How to Get Customers to Spread the Word

Marketing Strategy Workshop - Video No. 2

How to Get Customers to Spread the Word

RULE 10 - Create Stories that Spread

Stories are powerful, stories are the way human beings have shared information worth sharing for thousands of years. Put it this way, nobody ever shared a list of features and benefits with their friends. A great story on the other hand will spread like wildfire.

The way to benefit from the power of storytelling is to engineer a story into the very DNA your business.

A good way of thinking about your story, is to answer this question:

What do I want my customers to tell their friends about my business.

Because, not only do you have a say in what stories are told about your business, you can and should actively create them.

Here’s an example, there must be 20 italian restaurants within 10 minutes of where I live. But there’s one little place, no more than 10 tables, nothing special to look at, a bit rough and ready. It’s expensive too but if you want a table you need to book 6 months in advance.

Now what makes this little restaurant special is its authenticity. The chef only makes obscure, regional italian dishes that you’ve never heard of. No pizza.

And the story that I’ve heard, and told about this restaurant, to so many people is that every year, the friends that run the restaurant go on a food pilgrimage to rural Italy, visiting all the places that tourists never go. And they discover all theses local, authentic recipes and then they bring them back to their restaurant.

Thats it. It’s a simple, short story. But it works on so many levels. The storyteller, gets to collect all of the cool points for eating in an interesting, truly authentic restaurant, rather than a faceless pizza chain. The person hearing the story, imagining these four pals riding around the Tuscany on vespas, trying out these little Italian tavernas, immediately wants to try it out. Only to then find out there’s a 6 month waiting list. So then they’re desperate to try it out! Of course, once they’ve been, they tell their friends the same story and the cycle happens again.

What’s important is that the story of these friends touring Italy is every year is true. And it fits perfectly with the experience of the restaurant. When you order, each dish is explained to you, not in a robotic, scripted way, but in a passionate, exciting way that makes you feel like you were on the trip to Italy with them.

So when I say create a story, I mean create a true story. A story that resonates with people and adds value to your offering. The four friends that run the restaurant made the decision to tour Italy every year, and made the decision to tell their customers about it. It’s not by chance. It’s engineered into the DNA of their business.

What you’re really doing, is providing people with the story you want them to share. Rather than just hoping that they can make one up for you.

How to Find More Customers

Marketing Strategy Workshop - Video No. 2

How to Find More Customers

RULE 9 - ‘Who’ Leads to ‘Where’

Many businesses rely on pure luck to find new customers. When building a predictable, scalable customer acquisition process however, luck doesn’t come into it.

When it’s done correctly, marketing is simply the process of ‘buying’ new customers with your marketing budget.

Knowing exactly who your ideal customer, leads you to where they are…

Profile Your Ideal Customer

You can’t find somebody in a crowd if you don’t know what they look like. In the same way, you must have a clear image of your ideal customer in mind before you can hope to find them. The best way to do this is to create a customer profile. For this process, you need to imagine your perfect customer as a real person with all the following attributes:

Name:
Age:
Gender:
Job:
Salary:
Family:
Values /beliefs:
Hobbies:
Favourite TV / Magazines / Websites:

As you build this person out, start to think of them as a real individual, get a real feel for them.

Depending on your business, you may only need one customer profile or you may need to build out several.

Let me give you an example:

Let’s go back to our health supplements company and our product for pregnant women who practice yoga.

If we were going to build out a customer profile for that product we’d start like this:

OK, she’s called Kate,

She’s 32.

She lives in an affluent part of town.

She works in PR.

She shops at Whole Foods and only eats organic.

She reads Yoga magazine.

She uses Yoga apps on her phone.

She buys her yoga stuff from SweatyBetty,

She uses Facebook but she prefers Instagram

OK, that’s Kate on the outside. Kate on the inside is more interesting…

She’s having her first baby so she’s anxious, like all new mums-to-be are.

She’s trying to keep fit and eat well but it’s hard because she gets morning sickness.

Which makes her worry about whether her baby is getting all the right nutrition.

She’s not sleeping very well so she feels tired most days.

She’s worried about getting her figure back after she has the baby.

And right now she can’t stop craving pickles dipped in chocolate.

Yes, this is guesswork, but it’s informed guesswork.

And already I feel, and you feel, like you know Kate.

And when you feel like you know the person you’re looking to attract, you can start to build a proposition that really speaks to them.

For example, from the profile we just created, what can we assume about Kate? Well…

1) We know that price is not high on her list of priorities from where she already shops.

2) We know that her health and the baby’s health is paramount

3) We know she’s not feeling great and she’s craving weird food

4) We know she is anxious to get back in shape after the baby is born

5) We know she feels tired and jaded all the time

6) We know the magazines, social media and websites she uses

So now, not only do we know where we could potentially advertise to Kate (and thousands of women just like her) but we also know what kind of messaging will connect with her. Which brings us onto our next step…

What Are Your Customers Really Buying?

Once you know who you ideal customer is, it’s time to work out what we’e going to say to them. It’s very important to put yourself in your customer’s shoes at this point.

This is not about what you’re selling – it’s about what your customers are buying. Which are, two different things.

For example, when somebody buys a drill, what they are really buying is a hole.

When somebody pays to put their child into a private school, what the customer, the parents, are really buying, is not just education, they are buying a feeling of comfort.

When a woman buys a designer handbag, she’s not buying a bag, she’s buying confidence. She’s buying a ticket which gives her access to a group she wants to belong to.

So when you start to dig a little deeper, you see that what you’re selling and what people are buying, are different things.

Take some time really immersing yourself in this part of the process. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is very difficult and requires an almost zen-like level of discipline.

Select Your Marketing Channels

The Marketing Channels are simply the way in which you reach out to your potential customers. From the customer profile work you’ve already done, it should be very straight forward to select the first few channels to test. Here’s a list of potential marketing channels to consider:

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Social Advertising (Paid)
Online Advertising (3rd Party)
• Offline Advertising
• Search Engine Optimisation
• Content Marketing (Blog)
• Email Marketing
• Viral Marketing
• Strategic Partnerships
• Direct Selling
• Affiliate Marketing
• Exhibitions & Trade Shows
• Speaking Engagements
• Guerrilla Marketing
• Influencer Marketing
• Direct Mail & Leafleting
• Sponsorship
• Publicity & PR
• SMS & Mobile Marketing
• Social Media (Organic)

So if we are going to advertise in Yoga Magazine, the channel is Offline Advertising. If we were going to try advertising on Facebook, that channel would be Social Advertising. If you were to approach some influencers on Instagram for endorsements, the channel would be Influencer marketing.

Iterate Your Way to Success

You first results are the worst. It would be amazingly lucky to get everything 100% correct first time out.

The great thing is, no matter what results you generate at first, you can simply iterate and iterate your way to success. You have so many dials to adjust. Customer profile, messaging, marketing channel and will take many combinations until you get things just right.

If you set out with the mindset of a scientist rather than being too attached to your marketing efforts, just see it as a process of finding the right formula – you’re setting out with the expectation to constantly test, measure and improve your marketing process.

So, you test a lead generation tactic that delivers mediocre results, you can improve it.

You try a piece of direct mail that misses the mark, improve it or lose it from your process completely.

Yes, you will have a few false starts and missteps, but the difference between marketing success and marketing failure, is just testing, iteration and persistence.

How to Get Glowing Customer Reviews

Marketing Strategy Workshop - Video No. 2

How to Get Glowing Customer Reviews

RULE 8 - Make Delight Your Minimum Standard.

In a world of online reviews and star ratings, it’s no longer enough to simply to deliver your product or service as expected.

More than ever, we need to delight and surprise our customers to get the kind of rave reviews that propel your business forward. The good news is, there are two proven ways to achieve this.

The first way is to deliver a truly remarkable experience to each and every customer with a big innovation which allows you to deliver your product or service in a way that is superior to anything else in the marketplace.

For example, if your courier service uses drones instead of vans to deliver any package within the hour, your innovation delivers a truly remarkable experience that will naturally spread.

More frequently, however, a remarkable customer experience is the sum of several small touches that add up to a something truly special.

Let me give you an example, a few years ago I took my family away for Christmas, and stayed in this hotel that was a beautiful old monastery once upon a time.

And around this time my little boy was only 3 and he was obsessed with the Disney movie Cars. So everyday, after being on the beach all day, we’d go to the front desk and ask for the Cars from their DVD library.

Now the service in this hotel was already good. The staff remembered everybody’s name, and even remembered which coffee blend and newspapers people preferred at breakfast.

Anyway, after a few days of getting the Cars movie out at the front desk it was Christmas eve. And there was a carol service in the main courtyard, so we all went. When we came back to the room, there on my little boy’s bed was a little toy car from movie, wrapped up in Cars wrapping paper.

Now the cost of that toy car to the hotel, was small. But the value, to us and to him – was overwhelming.

So good service that we may have mentioned if someone asked us about it, was suddenly transformed into superb service. Of course, we then left a great review on the hotel website, Trip Advisor, Google reviews – everywhere. Not to mention all the people we’ve personally recommended the hotel to.

The big takeaway here is that the margin between doing what’s expected and what’s exceptional is actually very narrow. It doesn’t take much to make people truly amazed.

Your customers could, but probably don’t receive birthday cards from you, anniversary cards, handwritten notes, text messages…you get the idea.

Try making a list of the special touches that you could include along the way when delivering your product or service. Special touches that would truly delight people.

How to Convert More Sales

Marketing Strategy Workshop - Video No. 2

How to Convert More Sales

RULE 7 - Overwhelm and Conquer.

As business owners, we often place a disproportionate amount of emphasis on the importance of lead generation. Yes, it’s great to get lots of people clicking, filling in forms and enquiring. But it’s important to be clear, a click is hardly any commitment at all, and a sales lead, a web form, a free trial sign up, even an inbound phone call, is still a very fragile, fleeting level of interest.

95% of marketing is about what happens after you get the sales lead.

Once you have the permission from an individual to tell them more about your product or service, you have a golden opportunity. You have the chance to build that, ‘OK I’m listening’ moment into a genuine connection. Now is the time to come alive, to stand out, to give a dazzling account of yourself.

Most businesses, however, will follow up a sales leads with a phone call or two, maybe an email if they can’t reach the prospect by phone. If there doesn’t seem to be an immediate sale on the cards, the lead is left to go cold.

As a professional marketer, I see first hand how much time money and effort goes into generating just one sales lead. The costs can easily run into hundreds per lead. Letting them quietly slip away is simply not an option!

Put it this way, if you were convicted of a crime you didn’t commit and you could to jail for a long time, you would invest some serious time and money building a case. You would collect irrefutable proof that it couldn’t have been you. You wouldn’t just fire off an email or make the odd phone call. You would commit.

Great marketing is simply the process of building an overwhelming case to buy your product or service. Delight people. Don’t let your competition get a look in. Invest in the tools you need to convince people to become customers. Remember, all anyone has to go on, before they become a customer, is what you tell them and the materials you give them.

Just imagine, if, the day after somebody fills in your web form, they received a box through the post packed with free gifts, case studies, product guides, testimonials, free samples and a handwritten note from you, introducing yourself. What effect do you think that would have on your conversion rate?

It’s just about making more effort than anyone else would dream of making.
And if after you make as much effort as possible, the prospect still doesn’t respond, simply then keep them in your database for regular, lighter touch marketing every month or two. You never know when their interest will reignite and you need to be top of mind when that happens.

Put simply, your sales leads aren’t converting into customers, you just haven’t built your case strongly enough.

Saying No has Power

Marketing Strategy Workshop - Video No. 2

Saying No has Power

RULE 6 - Be a Specialist Not a Generalist.

Trying to appeal to everybody is a sure fire way to waste a lot of money on your marketing without getting the results you were hoping for.

When you try to appeal to everyone, you lose the opportunity to appeal to anyone. Let me give you an example:

Let’s say you own a vitamins and health supplements business, and you’re looking to launch a new product. Your instinct may well lead you towards launching general health supplement that appeals to everyone, male and female, young and old, withe some general health benefits. After all, if you appeal to a bigger market, you’ll make more sales. Or so it seems.

What you’d actually end up with is a real marketing headache. You may very well find yourself running lots of generic marketing campaigns across several channels which would be very expensive. But that’s not the real problem. The real problem is that your messaging in those campaigns would be so broad and general, that it wouldn’t resonate with anybody. It would be ignored. Nobody can get excited over a product with such broad appeal.

Like many aspects of marketing, very often you have go against your natural inclination and swim against the tide. Rather than launch a product that tries to appeal to everyone, you’d develop a product for a specific niche. Using the health supplement example again, you might find, after some research that Yoga is exploding in popularity. So maybe a yoga health supplement would be an idea? Or, perhaps you could go even more niche, and develop a health supplement for pregnant women who practice yoga.

With a product that specific, you have a serious chance of success on your hands. Because now you can identify exactly where to launch your product.: yoga magazines, a couple of mum-to-be blogs, the ‘Pregnant Yoga’ YouTube channel and maybe you could contact a couple of Instagram influencers in that space. Job done. Congratulations. Your marketing budget is tiny.

The other huge benefit to launching a laser-focused product or service, is that your marketing messaging can be really specific. You can use language and benefits that connect directly to a very precise audience. Put it this way, if you were a pregnant woman who practised yoga and you saw a health supplement just for you – would you stop an take a look? If the product delivered genuine health benefits for you and your baby and even helped keep morning sickness at bay, would you consider buying them?

That’s the real power of being a specialist. You can execute marketing that really connects.

The big question that most business owners have about the decision to specialise, is: ‘If I specialise in niche, will I make enough money to sustain the business?’ The answer is yes. If you choose the correct niche. You must look for a deep and profitable niche. (i.e. one where there is money to be spent and plenty of potential customers.)

For example, if you are tax advisor and you decide to become a specialist within a niche, you may decide to work exclusively with professional footballers or high-net worth individuals. Both of those niches and deep and almost certainly profitable.

The other question I often hear is: ‘What happens when I exhaust my niche?’

The answer to that is even simpler. Once you dominate one niche, you just pick another, then another, then another.

And that, my friend, is how empires are built. One niche at a time.

Websites are Broken

Marketing Strategy Workshop - Video No. 2

Websites are Broken

RULE 5 - Your Website is Not for You.

All too often, the company website becomes a messy, confusing hybrid of what the business owner wanted and what the website designer wanted to build. As the website takes shape, new sections are added, the word count creeps up, the navigation gets more complex. As the opinions of the business owner, the team and web designer get louder and louder, your customer’s priorities get shunted further and further down the list.

The best performing websites however, belong to those business owners who plant themselves firmly in the shoes of their customer. And this actually makes building a website that works much easier, because your customers don’t care about your website the way you do. They care about themselves, and so you only have to worry about a very short list of priorities that every customer has.

To be specific, there are 3 key questions every new visitor to your website has.

These questions are:

  • What do you do?
  • What’s in it for me?
  • What do I do next?

That’s it. If your website answers these 3 questions within the first 5 seconds, I guarantee, your website is leaps and bounds ahead of the your competitors. In my experience, one webpage that answers these quickly, always massively outperforms a big, flashy website with lots of pages. (I’m sorry if you invested a fortune in a big, flashy website – it is not my intention to make you feel bad, but help you avoid doing it again in the future.)

Now, when you set out to answer these 3 questions, you’ll find that old habits die hard. For example, when you set out to answer the first question, ‘What do you do?’ you may well find yourself fighting the urge to over elaborate and over complicate. But remember, when you really are firmly in the shoes of your customer, you appreciate they don’t have the time or patience the read about when your business was established, or spend the time and effort translating the industry terms you use with peers and colleagues.

Let’s say, for example, your company builds iPhone apps.

What your customer needs is less of this:

‘We build holistic, immersive experiences for native digital platforms.’

(Nope. Not a word.)

And more of this:

‘We Build Amazing Apps.’

(Got it.)

Answering the second question, ‘What’s in it for me?’ is also fraught with danger. Your instinct, perhaps, is to dive straight into features, technical reasons as to why your processes and technology is far superior to the competition. But your customer, again, isn’t ready to hear that yet. The key is to meet your customer where they are.

The customer is more than likely doing little research into a potential suppliers and needs comfort that you can deliver a project on time, on budget at a fair price. Demonstrating that you understand her concerns and show empathy that she is most likely not as technically minded you, is a huge step forward and makes her feel at ease.

(Note: Examples of other instances you’ve achieved the same result for other customers are particularly powerful at this stage.)

Now your customer knows exactly what you do. And she is comfortable you can deliver. You move to question 3. ‘What do I do next?

Obviously, what you want is a meeting, a signed order form, a deposit. But your customer isn’t ready for this. She’s only just met you and she’s a click away from leaving if you push to hard.

Initially, how about you offer a quick instant chat to learn more about her project?

Or offer her access to your portfolio of previous work you’ve done?

Or offer her a free project checklist to see if she’s got everything she needs to begin the project?

These are all low or no risk conversation starters which gently ask for permission to start a more meaningful conversation.

And meaningful conversations, is how sales happen.

Rethinking Lead Generation

Marketing Strategy Workshop - Video No. 2

Rethinking Lead Generation

RULE 4 - Lead Generation is the Art of Getting Permission.

The days of interrupting people and trying to sell to them immediately are over. It just doesn’t work anymore. We’re swamped with thousands of marketing messages everyday, we actively block them out.

So we need to shift our thinking when it comes to lead generation. Whenever you hear the term ‘lead generation’ think about ‘getting permission’ instead.

So the purpose of marketing that introduces you for the first time, is not to sell, but to get permission from someone to communicate with them further.

Seth Godin’s classic marketing book Permission Marketing first advocated the concept of anticipated, relevant marketing that people actually looked forward to nearly twenty years ago. Many business owners though, didn’t believe that they could switch away from their aggressive, ‘interrupt and sell’ marketing methods as they were still working, to a degree.

Times have changed. In our hyper-connected, ultra-competitive world, your customers feeds, streams and timelines are packed with friends, family, film stars, politicians, sports stars, musicians, celebrity chefs, you get the picture. Trying to shout ‘Hey, you wanna buy one of these?’ over the noise is simply not going to work. Put simply, permission marketing is no longer an option.

So, how do you get permission from someone to market to them? Well, it’s not by saying, ‘Hey, is it ok if I send you some marketing stuff?’

You need to offer some genuine value up front. Give people an incentive in exchange for their permission.

In the world of software, for example, a simple way of getting permission is by offering a free trial. When someone signs up for a free trial, their contact details are being given to you, along with their permission to communicate further with them. So your next contact with that person is anticipated and if we do our job right, actually looked forward to.

But what if you don’t have a product or service that can be trialled for free? What can you give away that will attract new customers and build trust?

For most businesses, the answer is almost always the same. Knowledge.

Giving away your expertise is a great way of getting permission because it not only gives genuine value to your prospective customers up front, it also positions you an an expert in your field which gives you a massive head start on your competitors.

Now, quick caveat, the way in which lots of companies have been giving away knowledge in recent times, particularly online, is becoming less and less effective.

It’s become so commonplace to offer a free report, pdf or download in exchange for someone’s contact details, people have developed a level of fatigue and are just not that responsive. The world does not need another PDF download.

We need to offer something totally different to get permission from our prospects. Something that knocks them sideways.

You could record a video series, you could build a free course around your subject on teachable.com, you record an audiobook and give it away, you could present a series of live webinars. My point is, to attract serious volumes of new customers, we have to break out of the ordinary and offer something that will get someone genuinely excited and inspire them to give their contact details, and permission, in a heartbeat. Remember, to get exceptional results, you have be the exception.

Although this approach means there is some hard work to do up front, if you deliver genuine value to prospective customers, your lead generation activity becomes a breeze. With the right incentive, you can build a steady, predictable stream of highly engaged sales leads that are actually looking forward to hearing from you again. A few hours hard work will solve your lead generation problem for good. Permission matters.

The Power of Personality

Marketing Strategy Workshop - Video No. 2

The Power of Personality

RULE 3 - People Connect With People, Not Companies.

Brands spend millions, often hundreds of millions giving their symbol, their mark, their logo, meaning. Trying to make it stand for something. Branding is difficult, it’s expensive and it works.

Of course, nobody believes they’re susceptible to branding, but they are. I am. You are. The car you drive, the coffee you drink, the tomato ketchup you buy – it’s all down to the success of branding. (Don’t fight it, it’s already hardwired into your brain!)

What has this got to do with successfully marketing your own business?

Nothing.

Not unless you have millions to spend and decades to wait for anything like a return on investment. Nope, branding is not what we’re about, at all.

But the interesting thing about branding, is that at its core, it’s effectively the process of pouring human values into a mark or symbol for long enough, that the symbol starts to actually embody those values. So the brand elicits an emotional response from you whenever you see it. For example, whenever you see the Apple logo, the Nike swoosh or the Starbucks mermaid (yes, that’s what she is) – you feel something. You associate that brand with good things.

What if I told you that you can create the same level of trust, meaning and connection with your customers without spending millions?

What if you could do it for free?

You can. Whereas it takes a long time and a lot of money to get people to connect emotionally with a brand, people naturally connect with other people. It’s hardwired into us at a neurological level. You already have the power to make people instantly feel more connected to your business, the chances are, you’re just not using it yet.

The secret is to become the public face of your business and feature prominently in all of your company marketing materials. You’ll be amazed at the almost magical effect it has on people.

Although it can feel a little uncomfortable putting yourself front and centre, in your customers eyes, you immediately become an industry leader, a pioneer, a figurehead who is not afraid to stand right next to your product or service and say ‘I believe in this.’ You instantly give your business an edge that your competitors lack.

When I suggest this strategy at a speaking event, I can see the discomfort visibly spreading throughout the room. Business owners are naturally risk takers, but they are not all natural showmen. The idea of plastering your own face all over your own marketing makes most people shudder. (I’m sure they start imagining one of those American adverts shot on a car lot, ‘Come on Down to Big Ken’s Crazy Car Warehouse!’ – it goes without say, this is not what I mean.)

I get it. I really do. Being British, I suffer from the withering voice inside my head that says ‘Who on earth do you think you are?’ But, despite all of my instincts telling me to avoid putting myself at the centre of Marketing Renegade, it has, without doubt, been the most beneficial decision I’ve made.

If you do decide to put yourself front and centre of your marketing and you’ve not done publicity work before, start small. Get a photographer to take some professional photographs of you and add them to the website. Get a video production company to come and interview you and edit the interview down to snippets you can use online.

If you use professionals, you’ll be surprised at just how good you look and how well you come across. What will really shock you, however, is how many customers are attracted to your products and services because the business owner is prepared to stand up and be counted.

The Secret to Great Marketing

Marketing Strategy Workshop - Video No. 2

The Secret to Great Marketing

RULE 2 - Great Marketing Doesn’t Feel Like Marketing At All.

Marketing, and sales for that matter, is often maligned for being some kind of dark art that uses short term, sleazy tactics, to trick people into buying stuff they don’t need. And unfortunately, lots of marketing has become that way.

But good marketing doesn’t work that way at all.

When you see people queuing overnight outside the Apple store to get the latest iPhone, you don’t write it off a clever marketing ploy. But every element of an Apple product launch is meticulously choreographed and planned.

For example, for each new iPhone launch, Apple deliberately make far fewer new iPhones than required to meet demand. That way, the new iPhone always sells out. This is then fed back to the Press, who hail the new model a huge success, which increases demand for the next wave of iPhones that Apple have already began manufacturing. It’s great products and great marketing working in harmony. At no point did anyone feel pressured or uncomfortable. Quite the opposite. People actually queued overnight and felt genuinely lucky to actually be given the opportunity to hand their money over.

Similarly, an exclusive restaurant will often refuse to admit they have a free table that evening due to a last minute cancellation, but prefer to maintain a much more powerful position: ‘We’re booked up for the next 6 months sir, we could fit you in next March if that is suitable?’

Did they miss an opportunity to make a quick buck? Sure.

Was it worth it to avoid compromising the reputation they’d spent years crafting as the most exclusive restaurant in town. You bet.

My point is, marketing works best when you don’t notice it happening.

A useful exercise is to try and remember the last time you felt an urgent desire to part with your money. Not a grudge purchase like buying fuel for the car, or a locksmith to let you back in the house, but a purchase driven by a genuine excitement. A purchase that made the money you were spending seem irrelevant.

If you can remember an instance like this, you can start to deconstruct your decision making process.

Most likely, you will start to pinpoint certain key events that pushed you along the way. These events often appear to be completely random, but are very often deliberately constructed and executed as part of a marketing process. A process so subtle, you didn’t sense it happening.

For example, when you complimented a friend on her new pair of jeans, she told you all about them. How they are handmade in the Welsh valleys, made by people called ‘Grand Masters’, who can only make 100 pairs a week. And that every pair of jeans comes with a guarantee of free repairs for life, you listened to that story and remembered it.

That same week you heard interview with the founder of that denim brand (Hiut Denim – by the way) talking about the importance of sustainable, ethical fashion. The founder (David Hieatt) seemed interesting and heartfelt, so you went on the website and signed up to the free newsletter. You received a personal email from the David just saying hi, and then went on to receive useful, interesting, funny emails for months until, eventually, when old jeans got a hole in, instead of going to Zara like you used to, you bought the yourself the best pair of jeans you’ll ever buy.

This turn of events seems random but every step of the way was pre-determined by the brand. Even the bit when your friend told you the story about the jeans. Hiut denim made all of those decisions, crafted their (true) story, and shared that story with their customers so they would retell it. Yes, hearing the founder on the radio has an element of good timing, but David puts himself forward as a spokesperson for ethical, sustainable fashion and he has story to tell, so even if you’d missed that interview you’d have seen or heard him in the media eventually.

Finally, the most obviously engineered part of the process, the website did it’s job perfectly. You weren’t quite ready to buy first time out, but they had a simple yet devastatingly simple way to capture your interest and stay in touch until you were ready to buy.

As I said. Great marketing does not feel like marketing at all.

4 Vanity Metrics Every Business Owner Should Avoid

4 Vanity Metrics Every Business Owner Should Avoid

We all like a pat on the back.

To be complimented now and again. 

And although a little ego-boost is nice, it doesn’t actually help us to improve.

To develop.

To become a better person.

Similarly, marketers LOVE metrics that make them feel good.

Metrics that sound impressive but are actually of very little practical value.

We call them ‘vanity metrics’. 

And vanity metrics are a dangerous trap to fall into.

They’re statistical red herrings that distract you from the real metrics you should be tracking and obsessing over. 

4 Vanity Metrics to Avoid

Below are some of the most commonly used vanity metrics that marketers place a lot of importance on.

You are probably very familiar with them and perhaps even guilty of placing way too much emphasis on them yourself…

  1. Page Views
  2. Email Subscribers
  3. Followers & Fans
  4. Social Media Stats

Page Views

Although scoring a ton of page views for your blog post indicates you have been creating high-quality content, it’s only a surface level statistic.

At Marketing Renegade, like many businesses, we use blog posts to attract prospective customers – ideally marketers and business owners like yourself.

But as you may have already noted, rather than just posting and hoping, we always, ALWAYS, include a call-to-action at the bottom of every blog post.

This allows our team to track a much more useful metric than just page views. We actively track the number of sign-ups to our marketing course generated by each and every blog post.

Going a step further, we also track which sign ups then go ahead turn into paying customers, giving us a firm return on investment figure for every single blog post we’ve ever written.

What’s interesting is that we have had blog posts that appear very successful on the surface, with lots of page views and sign-ups, but have then failed to deliver any sales revenue of note.

Conversely, we’ve also had blog posts that have delivered just a handful of prospective customers, but almost every single one went ahead and spent money with us.

The page views statistics alone were misleading and would have led us to write more of the wrong kinds of blog posts – wasting resources and costing us in sales revenue.

Vanity metrics can hurt.

Number of Email Subscribers

Business owners love a big number. ‘Join our list of 200,000 subscribers!’

Yes, it sounds impressive – but how many of those subscribers are actively plugged in, listening and engaging with your emails on a regular basis?

Many marketers assume that the open rate is the ‘engagement’ measure of any email list.  The email open rate, although way more useful than your subscriber total, is only a surface level metric too.

An open rate, (calculated by the number of emails opened divided by the number of emails sent) is actually a better indicator of how effective the timing and subject line of your email is. 

An opened email is one thing, an email that gets people clicking is way more telling.

Your ‘click-through rate’ is a firm indicator of how powerful your email copy and call-to-action is.

If you can get people clicking, there’s a good chance you can get them to enquire or purchase.

Going even deeper, an often overlooked yet brilliant way of measuring how responsive your subscriber list is, is to ask people to reply directly to a marketing email.

If you receive 100 replies from a list of 200 subscribers, you have a way more engaged list than most businesses that boast huge subscriber numbers but actually get very little back in the way of response or replies.

Of course, your click-through rate and response rate can then easily be tracked through to a sales conversion and ultimately revenue generated – which, of course, are the best metrics to measure genuine marketing success by.

Followers & Fans

So many businesses focus on how many followers, fans and connections they have on social media.

These meaningless totals are the very epitomai of vanity metrics.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the other usual suspects have invented an almost worthless currency that we have all been told to chase at any cost.

It’s time we stop and ask: ‘what am I actually getting back here?’

Afterall, business owners spent thousands building their list of fans and followers across several social platforms, only to see engagement levels plummet as the same platforms actively engineered business messages out of followers news feeds, forcing companies towards their paid advertising products instead.

So even people actively following your business on Facebook or Twitter are actually quite unlikely to see your posts unless you pay for the privilege.

Talk about moving the goalposts.

 

Social Media Stats

It’s not just fan and follower totals that we obsess over.

Business owners and marketers also get disproportionately excited by hollow social media stats like views, shares, retweets, and likes.

I recently bumped into a business owner who was super excited that a video he shared on Facebook had achieved a million views.

It wasn’t even a video about his business, it was just vaguely related to his industry.

When I asked him how many sales he had made as a consequence of a MILLION views, he seemed quite offended that I was boiling it down to such a vulgar metric…

‘Not everything is about return on investment you know.’

Sorry. Call me old-fashioned, but isn’t that exactly what marketing is about.

Here’s the takeaway, be ruthless, ditch the vanity metrics and get laser-focused on the stats that matter.

Spend some time with your team working out a clearly defined strategy for only measuring the marketing analytics that match the exact goals you are looking to achieve. 

Vanity metrics might make you feel good every now and then, but don’t let them steer you away from the useful, actionable metrics that matter.

You know, those old-fashioned ones like return on investment, sales revenue and the vulgar statistic of all – profit.