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Are you frustrated that your business isn’t growing as quickly as you want?

You’ve probably fallen victim to one of the 7 major areas of marketing constraint. Read on to find out what they are and what you can do to escape their stranglehold on your business.

Your Current Marketing And Sales System

You have a marketing and sales system in your business made up of your decisions and actions. (And perhaps your inactions and indecisions.) It may not have been designed consciously but something is there, with good bits and bad bits.

This “system” determines how many enquiries you get, how well you convert these enquiries into customers and how much these customers spend with you.

This leads to one simple conclusion.

If you’re not getting the enquiries and sales you want, there are one or more constraints in your system. These cause your marketing to get stuck at a level that disappoints and frustrates you.

Fortunately, with help, you can identify why you have problems attracting the customers you want.

If you own a business based in the UK, I can offer a free Business SOS. This is a 60 minute advice and coaching session to help you understand why you’re not getting more sales revenue and, just as important, what you can do about it. For details, please click over to Business SOS with Paul Simister.

There Are 7 Major Areas Of Constraint

There are seven major areas where problems can arise and where you can make improvements. The details are explained below but first, I’ll explain how these constraints dampen down your marketing results..

If there is only one constraint, you can think of it like the weakest link in a chain. No matter what you do away from this weak link, your improvements will be limited because the entire chain depends on the weakest link.

If there are several major constraints in your marketing system, then think of it like a three lane motorway with several roadworks on your route. These cause one or two lanes to be shut down, limiting the flow of traffic to a crawl. Eliminating the first roadblock helps but there’s still another bottleneck causing trouble ahead. To reach your goal of a smooth-flowing marketing and sales system, you need to improve all the roadblocks.

The 7 Critical Factors And Possibly Major Constraints In Your Marketing & Sales System

Let me satisfy your curiosity and tell you about the seven vital factors in attracting customers and keeping them buying. This way, you can see how they fit together and how problems cause constraints.

I present a contrast so you can see the good and the bad and get a feeling for where your business fits in-between.

Critical Factor 1 – You Must Find Your Starving Crowd: The Market Constraint

This is about your choice of target market.

If you’ve got it right, there are plenty of potential customers who want exactly what you offer. You may not be able to attract these customers but at least they exist.

You have this constraint if you haven’t found your starving crowd i.e. you’re not clear about who is your target market and exactly what they want. You need to know who has a strong desire to solve the problems you can fix.

The Business SOS advice can help you find your Starving Crowd.

(If you’ve seen enough and I’ve covered what may be your biggest constraint, click to Business SOS and you’ll be taken to the right section.)

Critical Factor 2 – You Need To Make An Irresistible Promise That’s Good For Your Customers And Good For You: The Customer Value & Offer Constraint

This is about your offer – what customers get and what they pay – and what you say to communicate it.

If you get it right, the right people will pay attention to your marketing messages, decide your offers appeal and take the action you want.

There is still the potential problem that not enough of your target customers see your marketing message often enough (constraint 3). However a reasonable proportion of those who do see it will take action and make contact and become qualified leads, predisposed to buying.

A lot can go wrong in your marketing message and offer yet it’s often an area that isn’t given enough time and attention by business owners.

You suffer from this constraint if only a small proportion of the right people who see your message then make contact. There are two symptoms to look out for:

  1. If you’re always under pressure to reduce your price.
  2. If you struggle to explain why people should buy from you and not from your competitors.

The Business SOS advice can help you to develop your Irresistible Promise.

(If you’ve seen enough and I’ve covered what may be your biggest constraint, click to Business SOS and you’ll be taken to the right section.)

Critical Factor 3 – You Need To Get Your Irresistible Promise In Front Of The Eyes And Ears Of Your Target Customers And Do It Often: The Marketing Media Constraint

This is about the choice of marketing media you use to communicate your marketing message and how often your prospects see the messages.

If you get it right, your customers will regularly see a compelling marketing message from you. As well as solving the timing problem where wants and needs are suddenly switched on, familiarity with your brand name and message builds trust. When it’s the right time for them to buy, they will make contact with you.

For many, the choice of marketing media is what marketing is all about.

It’s not. It’s only one of the seven critical factors.

How often have you been told “you must have a website” or “you must use Facebook” or Instagram or the other forms of social media? Or perhaps direct mail or telephone based selling and prospecting (that’s setting up appointments)? Or advertising on the local radio, in the newspapers or specialist magazines. Or…or….or…

The truth is, there are potentially many ways to get your messages in front of your prospective customers. Some will cost more than they earn which is why you must trial small, test and measure your success so that you can continually refine your choices of marketing media and message

This constraint is a serious problem if your targeted customers aren’t seeing your marketing messages often enough to build up credibility and not seeing your messages at the right time, i.e. when they want to buy.

The Business SOS advice can help you to understand which media are likely to make sense for you to use. I’ll also encourage you to measure and test.

(If you’ve seen enough and I’ve covered what may be your biggest constraint, click to Business SOS and you’ll be taken to the right section.)

Critical Factor 4 – You Must Deliver A Great Customer Experience: The Customer Service Constraint

Do you realise a customer is assessing your business and its suitability every time he or she comes into contact with it? This happens before they buy, while they are buying and then after they buy and use the product or service.

These touchpoints are often known as your moments of truth.

Do you deliver well at each of them?

If you get it right, the customer has a positive experience every time there is contact and builds more confidence in your business, your products and your services.

There are a lot of things that can go wrong in these touchpoints which is why recruiting the right people and training them properly are important along with having clear systems and processes. Potential problems will vary widely with the type of business you have.

To get some idea of how your customers might feel when they deal with your business, do you remember the times when things went wrong when you were a buyer and how how frustrating even little things can be? I bet it affected your opinion of the supplier.

You are trapped in this constraint when your prospective customers come into contact with your business and are left disappointed.

The Business SOS advice session can help you to identify these moments of truth and think through the standards you want to set for your business to deliver consistently.

(If you’ve seen enough and I’ve covered what may be your biggest constraint, click to Business SOS and you’ll be taken to the right section.)

Critical Factor 5 – You Must Take Opportunities To Sell More To Customers: The Revenue Regeneration Constraint

This means making sure that the customer buys what they really want at the start. After that, they should have the opportunity to keep buying while they satisfy their want or need.

This is about helping your customers to get the very best value from what you offer and helping yourself.

If you get it right, your customers are happy to keep buying from you because they continue to get more value back than they pay out.

This is an area where you may be holding your business back. Are you worried about coming over as “salesy” and only out for yourself?

The example I often use is when you’re having a meal in a restaurant and the offers of extras from the waiter help you to have a great experience. I’m sure you don’t resent being asked if you’d like to see the wine list, to have a drink from the bar, a dessert or a coffee. It’s part and parcel of offering good service.

This constraint hampers your business greatly if you aren’t clear about what the customer really wants at the start and you don’t continue to make offers that are good for the customer.

The Business SOS advice session can help you to see how you can make additional offers that genuinely help the customers.

(If you’ve seen enough and I’ve covered what may be your biggest constraint, click to Business SOS and you’ll be taken to the right section.)

Critical Factor 6 – You Must Encourage Happy Customers To Refer And Recommend Your Business To Others: The Referrals Constraint

Your customers can be your best salespeople through their referrals, reviews and testimonials.

If you get this right, a steady stream of qualified customers will come to you with little effort from yourself.

One of the big benefits of the Internet for buyers is that they can get behind the slick marketing messages and find out the opinion of other customers. Instead of relying on the experience of family, friends and colleagues, there is now a much wider circle of influence.

This can be a huge constraint if you receive negative “word-of-mouth” comments and reviews. Alternatively, you miss out on a good opportunity if you don’t get positive reviews and referrals.

The Business SOS advice session can help you to improve your reputation and find ways to encourage more customer referrals.

(Just one more to go but if you’ve seen enough and I’ve covered what may be your biggest constraint, click to Business SOS and you’ll be taken to the right section.)

Critical Factor 7 – You Must Have A Positive Marketing Mindset That Allows You To See Opportunities And Possibilities And Then Take Effective Action

How you think and feel about marketing will have a major impact on what you do.

If you get this right, marketing is fun, satisfying and even fascinating.

There is a chicken and egg problem here. Your marketing mindset may struggle because of the results of your marketing or your disappointing marketing may have been caused because you don’t have the right marketing mindset.

If this is a constraint and stays a constraint, you will remain stuck. You won’t approach your marketing in the right way, you won’t know enough and you’ll reach for easy solutions. This will probably be new or changed marketing media solutions that people convince you are the right ways to go. Yet, if you don’t solve constraints in the other areas, you’re stuck in the “weak link in the chain” situation.

The Business SOS advice session can help you to improve your marketing mindset.

In Summary

There are seven main marketing constraints you may be suffering from:

  1. You might not have found your starving crowd – the market constraint.
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  2. You may not have identified your irresistible promise – the customer value and offer constraint.
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  3. You might not get your message in front of enough of the right people as often as you should – the marketing media constraint.
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  4. Prospective customers and customers may get a poor experience from their dealings with the business – the customer service constraint.
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  5. You possible don’t ask your customers to buy what they really want or encourage them to buy often enough – the revenue regeneration constraint.
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  6. You probably don’t get enough positive recommendations and reviews – the referrals constraint.
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  7. You might not have a positive marketing mindset that lets you take advantage of opportunities – the mindset constraint.

Do any of those sound or feel familiar?

Things may not be as black as they appear. If you have some happy customers, you’re doing some things right.

The aim is to resolve the areas where your business is seriously constrained and to build on what you do right.

I’m happy to give you 60 minutes of my time without any obligation. This would normally cost up to £300.

We won’t have a chance to work on all these issues but we can have a good look at one of them or a less detailed look at a few.

If you’re sick and tired of disappointing email and you’re ready to do something about it, email me, ask for a Business SOS and tell me about your business.

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My Business SOS Will Help You Fix Your Marketing Difficulties

I’d like to offer you a free Business SOS (Second Opinion Session) to help you identify your particular marketing constraints.Then we will talk about what you can do to improve that constraint, and as a result, how you can attract, convert and keep more customers.

There is no obligation to take any of my paid services. I offer the service to help business owners who are struggling and frustrated.

Just email me, ask for a Business SOS and tell me about your business.

I gave a very positive review to Jay Abraham’s Mr X Book, more properly known as “Money Making Secrets of Marketing Genius Jay Abraham and Other Marketing Wizards“.

Last week, I found a three hour video summarising the key lessons from the book.

It’s been out together by Joseph Rodrigues. It’s been featured on Jay’s own website and he has some connection with Jay as he goes along to Jay’s conferences.

Here is the video. Watch and enjoy.

If you want to know more about Joseph and his book summaries, you’ll find him at his YouTube channel and he also appears on the podcast channels as Insight Perspectives.

I received an email from copywriter Kevin Rogers yesterday where he explained his short story idea. I think it is well worth sharing with you.

It’s the kind of thing that can be used as a short elevator speech to introduce yourself as it explains the “why” of what you do or even as a substitute for a USP.

He calls it his “Rebel Yell”, obviously a fan of Billy Idol.

Here it is…

My name is ___________, I love ____________ but was fed up with ____________. So I created _____________ that _________________.

He even shares a few examples,

The first is imagined from yesteryear.

“My name is Steve, I love computers but was fed up with the snail’s pace of commercial technology. So I created a user-friendly computer that processes information faster than anything else out there today.” Hello Apple.

The second is for himself and is a plug for his CopyChief.com membership website.

“My name is Kevin, I love copywriting but was fed up with serving only one client at a time. So I created a community that allows me to help hundreds of writers and business owners at the same time so everyone can grow together.”

I like it and plan to share it with a few clients. You can learn more about it at https://copychief.com/rebel-yell/ and there are a few more examples in his article.

If you’re a copywriter, you might want to consider becoming a member of Copy Chief. From what I’ve heard, it’s quite a community.

 

I have recently enrolled in Simpleology 5.9 as an Elite member and I thought I’d share my experience and thoughts.

Background to my experience with Simpleology

Back in the days before my health problems overwhelmed me, I used to be a big fan of Mark Joyner (the founder), Simpleology (the self management system) and the training products, mainly various kinds of marketing and persuasion.

I was also quite a good affiliate, since I was happy to recommend the products I liked. sadly the affiliate system changed at around the time I was at my weakest and I lost touch with what Mark was doing. [continue reading…]

You may have seen that I am a business nerd and especially a marketing nerd, as shown by the vast number of marketing books I’ve read and reviewed.

This list doesn’t cover the many business growth and marketing courses I’ve worked through and there are a lot of those. I thought it would be nice to:

  1. Pay tribute to the main people who have inspired me and my thoughts about small businesses and marketing.
  2. To let you know the source of ideas I draw upon in my coaching and business advice.

This could develop into a long list of names but I want to keep it short so you can see who have been my main influences.

Jay Abraham

What I like about his ideas is the way he can find opportunities for more sales and profit in unconventional ways. He very much creates a profit opportunity seeking mindset in the people who study his methods as he looks inside and out, up, down and around. I like that because there are often hidden assets which can be turned into more revenue and profit.

Jay is the man who really emphasises the title of his well known book, Getting Everything You Can Out Of All You’ve Got. This book is in my Top 12 Books for business owners and entrepreneurs to read.

Much of my knowledge of the Abraham techniques comes from expensive courses I’ve collected over the years. [continue reading…]

If you’re the owner of a small business based in the UK with a marketing problem, I offer a free 60 minute consultation to help you.

I call it my Business SOS which stands for Second Opinion Session.

To find out more, please click over to Business SOS.

As well as details on this free session, you can also read about my thoughts on the 7 big areas where marketing succeeds or fails. Any of these could be the constraint that is holding back your business and stopping you from having the success you want.

Many years ago I interviewed Mitch Axelrod.

You may not know Mitch but he’s the guru behind probably my favourite sales system.

Don’t take my word for his brilliance, what about these for testimonials from two giants of business training.

Mitch trained the Jay Abraham proteges in how to sell consultancy services and Jay said this “Mitch conducted three of the most heavily attended and lauditorily reviewed tele-conference calls we ever sponsored, with 200 marketing consultants in one day.  His seminar is two of the most illuminating and expansive days you will ever spend.  If you want to increase sales, call Mitch. He can turn anyone into a sales Green Beret.

Brian Tracy also raves about Mitch. “My good friend Mitch Axelrod is one of the foremost authorities in sales and marketing in the United States today. Mitch has trained more than 100,000 men and women on peak performance selling skills. His technique, his method and his process are responsible for boosting more people into the ranks of the top 10% than any other trainer alive today.

I did the interview to create a bonus for a new membership website I was creating called Your Profit Club. Unfortunately the project was overwhelmed by my health problems and the website was hacked.

I’ve decided to share the interviews I did with some very well known people, back in the days when I was connected.

The title of my interview with Mitch is

Sales For Reluctant Sales People

I feel many business owners fall into that category. They don’t see themselves as sales people yet their lives depend on them being able to sell their products, services and ideas.

Right click and “save as” to download

I want to talk about Crazy Egg.

Imagine a good headline creating curiosity like this one.

Find Out Where You Website Succeeds And Where It Fails To Engage Visitors And They Stop Paying Attention.

Your visitors are happy to carry on reading providing the headline fulfils the promise of the click that got them here.

Now imagine a boring photo without a caption explaining what it is. I’m going to leave some space for it.

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Still here?

Now how about some words that are really hard to read. This can happen because there isn’t enough contrast between the letters and the background or because it’s reverse print light letters on dark background rather than dark letters on a pale background) or because the letters are too small for your average reader.

As you can imagine that paragraph above is likely to cause problems. If you want to know what the last paragraph says, you can highlight it with your cursor but how many readers are going to do that.

Alternatively, you can read it below printed with proper contrast.

Now how about some words that are really hard to read. This can happen because there isn’t enough contrast between the letters and the background or because it’s reverse print (light letters on dark background rather than dark letters on a pale background) or because the letters are too small for your average reader.

Now imagine another boring photograph without a caption explaining it. Again space allowed for it.

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Given up yet?

None of these common mistakes are intentional but it’s often done in the name of “attractive design”.

The trouble is it kills the marketing effect of your website. Nobody is visiting to see if you have a pretty website, they are coming to see if you can solve their problem better or with better value than your competitors.

The answer is to use tracking software like Crazy Egg.

This lets you see what your visitors are doing and where they give up.

I’m going to be adding some screenshots to this page but, at the moment, I want to get some data into Crazy Egg.

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Consumers are private individuals buying for themselves and their families but how do they choose what to buy out of all their options?

Obviously it is going to vary based on the product. Someone won’t buy a car using similar value attributes to buying pet food for their dog.

Are there common value attributes for these B2C deals and relationships? (B2C refers to business-to-consumer.)

Strategy consultants Bain think so and shared their thoughts in an article in the Harvard Business Review.

The Elements of Value by Eric Almquist, John Senior and Nicolas Bloch from the September 2016 Issue. (You can read the full article on the HBR website and two others for free.) [continue reading…]

Buying has changed a lot since the Internet became popular, both for consumers and for B2B buyers. I’m looking at consumers in a separate article so here I want to answer the question…

What Do B2B Buyers Value When Making Buying Decisions?

To answer it, I’m summarising an excellent article in the Harvard Business Review:

The B2B Elements of Value by Eric Almquist, Jamie Cleghorn and Lori Sherer from the March–April 2018 Issue (You can read the original here).

Bain, the strategy consultants have produced 40 elements of value which they fit into five major categories. They have also look at what consumers value when buying.

The Main Categories of B2B Values

[continue reading…]