Do you regard your advertising as a cost or an investment?

As a marketing consultant, I regularly see businesses make a big mistake by not taking into consideration the value of repeat sales when they review the performance of their advertising and measure its profitability.

Determining whether your advertising is working (is it profitable?), you need to look at advertising as a long-term investment. When evaluating your advertising, you need to take into consideration repeat sales from each new customer your advertising produces. Nearly all businesses earn the majority of their sales and profits on repeat sales, not first time sales. Understanding this concept is one of the secrets to building a successful business.

For example, let’s say you run a small quarter page ad in your local community newspaper. This small ad costs you R2 000. From this single ad you attract five customers who each buy R300 worth of your products. From that information you would think that you had a loss of R500 on that ad because you paid R2000 for it, but you only generated R1 500 in sales. However, upon scrutinizing the long-term effect of those five new customers, a whole new picture emerges.

Let us say that each of those five new customers purchases an additional R600 of merchandise from you over the next 11-months. When you take that into consideration, your R2000 ad has now generated R4 500 in sales. What if each of those five customers purchases an additional R1 000 of merchandise from you the following year? Now, your original R2 000 ad has generated R 9 500 in sales over a 24-month period. Suddenly your return on your advertising investment is looking very positive.

That is why it’s essential that you view the profitability of your advertising on a long-term scale, yet most advertisers tend to judge their campaigns after one or two adverts. It is a sure-fire recipe for failure. The goal of advertising is to generate long-term customers and repeat sales. Your objective as a business owner must always be to generate faithful repeat customers, not one-time sales.

Let’s now add the amazing power of referrals to your advertising strategy. What if two of your five new customers valued your products so much that they told two of their friends about you and these two friends each become long-term customer of your business. What if those two friends each purchase a few thousand rands worth of products from you over the next two years? Are you seeing the positive result and the tremendous long-term value of that initial R2000 ad you placed?

I hope that this gives you a better understanding of advertising as an investment. It is essential that you track the source of every new customer. Whenever you talk to a new customer you must ask the customer “how did you hear about us?”, then you need to track the source of that customer and measure how many sales that customer makes over time. One of the key drivers of business growth is to have a clear sense of the lifetime value of a customer.

Figure out what a customer is worth to you over a purchasing lifetime, the total aggregate profit that each customer can generate for you, minus all advertising, marketing and service expenses.

In summary, before you discard your advertising strategies because they are not immediately generating a profit, you must first test, measure and understand the value of a new customer over time. Stop looking at advertising as a quick-fix and short term expense. Start viewing advertising for what it really is, a long-term investment and when managed correctly can dramatically grow your profits.

If you want help with your marketing, branding and advertising, then call me today. Nobody can negotiate better media deals for you. I’m talking about improving and guaranteeing your returns by over 33% for the same current investment that you make.

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

Count your blessings

“Some complain that roses have thorns – others rejoice that thorns have roses!” – Unknown

The universal and powerful Law of Gratitude states very simply, ‘The more grateful you are for what you have, the more abundance you will attract into your life’.

Gratitude works in direct association with the Law of Attraction. Being grateful and appreciative for what you already have in the present, sends out a powerful feeling of faith for an abundant future. The grateful mind is constantly locked on attracting the best into your life; therefore the person who is constantly creating this feeling automatically becomes the best that they can be.

To focus on what you lack in your life is a guaranteed way to set the same universal law to work against you with negative results.

Truly spiritual and enlightened people constantly maintain an attitude of gratitude. They know the magical power of gratitude. They know that gratitude brings you more of what you appreciate. They know that gratitude attracts more of what you are grateful for.

When you find things that you appreciate and you use them as your point of focus, then your world has to get better in every area of your life. Grateful souls know that every time they flood their mind with gratitude and appreciation, they attract more of what they desire.

Action exercise

Look around you right now. What can you be grateful for? Make a list. This creates a feeling so strong that it serves as a powerful antidote to negative feelings.

When you appreciate something, you turn your attention to it. Find something to be grateful for today. When you are grateful, you create a high energy vibration that will attract more things to be grateful for and more good things will come to you almost magically, drawn in by your feelings of gratitude.

“God gave you a gift of 86 400 seconds today. Have you used one to say ‘thank you?” – William A. Ward

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

 

Have you tried freebie marketing?

Offering something for free to your clients and customers doesn’t sound like the smartest way to boost you profit, but executed correctly, it can do exactly that.

What can freebie marketing do for your business?:

  • View freebies as a marketing weapon, not with the mind-set that it’s simply a ‘giveaway’.
  • It allows customers to build a level of trust with you.
  • Encourage prospects to sample products and services they may not normally buy.
  • They make customers feel that they are getting something extra, especially if bundled as an extra bonus. This builds loyalty and reciprocity.
  • Freebies can be a great incentive to get existing customers to promote your business – especially in the age of social media where endorsing your product or service only takes the click of a button.

Ideas to creatively and beneficially use freebies:

  • Use a free offer to launch a new product or service and generate positive PR.
  • Find something in your business that is inexpensive for you to generate, but will have a high perceived value. This might be a high margin product or some information or expertise.
  • Use the free offer as an extra reward for loyal customers. The wording of your giveaway is important.
  • Offer an initial analysis for free if you provide a service. This will demonstrate your skills and start a relationship.
  • Offer free items as part of a competition. But, your customers must feel that there is a reasonable chance of winning.

Just about any kind of business (even service companies) can benefit by using freebies and giveaways to promote their businesses. Creatively offering something for free to your prospects helps you to reach new clients quickly and is an effective way of getting customers and prospects through the door and growing your business.

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

Getting ready to live

“Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.” – Deepak Chopra

Do you live in a perpetual state of getting ready to live? Getting ready to live is not living. Many people spend life as if they’re travelling on a non-stop speeding train. The analogy is that while the train is speeding, the view from the window is nothing more than a blur. Slow down, the view becomes much clearer, and you have time to create the life you deserve.

Your self-motivation will grow when:

1. You let go of the past
Before you can create a better future, you must let go of the pains of your past. Failing once does not mean you will fail forever. Learn from your experiences, but don’t let it stand as an obstacle between you and your dreams. Don’t live your life staring into the rear view mirror.

2. You remember success
Just as important as learning from and overcoming past failure is remembering past success. It doesn’t matter who you are, you have succeeded at something at some time in your past. Concentrate on your strengths and achievements. Use them to remind yourself that you have the ability to achieve your goals.

3. You realise that your potential and possibilities are endless
Everything is possible. The dreams that you hold, but sometimes suppress are within your reach. You can create a better life for yourself starting today.

“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.” – Khalil Gibran

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

The ultimate secret of success – providing value to others

Money is a useful symbol that represents and measures the value of goods and services exchanged between people. The key word in that definition is VALUE. The Law of Income states that you will be paid in direct proportion to the value you deliver according to the marketplace.

I firmly believe that the only way to create value for yourself is by creating value for others.

I’m frequently asked this question, “Why do you spend so much time writing and distributing a free newsletter to thousands of people?”  The answer is simple – the world doesn’t care how hard you work. It doesn’t care how intelligent you are. It doesn’t care how creative you are. It only cares about the value you’re actually getting into people’s hands. That’s how you earn your keep – for value delivery, nothing else! Society reciprocates kindly when value is exchanged.

Develop an enabling mindset and become a more thoughtful and generous provider of value to others. This is ultimately what wealth creation is all about. If you want to increase your own success, both financially and personally, start looking for ways to create massive value for others.

“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.” –  Zig Ziglar

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

Are your meetings a waste of time?

‘Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything.’ – John Kenneth Galbraith

Does your company have non-stop meetings? Are they boring, unfocussed and time-consuming? Do these meetings get in the way of ‘real work’?

I find it strange that the activity (meetings) which is most central to effectively running organisations is so often unproductive. Information flow is critical and good meetings can accelerate decision making and communication. This is why I find it mind-blowing that companies and teams don’t establish ways to maximise the value of every single meeting.

I list a few ideas how to optimise your meetings:

1.     Deliberate, thoughtful planning for every meeting is a key. Most people seem to pitch up for a meeting because that’s the regular scheduled time, then only do they switch on. No preparation.

2.     Lay out what needs to be discussed and by whom.

3.     Participants must be encouraged to express honest opinions. Poor managers don’t invite debate and even conflict. This is vital to good decision making and ultimately good execution.

4.     Have a meeting audit. Just because a regularly held meeting was critical in the past, doesn’t mean it delivers value today. Do an audit of frequently scheduled meetings to maximise frequency, length, format and attendees.

5.     Create an effective agenda.  Setting up an agenda is often a basic that is overlooked in meetings. And I don’t mean the same standard agenda that has been existence for five years.

6.     Ensure active facilitation. The chair should do much more than see that the meeting stays on schedule. The chair must frame subjects in a way that leads to participation and focus. The goal of the meeting is to discuss, debate, agree, solve problems and provide strategy.

‘A meeting is an event where minutes are taken and hours wasted.’ – James T. Kirk

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

Common sense marketing ideas to grow your business

I recall a quote from Mark Twain that said, “Common sense ain’t all that common”. I now know what Twain meant. Every day I speak and listen to business people that face possible extinction, yet they show no interest in using powerful and free common sense marketing ideas to help their businesses grow.

I list eight for you:

  1. Formalise a referral strategy

The success or failure of many businesses depends on the referrals they get, or don’t get. List your twelve best referral sources and then work that list. Don’t be shy. Just ask! Most people given the opportunity to help you, will. Add to the list as soon as you get new referral sources.

  1. Become a master at converting leads into customers

Get trained. Do whatever it takes to be good at converting leads. You’re in the business to generate prospects so that you can turn these prospects into customers. Has your sales staff mastered turning prospects into buyers? No amount of advertising or marketing can replace a conversion expert.

  1. Write an article that challenges your industries rules

When a person challenges an industry perception that seems to be reasonable, then that challenge receives attention. Standing out from the crowd is the perfect way to position yourself as an authority figure in your industry. The benefit for your reputation and sales will be immense.

  1. Write “how to” pamphlets or e-booklets for your customers and prospects

The more you educate your prospects, the more chance you have of being the expert to whom they turn. This will help you become a personality in your field.

  1. Use sampling as a sales tool

If you have a product or service that you can give away for free, you’ll find this a lucrative way to market your business. This is a great way to introduce your product or service to a prospect. You can also sample by offering a product or service on a trial basis.

  1. Send out a newsletter

A personalised newsletter can be educational, informational, interesting and entertaining. It can also be a powerful sales tool. Your newsletter does not have to be lengthy or complicated. It’s a low cost way to maintain critical customer contact. Send it out fortnightly, monthly or even quarterly, but send it out!

  1. Establish three ways to make it easier for people to do business with you

Most businesses have systems and processes that seem designed to make it complicated to do business. Look at every aspect of your business and ask yourself, “If I was a customer of mine, what would make it easier and more convenient to do business with me?” List three strategies that would make it easier for people to do business with you, implement these and then repeat the exercise every three months.

  1. Stay in touch with your customers

The best place to find growth for your business is right under your nose, in your current client base. Companies though, seem more hell-bent on the more difficult option, that being, focusing on constantly looking for new customers. Regular and effective contact with your current customers will increase your sales by a big margin. Have you re-sold, up-sold or cross-sold to every single one of your current customers? Don’t wait for these customers to return to you, go to them.

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

 

Do more of the seven things you can’t do too much of

If your goal is to grow your business in 2014, then there are seven essentials that you can never do too much of. If growth is your wish, then in my opinion:

  1. You cannot service your customers too much.
  2. You cannot educate enough.
  3. You cannot inform too much.
  4. You cannot make doing business with you too easy or too much fun.
  5. You cannot take follow-up or follow-through too far.
  6. You cannot make calling or coming into your business too desirable.
  7. You cannot build a big enough network.

How do you and your team rate in these seven essential areas?

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

Build a website and they will come…or not?

One of the most costly myths of online marketing is that all the money is made by websites – while email is just a useful add-on. The reality is that it’s actually the other way around.

Websites definitely have a “build it and they will come” appeal. Simply building a site won’t ensure that you have traffic.

We’re advised to believe that it’s all about websites, because we’re used to spending money on Amazon, Kalahari, Takealot and the other big online retail sites. For those mega brands, everything does tend to revolve around the website. For the small and medium size business owners who are most successful online, their most significant profits come from their email marketing, not their websites. Obviously you need a web presence or shop window to direct people to from your emails, but it’s the consistent and effective use of email that drives customers back to your website.

Having a good website that is not reinforced with great email marketing is a common and costly business mistake.

How long did you spend planning and creating your website? How many hours did you spend thinking about it, talking to web designers and making changes and improvements to it?

How much time have you spent planning and developing an email strategy and sending powerful and compelling emails to your customers on a regular basis?

If you spent more time on the website than you have on the email marketing, you may have it the wrong way around.

Websites may have been the first wonder of the Internet, but the most powerful tool for marketing, the most powerful tool for branding, the most powerful tool for direct response, and the most powerful tool for building customer relationships is email. It’s inexpensive, it’s easy and everybody on the Internet has an address.

There are 3.2 billion email users worldwide.

It’s faster than a speeding bullet. It’s able to leap over tall assistants with a single click. Are you using it correctly and effectively to grow your business?

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

How to create a powerful marketing message?

Without the right marketing message, your business is in trouble.

Most businesses don’t have a well-crafted message. Today I’m going to give you a concept, that if followed, is guaranteed to give you a marketing message that will resonate with your target market.

The three letters which is extremely important in creating an effective marketing message is – USP. They stand for Unique Selling Proposition. To develop your Unique Selling Proposition you need to answer this critical question:

“Why should I choose to do business with you versus any and every other option available to me in your category?”

Do you have a good answer to that? Your answer cannot be something like “We offer quality” or “Our product or service is better”. These are marketing generalisations and offer nothing unique. Every company says that. It has zero impact.

You need to have a specific answer to the above question that is benefit-focused towards your ideal client.

I remind you of the important question that you must answer: “Why should I choose to do business with you versus any and every other option available to me in your category?”

If you can answer this question in a way that is of benefit to your target audience then you are guaranteed a very powerful marketing message.

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za