Looking To Automate Your Business? Think Again..

Truthfully we all hate doing the tedious tasks that could just easily be fixed or made easier by a fancy software…

But, more likely than not 99% of us are jumping into automation software WAAAAAY too quickly.

Let’s preface this article for a sec, software is great and we are not saying you shouldn’t use it to make your life easier. After all who wants to spend more time on the minute tasks that could be automated by a machine?

We do though believe that automation software is best suited for the business processes that we have already done the hard work of optimizing from the manual process. Think of the hard manual process as a way to better understand how the job is done on a granular level. Often times we are so focused on just getting the work done that if we took a step back to understand what we doing and why then we would be able to make adjustments and decrease the amount of time doing the work. If you’re lucky you’ll find a smoother process for yourself that doesn’t rely on software at all.  #savethatmoney

Ok moving into the reasoning for this article in the first place.

Me: “Let me see the email you’re planning to send.”
(Shows me his cold email.)

Me: “What’s your response rate on this email?”

Jason: “Not sure. That’s why we need email automation.”

Me: “Gotcha. I recommend Gmail.”

Jason: “But Gmail won’t send automated follow-ups.”

Me: “Right.”

Find 100 prospects.

Send two emails to each prospect.

Call them three times.

IF you get 5% of people to meet with you

AND you have 15% conversation to close rate

THEN we can chat about email automation tools.

It’s easy to get seduced by tech.

Keep the start simple.

NOTE: If you or someone you know relates to this story above share it. We all love sharing stories, don’t we? 

Your Likely Running Your Business With Automation But Completely Unprepared Todo So

Trust us when we say that It’s not just you that’s doing this wrong. So many of us are constantly searching for the latest and the greatest tool’s that can further automate your business.

But, what should be doing is increasing efficiently of the current process over trying to find the next tool or full automation to use.

Stop wasting your money and focus on how to make your process more efficient and effective using what you’ve already got.

By always thinking automation first without taking the time to optimize how a business process works create a BIGGER MESS.

Spending more of your money to automate crap, just brings you MORE crap at a faster pace.

Start Making Your Business Processes Efficient:

We get it; when someone talks about optimization your mind immediately goes “lets build and automation”…

Automation’s are helpful in all but, what about your actual process. Before you invest in your fancy new software that will “fix your problems.”

Like that happens…

First, you should be looking into the FREE methods you can use to optimize your business processes further.

What we do when we decide to optimize a specific section of our business is we take a look at our current process. Often, we resort to just writing it out on a whiteboard. Then, we start adding the numbers that matter to get an Idea of how optimized it is already.

Many times, just by writing out your current process, you’ll find parts of it that could be changed and reworked. When you see what part’s of the process you’d like to change then WRITE IT OUT AND FOLLOW THROUGH WITH THE CHANGES.

After you’ve written it out, give yourself some goals to hit before you decide to make any more changes to the process. Sometimes the methods that you think are inefficient rally just needed more time and data.

What We’d Starting With When Optimizing Business Processes:

Before anything here, recognize that every business is different and each one will have places that REQUIRE your attention. These processes of your business are the ones we’ve felt had the most significant impact on the small businesses we’ve worked with.

 

1. The Sales Outreach Process

Most of us HATE sales, some of us though were born for it. By understanding the fact that you and your sales peeps are likely missing out on sales opportunities. Just because of how you do your outreach via. Email, social, call, letter, etc.. So we recommend taking some time at least two times a month to look into how your team performs their outreach.

Whats their outreach process?

  • Do they spend time getting to know each possible customer before outreach or are they just playing a numbers game?
  • Do they follow a copy regardless of who they are talking to? if so, why?
  • How have the possible customers responded to how they did their outreach? Was it good or bad?
  • How many people wanted to move forward after 100+ outreach attempts?

Spending some time looking at how you and your team first speak to your possible customers could easily 5x the amount of business you’re currently getting.

 

2. The QUALITY Of Your Customer Service

Something so many business owners and employees neglect are the quality of their customer’s service. This in many ways (especially with today’s THERE FOREVER reviews online) can hurt your business. We always recommend taking a deeper look into the whole process of how you handle your customer’s questions and issues, so you can make your customers experience AMAZING every time.

DID YOU KNOW: One of the best ways your business can get more business is from your past customers and their referrals.

Does that make you think a little more about how you treated your last customer?

What we recommend looking into your customer service process. Often you’ll find many inconsistencies in the way you and your team connect and build a relationship with your customer. Taking some time to look deeper into how both you and your team do this can provide some REALLY valuable insights.

  • Some Questions Recommend Asking Yourself During The Process:
  • How long does it take for questions to get answered by you or your team?
  • What is the time frame for you to send a customer a refund, and how easy is the process?
  • How Do you manage GREAT reviews, and also the bad ones?
  • Who keeps in contact with your customers to increase the Life Time Value of your customers?
  • How do your customers react to your customer service experience?

 

3. The Quality & Consistency Of Your Community Outreach

Are you confused on this one?

Most business neglect the amount of community outreach they do. After all, you wouldn’t immediately think about how much community service you do as a relatable metric to how many more business opportunities you’ve gained or new clients you’ve acquired. At least for now, since community engagement is an AMAZING way for your to further connect and market your business and add some extra personality to who is apart of your business and what you stand for.

Now, if you are trying to think of the ways you can connect with your community (if you’re not already doing it) some of the best places are FREE!

If we had to choose only three methods for community outreach, we would have to decide.

Social Media Outreach: this process may seem complicated and hard to do if you are not used to doing it. But, Organic Social Media Marketing is a very straightforward process that takes some effort on your part. Better yet it doesn’t even cost anything to you besides say your time.
This is one of the best ways to do your outreach if you are on a tight budget or want to engage in a new way with your local community. If you’ve never done Organic Social Marketing, you should check out our post on how to do just that!

Go To Networking Events: This isn’t for everyone, but this is an excellent way for you to connect with your target customer. If you are new in a field or have just started your business going to networking events can be a compelling platform to launch your business off of.

If you have never been to a networking event, just understand that people want to connect with you as a person first and then as a business.

So, when your there, enjoy it, have a great time, and be yourself, no one likes a fake. Doing this often with help build the foundations of your local network with these people. If they are not your direct customer, you can likely find them by building rapport with the people you know at these events.

Volunteer In The Community: With all of the needs in the community is surprising how few companies take time to volunteer in their local community. Often when you go to these events, you’ll find people that work at larger companies that are there for a similar purpose as you. But, just remember this type of community outreach is different but can at the very least bring some warmness in your hearts.
We recommend looking into local NFPs that are focused on a message that correlates in some way with your business values. Starting there can lead to building connections with influential people in your community.

If you are ever looking to start throwing your money at new automation, you came across. Please think again and take a step back, not every process needs to or SHOULD be automated. If you go through some of the methods listed above and find you still need to automate parts of your business, then you can feel confident that you are choosing at the right time. We hope this has been able to help you along your journey as a business owner and marketer.

Don’t forget to share with your friends!

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Kole Riggs April 22, 2018 0 Comments

Why Your Content Strategy Is Seriously Failing

Do you remember when you had to be convinced that content marketing was worth the effort?

Now, it’s more popular than ever before and has proven to be more effective than any outbound marketing activity, costing 63% less and generating three times as many leads.

In fact, 90% of all organizations now incorporate content marketing into their overall marketing strategy. We’ve evolved from bemoaning how long it takes to write a blog article to eagerly adopting new formats and approaches.

This is, after all, a generation with young adults earning $10 million per year through monetized blogs on YouTube:

It’s safe to say the overwhelming effectiveness of content marketing has been established. For businesses who have adopted this channel, however, there is one potential pitfall. A big one.

Its equation is simple. The more organizations produce and promote content, the more content there is available to be consumed. The more content available, the less time their audience has to identify and consume the most valuable and relevant content to their needs and interests. This is what Mark Schaefer calls ‘content shock’.

What is Content Shock?

Schaefer published an article four years ago in which he suggested that content marketing was not a sustainable strategy for many businesses. What was once a relatively uncrowded content space, “Red Bull was a beverage company, not a media company, Chipotle was making burritos, not claymation films, and there were roughly one-third as many bloggers”  was becoming a “situation where content supply is exponentially exploding while content demand [remains] flat”.

In 2018, we have officially reached saturation point.

As well-intentioned as your efforts are, no matter how many hours you spend researching a blog post, or scripting a webinar, there are no guarantees that your work will yield positive results. This infographic shows just how easily your content can get lost in the crowd.

Your Content Strategy is Failing

You know your target audience. You built a strategy. You put together a content calendar. You invest time and resources. And… it’s not working.

In our current state of content shock, this is unsurprising. You need to be able to differentiate your brand, demonstrate your Unique Selling Points, and set yourself apart from an ever-growing level of competition. To quote Steve Martin, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

This may seem like an impossible prospect, but even in a world in which 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every 60 seconds, you can still come out on top.  

Let’s check out the most likely reasons your content strategy is failing and how to turn things around!

 

  • You aren’t measuring the ROI of your content.

 

Only 8% of marketers consider themselves “very successful” or “extremely successful” at tracking content marketing ROI. If your business is spending time and budget on creating and distributing content, this is, unquestionably, the metric that matters most. And if you aren’t using the right tools and data points, it will be impossible to achieve.

Use a time-tracking app or iPhone timer to discern how long it takes to create a piece of content. Don’t forget to pause the timer while taking a break. The worth of your cumulative time spent creating content is your investment.

To find the return, you need to discern which metrics to track. If it’s online sales, you should set up a Google Analytics User Flow report to see what website visitors do, like whether they click your CTA after reading an article, or whether they make a purchase after landing on a product page. Then, knowing which content on your website is converting and which is underperforming, you can optimize your strategy.

If the main objective of your content marketing is lead generation, you can calculate content ROI by tracking the number of contact enquiries that were completed via lead gen forms around your content. Depending on how you set up your lead gen forms, this can be done through your CRM, email provider, or software such as Leadformly.

If you want to adopt a more all-inclusive approach, you can use Google’s Attribution Modeling to calculate the monetary impact of every piece of content consumed at every step in the customer journey.

Once you’ve figured out what will constitute your return, calculating ROI is only a few simple steps away. Through your content ROI, you can determine which titles, topics, and content formats best engage your customers and provide most value. These insights will enable you to adapt and refine your content strategy, and set you up for success.

 

  • You haven’t considered video.

 

51% of marketing professionals worldwide cite video as the medium with the best ROI. Marketers who use video content grow revenue 49% faster than those who don’t, but many brands are still reluctant to embrace it as part of their content strategy. Despite its unparalleled ability to boost brand awareness, generate quality leads, and maximize sales, video still carries a few common misconceptions.

Many assume that video only works for top-of-funnel campaigns, when brand awareness is the key objective. Or that it’s more suitable for B2C audiences rather than B2B. Or that anyone with a smartphone can create compelling video content. Or that it’s too expensive for your organization to have its video content created professionally.

The truth is, video can be whatever you want it to be and achieve whatever you need it to achieve—often more effectively than other formats. Now that the average human attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish, it’s more feasible to imagine a consumer engaging with a 60 second video than a 1500-word article (apart from this one of course!). Easy-to-consume over breakfast, during a break, or on a commute, video also helps viewers retain 95% of its message compared to 10% for text, ensuring your brand stays front-of-mind amongst your target audience.

Video also has the ability to engage your customers on a variety of platforms. As one of the most repurposable content assets, video can seriously maximize its ROI. You can use video on your website’s landing pages to increase engagement, in email marketing campaigns to increase CTR, and in social ad campaigns to increase conversions. If you’re reluctant to invest in video production, this amazing example from Zendesk, suitable for every stage of the sales funnel, may make you want to reallocate your marketing budget!

  • You aren’t being specific.

 

You know you need to produce content as part of your wider marketing strategy. Before you start, you need to be able to answer one deceptively simple question.

“Why are we creating this content?”

One of the most common reasons for the failure of an organization’s content strategy is they haven’t considered the needs and interests of their customers. Consequently, their content lacks direction and clear purpose. You’ve taken the time to identify specific business goals and specific target audience segments. Now, you need to identify your specific content niche.

It’s important to avoid becoming an aimless content creator, fluctuating between listicles and webinars and GIFs with no sense of cohesion. Consider your target market, your value proposition and your industry. From there, decide upon the most appropriate content formats. Keeping a narrow focus will enable you to build your brand reputation and strengthen relationships. Potential and existing customers will come to eagerly anticipate your particular pieces of content.

You might become the company known for their emotive customer testimonial videos. Maybe your product review podcast series will be your specialty. But whatever angle you choose to adopt, stick with it, and do it well. Your content marketing performance metrics will speak for themselves!

 

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Kole Riggs April 18, 2018 0 Comments

Why Are We Giving Away Our Data So Easily?

I’ve asked myself this question before but, recently with everything that’s been going on in the world of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.

Personal Opinion Disclaimer

It’s shocking really how quickly we are to give out our personal information.

Now, with the way the online world works. I feel that people should understand that with almost every company we interact with, we’ve openly given them some type of data about us. Arguably the most important part of this is WE CHOOSE to give them our information, they didn’t (in most cases) tricked into giving our personal information for free.

We’ve Been Conditioned Into Using Our Data

Over the past 8–10 years we have been conditioned by companies to use our personal information as gate keys into what they offer. Giving our data away didn’t come easy, it’s been a bit of a struggle for companies to get us to offer them our personal information for a “free service”. One of the first major software’s that comes to mind for me at is email.

In many ways, I think we can agree that some of our information must be given in order to provide a personalized experience, but there is a limit. But to what degree is too much data? After all, over the years we have become so used to giving our data away that what SHOULD be given has been blurred.

Going back to when email first came out we were so excited to use this new software because it allowed us to move away from all the faxing and the phones. More and more of us started creating various email accounts so we were able to connect with friends, family, and business.Down the road, this started to create consumer habits that in order to get access to anything we must provide them with our personal information.

It’s very interesting to see how something that is now considered simple like email. Has given many companies to thrive on our preconditioned habits that gave rise to today’s data behemoths like Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and many more.

Why We Shouldn’t Give Our Data Away For Free

Every one of us whether we agree with it or not are giving out data away. Using data as a gateway to the many services we love could be great.

With any technology it will always with come risks, whats bad about giving our data is:

1. It Makes These Companies BIG Targets For Cyber Attacks

Every website you can imagine has more than likely been attacked by hackers or Dangerous AI that actively looks for loopholes in their system. One of the biggest reasons is because every day hundreds of BILLIONS of personal data transactions are being logged on many sites.

This leaves us and the companies we use open or breaches, this alone makes offering our data a massive risk.

After all, do you want to be one of the Millions of people every year that have there personal data stolen?

Example: The Lawsuit on Facebook & Cambridge Analytica, see more on that here

2. You Lose Control Of Who REALLY Has Your Personal Info

Regardless of whether we like it or not. When we chose to give a company our data we immediately lose control of what they REALLY do with it. Now granted many companies have controls to choose what data they actively pull, but you can’t ever completely remove the data or prevent them from tracking everything.

Because of this fact, it is very important for us to really think about what companies we are handing our personal information to so willy-nilly.

Whats Been Great About Using Our Data Access Products/Services

On the plus side using our data to access free products and services gives us access to tons of amazing solutions to our problems. In many ways giving out data has many positive situations where it drastically increases the opportunity for people and companies to connect with each other.

Some great examples that come to mind are:

1. Brings Rise To World Problems

Every country has issues, everyday people are dying because of drugs, violence and even the more nuanced problems that people are just unaware of. Having access to platforms like Facebook & Twitter give Billions of people the opportunity to bring up large issues and underlying causes to find ways others have solved them or are working through them. Without these services, it’s very likely that we would not be able to spread the word to huge issues such as the #MeToo movement and #BlackLivesMatter.

2. Allows Free Speech To Spread Where It Matters Most

The vast majority of people across the world are repressed and unable to express themselves as they should. Using platforms that offer their service for data gives many people a place in the world to connect and keep people connected.

Conclusion

Over the past few years, we all have been affected in some way by us giving out our data to companies. Just a few examples to recap, Targets hack of credit card info, Twitter accounts being hacked and lost of personal data, and just recently Facebook’s lawsuit because of the theft and sale of millions of peoples personal data to a third party company.

So this should at the least beg these questions…

  1. What company can I really trust with my data?
  2. Should we pay for the services we use that are currently “free”
  3. Should these large companies restrict the amount of data they offer to third parties?
  4. What regulations should be in place so my data is better protected?
  5. What can actually be done to protect my self and family from having my data stolen?

So what do you think about our data? Should it be kept more private and what do you think we should do about better protecting our selves online?

Let us know what you think, we would love to get your thoughts below.

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Kole Riggs April 11, 2018 0 Comments