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.
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”
Instagram is a great platform for engaging with your target audience and although it depends on your business, Instagram typically achieves more likes, follows and reach than other mainstream social media platforms. It does, however, have one major drawback - it’s harder to organically drive people to your website.
Anyone using Instagram for business will be aware that you cannot include clickable links in standard posts to your feed and links are only possible in Stories if you have over 10,000 followers (which everyone has, right?).
The only clickable link for most Instagram businesses is the one that appears in their bio.
If you are a regular blogger or a business trying to promote a special offer - and want to use Instagram to increase visitors to your website then it can be a challenge.
Here are 4 ways to generate more click-throughs from your Instagram profile so that you can drive visitors to your website.
When you advertise on Instagram, the ads are not just clickable but you can also reach potential new customers who don’t yet follow you by defining who your target market is. If you are running a marketing campaign, for example, with a special offer then using Instagram Ads is a great way to find new business. Advertising on Instagram costs money, making it less attractive for regular bloggers if you want people on Instagram to visit your blog posts.
When I refer to ‘Instagram Ads’, I’m talking about all forms of advertising on Instagram. It’s possible to advertise on Instagram by setting up a Facebook Ads campaign as well as advertising directly on Instagram.
Copy and Paste
The simplest and cheapest but the least effective of the four ways to drive Instagrammers to your website is to include a link in your post and ask them to copy and paste it into their browser.
Many people won’t have the desire (or knowhow) to copy the link and open the browser to paste in the link. On a desktop is easier but since Instagram is seen by almost everyone on a mobile phone then this makes the task even harder. Only people who are super keen to visit the link will spend the time copying and pasting the link.
Visit our bio
As well as having the link in your post, you can also include wording to tell them to use the clickable link in your bio. Visiting the bio and clicking on the link is much easier than copy and pasting a link into a browser but it’s not ideal if you want to send people to different pages. You can’t, for example, send people directly to your various blog posts if you are publishing articles on a weekly or monthly basis.
There is, however, a better solution...
Use a multiple links tool
At Think Twice Marketing, we use Shorby. An app that allows you to have a selection of links available when someone clicks on your bio link.
Although the bio can only have one clickable link, multiple links tools like this allow you to create a mini pop up menu on your phone with multiple links. These links can be easily edited or removed and can include links to specific blogs, your home or contact page or even to WhatsApp or Email so that they can contact you directly.
Using a multiple links tool allows your audience to quickly find the page you want them to visit on your website directly from your Instagram bio. All you need to do in posts is tell people to click on the link in your bio.
You can see how we use a multiple links tool by visiting Think Twice Marketing on Instagram and clicking on our bio link.
If you would like multiple links set up in your Instagram bio, get in touch or view the Instagram multiple links service we offer in our store.
In my book ‘Psychology in Marketing and Sales’, I talk about the power of fear and how it can be used to generate sales - but before we answer the question as to whether you should sell based on fear, let's first understand what we mean by the word fear itself.
Fear probably sounds worse than it is and we aren't talking about scare tactics, threats or anything unethical (sorry horror movie fans - this isn't’ for you!). Fear is about demonstrating what somebody might be missing or losing out on if they don't have your product or service. An example of this could be how you can avoid becoming unhealthy or ill by buying a fantastic range of branded healthy foods.
This contrasts to selling products based on the positive benefits. Using the last example you could promote the brand of health foods by saying ‘get fit, be healthy and have a great active life’ by buying this great brand of healthy foods.
When it comes to promoting the benefits of your product or service, selling based on fear has been proven to be more successful but if it isn't done correctly then it could backfire and damage a brand reputation or least be seen as being too negative.
Here are some examples of effective positive and fear-based messages for different types of businesses. How do you feel when you read the two versions? Do the different statements impact the way you feel differently?
Enjoy a happy retirement by investing in a pension now
Don’t lose out on a happy retirement with limited money to live on, invest in a pension now
Protect your PC from viruses with antivirus software
Avoid losing data and precious time recovering your PC with antivirus software
Beat the queues with fast-pass
Make sure you don’t waste hours queuing up. Grab your fast-pass now
There are benefits to using both styles and a mixture of both is usually the best option.
Selling based on fear is used more widely than you might think, from the shortage of seats left when booking a flight (only 2 seats left, don’t miss out!) to pensions, investments and car breakdown cover (don’t get stranded on your own with your car broken down…) to the range of every day offers you see telling you that if you don’t take advantage of the offer in the next 2 hours then you will miss out.
In fact, there has even become a widely used term we now use to describe one of our biggest fears - FOMO (fear of missing out).
The next time you work on your marketing, consider how you can develop your messaging and the benefits by pointing out both what’s great about what you offer AND what your potential customer could be missing out on.
If you would like to learn more about how to promote your products and services based on the way the human mind works then why not grab a copy of my very affordable book Psychology in Marketing and Sales - but be quick, it’s so good I might have to put the price up soon! 😃
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Having an effective call to action is important in any marketing campaign. If you don’t know what a call to action is then read our earlier blog post What is a call to action in marketing?
Here are some tips on how to make a call to action that generates leads for your business:
Use orange and white
Different colours impact the way we interpret something and how we react. Blue, for example, conveys trust, yellow conveys cheap or low cost while black conveys a more professional image.
Depending on the offer and message of your marketing campaign you may want to use a different colour but we recommend using an orange box or button with white wording. Orange conveys urgency and urges the visitor to your page to take action and click. White is the best colour for making the call to action easy to read.
Have an enticing offer and wording
I have often talked about power words such as ‘now’, ‘only’ and ‘exclusive’ to urge the potential customer to take action but it’s more than just about the use of power words. The offer needs to be enticing as well. Ask yourself the question ‘would I take up this offer’. You may also want to ask colleagues or your closest customers for their feedback.
Position it at the top
The call to action needs to stand out and be easily accessible - and there’s no better place than having it at the top of your website or other marketing materials. In many circumstances (such as blog post or printed materials) you may find a good reason to have the call to action at the bottom or end of the content after the reader has looked through the content and understood what it’s all about - but you can have it at the top as well.
As many as 80% of visitors to a landing page or website don’t scroll or read the content through to the bottom. If you only have a call to action at the bottom then most visitors won’t get to it so that they can take the action you want.
Request as little information as possible
There may be circumstances where you need information from the person taking action - an email address to send them something for example, but always work on the principle that the more information you request, the less likely they are to complete the process.
No matter how good the offer is, there will be an increasing number of people who will not take advantage of what you are offering because they don’t want to have to supply the information required.
A well-known problem faced by eCommerce businesses is shopping cart abandonment. Even when someone has found the product they want and added it their cart, they still give up before the process has finished. There are many reasons for this and one of them is the hassle of providing the information they need to.
If you have a landing page offering a FREE guide and you want their email address to send it to them (and to market to them afterwards as part of the lead generation process) then it’s best to only ask for the email address and nothing else. Asking for contact number, name, address or anything else will increase the chances of them not pressing the call to action button.
Reduce the number of clicks
Similar to the above, the more clicks (or taps on a mobile device) the less likely someone is going to take action. Avoid redirecting a user to another page or sending them to a form to fill in. A call to action should be simple, straightforward and easy for the potential customer to action.
Limit the distractions
If you are creating a landing page to offer a free guide or to get in touch with you then your primary focus might be to ask for an email address and get the visitor to hit the call to action button. Anything else that's on that page acts as a distraction and reduces the chances they will complete the process.
It might be tempting to add links to your social media, the About Us page and other offers but the mind is easily distracted and customers are easily lost!
Ideally if you are spending money advertising and promoting the offer, you should have just one call to action - the one that captures contact details and offers what you are promoting. Why waste money driving people to your site, only to have them distracted by reading your latest blogs posts?
I talk about various ways to create a landing page that converts in my book How To Create A Perfect Landing Page.
If you would like help with creating the right marketing campaign and call to action then Contact Think Twice Marketing today for a FREE initial consultation.
A call to action is, as the name suggests, a call or message to prompt someone to take action - and while this sounds straightforward, many marketers either fail to have the right call to action, position it badly or don’t have a call to action at all in their marketing!
The call to action (or CTA) can vary depending on various factors such as the type of campaign, the channel being used and the how ready a customer is to buy. In printed marketing and on a website the CTA could be a special offer and with a face-to-face meeting or phone call with a potential customer the CTA could be to arrange the next meeting or to email more information.
Take it steady, or get to the point?
For most businesses there are always customers who are ready to buy and customers who want to find out more about your brand, what you offer and if you are a trusted brand to buy from. Both types of customers should be targeted with different marketing campaigns. The customer who is willing to buy is more likely to accept a call to action that’s direct, such as ‘if you order today then you will receive an extra month for free and 20% off’ but a customer who is still in the early stages of making a decision is more likely to need a softer approach as part of a longer sales. In this case, offering a call to action such as a free guide on how to achieve something or another offer that isn’t immediately going to get the sale is more effective.
In my next blog I will include more detail on how to make call to actions more effective but here are some ways you can be more effective in your marketing:
A call to action needs to be easily accessible and having it at the top and the bottom of marketing materials and landing pages is more effective. If your website has lots of images and words then the call to action needs to stand out and having it visible at the top makes it easier to find.
Have a CTA!
It sounds obvious but it’s easy to forget a call to action. Check your marketing and communications to make sure you have a call to action as much as sensibly possible. This should include web pages, marketing materials, blog posts and your email signature - even if it’s just a link to drive someone to read your blog posts.
Make it desirable, even irresistible!
Sorry but ‘click here’, ‘sign up’ and ‘submit’ don’t get me excited and want to take action. Signing up and submitting are also considered negative subconsciously (are you ready to submit or commit to ‘signing up’ even if it’s just for a regular email newsletter?). Phrases such as ‘save me money’, ‘show me how’ and ‘join’ are more powerful and more likely to prompt a potential customer to take action.
In my book, How To Create A Perfect Landing Page, I talk about how CTAs are possibly THE most important element in a landing page if the aim is to convert visitors into paying customers. You can find out more by grabbing a copy of my easy to read book on Amazon.
If you need help designing more effective marketing campaigns and call to actions then get in touch for a free marketing review.
When it comes to online advertising, it doesn't get any bigger than the two tech giants Google and Facebook. But which one is best for advertising your business?
The aim of this blog post is to discuss the pros and cons of using Facebook Ads and Google Ads (previously Google Adwords). We won't be discussing the in-depth details of the various ways you can advertise on the two platforms.
While both platforms allow you to advertise on third party websites as sponsored ads, Google stands out in one important way - Google search. Adverts created with Facebook that appear on Facebook, Instagram and other sites can be considered to some extent as 'speculative'. Yes, you can define your target audience. A seller of training equipment for playing hockey might be able to target people such as 'anyone who lives within 25 miles of New York, has an interest in hockey and is aged 25-44' but that doesn't mean that person who sees the advert is interested in, or wants to buy what's on offer. They might not play hockey and only have an interest in watching it.
With Google, you appear when people are actively searching for what you sell. Using the above example, a person who wants to buy a hockey stick has already made a conscious decision to find out more about the various types or is ready to buy. They are already further into the decision making sales process and are likely to search specifically for 'hockey sticks' or 'buy hockey stick'.
This means you are appearing to people who are genuinely interested and are closer to buying. With Facebook you might need to reach out to more people to generate sales. That doesn't mean Facebook isn't worth considering.
Facebook has many advantages. It tends to be lower cost pay per click, it has access to an audience that's in the billions and there's the opportunity to educate people who may don't think they need your product... but they do.
Facebook, like Google, also allows you to do re-targeting so that your ad will appear when you have visited a similar website. If you had to decide which platform to use then it will depend on your budget, objectives and industry you are in. You may, for example, have the objective to raise awareness of your new product during a product launch and decide that Facebook is best for that. Facebook is also great for short-term promotions, allowing you to reach a lot of people in a short period of time.
Personally, I prefer Google but that doesn't mean it will always be the right solution for your business. Consider your objectives and what you want to achieve before making a decision. You may want to use both platforms to be more effective.
If you need help with online advertising, contact Think Twice Marketing.
And why does it matter?
I always find it interesting how salespeople and marketers differ on this, especially in larger corporate businesses where sales and marketing teams are separated but need to communicate closely.
'Marketing do advertising and create fluffy nice looking brochures' you might hear the salesperson say 'while we go out and get the business in and close the deals'. The Marketer might retort that their efforts to show social proof of a great brand with great products have already done the hard work while the sales guy just needs to turn up, have a chat and walk away with the order... and the credit. These thoughts might be harsh, but the good news is they are both wrong.
The majority might argue that marketing and sales are separate but in reality, the two functions are (or in practice should be) very closely aligned. The job of the marketer amongst other things is to look after the customer but in a slightly different way to the salesperson. While a sales person can be more personal they can only reach out to so many people with phone calls or face to face visits.
Similarly, a good marketer should know how to drive customers online to sales pages (or landing pages) and should know how to create those pages in a way that converts visitors into paying customers. The marketer's job is to work with sales to generate opportunities and help close sales where the salesperson doesn't have the bandwidth.
Sales and marketing should work together in many different aspects to drive a business forward. Here are some examples:
- Participating at exhibitions needs marketing to support efforts in using email marketing, social media and other ways to drive visitors to the event where salespeople can build relationships and generate more qualified leads
- Sales teams can provide valuable customer and market feedback to help marketers create more effective solutions that in turn generate more sales and more easily
- Online advertising and landing pages should be designed to generate leads that salespeople can call, visit or email to qualify further and convert into sales
So, are sales and marketing the same?
In theory, they are different but both roles share the common objectives to generate profitable sales, possibly through slightly different activities but always with the customer in mind.
In smaller businesses, one person may look after and manage the whole sales and marketing process (as well as run the business) so the lines are blurred between the two functions. Whether you believe that sales and marketing are the same or not, it's important that the two functions are as closely integrated as possible for a business to succeed. You could argue that marketing IS selling and selling IS marketing. After all, in his book 'To Sell Is Human', Daniel Pink argues that everybody is a sales person and every day of our lives we are constantly selling something, whether it's convincing friends to go out for a drink, telling the kids how important homework is or asking the boss for a pay rise.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree?
For a free review of your sales and marketing activities, contact Think Twice Marketing.
I've been looking for a replacement garage door recently and whenever a reasonable amount of money is to be spent then I've always believed in getting 3 quotes from different suppliers. After calling 3 companies that could help, one tried to close the sale while on the phone doing another job (without turning up to see us), we left a message for one that didn't call back and a third one turned up and gave professional advice and followed up with a written quote.
Not happy with this, we called some more businesses and out of another 4 calls, only one turned up and gave some great advice but failed to send a quote as promised.
You may be wondering why I'm telling you this story but consider this: Out of 7 local businesses, only 1 has actually fully responded to the needs of their customer while one has wasted time turning up, only to not finish the sales lead generation process of sending a quote as promised.
Could closing a sale be as simple as responding efficiently and professionally to a sales opportunity?
When I refer to 'conversion rates', this is the percentage of opportunities that are converted into s sale. If you receive 10 enquiries and 6 of them become customers then the conversion rate is 60%.
From my experience selling on third party sites I have found that sales conversions are much higher when I respond within hours to an enquiry. Even responding a couple of days later has resulted in responses such as 'thanks, but I've decided to go with someone else'. Frustratingly this even applies at the weekend if someone makes an enquiry on a Saturday but they don't get a response until Monday. Regardless of what the quality of the service or the price might be, it seems that many customers quickly lose interest if they don't get a prompt response.
The perfect lead generation?
We are all human and nobody is perfect when it comes to responding to enquiries. It's easy to forget to respond or to be too busy and if we are too busy with too much business being generated then we might let the odd sales opportunity go but if we look back to my story - that's 6 out of 7 businesses that failed in their lead generation process. And it's not for a small order of pennies and pounds, it's much more.
You might be reading this thinking 'yes, but this is tradesman/they have limited capacity/my industry isn't like that etc' (delete as appropriate) but this isn't the first time I have experienced this - and I guess it's the same for you. Failing to respond and an ineffective lead generation process is common across almost any industry.
How to improve conversion rates
A solid lead generation process should consist of a clear, well working process from raising awareness of your services, attracting interested customers and closing down the sale. An opportunity should remain in the pipeline until it is either closed - lost, closed - won or closed because the customer has decided to either go ahead at a later date or not at all.
If you plan to spend a lot of money on advertising but are unlikely to chase leads until it's converted or lost then don't waste your time or money.
It's possible to automate parts of your lead generation using, for example, automated email marketing and this is something to consider seriously in your business as it can save time and money AND lead to higher conversion rates and sales. However, there will always be times when the personal touch is needed that can't be fully automated and the level of personal touch depends on the type of business.
Facebook and Google Ads, business networking and email marketing are great tools to generate leads but they cannot be highly ineffective if you don't respond to potential or qualified opportunities properly.
It might sound simple but responding professionally and timely to enquiries can make a huge difference when it comes to winning an opportunity. Now you know how to improve your conversion rates.
Contact Think Twice Marketing to get help with your lead generation process.
The opinions in these blog posts are those of marketing professional and book author Darren Hignett.