Clover Leaf Your Way to Bigger Business

How many marketing opportunities do you utilize that can easily add an additional 20% to your bottom line? Whatever your answer, it’s not enough!

“Clover Leafing,” is used to gain new customers when for service oriented contractors. The concept is simple; after finishing a call with a client, go to the house to the right and left of the service call as well as to the house across the street (making a clover leaf pattern) to drop off a leave-behind advertisement such as a door hanger, business card, magnet, etc. with company contact information. By taking these simple steps to introduce the company to potential clients, the business guaranteed itself new sales every day! While the effects of a campaign may not be as immediate as some other forms of advertising, its long-term impact can help grow your business exponentially.

Using a quality leave-behind in a technique like this does several things:

It introduces your company to new potential clients
Promotes word of mouth advertising – the best kind
It keeps potential clients out of the yellow pages and away from your competition’s ads

The average service-based business has three trucks. Each truck serves five calls a day with an average ticket of $280.00. Each day’s business comes to $4,200.

Assuming that you’re not taking calls on the weekend (just to keep things simple), that’s about $21,000 in business per week or just over one-million per year.

Not too shabby. Now let’s add a clover leafing campaign into the mix.

Let’s say that all your drivers reach out to just three potential new clients after their service call using this clover leaf technique. If each service team can gain one new client per day, that’s an additional 15 calls per week. Based on the same $280 average ticket price, total sales for the year just went up $201,600!

Let’s say my math is off and your return rate is only half of what we’ve projected here… Couldn’t you stand to gain an additional hundred thousand or so?

To help make the program even more effective, consider adding an incentive to your customers. Advertisements that utilize customer savings are generally three times more effective than ones that are simply an advertisement for your business. Consider offering these potential new clients a discount for responding to your clover leafing campaign by waiving their travel charge on this call since you’re already in their neighborhood.

Use promotional items you already have in hand such as your business cards, door hangers or refrigerator magnets.

Make this program worthwhile for your employees as well by offering a spiff. Let’s say you include a $50 bonus to your drivers for each new customer they pick up using this clover leaf campaign. This may sound like large spiff to pocket, but if you figure that on average it takes around $230 of advertising to close a new client, wouldn’t it be nice to pick up a few up for $50 or so?

Boost Your Marketing Using Darwin's Theory Of Evolution

The idea behind this post came from the book, Making Ads Pay by John Caples.

A little background to Darwin’s theory of evolution.

As a young and curious lad, Darwin was incredibly observant of nature and its players. On one of his extended travels, he collected specimens from the different places he visited (I suspected wanderlust).

As he was unpacking and admiring his souvenirs, he noticed similarities and was intrigued by these discoveries.

Thus began his conception and study of natural selection.

In a single sentence, natural selection is the theory that evolution is driven by… natural selection. Better traits in a species are selected for through generations of reproduction and eventually the ‘weaker’ manifestation of those traits will be diluted in a population of organisms carrying the better trait.

(For more details, you can read Charles Darwin’s book: “The Origin of Species”)

How Darwin’s Theory of Evolution can boost your business

In a nutshell, the idea is to incorporate Darwin’s Theory of Evolution (specifically Natural Selection) into your marketing efforts. Let your audience select the ads that they like and get rid of those that they don’t.

Track Your Advertisements and Marketing Campaigns

As we run marketing campaigns, it’s very important to be able to track the performance of each individual campaign. These data may be boring to track, but will be very intriguing to analyse.

Just by looking at the number of people who responded to a particular marketing campaign, you can decide the direction of future campaigns.

Just by looking at the demographics of the people who either interacted with your marketing efforts, or bought from you, you can uncover more details about the type of customers you would like to attract in the future.

Just by looking at the number of people who ACTUALLY BOUGHT from you, you can decide which product (or service) range to focus on in the future.

With proper tracking of your marketing campaigns, you will be able to identify the campaigns that did well against those that burnt.

Select the campaigns that do well, and get rid of those that didn’t

This is where you put Natural Selection into practice. Let nature (which in this case, refers to your targeted audience) select the campaign that they like and get rid of those that they did not like.

Once you have run at least 10 different test campaigns, you would most likely have a list of 3 to 5 outstanding campaigns that your target audience responded to with excitement. Analyse these successful campaigns deeper.

Compare the traffic that is being driven to these campaigns
Compare the angle of these campaigns
Compare the demographics of the people who responded to these campaigns
Notice any special writing styles that could have increased the interest

Compile these similarities and you will have a clear picture and direction which will prove useful when planning future marketing campaigns.

Although not all of these features may be used in a single campaign, you should seek to add as many of these ‘success’ features into your future campaigns.

By giving your target audience what they want, you will boost your business.

And to fully understand what they want, that’s when you apply natural selection to allow your marketing campaigns to evolve.

Do You Have Too Much on Your Plate?

Twice a year I make an effort to get out the office and go away for what has been deemed, “the Power Business Retreat’. This particular trip I went on my own and as such this gave me a chance to observe the people around me.

During the breakfast buffet, I watched as men and women alike loaded their plates with food. Plate after plate with mounds of food was brought to the table on display, ready for consumption. The scary part; the multiple plates were for just one person.

Being a first-hand witness to this behavior of grabbing everything on offer, as much as the plate would handle, I wondered if this is a behavior that business owners do with their day-to-day operations. Do people grab every product, service, app in sight to use in their business? Do they try every new social media update that comes on the market?

Are you filling your plate with more than you can consume?

Was I?

I thought about it and asked myself, where in my business was I biting off more than I could chew? Following some honest inspection of my own over consumption behavior, I identified three areas where my plate was too full.

1. Following too many ‘gurus’ who send daily newsletters

It’s wonderful that people today are willing to share their knowledge via newsletters. At the click of a button you can sign up for this information and have it delivered to your inbox.

However, I realized that there were far more newsletters than I could read or keep up with. Subsequently I have opted-out of many and maintain 2 or 3 that I feel offer me the greatest value. They get flagged so I can find them in my inbox and go back toward the end of the day to read them.

2. Saying yes to coffee appointments that take hours out of my day

When accepting a ‘coffee meeting’ with someone who hardly knows me, it usually means someone wants a free consultation. A 45 minute conversation soon becomes one and a half hours long by the time you get the social pleasantries out the way.

Add in the 20 – 30 minutes each way for the commute and there goes two and a half hours out your day. This is precious time that you could be spent working within your business generating assets.

I’ve taken this type of meeting off my plate and replaced with the 15 – 20 minute phone call instead. Save the coffee for breakfast.

3. Taking on creative projects myself

We’ve all heard it before, play to your strengths and outsource your weaknesses. As much as I love working on the creative aspects of my business, the time it would take me to actually execute a project would take me 10 – 20 times as long as it would an expert in that field. Taking on creative projects totally overloads my plate.

Give the creative work to the people who do this daily and free up your time to do those things which are revenue generating.

It’s amazing how much lighter I feel.

Make More Time for Marketing!

How much time every day should you spend on marketing? If you’re struggling to get clients, I strongly recommend that you devote a minimum of four hours of marketing per day for 6-12 months. Many practitioners are shocked at that number, because they typically don’t even spend that much time on marketing in a week or even per month. Well… no wonder they don’t have enough clients!

The average practitioner claims that she doesn’t have four hours a day for marketing. But you don’t want to be average, right? Wouldn’t you rather be outstanding? If you’re surprised at the idea of spending that much time on marketing, answer this question honestly: If you don’t have enough clients and you’re not marketing, then what are you actually doing all day?

You may, like many entrepreneurs, be spending a good deal of your non-client time in non-business pursuits. Let’s take a close look at the non-essential things you do throughout the day and the week. These are the time-wasters in your schedule. When you look at them closely from a marketer’s perspective, you may see that, like many self-employed people, you regard non-client time as “spare time.” This perspective makes you waste valuable work hours on personal activities, such as housework, errands or social media.

You need to put your extra-curricular activities on hold while building your healthcare business. These time-wasters sabotage your progress and your success. They limit the number of clients who can benefit from your valuable service, undermining your purpose for being in healthcare. You can’t attain your goals to help lots of people and make a good living if you waste your work day on non-work. It’s actually a very simple premise: The more time you spend attracting clients, the more clients you will attract!

Just because you don’t have enough clients doesn’t mean you’re on vacation. However you spend your “spare time” during work hours, eliminate everything that is not directly working with clients or attracting clients. From now on, for the next 6-12 months, or until your client schedule is full, do non-business activities after-hours. As an entrepreneur, you don’t have anyone holding you accountable. It’s up to you to schedule your work hours and stay on track, in order to increase your client base and your income. You need a tough boss – that would be YOU!

It’s difficult, maybe even impossible, to get new clients consistently when you don’t market consistently. Having fun or doing non-biz activities while you wait for the phone to ring is not an effective marketing strategy! Same with sitting in your office hoping for walk-in clients – hope is not a strategy and it doesn’t pay the rent!

You need to spend your work day actually working. When you’re not working directly with clients, devote your time to activities that will bring them in – calling people, getting referrals, networking, writing a newsletter, giving talks, for example.

Exactly how you should you structure your time to get the maximum benefits for your business? Monday through Friday 9 AM – 5 PM (or whatever you decide are your regular work hours), you should be… doing what? Yes, now you’re catching on – working with clients and attracting clients! This, in turn, will produce benefits in your income and lifestyle as well.

Suppose your BFF calls and says, “Hey, let’s go shopping!” From now on, instead of jumping on board with that, you say, “Sorry, I can’t today – I’m working. But I can go this weekend. Or I can meet you after work.” Your friends may not like this, but when you get results in your business, you will realize you’re doing the right thing. (And maybe your success will motivate them!)

Here’s a system to organize your time. Make a written list of all the different activities you do each day – both business and non-business things – during your regular business hours. Every time you do something throughout the day, stop and write it down. Be totally accurate and honest with yourself about this, so you can make the changes necessary to expand your practice and your income. For one week, keep a running list of everything you do during business hours.

Next, go through your entire list and ask yourself these 2 questions for every item:

1. Does this activity involve working with clients?

2. Does this activity involve attracting clients?

If the answer is ‘no’ for any item on your list, cross it off the list. Cross off everything you do during business hours that distracts you from your two primary activities – working with your current clients and attracting new clients. Now commit to doing this on a regular, consistent basis.

Though this schedule may seem extreme, remember that it’s only a temporary jump start strategy. When you start getting consistent results, you can reduce your marketing time and start re-integrating other activities into your daily schedule. You will still need to schedule marketing on a consistent basis throughout your career – it should never become a once-in-a-while activity. But soon your marketing will be organized into a system that will reduce the amount of time that you spend on it per day. (However, don’t be surprised if you discover, as I did, that you enjoy marketing so much that it becomes your new hobby!)

Create Effective Custom Signs For Your Business

Custom signs for storefronts are vital in today’s tough economy. The more unique and personal your sign is to your company, the more likely you are to draw foot traffic into your business. Many in the retail and hospitality industries believe that you only have three seconds or less to attract a customer’s attention. For many that own brick-and-mortar businesses, custom signs are definitely a great way to get someone to turn his or her head.

What A Quality Sign Will Accomplish

Your custom signs should suit your unique characteristics while showcasing your business. In essence, they are part of your marketing plan, and the style, colors, font, and type should be a large part of your branding and promotional strategy. If this advertising is done well, it can lead to a word-of-mouth campaign that is sure to attract more visitors to your business.

Many times something that stands out from the crowd can ignite enough curiosity that you will see an increase in foot traffic. Remember, foot traffic can easily be converted into sales once customer interest is piqued, so try to be original and unique with your designs.

Colors and Fonts

The colors and fonts you use on your custom signs are a reflection of your overall brand and should not be taken in stride. In essence, even if you do not already have one, you are creating a de-facto logo for your company. You need to think about what type of reputation you want your business to have, and the image that you wish to project to potential customers.

Don’t fret if you are not much of a graphic designer. Many companies that design custom signs have online templates that you can work with. Remember, the most visible colors from far away are black and red on a white background. Depending on your business’s location, this is something that you may want to consider. Also, make sure that your font is large enough to be seen over long distances. All the bold colors in the world will not be noticeable when used to accentuate teeny-tiny print.

Location

The best thing about good signage is that you only pay for it once, but it works for you 24 hours a day and seven days per week. This is why that to be truly effective, and you must place it where it can be seen by the largest number of eyeballs whether they are driving a car or walking by on foot. Always remember to consider external factors such as parked cars and glare when placing your sign. It would be a shame to spend all that money only for the result to never really be clearly seen. Always consider the eye-level of the average person and what would attract them to your little corner of the street.

Remember, signs give you the option to stand out from the crowd and give the competition a run for their money. Always use this first opportunity to communicate with potential customers to your full advantage.

3 Ways To Do Some Marketing When You Are On A Shoestring Budget

Most people think that starting out in business is pretty expensive and so they hold back because they doubt their ability to fund it. However, there are ways to start on a shoestring budget. And here are a few ideas for you…

1.    Go where your prospects are in great number and tell them what you do. So, you don’t have cash. Take some time to figure out who your ideal customers are and then decide where you think they will be and take some time to go and see them where they are in great number. Think Meet up groups, think low-cost networking events, set up your own networking events and invite people to your event. Keep it low-cost and use a community funded room or a room in a local restaurant where they are willing to allow you bring people to the restaurant as long as your prospects buy something. Have a mini-speech prepared which tells people exactly how they can benefit from working with you and collect business cards from anyone that seems interested in speaking to you again.

2.    Set up an email marketing campaign – Sending emails are fairly low-cost. Most customer relationship management systems provide a 30 day trial period. Set yourself a goal to make money from the people on your list within that first 30 days and your business becomes self-funding in the first month. It is incredibly surprising what you can do when you set your mind to it. So, set your mind like flint to make things happen very quickly in your business.

3.    Take full advantage of social media – We live in an incredibly accessible age where we can reach anyone at no cost whatsoever. You could use LinkedIn to search for and connect with a vast number of people and then you could invite them to your event or be where they are. Same goes for Facebook and Twitter and all the other social media platforms. And in this day and age, people are less private so you can make contact with them. Please do not sell immediately but you can build a relationship for free. Also, when you meet people on your outings, you can connect with them on social media based on the business card information you have collected. There are innumerable groups that you can join on social media where your prospects may also be hanging out and once you have connected with them in group, then you may find them more willing to make contacts away from the group.

How Direct Mail Fulfilment Can Work for You!

As in most organisations, as part of your corporate and marketing strategy you’ll be invariably trying and testing out a range of traditional and non-traditional marketing tools and running various promotional campaigns to advertise your products and offerings. This can not only be extremely tricky when dealing with a number of marketing projects running at the very same time but costly if you are having to invest in additional staff and equipment in order to achieve your objectives.

So what exactly should you do?

Are you able to efficiently operate your company without focusing your efforts on key capabilities?

Do you have the in-house capabilities to run a full-scale and effective direct mail campaign?

Without doubt, one option is to transfer your mail fulfilment burden to 3rd party suppliers and benefit from cost and time savings as well as many other advantages of a well-managed order processing unit.

Outsourcing your mail fulfilment to a professional fulfilment company will deliver your business genuine rewards:

1. Spread the word

You will be able to communicate your message much more successfully to clients by using a 3rd party to maximize direct mail activities in order to spread the word about your organization and publicize your products and solutions. This is exactly where a direct mail fulfilment business can be invaluable to obtain, pack and ship your mailing items to consumers within a timely manner.

2. Engage your customer

A firm that fails to engage with target audience is unable to flourish and succeed. Using direct mail, you can send an appealing mail piece to your target market using a letter, postcard, leaflet or brochure format to convince them to undertake business with you. A third-party provider has the expertise and the equipment to not only design and print your direct mail piece but to pack and deliver your promotional collateral to your audience and as a result, helping you to communicate your message in a more professional manner.

3. Save money!

Reap the benefits of cost savings by choosing a professional direct mail fulfilment provider who will effectively process your direct mail campaign, from the design brief concept to letterbox delivery. This will allow you to take full advantage of bulk discounts that these third-party providers have negotiated with postal and shipment suppliers. Due to the vast quantities of mailings that pass through these fulfilment companies, postal companies can offer negotiated competitive rates which are then passed down to the customer.

How Product Managers Can Manage A Shift

Manage ShiftMany product managers are placed in charge of multiple products. Often, among these products certain products will start to perform better than others. When this happens, it’s very natural for our focus to become fixated on the products and the product development definitions that are doing well and we start to ignore the other products in our portfolio. However, things can change and when that happens, we need to shift our attention. This is exactly what’s happening at the mobile phone firm Blackberry right now.< Happens At Blackberry

Once upon a time, Blackberry made the world’s most popular smartphones. However, as it always does, time marched on. Apple, Samsung, and others have moved past Blackberry and now Blackberry only owns a fraction of the smartphone market. Many managers would have packed it in, gone home, and started to update their product manager resume. However, that’s not what has happened at Blackberry.

The Blackberry managers took a look at their markets and made a major shift decision. They decided that the firm would no longer compete in the highly competitive consumer market. This was a significant change for the company. The consumer market had come to represent a very large part of the company’s revenue along with being the focus of its marketing efforts.

Instead, the Blackberry managers have decided to start to focus on providing secure smartphone technology to the enterprise market. They have not given up on making mobile phones, instead they’ll make a few specialty models. One big change is that they’ve outsourced the production of their phones that will target business customers.

Blackberry’s New Plan

As product managers we always hate to give up working on products that we know and love. What will the Blackberry product managers do now? The company now plans to spend their product management efforts on focusing on the more profitable business of mobile security along with new types of software based services.

The Blackberry product managers have taken a look at what their product is going to be able to produce in terms of new software products and the timeframes that they’ll be able to do it in. What they’ve discovered is that they don’t think that they’ll be able to move fast enough to deliver the products that their customers are going to want. In order to fill in this gap, Blackberry has been buying smaller firms. They’ve bought a company that has a product that can guard against eavesdropping on mobile phones and another who can help companies control employee device costs.

Will this new strategy work out for the Blackberry product managers? A great deal of this comes down to determining if the company can successfully make the shift from being a consumer focused firm to now becoming a business focused firm. Yes, it is possible but it is going to take some very good communication from the product managers to the rest of the company so that everyone knows where they are going and what they want to accomplish.

What All Of This Means For You

Product managers just like everyone else can become comfortable with the status quo. We don’t like change any more than anyone else does. However, when a significant market change happens, our product manager job description tells us that we need to react and shift our product management activities.

Over at Blackberry the mobile phone maker is in the middle of a major shift right now. They used to make mobile phones that they sold to the consumer market. However, the arrival of Apple and Samsung has taken this market away from Blackberry. They are now shifting their focus away from the consumer market to the enterprise market. They’ll focus on mobile security and other software products.

Product managers who want to survive a significant change in their market need to understand how to successfully make a shift. This has a lot with being willing to give up what has worked in the past and move on and focus on what you’ll need in order to be successful in the future. Nobody ever said that this was going to be easy, but it’s exactly what good product managers can do well.

Effective Marketing Tips for Image Consultants

Do you struggle with getting more clients in your image consulting business?

Have you tried to advertise with no results?

You might be really good in your dressing and grooming skills. However, when running an image consultation business or any business for that matter, your priority is to find clients.

1. Country Clubs

You could approach country clubs and speak to them about running a short talk or workshop for their members. Most of these clubs are already organsing workshops on lifestyle topics such as gardening, cooking, art classes and more. They might be looking at expanding their list of offerings. Hence you could approach these clubs to explore working with them.

2. Events and Exhibitions

Events and exhibitions are also great platforms for you to reach out to a large audience at any one time. Look out for relevant events and exhibitions that offer speaking spots. While you might be expected to speak for free, these platforms give you the exposure you need.

3. Preview Sessions

You can organise your own preview sessions to market your services too. Give a one-hour talk and excite your audience about how you can help them transform. You could also think about running a promotion and offer a special package for your audience to encourage sign-ups at the end of the preview session. Even if they do not sign up on the spot, preview sessions are great opportunities to build up your list potential clients whom you can continue to market to.

4. Spa and Beauty Services

You do not always have to do the marketing on your own. One great way is to partner up with businesses that share the same target audience as you. Think of the type of clients you are targeting and what businesses might have clients of similar profiles. Businesses that would make good partnerships for your image consulting services are those in the spa and beauty industry. These include hair salon, slimming centres, spa boutiques and more.

5. Clothes and Accessories Stores

Since your business also about dressing, tailors, clothing stores and even accessories boutiques would be terrific partners too. As it helps to promote their merchandise, they would be happy to partner and work with you too.

Each of the above-mentioned platforms offers you a targeted audience to help raise your profile as you reach out to potential clients. So, get in touch with them to explore working opportunities.

A Product Management Challenge: Pot

So you think that you have a tough job, eh? Just imagine how hard it must be to the product manager who works for one of the new firms that has just popped up to start legally selling marijuana! In the United States, a handful of states now allow marijuana to be sold either for medical or for recreational purposes. This means that there is a legal market for consumers. Just exactly the kind of situation that calls for a bit of help from a skilled product manager with a well-thought out product development definition.

The Problem With Pot

In the United States, the state of Colorado has legalized the recreational use of marijuana. However, change happens slowly and right now how consumers can get the marijuana that they want has not yet caught up with the new demand for the product.

What this means is that the pot dispensaries that are currently the only places where people can legally buy pot are not really places that you’d want to go. They are dingy, poorly lit, and have bars on the windows. The staff behind the counter wear hoodies and look like they smoke as much pot as they sell. All in all, this is not the type of place that most law abiding citizens would really like to go.

Making Cannabis Cool

The product managers who have been brought in to transform Colorado marijuana from an illegal street drug to an everyday recreational activity have their hands full. Somehow they have to transform the process of buying pot and make it more like going to Walmart.

The first step in the process is to change where marijuana gets purchased. The new dispensaries now have clever names like “Mindful” and they are trying to modernize the selling of cannabis. In these new stores, employees wear uniforms and the company logo is everywhere. If product managers can rebrand pot successfully, then they’ll really have something to add to their product manager resume.

The final step in the rebranding of pot is to try to work it into more of everyone’s everyday life. What this has meant in Colorado is having the Colorado Symphony host shows called “Classically Cannabis” and holding cannabis cocktail parties. Not content with those efforts, a new yoga class called “Vape and Vinyasa” has been introduced along with a new smartphone app that allows the placing of online pot orders.

What All Of This Means For You

Marijuana has become legal to sell, buy, and consume in a number of places in the United States. Now that there is a product to be sold and consumers who can legally buy it, it’s time for the product managers to step in. However, pot has been illegal for so long, what’s a product manager to do with this new type of product in order to make it a success? Our product manager job description never told us how to handle this situation!

In Colorado, the new companies that have started to grow and sell marijuana have discovered that they have a problem. There is no efficient way to distribute their product. The few stores that currently sell pot are very seedy looking and are staffed by people who are really best suited to interacting with people who use illegal drugs.

The new marijuana company product managers are starting to make changes in order to grow their market share. They are rebranding a number of ways that people refer to marijuana in order to make it more palatable to a larger audience. They are also starting to cross marijuana with other activities that their target audience is participating in.

It’s still early on in this new product field. The pot product managers have a lot of work ahead of them. They have to recast the image of their product from forbidden illegal drug to desirable recreational pastime. The good news is that it can be done. Now it’s just up to the product managers to find out how to do it.