List building and how to stop falling into Alice’s rabbit hole 🐰🐾

List building and how to stop falling into Alice’s rabbit hole 🐰🐾

List Building; a topic that I know you realise is important for your marketing but often a topic that is overcomplicated and focused on tactics, rather than strategy.

So today, I want to give you 3 key questions to answer which will help you find answers to your tactical questions such as what email marketing system do I need or what should I put in a lead magnet?

List building and how to stop falling into Alice's rabbit hole 🐰🐾

List building. A topic that I know you realise is important for your marketing but often a topic that is overcomplicated and focused around tactics, rather than strategy. Here are 3 questions to answer which will help you decide on your tactics, such as where you go list build, what lead magnet will work and what to send people once they are on your list.

Posted by Karen Skidmore on Wednesday, 21 March 2018

 

In this world of funnels and plethora of digital tools, it easy to find yourself falling into Alice’s rabbit hole. But for most businesses like yours, it really doesn’t need to be that overwhelming.

Marketing – any marketing activity whether that’s list building or content creation or running seminars or events – needs to follow three stages: Diagnosis, Strategy and then Tactics.

To enable you to know what you should be doing to list build, you have to be clear on what your list building strategy is going to be.

And I promise you, it can be very simple.

Answer these 3 questions to help you decide what’s going on for you and then this will show you how you need to go about building a list of interested prospects for your business.

Question One: Why are you list building?

The obvious answers maybe because you’ve been told that you have to and that a marketing list is an asset for your business. Without a list, it’s like standing on a street corner, handing out business cards and hoping someone stops and talks to you.

But think a little more deeply about this question because what you sell and the way that you sell it will dictate what you actually need to do tactically to list build.

Most businesses fit into one of three camps.

1. Sell by clicks. You have digital or physical products that require someone to go to a web page and click a link to enable them to purchase what you have to sell. For the sort of the clients I work with, these sales may include an online course or membership site – they are running a digital e-commerce business and thus rely on lots of people visiting a web page in order to convert a percentage to become customers.

2. Sell by conversation. You are a service provider and the way your customers buy from you involves some kind of human interaction, Whether that involves a formal pitch or presentation or a face to face meeting or over the phone consultation, for someone to buy from you, they need to have dealt with you (or someone on your sales team) in person. So although you still need enquiries and prospects to make your sales, it’s about quality rather than quantity.

3. Hybrid of the two. Some of you will be selling lower-priced digital products but the core of your profits come from selling higher priced service-based programmes or consultancy. So you are using your selling by clicks process as a way of qualifying your leads. We would call these products Prospect Products because although you are creating an income, they aren’t your core revenue source.

So understand what you are selling and how you are selling it and how this relates to what your list building objectives are.

Because if you are selling by conversation – which a lot of you who read my articles and watch my vlogs are – it’s not about using tactics to get thousands upon thousands of email subscribers.

You can ignore a lot of the shiny shiny online marketing tools, such as FB Messenger Bots and Instagram ads and focus your list building around tactics on showcasing your expertise such as speaking or writing a book.

Question Two: Who do you want on your list?

Profiling your ideal customer is marketing 101.

Very few small business owners spend any time on this and yet it’s critical to all marketing that you do.

If you know who you want, you’ll know exactly where to list build. Just because there is a tonne of list building experts that seem to tell you Facebook is the go-to place to build list, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for YOU.

Know who you want to attract and then work out what media they read, where they hang out and who they talk to. That’s where you want to list build. Not from a knee-jerk Facebook ad campaign.

Question Three: Why does someone want to be on your list?

Just because list building is important to you, doesn’t mean that your potential customer sees it the same way. The more you know about your ideal customer, the more evidence and clues you are going to get about what it is exactly they want from you.

What topics do they really want to know about? What format do they want that in? How often do they want to hear from you?

By spending time on answering these three questions, you are going to get really clear on exactly what tactics are important to you and your business.

Don’t just follow the next list building expert’s advice about what to do. There are a tonne of courses and free resources out there but most of what’s being talked about in the world of small business marketing are the digital marketing strategies which focus on tactics for a sell-by-click business rather than a sell-by-conversation business.

These tactics aren’t ever as easy as the gurus make out it to be because let’s be honest here … there’s no such thing as a magic bullet nor is there a guarantee that you’ll the promised results from following the guru’s formula or cookie-cutter system if you aren’t selling the same priced product to the same marketplace as the guru.

Many of the digital marketing tactics are of course completely possible but you have to ask yourself, is the latest digital list building tactic really the right thing to be spending your money, time and energy on if they aren’t solving the list building problem of YOUR business?

Answer these three questions I’ve outlined in this post and focus on your strategy first, before tactics.

Until next time – Do Less, be more and play that bigger game.

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The Yes Paradox

The Yes Paradox

Let’s talk about the words YES and NO. Does saying YES really lead you to the right opportunities?

Or does it lead you to the world of insanity?

YES and NO. Such definite answers. Great words for making decisions. And yet say YES more often than you’ve got time for, and this can break your entrepreneurial success.

The Yes Paradox. Does saying YES really lead you to the right opportunities? Or does it lead to the world of insanity? Yes and No. Such definite answers. Great words for making decisions. And yet saying one of the words more than the other, can make or break your long term entrepreneurial success. Let me know what you think about saying YES in the comments below. Are you a YES or a NO person? And why?

Posted by Karen Skidmore on Wednesday, 7 March 2018

 

When you first start out, your world is your oyster. The adventure is exciting and terrifying all at the same time. You may or not have a clear vision at the beginning but one thing you have for sure is time.

With no clients or customers, you have plenty of time to work ON your business. And this is where saying YES can be incredibly powerful.

Saying YES opens up yourself to opportunities. Allows you to explore new avenues of potential. Gives you the chance to try out different things which can feed your creativity and clarity.

But there comes a certain point that the YES get too much.

As you say YES to another thing. And then another thing, your time gets eaten up.

Until your time is at rock bottom and you’ve reached the place of INSANITY.

1) You’re stressed because you’ve taken on too much. And I don’t care what you read about multi-tasking, it simply doesn’t work. Modern society has tricked us into thinking that we can do lots of things at the same time; particularly women.

But the truth is PRIORITIES was never meant to be a plural. It’s an oxymoron that we have PRIORITIES. Only one thing can have our conscious attention at the time.

2) This leads to resentment. As you stretch yourself further and further, it’s easier to blame other people and other projects who suck up your time. All it takes is one thing not to go right and it puts your schedule out on everything else for days or weeks.

3) You then proudly wear The Busy Badge of Honour. If someone asks us how we are, how often do we proudly answer, “Oh, I’m busy. So busy.” And the other person answers, “That’s great. So am I.” which simply confirms to us that being busy is the right thing to be.

But it’s simply not.

This place of insanity keeps you sucked in under to-do lists and deadlines created by other people. You react. You juggle. You try to work harder. But you just never get where you want to go.

Knowing when to start saying NO is critical to your long-term success. If you have a vision and a plan to play a bigger game, NO has to be the answer to the majority of questions asked of you.

Because by saying NO, it allows the right YES to be said at the right time.

So I hope this helps you reflect on what you’re saying YES to right now and what you’re saying NO to right now.

Until next time.

Do Less. Be More. Play that bigger game.

When bootstrapping hurts your business

When bootstrapping hurts your business

How can you ensure your marketing reflects the value of what it is you’re selling?

Marketing costs. There’s no denying it.

Hard cash, your time, resources – whatever way you look at it, it costs to market your business.

So I get that the popular questions I get asked about marketing are versions of “what the cheapest, quickest or easiest way to get my next clients?”

Bootstrapping mindset.

Sometimes critical. But often a dangerous place to stay for any length of time.

In today’s vlog, I’ll give you an example and share the three key questions you are responsible for answering, as the marketer of your business.

When bootstrapping hurts your business.

When bootstrapping hurts your business. How can you ensure your marketing reflects the value of what it is that you’re selling? Watch my vlog below and I’ll share the 3 key questions you are responsible for answering, as the marketer of your business.

Posted by Karen Skidmore on Wednesday, 21 February 2018

 

If you’re bootstrapping, email may be your first choice of communication over and above direct mail. A letter in the post is always going to be far more expensive to produce, print and deliver than a single email.

Email is going to be the cheapest, quickest and probably the easiest way to market your new service, programme or workshop.

But is the most effective? And does it reflect the value of what it is you are selling?

Let’s say you’re wanting to invite HR Directors and Managers along to a seminar you’re running. Will they get to see that email you send them? Probably not. And if they do, what’s their response going to be? Click, delete?

If on the other hand, they received a letter in the post. A well put together invitation with a booking form. Would they see this? Probably, yes. But if they’re busy or it comes in the post along with a dozen other brochures and sales letters, your message may get lost.

And if they do see it and read it, what reaction do you think they’ll have? Maybe interested, but would it be compelling enough for them to respond?

Let’s take your marketing up a notch. What if you sent a big package in the post? And you sent it overnight by courier and it needed a signature on delivery? A box containing a beautifully crafted brochure, the same invitation to attend that seminar and possibly a treat such chocolate. Obviously far more expensive and thought needed to send, but will they see your message? I’d say almost definitely. And if they did, what’s their response going to be?

Obviously, you can’t guarantee that the person receiving that package in the post is going to be your next client but you can guarantee that you’ll get seen and that they will have an opinion about the level of service you offer.

As a marketer of your business, you are responsible for answering these 3 questions:

  1. What’s the message your prospects want to hear from you?
  2. How do you get your message noticed by the right people?
  3. How do you get the right people to respond and take action on your message?

Bootstrapping puts blinkers on you when you try to answer these questions. So even if you aren’t trying to be cheap, but you’re trying to be quick and easy … you’ll not be going to do the right thinking around answering these questions.

As noise levels are at an all-time high now for most of your prospects, you simply can’t afford to do cheap, quick and easy anymore. You’ll lose out.

It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend bucket loads of cash to make your marketing work, but you do need to spend time and resources on the thinking around your marketing.

Let me know what kind of marketing campaigns you’re putting together? Are you going beyond the cheap, quick and simple email? I’d love to know,

In the meanwhile, do less be more and play bigger

Read More Articles

The Yes Paradox

Let's talk about the words YES and NO. Does saying YES really lead you to the right opportunities? Or does it lead you to the world of insanity? YES and NO. Such definite answers. Great words for making decisions. And yet say YES more often than you've got time for,...

read more

When bootstrapping hurts your business

How can you ensure your marketing reflects the value of what it is you're selling? Marketing costs. There’s no denying it. Hard cash, your time, resources - whatever way you look at it, it costs to market your business. So I get that the popular questions I get asked...

read more
Following up and the rule of 3

Following up and the rule of 3

The art of following up. Why it’s critical to follow up, why you don’t follow up and how you can follow up simply and easily without an overcomplicated online funnel that drives you nuts in trying to set the whole thing up.

Following up leads and prospects is critical to the success of your business. If you’re going to go to the effort of building a list of subscribers to try and find new clients, then following up on anyone who shows an interest in what it is you offer should be part of your weekly – if not daily – marketing activity.

And yet, why don’t you follow up?

The art of the follow up. Why it’s critical to follow up, why you don’t follow up and how you can create a simple and easy follow up process and avoid an over complicated funnel that drives you nuts in trying to set the whole thing up. Until next time, do less, be more and play bigger x

Posted by Karen Skidmore on Wednesday, 14 February 2018

 

There are 3 main reasons why business owners don’t follow up.

1) You let the process become too emotional – there can be a lot of fear attached to following up – fear of being rejected – fear of being humiliated – so if you let yourself listen to these fears too much, you make up stories why you shouldn’t follow up. “I don’t want to pester them – they know where I am if they need me” … which actually makes no sense because you have no idea whether they are too busy for you and you certainly can’t be assuming that they know where you are if they do need you.

2) You don’t have a system to follow so when you get busy, you forget. If you keep the names of people of you’ve spoken to or emailed in your head or on a to-do list somewhere, it’s no surprise that you find yourself two months later after an initial phone call, and you never scheduled in a follow up in your diary.

3) You over-complicate the process by trying to build online funnels with upsells, down sells, double opt-ins and autoresponder sequences. I see this one a lot because the creative brain of an entrepreneur is attracted to shiny shiny and it’s also far easier to distract yourself with creating landing pages and writing emails than it is to pick up the phone.

So can you see how you can distract yourself from the actual process of following up?

To make sure your follow-ups happen you need to create a repeatable, simple process.

And if you can delegate this process, then even better.

With all follow-up processes, I teach the power of 3.

3 emails, 3 letters, 3 phone calls, 3 messages.

3 is enough to send out over a two week period without being a pest. And 3 is enough for you to create, write and execute without it becoming a huge project.

Often I have people ask me about autoresponders with 10 or emails in them. Or they want to create a 6 month follow up.

But make this too big, and you’ll never find the time to complete it.

So start with 3 emails,3 letters or 3 messages over a two week period to begin with. You decide which form of communication is going to be best of your prospect.

If they don’t respond to any of the 3 within that time period, then put them back into the prospect pot and try a different approach next month.

So if you’ve sent them 3 letters, then the next month try 3 phone calls. If you’ve tried phone calls, try 3 special delivery parcels next month.

The important thing in following up is that you keep following up, even when you get a no.

Because a no is often where the conversation starts and a no now, may mean a yes in a few months time.

Finally, I want to make sure you keep track of your prospects that you’re following up. As I’ve mentioned already, keep these in your head or rely on your inbox to keep track of them and you will forget.

There are a tonne of online CRM systems so if you want to subscribe to one of these – do it. But before you distract yourself with a new tool, often the best place, to begin with, is a spreadsheet.

Name, contact details, date of initial contact and date of next follow up – keep it simple and you’ve got a place to go to at the start of each new week so you know who needs what from you.

Until next time, do less, be more and play that bigger game.

 

Read More Articles

The Yes Paradox

Let's talk about the words YES and NO. Does saying YES really lead you to the right opportunities? Or does it lead you to the world of insanity? YES and NO. Such definite answers. Great words for making decisions. And yet say YES more often than you've got time for,...

read more

When bootstrapping hurts your business

How can you ensure your marketing reflects the value of what it is you're selling? Marketing costs. There’s no denying it. Hard cash, your time, resources - whatever way you look at it, it costs to market your business. So I get that the popular questions I get asked...

read more

Following up and the rule of 3

The art of following up. Why it’s critical to follow up, why you don’t follow up and how you can follow up simply and easily without an overcomplicated online funnel that drives you nuts in trying to set the whole thing up. Following up leads and prospects is critical...

read more
VAT registration and the implications on your business if you’re not

VAT registration and the implications on your business if you’re not

Today I want to bring up the question of VAT registration and the implications on your business if you’re not.

If you’re already registered for VAT, congratulations. But if you haven’t and you’re not even sure whether you should be even thinking about this, then this video is for you.

Today I want to bring up the question of VAT registration and the implications on your business growth if you’re not. So if you’re registered for VAT already, congratulations. But if you haven’t and you’re not even sure whether you should even be thinking about this just yet, then this video is for you. Do Less. Be More. Play Bigger.

Posted by Karen Skidmore on Wednesday, 7 February 2018

 

First of all, I must make clear I am not an accountant so before you decide whether to proceed with VAT registration, please ensure you’ve talked your decision through with your Accountant and know the legal requirements of what happens when you do.

What I want to focus on today is your thinking on being VAT registered.

I’m all for keeping business as simple as possible. So not registering for VAT when you don’t need to, is certainly one way of keeping your life simpler.

However, let me share with you my VAT story.

I became VAT registered in 2016. For 2 years previously, my turnover bubbled just under the VAT threshold. I never found I had to make the decision … I always made just enough to stay under the threshold.

VAT threshold back then was £82,000 I believe so for 2 years on the run, my business did £78,000 or there’s about. Back then I had a real hang-up about VAT. Because of course, by registering for VAT, my prices had to go up by 20%. I started to think that I could absorb that 20% – just make all my prices inclusive of VAT and I’d take the hit. Because I had convinced myself that my clients just wouldn’t stand for the price increase. I was charging £1,500 for one programme which meant with VAT, that would go up to £1,800 – that was a lot of money.

Now the problem with this thinking was that I was getting caught up with ME. I was getting caught with the rejection of someone thinking I was too expensive. I was making assumptions that my clients would care so much about paying VAT that they simply wouldn’t buy from me.

This went on for the best part of two years. Crazy!

All it was doing was creating an invisible glass ceiling on my growth. What was happening was that – although I wasn’t turning business away – I was certainly giving out invisible signals that I didn’t want any more than £80,000 worth of business because I simply couldn’t charge VAT.

I was restricting my growth. It had to change.

Once I decided enough was enough, the actual process was simple. Apart from messing up with one particular client – she simply slipped through the net when it came to communicating about the VAT changes – no one batted an eyelid. I didn’t drop my prices because of the VAT increase and it made absolutely no impact on my sales.

In fact, of course, it opened up the door to receiving more because I wasn’t capping my revenue potential.

So why tell you this story. If I had my time again, I would have gone VAT a very long time ago. I should have gone VAT registered when I become a limited company.

VAT simply means that the government sees you as a business that’s adding value to the economy. You’ve grown so that you are more than simply a self-employed freelancer just making an income. And when you consider that we pay VAT on almost all other goods and services, why is it any different to what you provide?

Our thinking about a growth problem such as VAT can create a huge bottleneck. And by sharing my story with you today, I want you to consider whether you are doing the same.

VAT registration is more than simply more than meeting a revenue threshold. It’s your thinking about your growth. It’s your thinking about your positioning and what NOT being VAT registered says to your audience.

So don’t let VAT be your bottleneck. And don’t wait to be forced into it. Because either you could land yourself with a huge VAT bill by not be prepared, having not charged VAT for your last 3 months or so of client work. And in my experience, it just didn’t happen – I held myself back by not opening up that possibility of making more than £80,000.

Of course, please speak to your Accountant and make sure you get professional advice in this. But don’t let your thinking about VAT hold you and your business growth back.

Until next time – do less, be more and play bigger.

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