In this blog post, discover...
Why you should outsource marketing
Are you busy?
If you are a business owner reading this, then the chances are the answer is yes, you are busy - but let’s expand on that: Are you busily working on the right stuff?
It’s easy to get busy in the modern world. When you aren’t delivering to a customer, managing staff issues or doing sales and marketing activity there’s always finances and bookkeeping to manage or general admin stuff that’s outstanding. For the typical business owner, there’s even stuff on the list that will probably never actually get done!
At this point, you might be expecting some tips for how to prioritise what’s important and manage your lists of endless tasks better. There’s no top tips or discussion on to-do list management in this blog post. Instead, we are looking at a much more effective way to get results in your business… outsourcing.
Let’s understand the definition of outsourcing as well as how you can use it in your business and the benefits of outsourcing.
Watch the summary of this blog post...
What is outsourcing in business?
Outsourcing is about getting things in your business done by outside sources, or in other words, by a business that’s not directly employed as an employee is by your company.
Typically, work is outsourced to another company that specialises in a particular area of expertise and this has huge benefits which we will discuss later.
What can be outsourced?
In recent years, outsourcing has become more acceptable with the growth of businesses that provide support in different areas. A business can outsource marketing, bookkeeping, general admin and even sales activity. Outsourcing examples also include facilities management, catering, HR, logistics and IT support.
When deciding who to outsource to, make sure you are clear on what your objectives are, what you want the outsourcing company to do, and that they have the skillsets and ability to help you.
In many situations, you will most likely be sharing confidential or valuable information about your business with another company, so it’s important to have a high level of trust.
A bookkeeping company for example will have access to your financial information, an admin company might have access to information such as who your customers are and a marketing agency will need to understand many elements about your business and your target market - and if they are posting on social media for you then they are representing you publicly in what they do!
Can sales be outsourced?
Outsourced sales is a great way to generate more business, but it must be done properly and in partnership with the right third party. When outsourcing sales, you are putting your reputation with potential customers in the hands of someone else so the company you partner with must understand your products and services and how you operate, as well as the ethics and culture of your business.
We aren’t saying you must not outsource sales. If a third party business has proven expertise and you can trust them, then it can be highly beneficial to use them.
What are the benefits of outsourcing?
As well as freeing up your time, outsourcing has another huge two-sided benefit.
It allows you to recruit expertise in an area that you aren’t strong in…
And it allows you to focus on what you are good at.
Let’s take a plan to outsource sales and marketing as an example.
As a business owner, you might be really good at designing and delivering the product or service that you provide to your customers. A manufacturer has expertise in making a great product while a personal fitness trainer provides a great service in helping clients stay fit and healthy.
Both the manufacturer and the fitness trainer have proven skills sets and knowledge in their respective areas of expertise, but neither of them might be any good at sales and marketing.
In fact, many business owners we talk to dislike the idea of selling and find the art of effective marketing to be overly complicated and tough. We can empathise with those feelings.
On the other hand, a marketing agency that delivers marketing campaigns and activities throughout the day and on a daily and weekly basis (and has done for years) should know how to get results out of marketing.
Outsourced sales and marketing could be the perfect answer to a business that wants to grow its business while focusing on delivering great products, services and customer service.
Should the busy business owner try to learn in-depth how to do effective marketing, or should he or she outsource to an established expert that can fast-track results?
From a different perspective, for every hour a business owner works on a task such as bookkeeping or marketing, that’s an hour less that they can focus on what they do best.
There are only so many hours in a day and spending it on things that a business owner is not good at is lost time that could be spent on what they are good at.
Why should I outsource marketing?
We have already given some valuable insights into the benefits of outsourcing and how that can benefit you from a marketing perspective. Let’s also look at some other reasons why outsourcing marketing can benefit your business.
1. Speed up the learning curve
Marketing is always evolving. The worldwide web has only existed for a tad over 20 years and Facebook wasn’t available to the public until September 2006 (while TikTok and Instagram are barely teenagers!).
There are two choices - spend time understanding how to get results using the latest various platforms and channels with the risk of wasting time or money - or speed up the learning curve by getting help from someone who lives and breathes marketing on a daily basis.
This doesn’t mean that you should be ignorant of the latest trends, or not get involved at all in your marketing.
When you outsource marketing, the company you put your trust in must be held accountable, and the work they do must be closely aligned with the objectives of your business. And you need to work with them to make sure that happens.
Working with a third party is about “working with” them. It’s not a case of dumping activities on them, crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.
2. Reduced staff and training costs
Another benefit of outsourcing marketing is that there’s no need to hire and train staff to do your marketing for you. Even if you do recruit someone who doesn’t need training, there are still significant costs involved in having someone do your marketing activities in-house.
Using a digital marketing agency means that you can increase or decrease activities to suit your needs while keeping within your marketing budget.
At Think Twice Marketing, we offer a unique package called the Marketing Manager to support your business as it grows. Click the button below to find out more.
3. Get more marketing done
Marketing can be time-consuming. An established marketing agency such as Think Twice Marketing has processes set up to get marketing activities done quicker, without compromising on quality.
Take posting on social media as an example. Manually posting on each social media platform can be time-consuming. Having access to a third-party app, however, can save time by scheduling content at the same time across various social media platforms. The content can be tailored to each channel without taking up too much time.
Having access to apps and tools as well as having the knowledge and experience mean that an outsourced marketing agency can be much more productive as well as effective.
Are you ready to outsource your marketing?
If you are looking to grow your business and get better results out of your marketing then get in touch with us to see how we can help. We offer a free consultation to understand your current challenges and objectives. We will also provide you with some valuable insights and tips to help you with your business.
Facebook Ads can be an effective way to advertise and promote your brand to you target audience - but done badly, it can cost more than you get it sales. In this blog post, we will discuss what Facebook Ads is and how you can get the most out of advertising through Facebook.
Below is a short summary video of this article. You might want to watch this first.
What is Facebook Ads?
Facebook Ads is a form of online advertising where businesses can promote themselves and their products. It has experienced huge growth in the past few years, but with a growing number of businesses advertising, the effectiveness of ads has become more challenging.
The basic idea behind Facebook ads is that the advertiser sets up an advert with a budget to reach an audience on Facebook. The ad appears on someone's Newsfeed if they have "liked" their business page or if they have shown interest in similar products or services related to their industry.
As well as advertising on Facebook, you can also promote your brand on third-party sites as well as on Instagram.
Facebook Ads is an excellent way to connect with your target audience because it allows you to customise what you want your customers to see.
With Facebook Ads, you can also tailor your messaging and choose who sees it by setting up a campaign with a defined target audience.
You might, for example, want to target people aged 30-40 who live within 20 miles of London and have an interest in reading books, or you might target business owners in New York who have an interest in playing golf… you get the idea.
You can pay for ads in various ways such as for ads that lead people to specific landing pages, or based on how many times your video has been viewed. You can also purchase ads on a cost-per-click basis or cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM).
If you would like to know more about the different ways to advertise on Facebook, get in touch with Think Twice Marketing. We would be happy to run through the various options available.
Tips for Facebook Ads success
Here are some quick Facebook Ads tips for making your campaign a success:
Be specific with your targeting
Facebook advertising is all about targeting your audience with an advert that will resonate with them based on what they like, who they are, and what they do.
The more specific you are with your targeting and with your messaging, the more likely they will respond to your ad.
A classic mistake many advertisers make is to target their audience too much on interests. This means that many people outside of their target audience will see the ad, leading to wasted money and less effective lead generation.
Imagine you are providing services to plumbers. If you target people whose job role is “Plumber” then you are reaching the right people but, if you target people who have an interest in “plumbing” then this will include anyone who is thinking of becoming a plumber and possibly anyone who is in need of a plumber.
If these incorrectly targeted people see or click on the ad then that’s wasted money spent on ads. And to make things worse, they might see the ad instead of someone who actually is a plumber!
Also, use language and words that your target audience uses. The more you use your target audiences tone and words, the more likely they will resonate with your ad.
Use Facebook Pixel and re-targeting
Apple has introduced privacy featues that make re-targeting harder but it should still be used in your marketing. Not everyone uses an iPhone when browsing the internet and accessing Facebook and there is still a huge potential if re-targeting is done propertly.
Facebook pixel is code that tracks conversions. Facebook will give you the code which you can then add to your website to track visitors.
The Facebook pixel code also tracks any user behaviour related to your campaign. It can track when a user sees an advert, clicks on it, and when they take any action on the website linked to the advert.
This helps to understand how effective your campaign is. It also helps with re-targeting.
Re-targeting is the process of showing ads to people who have expressed interest in a company’s goods or services. Once a prospect has visited a website or clicked on an ad, they will continue to see related ads. For many people starting out in marketing, this might seem strange but it’s a highly effective way to increase conversion rates.
Nowadays, every business with an online presence should have its own Facebook pixel set up for tracking and re-targeting purposes.
Create a well-worded ad
In terms of Facebook Ads tips, this is possibly one of the most important. A well-written Facebook Ad is essential to the success of a business. A clear and concise message is not only what catches the eye of consumers, but also what instils trust in potential buyers.
Would you buy from a badly worded ad or one that has spelling mistakes?
A good advertisement should also never be too complicated or too difficult to understand. It should be well worded and designed to appeal to your target audience.
The most successful advertisements are those that are able to communicate specific benefits and value to their target audience. They should also have a strong call to action.
Need help with your advertising?
We hope you have enjoyed this blog post, full of Facebook Ads tips to grow your business. If you want to take your Facebook Ads campaign to the next level then help is available.
At Think Twice Marketing, we specialise in creating Facebook and Google Ads to get you results. We work with clients to properly define the target audience and messaging so that they get the results they deserve.
If you would like help to ensure that you don’t waste money on ineffective ads then get in touch today.
Facebook Ads Tips
Over the years, I have heard plenty of advice or opinions from small business owners and marketers on what marketing activity they should do, and why. Statements such as ‘I need to be on Instagram because that’s where everyone is heading to’ and ‘I should build up an email list to several thousand that I can market to’. A lot of this is great advice but there is one small challenge that we all face… time and resources.
There are only so many hours in a day, and any business serious about growing profitably must work off a limited budget so, if you want to make your sales and marketing as effective as possible and get the best results for your business, here are 3 marketing facts to consider:
It’s cheaper (and easier) to service existing customers than to find new ones
Research shows that it’s cheaper to build a loyal customer base who make repeat purchases than to try to acquire new customers. Existing customers know your brand, have already purchased from you and trust you. New customers are less trusting and in many instances, the relationship with them needs to be built up before they will make their first purchase - and you start to build trust until you have spent money reaching out to your audience!
According to Forbes*, “It’s 7 Times Less Expensive To Keep A Customer Than To Acquire One” while it’s “FIVE TIMES more profitable to spend marketing and advertising on retaining current customers than it is to acquire new customers”.
Whether you have a loyalty scheme with bonus points and stamps or you simply re-establish contact with previous customers to build up your relationship, these marketing activities may provide you with much greater sales - and profits than spending money finding new customers.
Posting on social media isn’t the most effective way to find new customers
Of course, we still need to focus on finding new customers for long-term growth, but many businesses are disappointed when they don’t find enough customers from directly posting on social media. There are many advantages to posting on social media such as building trust, providing social proof and turning potential customers into brand advocates who are fanatical about what you do - but there are more effective ways to get more sales.
Let’s look at some quick facts…
1. It can take weeks, if not months to grow your followers or contacts on platforms such as Facebook or Instagram.
2. For many small businesses, the majority of fans and followers are people that are established. They are either existing customers, friends or contacts. Not potential new customers.
3. Only a small percentage of ‘fans’ see your posts**
The figures linked to the above facts vary for each platform and on how successful certain campaigns are, but let’s look at some realistic numbers…
Imagine that after 3 months, you grow your Facebook business page to 500 fans organically (without using ads) and that 20% (100) of them are potential customers who are likely to buy within the next 60 days.
When you post on Facebook, it’s likely that only 5% of your fans will see your post. That’s 25 of your 500 fans. If your post is to reach a potential new customer then the 25 people that see that post need to be among the 100 out of 500 that are customers.
The chances that a potential customer who is ready to buy from you will see the post is very low. The chances that they will also take action and click on a link in the post is even lower.
On the other hand, creating a Facebook Ads campaign can help you to reach thousands of potential customers very quickly, and for a relatively small fee. This is much more effective than spending months growing followers and posting on social media, hoping that you will get steady sales as a result.
Another way to reach more people effectively is by reaching out to an established audience that someone else has. I talk about this in my book ‘17 ways to grow your business at zero cost!’.
Goldfish have a longer attention span than humans
Ok, so this title is a little bit attention-grabbing but research shows that we now have an attention span of less than 8 seconds (which is about a second less than a goldfish). This isn’t to say that goldfish are more intelligent, but it does highlight how quickly we are distracted in the modern era by the enormous amount of information that’s ‘thrown’ at us, whether that’s adverts, the phone with sound notifications, a status update on Facebook or something else.
With such a short attention span, it’s absolutely critical that your titles or headlines grab the attention of a potential customer as quickly as possible. If the headline in a marketing campaign doesn’t make the customer stop to see what you are saying, then you have lost them already.
Here’s an interesting question - if you write an email campaign or blog post, how much time do you spend on the heading or subject line? Do you spend any time looking at the best possible headline or do you just stick in a headline at the last minute in an attempt to get your campaign running?
If the headline doesn’t grab the attention of your audience then the rest of the content is wasted, as they might never read it.
Above are just a few marketing facts worth considering when designing marketing campaigns. For more insights into the way the customer thinks, check out my book Psychology in Marketing and Sales.
Need help planning your marketing campaigns and getting better results? Get in touch for a free marketing review.
**Figures show anything from 5-10%. This article provides further evidence: https://www.causely.com/blog/why-only-ten-percent-of-your-facebook-followers-see-your-posts#:~:text=It%20stands%20to%20reason%20that,or%20less)%20of%20your%20followers.
I’ve written a lot about pricing in my book Psychology in Marketing and Sales, as well as in previous blog posts and I’m often surprised when I hear small business owners (especially startups) ask how they can possibly charge for something when other people are offering similar services for free.
A recent example of this is when a customer of mine pointed out that his competitor is charging £25 for a webinar. “How can they do that”, I was asked, “when everyone is currently doing similar webinars for free?”... and from what we could see, the competitor is successfully selling these webinars.
The reason for the success comes down to what I like to refer to as the ‘Offer’ - the way that the product or service is positioned including the key message, the benefits and who is being targeted.
As well as the way the offer is positioned, the price itself can have a big impact on perception. Without knowing anything about jewellery, for example, a customer might assume that the higher-priced necklace or earring is better quality. The webinar or training course that has a higher price tag could be assumed to provide more valuable content.
The purpose of this blog post isn’t to give you specific actions or strategies for your business when it comes to product positioning and pricing. The aim is to provide you with content to reflect on, and to help you think about how you can position your products better - and that’s why I’d like to share the following examples I came across recently (by the way, if you would like to have a review of your pricing strategy or how you position your offer then I provide a 90-minute one on one session that could make a huge difference to your business. Click here to find out more).
The apple story
I have come across this from multiple sources, and while I don’t know if it’s a true story, it’s still great to read…
An old man was selling apples. His price list reads:
1 apple = $3.00
3 apples = $10.00
A young man stopped and bought 3 apples individually - paying $3 for each.
As the young man was walking away he turned and said “Hey old man, do you realise I just bought 3 apples for $9, instead of $10? Maybe business is not your thing?”
The old man smiled and mumbled to himself “people are funny. Every time they buy 3 apples instead of 1, yet they keep trying to teach me how to do business.”
Comparing Apple, not apples
On the subject of apples, The iPhone (ok so a different type of Apple!) has been very successful over the years with a much higher price than many of its competitors.
We could get into an in-depth comparison on how good the iPhone has been over the years compared to other phones but, despite some phones being arguably better, having more features and being cheaper, they have not sold as well as the iPhone.
Why? Because Apple products have strong desirability. The brand has been built up over the years and the ‘Offer’ has been created and positioned in a way to make the iPhone a MUST HAVE product.
What’s your OFFER?
When it comes to selling and marketing your products and services, it’s not just about the price, or about the features. It’s about many elements that need to come together as a complete package. Success depends on creating the right offer and then communicating it effectively to the right audience.
The right offer consists of having the right product, with the right features and benefits at the right price, and that also needs to be communicated to the right target audience. That’s a lot of ‘rights’ but you get the idea.
If you need help with positioning your offer correctly and making it a success, let’s have a chat to see how I can help. Get in touch today.
How important is brand image when it comes to customers buying from you?
A few months ago I was out for a walk with my son and we passed a For Sale sign for a property, and the contact details at the bottom of the sign included an email address that was Hotmail (such as firstname.lastname@example.org). My teenage son called out jokingly “at hotmail, I’m not buying that!’ - which got me thinking about the importance of professional branding (the fact a teenager is suggesting he’s interested in buying a house didn’t bother me, knowing that anything on the market is clearly out of his budget in the short-term!).
For many years, I’ve always argued that businesses serious about growth need to look professional, and seeing signage or wording on vans (such as for electricians or plumbers) that have a gmail or hotmail email included is likely to put doubt in the mind of the buyer. If you don’t know the two electricians, would you rather buy from email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org?*
But I would argue the importance for having a professional brand, right? Afterall, I’m in marketing and brand reputation, and building credibility and trust with customers is something at the front of my mind on a regular basis. But in this scenario, it wasnt me. It was a teenager with little knowledge about marketing concepts and who has no experience of buying high priced items such as cars or a property who clearly pointing out that the lack of professional branding in the contact details could be a reason not to buy.
Potential customers seek credibility
When a potential customer looks to buy from a business, they want you to show credibility that you are a trustworthy brand. If there is any doubt about your credibility then they will look at buying elsewhere, and not from you.
Think of it like a job interview. When recruiting, a business might receive a stack of CVs to find their ideal candidate. They can’t interview everyone and if they all look good then there’s a dilemna, so what to do?
An easier option, which is usually deployed, is to find a reason to discount a candidate with reasons such as ‘there are a couple of spelling mistakes, do we really want that lack of attention to detail in that role?’.
Finding reasons not to hire or interview is as powerful as finding a reason to hire someone, and when it comes to brand reputation the same applies. The copywriter that sends you a badly worded proposal, or the accountant that messes up the figures in their quote they send to you, are sure to reduce the chances of getting the business. Of course there are many other factors that come into the decision making process but building trust and credibility is a major reason for someone to buy.
Attention to detail
Often it doesn’t take much effort to re-check wording on your website or in proposals to make sure that there aren’t any obvious mistakes, and having a professional email address or company logo doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to implement. In fact, the cost of having a registered domain that looks professional should be compared to the cost of losing business from potential customers who decide to go with your competitors!
In the example above, an estate agent makes thousands of pounds on the sale of a single property. The cost of registering a domain and setting up an email address with that new more professional domain can be as little as £20-80 a year (in fact, you can use Zoho mail which is free and the total cost can be even lower).
Is your brand up to scratch?
If you are worried that your brand isn’t providing the professional image that you need to win business then get in touch for a free marketing review. We would be happy to provide you with some top tips and suggestions. Call us today to find out more.
*These email addresses are made up. I also mean no disrepspect to hotmail and gmail accounts. On a personal level, they are great to use.
This blog post is part of a series about making 'cracking presentations' by Paul Sampson. You can read the first article here: So, how good are you at presentations?
Let’s face it, Presentations are all about selling ideas.
I often hear people saying, ‘But, I’m not a sales person!’. Well, you are now! Presentations are meant to sell a concept or viewpoint, to enlighten and inform. You want everyone in the room to agree with you or to argue a point. That is healthy. If they disagree, you want them to challenge you. Whatever else happens, they cannot leave the room confused, doubting you or your material.
So, with preparation of your material – decide on the end goal first. What should your audience walk away with?
One way (and later, we’ll talk about others) is to think about your delivery. Learning to be an actor includes all kinds of techniques from mannerisms, to diction, accents, characterisation, body language and delivery but this may interest you – it’s called TTAIC.
Acting is selling. Selling your character and your story.
TTAIC is taking the audience into your confidence. Everyone in the room must be with you. Just one cynical, dissenting voice after the presentation can demean or even kill your argument. Each person in the room counts. No matter their seniority. You must have everyone on side.
More later ….
“Cracking Presentations” through Think Twice Marketing is a whole-day classroom-based course. It will equip you and your team to make presentations effective and your time efficient.
Many marketers would be astounded that I have even asked the question. In today’s modern world and circumstances, how can anyone not have a website? Surely a business can’t survive without a website to attract, inform and convert people into paying customers?
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I continued to come across businesses who didn’t have a website - yet they had been in business for a number of years, rather than weeks. These businesses had survived on other tools and techniques. The independent cafe that attracted customers through Google Search (using Google My Business), a Facebook page and word of mouth, the coach that built his reputation from a heavy investment in networking and referrals and the construction company that partnered with key suppliers who would ‘throw work their way’ on a regular basis and they did very little marketing at all.
Survive or thrive?
From the above examples, it’s possible to run a business without a website (Shock! Horror! Really?). These companies are clearly the exception and the number of business that can do this over the long-term has to be dropping*. While some businesses without a website have been able to continue to thrive and grow, I believe that most are simply surviving. Without factoring in COVID-19, If you asked them how business is going, they would respond “it’s ok. Not brilliant but you know. We are still going and earning enough”.
“If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten” - unknown
… or maybe not?
If a business is happy surviving and has no ambition to grow or take their business ‘to the next level’ then it might be possible to survive by doing very little marketing or without a website, but this is a very risky strategy (or should I say a very risk not-a-strategy?). As much as I love the above quote, there’s an equally powerful quote for businesses that I like:
"If you don't drive your business, you will be driven out of business" - Forbes
Standing still on activities could actually mean going backwards. Not doing marketing activities or not having a website doesn’t mean your business will continue to generate business at its current level. It means you could lose business, sales will most likely decline and survival is less likely. I remember meeting a business owner, who provided trade services, at a networking event a few years ago. He said that, after around 10 years in business, he was networking for the first time and having to look at his marketing. They had relied for many years on word of mouth, but business was, in his words ‘beginning to dry up’.
The benefits of a website
We won’t go through all of the benefits of a website here, but having a website means you can be found by more potential customers through channels such as Google Search. Potential customers are more likely to trust your brand and therefore use your services, and you can also create more marketing activities that generate a higher conversion rate. Examples of the latter include a simple landing page with a special offer or using Facebook Pixel code to drive down costs and better target your audience when running an Ad.
You probably knew the answer to this already but, if you are serious about staying in business or growing it, then a website should be at the heart of any sales and marketing activity. Yes, people buy from people and referrals are a powerful form of marketing, but this has its limits - especially over the long term.
If you are still in ANY doubt then do a quick calculation - how many customers do I need to generate to pay for a new or an updated site? For many businesses, an effective website will help attract a much larger number of paying customers. It’s almost, if not completely, a no-brainer.
If you would like to find out more about effective websites and pricing, visit the Think Twice Marketing web services landing page.
*No, I don’t have stats on this but I’m guessing it’s a pretty good gut feeling I have.
I have just finished reading ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck’ by Mark Manson (which if you would like an alternative perspective on life, I recommend reading). In the book, Mark talks about the Picasso napkin story which was new to me. If you haven’t heard it, the story goes something like this…
Picasso used to draw or doodle on his napkins when at a cafe and one day, he was asked by a woman if she could have the napkin to keep. She offered to pay whatever the napkin with his drawing was worth, to which Picasso responded that it would be $10,000.
Slightly taken aback by the high valuation, the woman pointed out that it had only taken 30 seconds to create the artwork. Picasso promptly folded the napkin away into his pocket and responded ‘no, it has taken me 40 years to do that’.
Depending on what website you visit the story varies slightly, and whether it was dollars, pounds or another currency, it was a considerable amount of money. There is, however, a good argument for not basing the price on how long the drawing took.
When it comes to selling your services, do you quote an hourly rate depending on how long it takes to do a task? Do you price your products on the value to the customer? Or how many years of experience it has taken to learn the skills you have acquired so that you can deliver what you do… and so quickly?
When talking to customers, and in my book Psychology in Marketing and Sales, I discuss different ways to price products to get the right results. A web designer, for example, might be able to create a website in one day and charge a daily rate - but if the customer does it themself, it might take days or even weeks. Added to this, a DIY website might not look as good, It might not function as well and it will most likely not convert web visitors into paying customers as effectively (resulting in lost sales in the long term).
Similarly, a training instructor, coach, consultant or security business (just to name a few specialities!) can make a huge difference to anyone’s life or business, but only because of the skills they have developed over the years. And the prices they charge should reflect this.
It’s true that you need to consider other factors when setting pricing such as what the competition is doing, how much competition there is and who your target audience is, but creating pricing based on ‘cost plus margin’ or an hourly rate could mean you are losing out considerable amounts of money.
Sometimes it can take years of practice and experience in order to be able to continually create masterpieces in a very short time. That experience has a value. What’s your napkin worth, and what are you charging for it?
The number three is a magical number which if used properly in your marketing, can help get better results. I was trailing through my archived emails the other day when I came across an email talking about how remembering numbers is easiest when they are grouped into sets of three, and it got me thinking. How can this apply to marketing and sales?
Using the concept of grouping things into 3 means that you can do the following:
The way that the power of three works is simple (I could say I will explain it in 3 simple steps but on this occasion, I won’t). On its own, a single number, price or product seems ‘lonely’. It’s not comprehensive and there’s nothing to compare. The human mind can absorb a lot more information than that so lets at least double it…
Two is good, but it could be better. If I ask you to remember a set of numbers, let’s say 702393, you could remember them individually as six separate numbers. You could remember them in groups of two, such as 70, 23, 93 or in groups of three such as 702, 393. You are more likely to remember them - and longer groups of numbers, in groups of three.
In his book, How to Write Short, author Roy Peter Clark talks about how using the rule of 3 can be more entertaining and satisfying as well as being more effective.
Before we apply this to marketing, let’s consider some real-world examples of how three is being used:
Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister, was involved in using a simple 3 worded slogan during the EU referendum campaign that was simple and easy to understand: Take Back Control. He then became Prime Minister and won a general election with the three worded slogan ‘Get Brexit Done’ which almost seemed like his answer to everything… but it worked. In 2020 during the COVID-19 outbreak, he also made the message clear ‘stay home, protect the NHS, save lives’. Ok, so the first and last part are only 2 words, but the slogan is split into 3 sections that are easy to understand, memorable and made sense. Staying at home helped protect the NHS and helps to save lives.
The power of 3 can be covering 3 words in a slogan or three individual concepts.
Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights activist, often used the power of 3 with lines such as “insult, injustice and exploitation” in one of his speeches* followed by “justice, goodwill, and brotherhood.”. Listing 5, 6 or even 10 things would have been harder to remember and would have diluted the message. Listing three things also makes the presenter seem more knowledgeable.
Julius Caesar said “I came, I saw, I conquered”, Winston Churchill once said “Blood, sweat and tears” while the American Declaration of Independence says “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.
The power of three is not new, but it’s often forgotten when trying to make marketing more effective.
Using it in your marketing
In my book, Psychology in Marketing and Sales, I talk about Decoy Pricing which involves offering a third pricing option. This third option increases sales conversions and also results in customers opting for higher-priced products or services. This works for various reasons, one of which is that it takes the mind away from comparing lower-priced products, or not buying at all.
In your marketing communication you can also use the power of 3 as follows:
Here are some examples to consider:
An accountant might highlight they offer ways to save on tax, avoid fines and grow your business as the main benefits.
A web designer might increase the value of a service by offering a 3 in 1 package: web design, blogging and social media for one single price.
A software company might communicate that their product can be set up in 3, easy to follow steps.
A fashion designer might use a slogan such as ‘look great, feel amazing, be different’
Whether you use 3 or another number in your marketing, it’s important to keep messages simple and easy to understand - while making your product attractive. If you would like help defining your marketing messaging and communicating to your customers then get in touch today.
*His speech “Non-Violence and Racial Justice”
Over the years, I’ve heard many people raise two issues when it comes to writing blog posts. Firstly, they don’t have the time and secondly, they don’t know what to write about. Although in reality writing a blog post every month should only take a couple of hours every month, I’m not going to address the first issue in this article.
Coming up with relevant and useful content can actually be easier than you think and once you get into your creative flow you’ll discover it’s actually a lot easier than you initially thought.
The initial resistance
The first reaction by the human mind to the idea of writing a blog is ‘I can’t do that. I have no idea what to write about and where would I start?’ - but it’s important to make a start and that should be with writing down or brainstorming a list of ideas and topics.
A few years ago, I did a training session for a marketing design company. They knew how to create amazing artwork and graphics for their customers but their team wanted to expand their knowledge on topics such as social media and how to create content on various social media and blogging platforms. After suggesting how often they should be posting content, the initial response from the team leader was ‘no, we won’t be posting that often. We don’t have the time to come up with ideas on a regular basis’ but half an hour later, they had a spreadsheet with a list of over twenty different topics they could use.
How had this happened?
After the initial ‘we can’t do that’ response, I suggested we spend 30 minutes discussing how to come up with ideas. we explored what sort of content could be covered and the conversation went something like this…
Me: When you talk to your clients over the phone or face to face, what sort of advice do you give them? Give me a quick example.
Team member one: Well, we might suggest that all artwork has their logo on to raise brand awareness and that the colours they use on their website, social media and other marketing materials are consistent and in line with their brand.
Team member two: And that the logo should be crisp and easy to identify. We get customers from time to time who have used a blurred logo or their logo is so small you can’t read anything on it.
Me: Great, you’ve just given me three or four top tips that you can use to create three or four separate social media posts and possibly a blog post with tips for creating professional branding.
At this point, we listed a few more tips before I asked why someone should use them rather than do it themselves or outsource to a generic digital marketing agency. The arguments in favour included their expertise and knowledge of what designs and type of designs work best in marketing. This then became the basis for another blog post on how to choose the right company to help you with your branding.
By now you get the idea. If you are a florist, what helpful tips do you give your customers that you can put into a blog post? Maybe this includes frequently asked questions such as ‘which flowers are best for this time of the year’ as well as tips such as how stems should be cut at an angle (I learned this from a customer who is a florist!) or what plant food to use.
If you are a bookkeeper, what deadlines should your customers be aware of that you could turn into a blog post? What tips for managing expenses and receipts would you give? Should they use Excel or an online accounting package to track invoices and expenses?
If you are a personal fitness trainer or health coach, what eating, sleeping and exercise tips could you give? Could you write about the importance of getting into a regular routine and creating healthy habits? And what are the benefits of using a personal trainer compared to trying to get fit on their own without personal guidance?
I’m not a personal fitness trainer, florist or bookkeeper but there are plenty of ideas in this blog post to get you started - and once you get into the flow, you will find that more ideas come up more easily.
By the end of my training session, the design agency had agreed to create a shared spreadsheet and team members could freely add suggested topics, tips and upcoming events that would be worth considering. The team leader would then review the spreadsheet and decide what content would be used and how it would be used. This would also include seasonal events throughout the year that were relevant.
You might not have a team of marketers to share your thoughts and to give you ideas but you can always use colleagues and even friends and family for ideas. Sometimes having a different perspective can inspire you with new and better ideas for blog posts!
I don’t want to give away too much information
I’ve heard the argument, especially with business offering services, that they don’t want to give away too much advice that they would otherwise provide as part of their service and make money from. I understand this but think of the approach differently. You should provide enough information that demonstrates that you know what you are talking about, that adds value to your potential customer and that leaves them saying ‘These are great tips and you clearly know what you are doing. I can’t do this myself so I need your help’.
A business coach, for example, can offer great tips but always highlight how business owners that have a coach achieve greater results because they are more accountable or have someone to ‘bounce ideas off’ (or whatever benefits you as a coach see customers get from using your services rather than doing it themselves).
This approach also applies to other types of businesses such as home DIY, gardening or even food manufacturing. You might provide some tips for baking their own cakes or painting their bedroom but many people still want you to do it for them - whether that’s to save them time or make sure the task or product is perfect!
Other content ideas
So far, we have mostly talked about tips and blog posts around why customers can benefit from your services, but there are other topics to talk about.
You could also post about what's going on in your company. This helps to give a personal element to your business that people can associate with - but I don't recommend doing this too often. Whilst it adds a touch of personality and familiarity with the company, it tends to be of less value to a wider audience, especially if almost every post is ‘look at what we are doing’ rather than ‘here’s a post to help YOU!’
Here's a list of possible things that you can write a blog post about:
Let’s give some examples of what blog titles might look like based on the above list:
You might not agree initially, but whatever your business, there are plenty of things to write about. If you're really struggling to come up with ideas then take a look at your competitor's blog posts to see if you can write about similar topics. It’s important to avoid plagiarism but I’m fairly sure that whatever you write about, some elements of it will have been covered somewhere in the world. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t cover that topic. People want to hear from you, whether that’s your thoughts or what you are doing locally or with your customers, specific to the topic you are writing about.
A great source for posts such as top tips can come from questions that you get asked frequently. This helps with creating ideas and also shows that you understand the concerns - and thoughts - of your customers.
Admittedly, it’s not always easy to come up with content but it’s easier than you might initially think. You are sure to come up with some great ideas to write about!
If you would like to find out more about writing blog posts for your business, grab a copy of my book Blogging for business, or get in touch. We would be happy to write some great blog posts for you!
The opinions in these blog posts are those of marketing professional and book author Darren Hignett.