Category: Education

Science of the Memes

Today I’d like to discuss the science of the memes and how spreading ideas around and through society is ingrained in humans.

Memes

This refers to types of ideas that spread the fastest through society, why they spread fast and how that affects consumerism. You can use this same information to create a lasting positive impression about your company, products and services. People are more likely to try a new product or services when they feel protected and reassured by the masses.

It’s been determined that spreading ideas is essential to the survival of a society. There are 5 main situations where this occurs. They are:

  1. Crisis
  2. Mission
  3. Problem
  4. Danger
  5. Opportunity

Think of evangelism. This is prime example of people not only spreading the word, but convincing people to jump on board and start to spread the word themselves. To do this effectively, you need to incorporate a few key things that always catch people’s eye:

  • News
  • Unique Results
  • The Unusual
  • Helping Others
  • Secrets

Next we are going to switch gears a little and talk about viral marketing. While, traditional marketing can be used to your advantage, the reality is viral and online marketing is the king of the castle. You can spread the word online like the plague, if you know what to do. Here are some simple steps to do this:

  • Find an interesting idea
  • Make it easy for people to experience or trial
  • Spread the idea while people who are in close contact with others
  • Take advantage of existing communication methods
  • Develop the way of trying your product in such a way that it automatically draws more try-ers

Some great places to use viral marketing are:

  • Geocities
  • Amazon
  • Roger Wilco
  • YouTube
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Instagram Messenger
  • TikTok
  • Gmail
  • “Tell A Friend” Buttons
  • E-Greeting Cards

There are six things everyone should be doing to benefit from word of mouth on the Internet:

  • Put WOM components on your website.
  • Assign people to monitor your viral marketing.
  • Place testimonials in different places on your website to walk a customer through the purchasing cycle.
  • Set up an email marketing campaign.
  • Stay up to date on what products and services the experts in your industry are recommending.
  • Use your website to demonstrate the great ways people are using or finding success with your products and services.

 

This wraps up the lesson on traditional and viral marketing. If you need help putting together any of the plans or successes in this lesson, try our FREE test drive to get all the help you need to put these plans into action.

Decoding WOM Messages

Today’s lesson will talk about how word of mouth messages are delivered and how you can influence those messages.

There are essentially 3 methods of word of mouth:

·         Expert to Expert

·         Expert to Peer

·         Peer to Peer

When experts are talking about your products or service you will usually receive an amazing rush of sales and new customers, so obviously this is one of the best things that can happen. You can also help to facilitate this by offering free products to experts for them to review.

Expert opinion can also bring about new ideas that help to fuel new products, services and operating systems within your company. If you take the time to change or develop the opinions of even a small group of experts, you will have the opportunity to help your market explode.

There is a standard word of mouth delivery system that, in most cases, takes a few years. But, you can speed this up into only a few weeks. The standard system is:

·         First impressions from an expert

·         Organized trial of your products or services

·         Pooling peer experiences

It’s important to know exactly who is advocating for your products and service. Take the time to find out who they are and reward them. While, you may already have a customer service system for filing complaints, do you have one for compiling praise? Most likely not. If you take the time to show these people appreciation, they will help take your products and services to the top.

Some of the ways you can show them appreciation are:

·         Invite them to a customer appreciation dinner

·         Offer to video tape their testimonials

·         Ask to interview them for feedback to improve with

·         Offer them a premier customer membership

·         Ask them to join a referral incentive program

There are lots of things you can offer your biggest fans to help spread the word about your products and services.

Conventional media has been around forever and while it can still be effective, it’s lost a little of its luster over the last few years. There are a few reasons for this:

·         Expensive and doesn’t necessarily return results

·         Boring, lacking something fresh and new

·         Too short of a time slot to offer enough information

While these are all true, there are ways you can make conventional media work for you. For the information to be effective it needs to be presented in the right sequence, come from the right sources, be relevant to the target customer, be credible and be delivered at the right time in the medium.

We’re going to switch gears a little and talk about the two phases of the product adoption cycle. Traditional media is great for taking you through the information stage where you can offer the information you need to your potential customers, but it’s not so great for measuring the results of those efforts.

Without these results you can’t fine tune your marketing and therefore can easily miss the boat and lose potential customers and waste a whole lot of money. Once a consumer has the information they need, they’ll go through a verification process as they analyze whether or not the purchase was a good one. They generally get their information through:

·         Direct experience with the product

·         Interaction with peers using the same product

·         Experts’ experience

·         Scientific journals and other resources

·         Independent reviews and opinions

You can accelerate this process by:

·         Providing your own demos and free trials

·         Offer them indirect experience through the experience of others

·         Offer a good, true story that can be passed around

 

Once you have the ability and can work through these concepts, you will be able to target your customers much better. If you need help with any of this along the way, try our FREE test drive to gain access to our experienced business coaches.

WOM Meets Customers Head-On

Today we’ll cover the idea of shortening your customers’ decision-making process with positive word of mouth. There are essentially 5 stages in the decision-making process.

They are:

  1. Give the product a chance and transitions from a “no” to a “maybe”.
  2. Check out the options and investigate the different products available.
  3. Observe the product to check for potential benefits, features and operations to see if there is a fit with their needs.
  4. Become a customer and purchase their first item. They will be discriminate with their first product as they form their opinion of you.
  5. Purchase again and starts spreading positive word of mouth as an advocate of your products.

So, let’s take a closer look at each one of these.

From “No” to “Maybe”

This stage is really important because if your potential customers don’t even take a second look at your products and services, then you have no chance of sealing a deal. This is why you need to offer credible information and well thought out pricing, guarantees and incentives.

Investigating Your Products

At this stage they are taking a closer look at your product line to see if there is actually anything that could benefit their life. This is where you need to make sure your hard information is right out there in front for the customers to see and compare.

Trial Period

Customers often feel more at ease and ready to purchase when there is some sort of a trial in place. They usually want to try vicariously through someone else, so they don’t feel any risk involved. A good way to offer this is through demo videos, product demonstrations or a tour of your facilities. This stage may invoke a reaction of “I tried it and liked it. You should check it out.”

Make a Purchase

At this stage, they have taken the risk of purchasing one of your products or services and are now evaluating how easy, convenient, cost effective and satisfying your product or service is. At this stage a common reaction would be, “It was really easy to use and learn from. It’s really great, you should get it!”

Advocates for Yours Products

At this last stage of decision making the customer is immensely pleased with your product and often keeps using it and/or comes back for more products and services. They are likely telling everyone they know how much they like it, that they use it every day and have already (or will be) back to your establishment for more.

We talked a minute ago about the different types of purchasers. Now we are going to take a closer look at their characteristics, so you can figure out which tactics are best to use at the right stage of the decision-making process.

The Innovator

  • Wants to stand out from the crowd
  • Know what’s hot and trendy
  • Likes “strange” or “weird” new products
  • Wants to be the first to try and will talk about it animatedly

 

Early Adopter

  • Driven by excellence
  • More concerned with possibilities than realities
  • Always looking to be a leader
  • Always looking for a new vision

 

Middle Majority

  • Wants to be perceived as competent
  • Concerned about practicality and easy comparisons
  • Needs an easy way out if not satisfied
  • Wants products that meet the industry standard

 

Late Majority

  • Generally skeptical and wants to know the risks upfront
  • Needs to shop around for the best deal
  • Needs a support system
  • Wants what everyone else has

 

Laggard

  • Needs it to be completely safe and traditional
  • Needs reassurance that nothing will go wrong
  • Won’t try new things unless it’s the last resort
  • Will search for loopholes and problems
  • Wants to use it in the standard industry way

 

As you can see, each type of consumer wants something just a little different depending on their personality type. The key to successful word of mouth is to target and cater to each type of consumer. If you need help identifying the types of consumers you are currently helping and how to attract the types you are lacking, try our FREE test drive for the resources and tools you need to get the job done.

Next time we’ll talk about how word of mouth messages are delivered and what you can do to help facilitate that.

Word of Mouth Tactics – Part 2

In the last post we started our series on word of mouth and talked about how to make your customers purchasing experience a short, easy one. We are going to continue with that theme a bit today. We’re going to talk about the power of word of mouth and how to mold it to your advantage.

The reality is everyone needs an advisor to guide them to make a decision. We rely on the expertise of others to make the right decisions as they are explained to us. When you take the time to understand exactly what and how word of mouth works, you’ll see all the great advantages it has to offer you. Remember this path when working to understand word of mouth:

·        Accelerate the decision making process for increased profits.

·  You can accelerate product making decisions by making the process easier.

·  Instead of low-ball advertising and the used car salesman approach, try delivering on your word of mouth promises.

Traditional advertising draws about one response for every thousand ads and most of those are to ask for more information before the customer even considers purchasing. When you get information from a friend, you are more likely to take their word for it and act. On average customers purchase two out of every five recommendations their friends make. That’s a HUGE difference.

So, what exactly is word of mouth? Well, we know how powerful it can be, but to define it: Word of mouth is a communication that happens between a customer and a potential customer. There is usually a relationship of some kind between these two people with an established level of trust.

Now, compare this to advertising where you are providing a message to a potential customer where they have not established relationship with you or level of trust. Who are they more likely to take advice from? The answer is clear!
We talked above about the benefits of word of mouth now let’s take a look at some reasons why it works. Some of these are:

·  The information is custom tailored to the potential customer because of the friendly relationship of the referrer.

·         It’s more personal, relevant and believable.

·         It’s customer driven.

·      It’s self generating and can take on a life of its own, especially with the information age of the Internet.

·         It becomes part of the product’s description.

·      The source of word of mouth can be important and more effective when coming from an expert.

·         Word of mouth saves you time and money.

To fully utilize word of mouth you need to understand:

  1. Where is your word of mouth coming from?
  2. What products are being affected by word of mouth?
  3. How is your word of mouth traveling?

Once you know these things you can work out a plan on how to trigger more word of mouth. This wraps up this lesson on word of mouth. If you need help understanding word of mouth and how it can impact your business, try our FREE test drive to access our wealth of resources and tools.

 

Next time we’re going to dive into the nine levels of word of mouth. These levels help you understand which word of mouth is positive and which is not.

Word of Mouth Tactics – Part 1

Today we’ll start a new series talking all about Word of Mouth and how it can make or break your business in an extremely short amount of time. In this first lesson we’ll get a feel for what exactly word of mouth is.

Word of Mouth is easily the most powerful form of marketing and is absolutely free. People talk about ads they see, experiences they have, and the products they purchase. If you treat people right and spread the word about your new products/services in a positive way, you’ll attract the right customers and client who will sustain your business for a long time.

Now, as positive as word of mouth can be for your business, the other side of the coin is how negative it can be as well. Bad news seems invariably to travel faster than good news and if you have a less than high-quality product or weak customer service system, then your customers will tell everyone they know to not buy your products and services.

The age of technology has proved to be an amazing benefit in the world of word of mouth. With blogs, podcasts, online marketing, forums, social networking and all the other online mediums available, it is easier and easier for consumers to share their experiences. And remember this is all free advertising for you.

Let’s take a minute to talk about the importance of shortening the customer decision cycle to help customers/client choose more quickly and easily. There are three great ways to increase sales by shortening the decision cycle. They are:

  • Increase the overall dollar amount customers spend on each purchase
  • Increase your number of customers
  • Increase frequency of purchases

Let’s take a deeper look at decision speed. Offer simplicity, ease, and a fun purchasing atmosphere and you’ll help your customers make their decisions quicker and more confidently. When this happens, your customers will buy more frequently, spend more money than usual, refer friends and make the decision to purchase more quickly. This can raise your market share by over 100 times.

The time it takes your customer to decide and purchase far outweighs any other component of marketing. When you focus on customer decision speed it forces you to take a hard look at your company and brand image, positioning, value, customer service, guarantees and product quality.

The next area I want to talk about quickly is how to minimize the friction, or stress, involved with decision making. No matter how easily people find decision-making there is a certain amount of anxiety we all experience when making a purchase, especially from a new source or for a large amount of money. When you help to minimize this emotional response, you will soothe your customers’ anxiety and they will make their decision quicker and more confidently.

There are a few secrets to accelerate the customers decision making progress:

  • Your benefits, features, claims and promises must be obvious, clear, and concise.
  • The information you offer must be complete, easy to understand, credible, and balanced.
  • Use comparisons that show a marked difference.
  • Your guarantees must be rock solid and more than the customer expects.
  • Make trial periods easy.
  • You must have simple evaluations of your products or services.
  • Testimonials need to be relevant and positive.
  • Your support, delivery and other operational systems must be perfect.

Your website can be as good as you make it. You can offer more than information; you can offer an experience that guides your customers gently through the decision making process to make it easy for them to buy. Take it a step beyond by offering toll-free support numbers, software downloads to help with the process or other classy and informative ways to reassure your customers that you are there with them every step of the way and have nothing to hide.

This wraps up the first post in our series on word of mouth. If you need help identifying your target market and the issues they run into that lengthen their purchasing experience, try our FREE test drive and work with one of our coaches to come up with the best way to smooth out your purchasing experience.

 

Next time we’ll move forward with word of mouth and talk about the power of word of mouth and what exactly this powerful tool is and can be used for.

Maximize Your Resources – Part 3

In the last post we talked about three more ways you can work on maximizing your current resources. They included:

·         Reveal your business’s soul

·         From breaking even to breaking the bank

·         Stand up and stand out

 Today we’ll talk about the last three areas you can work on to maximize your current resources. They are:

·         An offer they can’t refuse.

·         Would you like fries with that?

·         Stay away from the edge of the cliff.

 An Offer They Can’t Refuse

The secret to success is to stay ahead of your competitors by maintaining the competitive edge. To do that, you need to make it easier for your customers/clients to say “yes” rather than “no”. You do this by eliminating all the psychological, financial, physical, emotional and other roadblocks they may have.

You can take the risks for them by offering warranties and guarantees that make the customer feel more confident in you, your business and your products/services. You also must be serious about your offer and follow through if a situation does arise. The quickest way to the bottom is to play games or take back a warranty or guarantee.

Would You Like Fries With That?

It’s the oldest trick in the book. I mean, really, how many times a week do you fall for it? Every time you sell a product or service, you need to offer an add-on, upgrade or back-end product to go with it. These products must be complementary to the original product being purchased and must create a higher perceived value.

Avoid the Edge of the Cliff

Continuing to test and measure your systems, products, marketing methods and all other aspects of your business allow you to see problems before they happen and therefore avoid falling off the edge of the cliff.

Here are a few specific areas you can test for potential improvements:

·         Marketing

·         Sales Copy

·         Customer Service

·         Sales Letters

·         Sales Presentations

·         Employee-Customer Interaction

 Through testing these different areas, you will find products/services where you can raise the price, maybe others where you can lower the price or offer that product as an incentive item and find many other areas for improvement that will better utilize your current resources.

 

This wraps up our series on how to maximize on your current resources. If you need help working through any of these or the previous areas, try our FREE test drive to work with one of our amazing business coaches.

Maximize Your Resources – Part 2

Last time we talked about the first three areas to work through in maximizing your current resources. They were:

·         Recognize the obvious

·         Unconventional breakthroughs

·         Face the facts

Today we’ll cover the next three, which are:

·         Reveal your business’ soul

·         From breaking even to breaking the bank

·         Stand up and stand out

Reveal Your Business’ Soul

Every business has a soul and you likely felt it the strongest when your business was just starting. It’s that passion, newness and momentum you had at the very beginning. Sometimes that can get lost along the way as your business gets stagnant and set in its ways. You have to break out of that rut and get back to your business’ true soul.

The philosophy of putting your client’s needs above your own is the true key to success. You need to serve your clients not sell to them. They want to build a relationship based on trust, not a used car. Add to these responsibilities your ability to solve problems, handle special situations, be a friend to your clients and focus on offering valuable, high quality products/services. Only then will you get back to the basics and find you have more resources than you thought.

From Breaking Even to Breaking the Bank

One of the classic and most used ways to attract clients is to offer them a ridiculously low price on their initial purchase and lock them in for future purchases. You see this approach with movie or book clubs and even credit card companies who offer lower interest rates for the first six months.

Essentially, you are offering them a deal on their first purchase and then you offer them back-end and add-on products along the way. These are naturally higher prices and will bring them in to more of an intimate relationship with you and your company.

Stand Up and Stand Out

You need to stand out from the pack among your competitors. They only way you can do this through consistency and value. You do this by discovering what your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is and perfecting it. Here are some tips to help you find and develop your USP:

  1. Look for unfilled needs in your industry.
  2. Use preemptive marketing.
  3. Use a technique that is clear and to the point.

 

This wraps up this post. If you need help with any of these areas and techniques, try our FREE test drive to access a wealth of resources and tools.

Maximize Your Resources – Part 1

Over the next few posts we’re going to talk about how to take a hard look at your current resources and get the most out of them. This can help your capital go further and increase your profit margin.

Today we’ll cover three different ways to maximize what you already have. These include:

  • Recognize the obvious
  • Unconventional breakthroughs
  • Face the facts

 

Recognize the Obvious

Sometimes when you are too close to something, you can’t make out the big picture. You need to step back and really take a hard look at the resources you currently have in front of you. You are surrounded by opportunities that can boost your career and help your business become more successful.

Unconventional Breakthroughs

Don’t sit around waiting for breakthroughs you need to create them yourself. A breakthrough is merely a new way of doing things or finding a new thing to do for the same or better results. You should be having regular brainstorming sessions and encouraging your team to come forward with breakthroughs or ideas any time they have them.

Some great examples of breakthroughs are:

  • A health and beauty company discovers a side effect of a product that can be re-marketed and sold.
  • A company creates a roll-on deodorant inspired by the shape and size of a ball point pen.
  • The founder of Nike poured rubber onto a waffle iron and created the most innovative and successful running shoe ever.

 

When attracting or strategizing for a breakthrough there are some key objectives you need to keep in mind. They are:

  1. Looking for the hidden opportunity in every situation.
  2. Looking for at least on cash windfall for your business every three months.
  3. The more value for your client, the better your breakthrough.
  4. Creating multiple streams of idea to find the best breakthroughs.
  5. Effective breakthroughs remove all risk or resistance.

Face the Facts

Before you can put your breakthroughs to work you need to face the facts of the processes and systems that are not working for you and work to correct or get rid of them. System analysis is a good way to do this. Once you have a listing of your strengths and weaknesses, you need to compare those to the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.

There are some great questions you can present to you and your team to get a handle on where your business is right now. They are:

  1. Why did I first start this business? Why am I in this industry?
  2. What products/services did I offer then? Which were the most popular?
  3. Why are my customers/clients buying from me right now?
  4. How did I generate new customers/clients then?
  5. Which of my marketing efforts were bringing in the best results?

Once you’ve got some answers to these questions, you’ll know better how to approach your weaknesses.

These three areas we’ve gone over give you a jumping off point for how to utilize your current resources to their fullest potential. If you need any help with your strategic or systems analysis, try our FREE test drive to work with one of our amazing business coaches.

5 Killer Mistakes – Part 3

The last 2 posts covered the first four of the killer mistakes you can make that will not only make you lose your fish, but possibly your entire company. Today we’re going to talk about the fifth killer mistake: Up Cash Creek Without a Paddle.

Even when business is good, there’s still a chance of running out of cash flow. You have to always be prepared for a slow in sales or a surge in expenses. One of the keys to balancing your cash flow is to get your clients to pay on time. This can seem like a nightmare but is absolutely essential to a successful business.

Here are some tips to speed up the payment process:

·         Always send invoices on time and adjust your records for potential audits.

·         Learn how the client processes payments on their side and find out precisely where to send invoices.

·         Find out who’s in charge of processing orders and payment, so you know who to contact if needed.

·         Have a follow-up procedure in place, just in case.

·         As a last resort, call your contact to ask questions.

·         Always make sure your invoices are correct before sending them out.

You also need to make sure your cash flow is protected. You can do this by:

·         Always know which accounts need paid and when.

·         Negotiate with your suppliers for the lowest cost possible.

·         Have a bank contingency plan in place.

·         Build your own investor network.

These are all great ways to protect the cash flow of your business and prepare for fish transitions and slow sales. These last few lessons are all about finding and catching your big fish clients. These clients are essential to your success and you need to take the time to work through each of these steps carefully and correctly for the best success.

If you need help with any step of the process of catching your fish or subsequent big fish clients, try our FREE test drive for access to a wealth of great tools and resources as well as our business coaching staff.

5 Killer Mistakes – Part 2

In the last post we covered the first two of the 5 biggest mistakes you can make in dealing with big fish clients. Today we’ll cover the third and fourth ones: Taking on More Than You Can Handle.

When you take on too much, your business can’t keep up and therefore you can easily lose control of everything and find yourself barely functioning. You want your business to be successful, no doubt, but you need to have a plan for how you will handle the growth. Your clients expect great customer service and high-quality products/services, they don’t know or care about your behind-the-scenes operations to get those things done.

Look for these signs that you are taking on more than you can handle:

  • Anticipate future problems better.
  • Clients’ needs aren’t being met.
  • Employee morale is low, clients are upset and you’re in a panic.
  • You have to react in emergency mode to save accounts.
  • Your current clients are suffering from trying to keep up with new business.
  • Profits are going down.
  • You are just trying to pick up the pieces of your business.
  • Your clients/customers leave.
  • Resources are being reallocated.

There is a trick called the Mock Fish Plan. This plan can help you react positively when you are facing some or all of these things and help you get your business back on track. This plan will:

  • Help increase sales in a short period of time.
  • Alter your products/services for the better.
  • Fulfill promises you made to your clients.

There are six steps to this plan:

  1. Bring in your best team and have them all help to meet the fish’s needs.
  2. Review your operational system.
  3. Communicate better.
  4. Include costs in your quotes.
  5. Always have a back-up plan.

All Your Eggs in One Basket

You can allow your company to become dependent on any one fish. Eventually or for certain periods there is going to be a slowing down period with your fish. To stay in the game, you need to diversify.

If you’ve ever mishandled a fish, you could drive away potential fish as well. In order to keep balance and prepare for a strong future, there are a few things you can do.

These things include:

  • Stay in the loop and try to know what’s going on inside your fish’s company.
  • Constantly reinvent yourself and stay at the top of your industry.
  • Stay exclusive.
  • Try to secure multi-year commitments and contracts.
  • Spread your contracts out.
  • Price your products/services correctly.

You also need to work to reduce your dependency on your fish. This can generally be measured in sales or profits. Take a look back at the process we’ve used thus far to snag more fish to keep this all in balance.

These are the ways you can help avoid the killer mistakes that can make you lose it all. If you need help with any of these tips or tricks, try our FREE test drive to get the help you need fast.

Next time we’ll talk about the last of the killer mistakes and how to combat it from hitting your business hard.