All posts by Meredith

Why Knowing Your Numbers Will Set You Free

When it comes to your business knowing your numbers is what is going to give you control over your business. It can show where to concentrate your efforts (ie. where the money is), and it can show you where not to waste those efforts.

Knowing your numbers is at the heart of any sales training. And sales is the heart of any business.

If you need to make 4 sales per week and your closing rate is 20%, then you know you need to talk to 20 people to make those 4 sales. That’s 4 people a day. There’s your goal – and your plan is based on how to get those 4 phone calls a day. All businesses come down to that principle in the end.

 You might do better one week than another – you might work to improve your close rate – but at least you will have a target to aim for.

So getting those phone calls is where the funnel comes in – and a funnel is everything about the numbers – because it is about getting people who don’t know you to a sale.  As the diagram above illustrates, only 3% of prospects are ready to but right now, and only another 7% are open to the possibility. That’s 1 in 10. The rest need careful nurturing over time.

There are 4 stages to the funnel – Awareness > Capture > Nurture > Sale

Awareness – very often in an online business that means Facebook ads (but can include content marketing, social media,  messaging campaigns, etc)

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Capture – is the freebie you get them to sign up for in exchange for their email address. This is where the marketing truly begins.

Nurture – the email drip campaign that educates and nurtures people towards >

The Sale – either via a phone call or ecommerce click

Using the 80/20 rule you can estimate how many calls you can generate in our analogy above – so –

1000 people see your Facebook Ad (Awareness)

20% sign up = 200 (Capture)

20% are nurtured towards a sale = 
40 people buy the VIP Day

20% who come to the VIP Day go on to by the Annual Coaching Program = 8

Knowing these numbers gives you the power and direction.

  It is no longer guesswork. It becomes predictable. You know that if you pay $XX in Facebooks ads you will get 1000 views = 200 signup = 40 VIP sales = 8 Program sales.

This is a good benchmark – but in order to know what YOUR numbers are you need to actually run some promotions to find out. Do you get more than 20% – do you get less? What income is generated when compared to the costs of getting those sales?

Test it – track the results – see what can be improved to get better results next time. See what doesn’t work and that you can drop.

 You don’t start off with this knowledge. It is only through trying things out that you find out what works and what doesn’t. But when you find out those numbrs you re golden, because then you know that if you spend $XX you will get $XXX in return. It is predictable.

Facebook ads are a good analogy. You don’t just throw a lot of money at an ad you think is going to work. You try 4 different ads, test them all with a little money, see which one delivers, and only then do you put the big money into the winning ad.

It is exactly the same with your funnel and your sales process.

The ultimate goal in any business is to have a predictable income, and you can only do that by knowing your numbers.

  Why do so many people abandon their business and go back to a job? Predictability. With a wage you know how much is coming in – each and every week. But you can do that in your business as well – eventually.

Of course, circumstances change. What worked last year might not work this year. But if you are tracking your numbers you will see precisely where there is a problem – sometimes even down to a particular email.  Knowing there is a problem allows you to take action to fix it before any lasting damage is done, and improv the process towards predictability.

If your goal is to make $100K then how many customers is that – per year – per month – per week? Where are those customers going to come from? How much does it cost to acquire a customer? What is the average lifetime value of that customer?

Knowledge is power. Knowing your numbers puts you in control of your business. You won’t know when you start out, but going into each promotion with numbers in mind will allow you to build on each new funnel you try,  building on what works, discarding what doesn’t. Knowing where you are in terms of the goal you are trying to reach.

Knowing your numbers will set you free!

The Only 3 Ways to Grow Your Business

New Year’s is a bit like Christmas for Entrepreneurs.  The old year is ending and a new year is starting full of possibilities.  It is easy to set “all the goals” for your business.   When I get into “kid in the candy store” planning mode…  I like to rewatch this video from Jay Abraham about the only three ways you can grow your business.

In the video, Jay Abraham outlines the following three keys levers for business growth.  They are the key to the funnels we build for our clients in Active Campaign.

Increase the number of clients, convert more new prospects into paying customers.

This is where most people focus their efforts though lead magnets, Facebook ads, and webinars.  Unfortunately, this is also the most expensive part of the sales funnel and the riskiest.  Yes, you need to be bringing people into your funnel, but you are leaving money on the table by not paying attention to the other two growth levers.

Increase the average transaction, get each client to buy more at each purchase.

Upsells can significantly increase your bottom line.  Instead of just offering a class, you can offer extras ranging from checklists and trackers to bonus time with you.  You can also increase your profits by strategically raising your prices.

We’ve helped several clients to increase their product launch profits both by adding purchases earlier in the funnel with inexpensive paid webinars and at the end of the funnel with strategic upsells.

Increase the frequency that the average client buys from you, get each customer to buy from you more often.

One of the easiest ways to make money in your business is to offer your customers additional opportunities to buy.  For example, we had a client who sold olive oil.  We added an email sequence that was sent to customers 2 months after their purchase (about when most people re-order) offering a discount on a new bottle.  This sequence was very successful in increasing sales.

Would you like to see how this could work in your business?  Contact us to schedule a brainstorming session today.

Targeting EVERYONE and Reaching Nobody.

Lately, I’ve been talking to community members, potential clients and others who are firmly in the “the more eyeballs the merrier camp”.  The idea is that if you can get your message in front of as many people as possible then someone is bound to purchase.  This used to be true – especially when the number of media outlets were limited and it was impossible to really target down your audience too much.

At that point, advertising was REALLY expensive… because we were paying for many. many eyeballs we didn’t need to attract.

I remember running a radio ad campaign to recruit people to join a local government business growth program.  Because the local TV station covered three states, we ended up paying for thousands of people to see our ads who never would be opening a business through our program.   It was nearly impossible for small businesses to compete because they couldn’t afford to get in front of enough people to make enough sales to grow.

Social media has changed all of that. You can now target the smallest possible slice of ideal clients for you.  Small businesses (and even solopreneurs) can 100% compete with large companies, they just need to be very clear on who that ideal client is.

And, in my experience, this is the part that people tend to skip.  It is very tempting to jump straight into setting up that lead magnet and running those ads.  The problem is that untargeted ads are expensive and ineffective.

You really need to create a Buyer Persona.  I could go on and on about how having a clear sense of who your ideal customer is will help your business.  But, I won’t.  Sharon Woodcock did a great job of doing that in a great post on the 8 Reasons Why You Need  A Buyer Persona.

8 Reasons You Need A Buyer Persona

1. Determine motivators: goals, fears, desires, values, and needs
2. Know what their needs are at each stage of the customer journey
3. Create an effective marketing strategy that feels authentic to you
4. Get better and more qualified leads, who are a great fit for you
5. Communicate in language that connects, resonates and converts
6. Differentiate yourself from your competitors, and stand out in a crowded market
7. Create products and services that fulfill your ideal audience’s needs
8. Create content and stories that align with the customer journey(Check out her post for how to get started on diving into your dream clients)

Have you created your ideal buyer persona?  Who are they?  Share them in our Solo Biz Hacker Facebook group 🙂

 

 

[Active Campaign] Segmenting Your Email List

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In this video Meredith shows you how to discover specific segments of your audience using the segmenting tricks available in Active Campaign. Clever stuff! And very useful.

[Active Campaign] Encouraging Engagement in Emails

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In this video Meredith shows you how to use the conditional waiting time settings in your automated sequences to encourage readers to click a link or reply to the email. Essentially it means offering some kind of reward for doing so.

[Active Campaign] Creating Conditional Content in Emails

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A useful way to segment an audience is by creating conditional content – ie. content specific to a particular group on your email list – often associated with particular tags. eg. People with TAG 1 see content A; people with TAG 2 see content B etc. Meredith Eisenberg of https://SoloBizHacker.com shows you how to create conditional content in Active Campaign.

[Active Campaign] Using Goals to Take Someone Out of an Email Sequence

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Meredith shows you how to use goals in Active Campaign to take people out of an email sales sequence once they have purchased the product. There’s nothing more annoying to a customer than keep getting emails trying to sell them the product they have just purchased – it makes it really feel that you are not paying them any attention!

Huge Shift – Are You Being Left Behind?

There is currently a huge shift going on in the online business world, a shift that is being driven by the evolution of consumers and consumer expectations that has really taken place in only the last couple of years.

It is what we call the “Netflix difference”.

Does anyone watch cable anymore? I mean what kind of a business model is it when you have to spend at least $150 per month to get a whole bunch of channels you never watch, and when there is something you want to watch you have to be there at the time they say to watch it?

Why do that when for $10 per month and an internet connection you can watch what you want to watch, when you want to watch it? That’s the “Netflix Difference”.

Consumers are getting used to having more choice – and used to having their choices on-demand. As an online business owner you can ignore this trend at your peril – just don’t be surprised if you get run over by other business owners who have embraced the change.

And that change is AI (artificial intelligence).

We’re not talking Skynet or killer robots here.

In business terms, we are talking about providing customers with a more tailored and personalized experience, providing them with what they are looking for, when they are looking for it. However, by utilizing the latest AI driven technologies you can do this auto-magically – combining analytics, email marketing and social media to get more visibility, convert more prospects into customers, and to get customers to buy more.

Sounds awesome, I hear you thinking, but I don’t have a clue how to do any of that! Don’t worry, you don’t have to struggle with this alone – there are people who know how to do this – like us.

So what kind of customer processes are we talking about – and how is this going to help my business?

There are basically only 3 ways to grow a business –

  • Get more customers,
  • Sell higher priced items to customers,
  • Get current customers to purchase more frequently.

So let’s give you some examples of how AI driven data and autoresponder-based CRMs can help you with all three –

Click here for our free course on leveraging technology to get more visible and grow your business automatically

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Visibility
Some autoresponders (like Active Campaign) allow you to create a custom audience on Facebook based on the actions they take in your emails. So, for example, you can send out an email (and or SMS, if you have their phone number), and a Facebook Ad – to everyone who clicked a link in a previous email sending them to your web page about your retreat (you need a minimum of 100 people to create a custom audience).

You can also track where they are through any given sequence. So, for example, if they are doing your multi-part e-course and they finish the final lesson, you can send them a message through Facebook Messenger through Chat Bot saying “Congratulations on finishing the course! Have you thought about scheduling a Roadmap session with us?”

One of the benefits of your email service working together with Facebook is that you can engineer it so that people see you in multiple places – its all building those essential 11 touch points you need before someone takes notice of you.

Be Seen Everywhere
Retargeting is where you build an audience through people who have been pixeled by Facebook when they visit one or more of your website pages. Facebook ads can be targeted to people who have been pixeled, specifically. You have probably experienced the sensation yourself where you have been researching a product in Amazon only to have that product appear in an ad next time your visit your Facebook page – that’s ‘retargeting’ – and it is a vital component of making yourself visible on the web.

So, for instance, let’s say that you are doing an outreach campaign on LinkedIn. Not only are people seeing your messages and content on the LinkedIn platform itself, but you can download your contacts from LinkedIn and create a custom audience in Facebook and target them with Facebook Ads. You suddenly have jumped into their universe in multiple ways so that when you suggest getting on a phone call in your LinkedIn messaging, chances are they have seen you on Facebook too, are more aware of you and therefore more likely to accept that invitation. That is very different to just being seen in one place – eg. feeling like you are being bombarded by someone’s emails, or always seeing someone’s Facebook Ads in your stream. The trick is to be seen in multiple different places rather than too much in just one place.

The beauty of retargeted ads is that they are a lot less expensive than normal ads – you just need a minimum of 100 pixeled people for it to work.

So then these individuals may well have have seen the information on your website, on Facebook – and they will probably get an email too, if they are on your email list; LinkedIn if they come from a LinkedIn messaging campaign, and maybe other social media, such as Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc. It is in that way that you achieve the multiple touch points – and a lot of that can be automated – and tracked (see below).

That automation can then be set up to take them out of that custom audience and/or email promo sequence at anytime they make a purchase of that product. That way you don’t keep bombarding them with ads and emails when they have already bought the product.

You can then go on to create a target audience of the people who bought the product and target THEM with ads for another product in your line, or an accessory to the first product – as an upsell to that audience. Remember, it is far easier to sell to a customer who has already bought something from you than it is to sell to a new customer.

Prospect Segmenting
When someone first subscribes to your list via an optin offer, you should take the time to get to know them – and also to get them in the right segments in your list.

So your first email after a sign up might be “Hi, thank you for signing up – here’s a little bit about us, here’s what to expect from me, I’d love to learn little bit more about you so I can better help you with what you need….” This will allow you to collect valuable information about your new prospect.

It can be as simple as ‘reply to this message’, maybe with an automation to ask them again if you haven’t heard back from them in a certain time – or it could be setting a series of questions with links to blog posts so you can track what they are interested in by what link they click on:

click here if you sell physical products …
click here if you sell information products …
click here if you sell one-on-one services …

So, for instance, if they indicate they sell physical products by clicking that link, in the next follow-up email (automated), you might talk about the problems that you see people selling physical products having – which is a really personalized message – it is clear that you have taken notice of what the prospect is interested in.

This sequence is almost like doing a survey over the course of a couple of messages in order to get to know people better.

Customers like to feel that you are paying attention to them and it helps build that ‘like and trust’ with the customer. Nothing is more annoying to a customer than having bought a product, being continually targeted by emails and Facebook ads that are pitching them for the very same product. It makes them feel like no-one is paying attention to what they are doing.

As marketers, we may understand that it is a mass email going out to a whole list but, to the customer, that email is from you to him/her. And if there is anything off in your message to them in terms of where they are then that’s going to shoot down the trust and likability factor immediately. (There is nothing more annoying than to get emails pitching a product you already own!)

Some of the data that can be used for segmenting includes (but isn’t limited to):

How they got on your list (what lead magnets they’ve signed up for)
The pages they’ve visited on your site (if your autoresponder has site tracking)
The links they’ve clicked in your emails (this is a great way of getting demographic info)
The products they’ve purchased
The actions they’ve taken on your site (have they opened messages, shared your content…)

As you can see… the possibilities are endless. Plus, modern autoresponders, like Active Campaign, make it easy to create slight variations of messages to go out to different groups. This is called conditional content – and is a big timesaver.

Click here for our free course on leveraging technology to get more visible and grow your business automatically

Another way to segment your audience is to use lead scoring.

Lead Scoring
Lead Scoring is the ability to assign a points value to different actions that your prospect takes. For example, you might assign 1 point if they visit a web page, 5 points if they share your content on social media, 10 points if they sign up for your free optin, 15 points if the purchase a small tripwire product, such as your book. Then you can create trigger points so that, for example, if they reach 20 points you know they must be interested in what you have to offer as they have taken more than 2 interactions with your online presence, so that triggers a particular automated email sequence based on their interests, and with the aim of getting them to purchase a higher priced item – all done completely automatically and trigger by a prospects interactions with your various web presences. You want to get people while they are interested in you – and before that interest wanders on to something – or somebody – else.

Another way that lead scoring can be very valuable in rewarding your very best customers – your evangelists – is to track the things they do and when they have done enough ‘things’ (per their lead score), it triggers some kind of reward – maybe a free mug, or tee-shirt, or even a coupon-based reward of some sort.

Customer service > upselling
This is the place where people leave the most money on the table. Business owners tend to be very focused on getting people to purchase, but then having got the sale they ignore the customer and move on to the next prospective sale.

As we said previously, it is, in fact, far easier to get someone to buy again, having previously spent money with you, than it is to get someone new to buy.

What well executed automation for customer service does is meets people where they are and helps them consume your product, helps them give feedback, and helps them move on to the next product and/or re-purchase.

So, for example, we have a client that sells flavored olive oil sourced from particular olive producers. The olive oil comes in fairly small bottles, when compared to supermarket brands, and she has calculated from customer’s experiences that one bottle usually lasts for about one month.

So her first message is “Hey, what did you think of the olive oil? Here’s a little bit about me and my olive farmers (it helps them feel good about the product choice they made), and while you are at it, if you would like to send an invitation for a friend to try it, here’s a 50% off coupon for them. It is a nice, customer-focused message – any customer would feel good about receiving that message.

A follow-on message might be “Hey, here’s my favorite salad dressing recipe for the oil flavor you purchased), again, this is where conditional content can vary depending on what they purchased) – AND which might include a particular mozarella cheese for which there is an affiliate partnership, so she is making money on that too.

Then, about week three, you send a message saying “Hey, hope you enjoyed the olive oil – are you ready for your next bottle yet – here’s a coupon for your next bottle?”

So even though it is an automated email sequence, because it is based on the specific product that they purchased, it feels very personal.

You can then go on to get deeper to learn more about the customer by asking questions in the message – “Are you using the olive oil mainly to dip? For salad dressings? Or for cooking? Each question might be linked to an appropriate recipe and by clicking on a particular link they can go into a new sequence that is more specific to that choice. So if they click on the salad recipe link they get more content pertaining to salad dressing recipes.

So the next message in the sequence might be “Hey, I know you can create some great salad dressings with {product they purchased } but you might be interested in this new flavor which makes some great salad dressings as well.

This kind of sequence is not something you build all at once and then you are done – it is something that is built over time from customer date and experiences with your products. But it will certainly create more upsell opportunities and repeat business by using such sequences = more revenue = more growth.

AI can help you gain visibility with more prospects, convert more of those prospects into customers (because you appear to know them better), and get those customers to both buy more AND refer more friends to you – all the ways to grow your business – and all done auto-magically.

The question is, are you going to be an online business that benefits from this new shift – or are you going to be one of those left behind.

Click here for our free course on leveraging technology to get more visible and grow your business automatically

Tips on Managing Priorities with Your Team Members

Say you have a clear marketing goal defined and a marketing strategy ready to go. Well done! However, if you want to make sure you reach your goal, you need to make sure that your team is all on the same page. If your team members’ individual priorities don’t align with your overall priorities or there are differences in opinion on how things should be done, this can cause conflict and derail your plan.

Here are some best practices for keeping everyone in your team on the same page.

Articulate Your Goals

Make sure that every team member fully understands your goals. Articulate why the goal you’ve chosen is the first priority, as well as the reasons for the way you’ve prioritized your tasks. Seek questions and comments and ask your team members for feedback. They may have valid suggestions on how to do things differently.

Help Team Members Manage Individual Priorities

Meet with your team members one-on-one and help them manage their own individual priorities. They may have trouble doing this by themselves and may need your guidance as a mentor. If a team member is having problems, they may not feel comfortable approaching you about it. But if you have regular coaching sessions, you can make sure they’re on track.

Transparency and Visibility

Make everything completely visible to everyone. In addition to clearly stating goals and priorities at the outset, you should also have reference materials for team members to refer to. Goals, priorities, and progress should be posted in high visibility areas. Create a collaborative environment based around this shared information.
Use Software Tools

Use a team management software program like Asana, GetFlow, or Teamstuff to help organize the project. Your team can communicate through the tool, as well as charting each member’s individual progress and the progress of the team as a whole in a way that’s easily visible to all.

Open Communication

Make every effort to create an environment of open communication where everyone feels comfortable expressing their opinions and asking questions. Create this environment virtually through online communication tools, in meetings, and in one-on-one sessions with individual team members.

Offer Continual Training and Coaching

If a team member feels that a task is not suitable for them or has problems, it may just be a matter of training. Through regular check-ins with your team members, try to find these weak areas and offer whatever training they might need.

Keep Priorities Flexible

Although you need a definitive plan with priorities in place, don’t be afraid to make changes if necessary. The conditions surrounding your progress may make this necessary. For example, you may find that you have a deficit in certain resources which makes a particular task difficult to complete at present. You can then bring another task up in your list of priorities and save this for later for when it’s more feasible.

Keep Long-Term Goals in Mind

Along with the one goal you’re working towards now, keep your long-term goals on the horizon as well. Clearly state to the other members of your organization your five or ten-year plan as well as the goal at hand.

Feel like you are always marketing but not getting the results?

Check out our Fast & Focused Marketing Plan course. Skip the learning curve and do what works! CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

How to Prioritize Your Goals as Your Business Grows

Goal setting is important for any business, but your goals are likely to change as you grow from a small to a mid-sized or large business. If you learn good goal-setting habits early on in the life of your business, this will help you adapt as your organization starts to scale up.

Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

It’s always useful to have a variety of both short-term and long-term goals. Right now, you’re probably thinking mostly in the short-term. You want your business to grow. You need to grow your list or social media following; you have specific sales goals you need to reach; you want to launch your new product.

But what happens once you reach this short-term goal? You may find yourself adrift wondering what to tackle next. This is why it’s important to look to the long-term as well.

Think about where your organization will be in five or ten years. What does success look like years down the road? What will be different then versus now?

Although you should focus on just one short-term goal at a time, keep a list of long-term goals as well to clarify the direction you want your business to go.

Think Small

When prioritizing goals right now, don’t be afraid to think small. In fact, it’s a good idea to set small, relatively easily attainable goals for the present. Don’t try to take on too much at once.

Small goals are great because:

 They’re attainable. Huge, lofty goals are likely to only frustrate and discourage a small business.
 The attainment of each goal is a learning process. You can learn from your small successes and failures.
 Manageable goals that you can reach keep motivation and morale high.
 Tackling small goals builds momentum that you can then put to bigger and better things.

Prioritizing Goals

You have many goals, both short-term and long-term, but you need to focus on just one at a time. How do you do this? The best way is to assess impact. Which of your goals will have the greatest impact on your business in the near future? This should be the one that you focus on first.

A few other things to consider are:

 Chronology. You may have one particular goal that logically comes ahead of other goals. For example, you want to build your email list before you start boosting sales through it.
 Resources. You may have resources at your disposal now that make a specific goal viable; for example, a new software program for social media marketing may motivate you to work on your goal of boosting your social media presence.
 Lack of resources. Likewise, a lack of resources may make one particular goal ideal rather than another. You may need tech help for a particular goal but currently you don’t know anyone who can provide it. You can set this goal on the backburner for now while you work on other things.

Always set goals and employ marketing strategies with your larger, long-term goals in mind. This will help to keep your business on track as you tackle various projects.

Feel like you are always marketing but not getting the results?

Check out our Fast & Focused Marketing Plan course. Skip the learning curve and do what works! CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

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