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Lead Generation Articles & Book Reviews

This is the third marketing tip in a series based on

>>> Being Good At Marketing Isn’t A Nice-If But A Must Have

Marketing Tip 3 – Understand The Customers In Your Market And Find Unexploited Opportunities

If you need to find new customers for your business, you need to take a good hard look at your prospective clients and understand:

  • What are the common problems?
  • How how do those products impact on their business (B2B) or personal lives (B2C)?
  • How willing are they to pay to have the problems taken away?
  • How much are they prepared to pay?
  • What products and services can you provide as solutions to the problems?
  • How you can communicate effectively? How can you reach them with a believable message they will pay attention to?

[continue reading…]

in 4 – Lead Generation

The Chic Entrepreneur by Elizabeth Gordon and Leanna Adams

Book Review Rating – 5 Stars

I don’t realise how much we live in a male dominated our society until someone (usually a woman) hits me over the head and makes me challenge my views of the accepted norm.

Elizabeth Gordon and Leanna Adams have done that with their excellent book “The Chic Entrepreneur“.

Who Are Elizabeth Gordon and Leanna Adams?

Elizabeth is American, a bit of a flirt, writes a lovely email and has the good sense to be engaged to an Englishman.

Elizabeth also has a passion for helping others to achieve their entrepreneurial dreams. She is the founder of Flourishing Business,  a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Wake Forest University in North Carolina and has a Masters in Marketing from Georgia State University. [continue reading…]

in 4 – Lead Generation, Best Business Books

Many business owners don’t have a burning desire to improve their marketing skills.

It’s a bit of a Catch-22.

Why Business Owners Should Increase Their Marketing Knowledge

If you don’t master marketing then, unless you are lucky, you are probably not likely to earn enough to be able to pay a professional marketing coach or consultant to do it for you.

If you don’t learn about marketing and what makes good marketing effective and bad marketing a waste of money, you are likely to fall victim to the “sell on hope” salespeople. [continue reading…]

in 4 – Lead Generation

Why Buying Email Lists Suck But May Pay-Off

Every day I get irritated when I am spammed by some business sending me an email when I never opted in to their list.

To my knowledge, I have never opted-in to any list that didn’t have a “we won’t sell your details” promise although I guess I may have done if the bait was strong enough.

Buying Email Lists Suck

I thought this article has a lot going for it:

>>> Why Purchasing Email Lists Is Always a Bad Idea

Here are the main points:

  • Reputable email marketing vendors don’t let you use purchased lists.
  • There’s no such thing as a good email list that’s for sale.
  • People on a purchased or rented list don’t actually know you.
  • Your email deliverability and IP reputation will be harmed.
  • Because you’re not a jerk.

Unfortunately for every ying, there is a yang.

Buying Email Lists May Pay-Off

Technically sending emails out to these lists may not be spamming but as the receivers have no idea who your business is, you’re not using permission marketing.

>>> What Does Permission In Permission Marketing Really Mean?

However, it can bring you leads and enquiries if certain conditions are met:

  1. You have a great subject line that creates curiosity
  2. The name from doesn’t repel people. Using a business name or brand name that people don’t recognise or know they haven’t given permission is asking to be ignored.
  3. The first few sentences of the email are relevant – beware of the “To protect your privacy images have been blocked” problem that can leave readers looking at blank content.
  4. There is a very strong offer for more information or to buy at an excellent price.

I don’t like this marketing tactic.

Like telemarketers who contact me despite my registration with the Telephone Preference Service to opt-out of marketing calls, I am very reluctant to respond positively to these unrequested and unwanted emails.

It is a numbers game. A big list where there the marketing message is matched to the audience will gain some responses. The economics of the offer will decide if it pays off.

If the marketing message doesn’t match the audience, you are wasting your time. You deserve to be outed as a spammer.

in 4 – Lead Generation

The Marketing Hourglass = Sales Funnel + Back End

When I read the Duct Tape Marketing book by John Jantsch, the concept that really excited me was the idea of the Marketing Hourglass.

I love visual metaphors and analogies. The Marketing Hourglass combines the ideas behind the sales funnel with the concepts to building the profitable back end of a business.

It puts the entire business concept in such dramatic focus and emphasises where you will really make your money.

I use the same idea in my Six Steps Profit Formula report.

The First Part Of The Marketing Hourglass – The Sales Pipeline or Sales Funnel

The First Sale [continue reading…]

in 4 – Lead Generation, 6 – Revenue Regeneration

It is a lovely Spring day in Birmingham today and I was walking my dog at lunchtime in the local streets watching an ice cream van seller conduct his business.

It started me thinking about..

What The Ice Cream Van Seller Can Teach You About Marketing

The Ice Cream Chimes Attract Attention

The chimes of the bell are very distinctive and in this case very loud.

They leave no doubt that the ice cream van is in the area. [continue reading…]

in 4 – Lead Generation

Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch – 5 Stars

Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch

Book Review – 5 Stars

The full title of the book is Duct Tape Marketing: The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide

John Jantsch is the author of the Duct Tape Marketing blog. This is widely regarded as one of the best small business blogs on the Internet.”

I think it is a terrific marketing book for small business owners although I don’t get the Duct Tape analogy.

The message John Jantsch is intending to put across is that, just like duct tape, the Duct Tape Marketing system is easy to use, simple, convenient and immensely practical.

What Is Marketing?

There is an excellent definition of marketing in the Duct Tape book. [continue reading…]

in 4 – Lead Generation, Best Business Books

The Seven Step Guerrilla Marketing Plan is a fundamental concept that makes your marketing intentional.

You decide what you want to achieve and how you will achieve it.

If you’re struggling to get to grips with your marketing ideas and concepts and finding it difficult to attract and convert customers, this seven steps or seven sentences marketing plan will make a big difference if you use it properly.

First I’ll look at why you need a marketing plan before going into this version in detail including an example of how it can be applied to a business that you probably buy from. This will let you see the logic of the marketing plan from the perspective of a customer.

Why You Need A Marketing Plan

You need a marketing plan to help you to clarify your thinking and coordinate your actions in the most important function of your business – how you attract, convert and satisfy your customers so successfully that they come back for more. [continue reading…]

in 4 – Lead Generation

How To Get More Leads That Are Qualified

First lets’ look at the difference between leads and qualified leads.

Leads are people (or businesses) who contact your business and express an interest in your products and services.

Qualified leads are people who have a want or need to buy your products and services and have the ability to pay for them.

Why Is There A Difference Between Leads And Qualified Leads? [continue reading…]

in 4 – Lead Generation

How To Target Your Ideal Sales Value

I introduced the idea of the Ideal Profit Formula in How To Target Your Ideal Profit based on the formula for calculating break even points.

This calculates a sales revenue value or volume that, based on the accuracy of the underlying assumptions, gives you an idea of what’s needed to give you the profit you want.

In this article, we’ll dig deeper into what the sales revenue value means in practical terms.

The Three Ways To Grow A Business

One of the best known ways to look at business growth is the Three Ways To Grow A Business Model.

This gave us the insight that sales revenue is made of three factors that multiply together:

  1. The number of customers
  2. The number of times they buy in a period
  3. The average spend each time they buy

The big revelation is that when most business owners think about increasing sales revenue, they think about ways to attract and convert more customers (factor 1) and ignore the other two, often much easier to improve, factors.

Targeting Your Ideal Sales Value

The Ideal Profit Formula gave us an idea of the value of sales revenue, this next stage breaks down that total across the three elements of the ways to grow a business model.

Comparing what’s happening in your current business with how you’d like to reach your ideal sales revenue identifies the gap in each factor and lets you focus on how the gap can be closed.

What’s Happening In Your Current Business

The easiest number to calculate is often the average sales value per transaction.

This is

total sales revenue
total sales transactions

Obviously you use the same period of time for both.

The next easiest number to get to is the number of different customers who bought in a period.

If you’re good with a spreadsheet, you can download the sales transactions into a worksheet and then use pivot tables to count the number of different customers.

Otherwise, you may have to go through and count up who has been buying. If you have a lot of customers, this can be time-consuming. Try to find a quick way to do this because I’m going to want you to do this regularly.

Try not to use the number of open accounts on your sales ledger / accounts receivable computer program.

This is because you’ll realise that you have many customers registered who have not bought. They are lapsed customers and are useful names to know if you want to try to reactivate them.

If you get into the habit of looking at active customer numbers, you’ll realise that there is valuable information looking from period to period.

The number of customers in the last period

Plus new customers acquired

Minus customers who have stopped buying

Equals number of customers in the current period.

The length of the time period used for this customer reconciliation should be based around the number of times customers buy. If your customers buy on average every two months, then you can use a period of two to three months. If you use too short a period, you will have many lapsed customers but it won’t be valuable information because it’s part of your customers’ natural cycles.

You can calculate the average number of times customers by with this formula:

Total number of sales transactions
Number of customers who bought

You will now have the three numbers for the period:

  1. The number of customers
  2. The number of times they buy in a period
  3. The average spend each time they buy

Because these numbers are important, check that they are right by multiplying them together.

You should finish up with the total sales revenue or close to it if you have rounded some numbers.

Using The Three Ways To Look At Your Ideal Sales Revenue

You can look at the sales revenue you want to give you your ideal profit in terms of what’s happening in your business.

In the future, you can:

  • Look to reach the sales growth by increasing one of these three numbers while holding the others constant. This will give you a very focused strategy.
  • Think about improving all three measures by similar proportions
  • Think about all three measures changing by different proportions (including decreasing some to make it easier to increase others).

If you focus on one measure, your growth is linear and it’s easy to calculate how much your targeted factor needs to improve.

E.g. Current sales revenue

  • Customers 1,000
  • Transaction value £250
  • Number of transactions 3
  • Total sales revenue = 1,000*250*3 = £750,000

Ideal Sales Revenue based on your Ideal Profit Formula calculation is £1,400,000

Then if you target new customers with the others staying the same, the number of customers you need is 1400000/(250*3) = 1,866.7

This is an increase of 86.67% which is the same increase as jumping from £750,000 to £1,400,000.

If you plan to change all three growth factors by the same amount, things get more complicated because of the exponential growth – a 10% growth in each gives a 33% growth in total sales revenue.

To give you an idea of how this works:

Increasing all three by 10% gives you 33% growth.

Increasing all three by 20% gives you 73% growth.

Increasing all three by 30% gives you 120% growth.

Or to put it another way:

If you want to increase sales revenue by 50%, you need to increase each growth factor by 14.5%

If you want to double sales revenue, each growth factor will need to increase by 26%.

You’ll have to do your own arithmetic if each growth factor is changing by a different number but remember you’ll only have to decide targets for two of them to reach your targeted sales revenue total.

Target 3 = Ideal Sales Total / (Target 1 * Target 2)

Moving Forward Into Your Marketing And Customer Strategies

If you know how many customers you need to reach the sales total you want, you can start looking at:

  • How to retain customers for longer (to reduce the number of lost or lapsed customers)
  • How to attract more customers.

When you start thinking through your strategies and tactics for new customers, you’ll recognise that again, this breaks down into two numbers.

Number of leads generated * % of leads converted

If you decide that you need to increase your new customer acquisition from 2 customers per week to 8 customers as part of your move towards your ideal sales and profits, you start to see insights into what you can do.

So if you get those 2 customers from 8 enquiries, you have a 25% conversion rate.

If you want to get to eight new customers:

  • You can look for ways to improve your conversion rate to 100% but that’s extremely unlikely;
  • You could look at increasing the amount of marketing you do or improving your existing marketing to increase your leads by a factor of four (from eight to thirty two each week); or
  • You could look at ways to improve both, say double the leads you get from eight to sixteen and double your conversion rate from 25% to 50%

The issue then becomes how do you do it?

Why don’t your leads convert at the moment (see Win Loss Analysis).

This isn’t the article to go into details.

My point is that by drilling into the numbers and understanding what it all means to set a financial goal, you start making the improvements you need to make much more specific and tangible.

It’s terribly vague to think in broad terms like “we want to get our sales revenue up to $1 million” or “we want to double the business”.

It doesn’t move you into action.

Specific numbers linked to action plans (with completion dates and allocated responsibilities) and firm intentions are needed.

This way you start managing your business intentionally as it moves towards set goals and targets.

You get clear feedback.

X is working, congratulations but can it be improved more?

Y isn’t working as well as expected. Why not? What can be done to make it work in the way you expected?

A Different Type Of Business Planning

This is intentional business planning and management.

I’ll talk more about that soon.

in 1 – Your KPI, 4 – Lead Generation, 5 – Lead Conversion, 6 – Revenue Regeneration