statement or overdue bills they can’t pay.

What can they do to have this hurt resolved/sorted?
Engage us to find them more prospects that they can then turn into clients!

What can you do to resolve the hurt/pain?
Find them more prospects that they can turn into clients.

List the benefits of working with you (make them measureable and quantifiable)

  1. Our  clients get a regular stream of new prospects to turn into customers
  2. Our clients get consistent, regular communications out to their customers to ensure they stay engaged and don’t fade away to the competition next time they have an order or requirement
  3. By working with us, clients have regular discussions about their business and how to generate more sales for it.  These discussions and our expertise always enhance the client’s ability to sell and help them convert more prospects to customers
  4. By paying us, clients have a strong desire to get a return on their investment and so put a lot more effort into sales.  And we drive this too!

Our view:  Writing this down makes it clear to us that we should be working for everyone!  Our whole business model is founded on the belief that most companies are unable or unwilling to find sufficient prospect to turn into customers to drive their business growth.

ie.  Our clients are good at turning prospects into customers, but finding these prospects is the hard part.  Are we right?


Grow Your Service Firm – Update on progress so far

OK, we’ve taken a week to get clear on what we’re good at and where we need to improve.  Based on what we found out in Step 1, it’s clear that clients are getting great value from what we are doing for them, but sometimes we don’t communicate as well as we could about what it happening, going to happen and when for their monthly campaigns.

What have we done?  Our first instinct was to build an extension of our CRM system to log and update clients, but we quickly discounted that and instead have a new extra large whiteboard in the office!  We’re using this to track each client’s monthly campaigns and make sure they know about each step in the process.

The result.  Having just taken on three new clients, this is already making life easier in keeping track of all our client campaigns.  Thanks Robert – first measurable result.

Praise for Grow Your Service Firm

This is great!  Not the usual boring testimonal for a business product.  Take a look…

Great “apology” email

I love clear, easy to read emails that catch my eye.  This one is a great example that I’ve just received:

What’s so good about this email then?  Well, the key points for me are:

  1. Strong message.  Gives the impression of a busy company working hard.
  2. Good customer service.  They know that customers have been having problems contacting them and are not scared to own up and apologise.  And they’ve given you a gift in “compensation”.
  3. It has the side (or main) benefit for anyone not inconvenienced of reminding them about the company and gives them an incentive to order during December.

I don’t know how many people have been unable to contact them or if this is a blatent ploy, but whatever the case, it’s a good message and if I were looking for ink cartridges right now I’d have taken them up on their offer…

Grow Your Service Firm – Step 2 – The Big Question

So, we’re putting the lessons contained in Robert Craven’s new book “Grow Your Service Firm” into action.  We’re going to put the book to the test and report through this blog what we have done and the results we achieve.

Following on from the questions in the last step, Robert has one, big question next:

Why should people bother to buy from you when they can buy from the competition?  Write down 5 reasons…

  1. Clients get high levels of personal attention from us that gives them a bespoke promotion that allow them to stand out
  2. Clients gain access to our wealth of expertise in running campaigns that get results.  They know we will do the best possible job for them.
  3. Our pricing is very competitive, priced to suit the budgets of smaller businesses, NOT corporate level pricing.
  4. We use the best possible systems and resources to get the best results for clients.  And we re-invest in our knowledge to ensure we stay at the forefront of our industry, so we can offer best advice to clients.
  5. If the competition is DIY (or Do Nothing Atall)… then the best reason to buy from us is because we will take action each month to push clients’ sales forward consistently when they won’t.

… and out of the five listed above, which is the main reason that people buy from you…?

5 is the main driver for most clients.  1 to 4 are the reasons that clients choose us, not someone else.

Key Learning
So, it looks like our competition is nothing to do with other companies offering our services, but far more to do with convincing clients that they should take action.

What does this mean for our business?

To me, it means that our marketing and promotion should be nothing to do with convincing prospective clients to choose us over another company offering to find them more sales. Rather it should focus on persuading businesses that it’s a good idea to get someone else in to help them find more prospects that they can turn into customers.  Good stuff!

When we have prepared some new promotion material, I’ll post into this blog so you can see what we are saying now – and by writing this here, it means I’m more likely to do it quickly 🙂