Category Archives for "relational marketing"

Walking the tightrope: always be testing

Some Reasons to Always Be Testing

The key to successful marketing is imperfect action.  I subscribe to slow marketing but not so slow you never make any changes.  The key is to slow down thinking but act quickly and decisively.  So, you must always be testing; trying new things.

What Does Testing Mean?

Online marketing is full of opportunities to measure and test.  There are many testing tools available, eg Google Analytics.  Used properly these are helpful tools but not everything benefits from this approach.

The term “always be testing” applies to a more general approach.  Whenever you try something new, you should understand it is something you are testing.  Whatever action you take to get your offers into the world is a test.

This is a positive mindset.  The results of a test has value.  The fact something did not work, you lost money or looked a bit foolish, is all experience you use to improve your next offer.

Marketing methods are iterative, trial and error.  The alternative is to wait until you have a perfect offer and marketing campaign.  You will wait for a long time.   Trial and error is always faster.

Practical Risk Taking

  1. Think about your life experience. When have you moved quickly with success?  Was it the success you expected or something new?
  2. Think of all the reasons it is a good idea not to take the initiative. Look at them and ask: are these good enough reasons to not take action?
  3. Is there anything in your life more important than your fear of taking action?

You and Your Fear

Perhaps the biggest fear coaches have is they are not good enough.  It is a big responsibility, helping someone overcome their fear.  Your fear could reinforce theirs and result in a terrible catastrophe.

Yeah.  So, you think you may be worse than you think you are?  Isn’t it possible you are better than you think you are?  Consider the possibility your problem is not fear so much as selfishness.

You are brilliant and want to keep your brilliance to yourself!  There may be people out there who suffer because you do not offer your services to them.  How can I possibly know that?  There is only one way to find out.

Following this seventh post to encourage coaches to reflect on relational marketing, take this opportunity to sign up below.  You get a weekly round-up of my posts and a pdf about how to make sure you are charging what your business is worth.  Most weeks you receive an email with helpful news or pointers to how you can tackle these questions.

Positioning yourself on a axis, what we desire and avoid.

Something to Remember when Positioning Yourself

Positioning yourself in the wrong way is easy.  Your focus needs to be on your market and their needs.  Forget your market and you position yourself according to what you enjoy doing or to distinguish yourself from your competitors.

Your Identity

The big challenge is not so much finding a position as maintaining a consistent identity once you take up the position.  Your market will not necessarily hear or understand you the first time.  Or the second!

This does not mean you have to say exactly the same thing every time but you need to deliver a coherent message over time.  Your offers evolve as your understanding of your market and its desires increases.  But your overall message to your market must remain consistent over time.

So, today is as good as any other to start delivering a consistent message to your market.

Questions about Your Position

  1. How successful have you been in delivering a message that is both distinctive and consistent?
  2. How does your message show empathy for your market?
  3. Where you have a clear position, what are the opportunities for collaboration with competitors?

How to Focus on Your Market

Nothing beats knowing your market.  Make a list of their needs or desires.  Remember you are listing the needs of a particular market, not the needs of people in general.  Choose two of those needs and draw them as axes on a graph.

See if you can place yourself on these axes.  Where do your competitors fall on the graph?  Do you have a degree of separation?  Note your competitors aren’t really competing, they serve a different group of people.  If there is little or no separation, change one or both axes.

Find a couple of needs that give you separation from the rest of the marketplace.  Position yourself so that you stand out from the rest for a particular market.  Aim to get your message across to those people so they know you are addressing them and like what they hear.

 

Following this sixth post to encourage coaches to reflect on relational marketing, take this opportunity to sign up below.  You get a weekly round-up of my posts and a pdf about how to make sure you are charging what your business is worth.  Most weeks you receive an email with helpful news or pointers to how you can tackle these questions.

Positioning? The happy ball swings away from the sad ones!

Use Positioning to Target Your Offer

A couple of weeks ago, I invited you to answer questions about your promise.  Last week we looked at empathy with people with different and similar worldviews.  This post is about positioning and relates to your niche.  Even if you are one of many making a similar promise, you can position yourself to distinguish your offer from all the others.

From the Old Things to the New

The aim of positioning is not to sell something new but to encourage your prospects to think about their problem in a new way.  This is not selling a new cure-all solution, so much as suggesting your prospects benefit from thinking about their problem in a different way.

For example, I provide coaching in local marketing.  Many marketers offer technical support, so their clients can learn and apply a new approach to their marketing.  I have opened a new position by arguing new technical methods are not always the answer.

So, does it help to think about marketing as self-expression, getting my unique message across, as opposed to competing directly with everyone else who shares the same offer, message and technique?

Seeing Things Differently

  1. What is distinctive about your offer? What makes you stand out in the marketplace?
  2. Complete this sentence about you and your competition: “The one thing that separates me from my competitors is …”
  3. Think about your best clients. Why do they stick with you?  What could you change so that they stick with you?

Doing Things Differently

Consider making one change to your business that will position you in the marketplace.  Remember, if you open up a new position, there will always be people who prefer the old.  This is not a problem; so long as you have enough people who prefer your position, you have a business.

Following this fifth post to encourage coaches to reflect on relational marketing, take this opportunity to sign up below.  You get a weekly round-up of my posts and a pdf about how to make sure you are charging what your business is worth.  Most weeks you receive an email with helpful news or pointers to how you can tackle these questions.

two gifts wrapped

Your Business Thrives on Empathy

This post sequence encourages you to explore relational marketing in-depth.  It builds into a questionnaire to help coaches, consultants and freelancers prepare their relational marketing strategy.  This focus here is empathy in marketing.

Relational Marketing.

In the last three posts, I asked questions of your business about vision, market and promise.  If your vision includes genuine help for others (and why are you coaching if it doesn’t?) then you must understand your market so you make a promise that really helps.

Empathy is where you stand in someone else’s shoes and see the world from their perspective.  It is not easy.  For example, you may need wealthy clients who can pay for your high-end services.  How do they see the world and understand money?  But your next prospect may not be so affluent and may need the same service.  How can you help both?  Or do you aim to help only one?

In some ways the prospects furthest from you may be easiest to understand.  Their difference, forces you to build a world different from the one you know.  Someone who’s worldview is close to yours can be more difficult because you may overlook their differences.

Empathy in Your Business

  1. Think of a real person, maybe a client or prospect, whose worldview is like yours. Where do your worldviews differ?
  2. How many reasons can you think of why understanding affluent people helps your business?
  3. Consider people who would benefit from your promise, occupy your niche but do not share your worldview? Would you find it difficult to work with them?  Why?  Which worldviews do you find particularly difficult?

Bridging the Gap

Are worldviews important?  There will always be major differences beneath the surface.  None of us are immune to this.  We may not and should not change our views for a contract but we can keep track of our own behaviour.

When you listen to clients and prospects, keep an eye on your response to what they are saying.  Is it awakening strong feelings and if so, how do you deal with them?  You can’t avoid these issues coming up but you can learn a more empathic stance.

This is the fourth post in this sequence. Sign up below to make sure you don’t miss any.  You get a weekly round-up of my posts and a pdf about how to make sure you charge what your business is worth.  Most weeks you receive an email with helpful news or pointers to how you can tackle these questions.

Two hands, little fingers interlocked.

The Power of Your Implicit Promise

This post sequence aims to encourage  in-depth relational marketing for coaches, consultants and freelancers.  It builds into a questionnaire to help them prepare their relational marketing strategy.  This third post builds on the first, about your vision or business purpose and second, about your market.  Elements of your promise are explicit but an implicit promise can be powerful.

Your Explicit and Implicit Promises

Your promise is at the very heart of marketing.  Whatever you say or do to promote your business or cause, it comes back to your promise.

Your explicit promise is sometimes called the benefit.  It is essential you understand the distinction between features and benefits and you must make sure your market understands your benefits.

Your implicit promise is not something you allude to directly.  It relates to your Vision and the psychographics of your market.  They see something in your vision and so trust you will deliver it.

Your implicit promise is: you will see it through and meet the unvoiced expectations of your customer.  This is why it is important coaches choose their customers carefully and listen to them.  Together you are weavers of dreams.

Your Promise

  1. Consider one of your products or services. What is its explicit promise?
  2. What is its implicit promise? Consider both emotional and intellectual aspects.
  3. Does your promise need to be bigger, more specific, less specific?

Making Your Promise

Taken together, your vision, market and promise make up your identity as a business-owner.  Review your answers to the questions in this and the last two posts.  Decide on changes when you consider them together.

One valuable insight from the implicit promise is, it allows you space to over-deliver.  You may find you need to support your customer over periods of upset when their business does not go in the anticipated direction.  Consider: how far are you prepared to go?  Remember as you take on more customers, you have less time to devote to each of them.

Are there bonuses you can deliver, once they have signed up, that will begin to deliver your implicit promise with minimal effort from you?

This is the third in a post sequence to encourage coaches to reflect on relational marketing.  Sign up below to get a weekly round-up of my posts and a pdf about how to make sure you are charging what your business is worth.  Most weeks you will receive an email with useful news or pointers to how you can tackle these questions.

avatar cartoon character

Use of Psychographics to Understand Your Prospects

This sequence encourages you to explore relational marketing in-depth.  The first post was about your vision or business purpose.  These posts build into a questionnaire to help coaches, consultants and freelancers prepare their relational marketing strategy.  If you want to understand your prospects, you need to understand your use of psychographics.

What are Psychographics?

We often think markets in terms of demographics, things like sex, age, race, location – all things most people are unable to do much about.  Perhaps these are more accurately described as your niche.  So, you may offer solutions to the problem of stress at work.  Your market is naturally those who experience stress but you can choose your niche based on sex or location, etc.

Psychographics are a better way to describe your market, it’s desires, frustrations and personalities.  There is a closer tie into your market through psychographics than demographics.  (When you follow the second link, please note I did not use the word psychographics, using demographics to cover both demographics and psychographics.  This is fairly common usage.)

Your Market

  1. Describe your market in terms of their psychographics. Consider their desires, frustrations, hopes, personalities, dreams, interests, career, culture, education.
  2. Do you use demographics, eg age, sex, location, etc to further niche your market? If so, why do this?  Remember this is not necessarily wrong but it should be intentional.
  3. Prepare an avatar for your market. Focus on what they believe and why they believe it.

Finding Your Market

Be aware, often the best market is the one that finds you!  You can anticipate the kind of people likely to be interested in your offer.  You might decide to target business owners.  As you find customers, work out what they have in common.  Why have they chosen you?

Markets are in constant flux and people who choose you today may lose interest tomorrow.  However, if you find people who know like and trust you, they are likely to listen to what you say.  Be alert to changes among your followers and respond to them.

Never forget markets are communities.  Consider how you can encourage conversations between your followers.

This is the second in a post sequence to help businesses reflect on their relational marketing.  Sign up below to get a weekly round-up of posts and a pdf about how you can make sure you charge what your business is worth.  Most weeks you will receive an email with useful news or pointers to how you can tackle these questions.

Cartoon girl up ladder, reaching for stars

What Will Your Coaching Business Change?

In this new sequence, I explore relational marketing in-depth.  The challenge is to build a new questionnaire to help coaches, consultants and freelancers work with their relational marketing strategy.  Today’s focus is: what will your coaching business change?

Each post is in three short sections.  A thought for the day, a few questions and a call to action.  Feel free to share thoughts and actions in the comments.

If You Act, You Change Things

Marketing leads to change.  If nothing changes as a result of marketing then you are not marketing and you do not have a business.

Change can be accidental and unintended.  Even with great planning, prepare for unintended consequences from your actions.  These can be positive or negative.

Good marketers look beyond their customers to the change they want to see in the wider world.  Their invitation to their customers is to join them in making that change.

Your Vision

  1. What change are you seeking? This is your vision or business purpose.
  2. What are the existing and likely outcomes of your current marketing campaign?
  3. What could you change to align your vision with your marketing?

Finding Your Vision

Your vision does not necessarily come solely from your head.  It is better if you can build your vision from observations of the changes your business is making already.  This may be hard if you have a new business but take stock of the changes you see and build on them.

The word Vision implies things you see.  Even a ladder to the stars has to be secured to the ground.

This is the first post in a sequence to help businesses plan their relational marketing.  Sign up below to get a weekly round-up of my posts and a pdf about how you can make sure you are charging what your business is worth.  Most weeks you will receive an email with useful news or pointers to how you can tackle these questions.