Learn How To Setup A Marketing Database That Works

Often after launching a website I’m often asked, “how can we use the website in our marketing more effectively?” Often the easiest solution is to help them see results right away is by tapping into their database. This can leave many people confused since database here simply means their marketing database comprising of all their contacts.

So how do you build your marketing database?

First off your marketing database is simply put, your contacts, organized in a way that’s easy to access. For instance your phone has a database of contacts and your Rolodex which holds business cards from other people is also a database albeit paper based. An advanced way of storing your contacts would be using a CRM System which would also be your database.

I like to call this time data time where you get to take care of your most valuable business asset – your database

For our marketing database however the easiest way to store or move our contacts between different systems is by using a simple excel sheet. Our excel sheet would end up of these primary columns: Name, Email and phone. Additional fields that can be included would be Location & Postal Address, these initial fields will be the basis for our entire database.

So how do you find the contacts for the database?

The easiest way to build up the database is simply to simply collate your contacts from your other sources. You can simply type up the names from your Rolodex, Business cards, Visitor books and physical paper records. Your contacts on LinkedIn, Gmail, your CRM and your Email account can also be easily exported in csv format which can be easily added into the excel sheet. Contacts on your Facebook account can also be exported through a work around process.

Additionally if you are able to acquire a targeted list for your products or services consisting of your most ideal potential partners or clients then this list will also become part of your database.

Segmenting the database

Once we have collated our database with all these people we need to make sure that it’s properly segmented. We can segment by creating an extra column(s) on the excel sheet. The advantage of having the extra column over multiple worksheets or excel docs is that it will ease the management of the database and ease the process of moving the contacts between different systems during marketing campaigns latter on.

Our Worksheet can now be segmented depending on the source of the contact for instance *Trade show *Walk-in *Referral *Cold Meet and so on. Additionally the contacts can be segmented by type for instance *Prospect *Client *Past Customer etc The contact could also be segmented by Vertical if it’s a business contact for instance *Medical *Technology *Government *Medical and so on.

The reason for segmenting the list as we’ll see latter on is to be able to craft specific messages and offers to the different segments as well as to be able to ignore a particular segment that should receive a particular message for instance a message only meant for clients and no one else.

How to keep the database growing / how to manage the database

Now that we have our database in place, the next step would be to simply schedule a time each week where we can update the latest new contacts into the database. I like to call this time data time where you get to take care of your most valuable business asset – your database.

how to use your website to shorten your enrollment / sales cycle

however most of us have also ended up with too many people who were taking too long to enroll or “think about it”. If you are like me then you may have realized that while these people were for the most part eventually enrolling into your organization or buying your products or services, they were also taking too long to do this.

We have all at one time or another found ourselves with many people interested and inquiring about our organization or the services we offer, however most of us have also ended up with too many people who were taking too long to enroll or “think about it”. If you are like me then you may have realized that while these people were for the most part eventually enrolling into your organization or buying your products or services, they were however taking too long to do this.

The problem with this is obvious if you are new in the area or if you are introducing a new package or service to your community. First off the longer you take to find new users the more you increase your chances of failure either from giving up on the idea that you feel isn’t working or from the encroaching expenses.

1st off – understanding your enrollment / sales process

The sales process is the series of steps you take to enroll a new parent, patient or client into your organization. Contrary to what many people think enrolling a new person isn’t based on luck but is a process just like in a manufacturing plant. For instance your sales process might start from an advertisement in the newspaper that leads to getting an inquiry where you then convince the led to come in for a consultation or visit where you then sign them up.

Now what if, this person is still not ready to come in? Or after they come in they are still not ready to go with you? Do you throw them away and forget about them?

Integrating your website into your sales process

1. Pre-Sell them on why you are the best option compared to other options that they have available

Lets say you first got your initial lead or inquiry, then right after your first phone conversation your goal should be to try and direct this person to your website so they can find out more about you, see how you are unique compared to other people & most importantly for you, to help you determine if they are a good fit for you. This is especially important since you don’t want to meet with everybody who claims they are interested. If you have served other people in the past then you would know that not all customers are equal and that there are those you would rather not take on due to either the stress they might inflict on you or simply because they might not be able to afford and end up negotiating too much and devaluing the service you provide. Your website should thus serve to position you the right way while also building rapport and trust with them.

2. Post selling them after your appointment

If you finally met with the interested person then the next step whether or not they enrolled or didn’t is to followup with them right away, this has 2 effects:

  1. If they just enrolled then it helps reduce the buyer remorse that they might feel latter on by reminding them the reasons they chose you in the first place.
  2. If they didn’t enroll the extra ‘touch’ could be just what they needed to tip them over.

Needless to say the structure of what to say, when to say it and what medium to use to say it, is also very critical.

3. Keep nurturing them till ready or next time

Even if you fail to turn them around with your communication from step 2, you then launch into your ongoing nurture program where you take these leads and keep staying in communication with them till they get ready or even if they went with a competitor you still want to remain in their radar in case something changes.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for most organizations will be in categorizing the various leads, past clients and general contacts that they have dealt with into different buckets and then deciding on the most relevant content to drip on each category.

An important thing to note here is that your website should always be the hub of all your communication & content.


9 Steps to Building an Amazing Website For Your Organization

1. Strategy

The first part to building your brand online is understanding that your website will be the central hub for your organization. The second thing is to also understand what the purpose of your website will be. It maybe that you have a website and you have 20 other micro sites / landing pages that you are using as independent sites to market specific products. If this happens to be your primary website then your web designer should help you gain some clarity on your unique selling proposition, your key call to action, and then this will help you determine how you want visitors to progress or move through your website. Depending on the overall strategy you will be able to see what you will need to have in place.

2. Designing A Website You’ll Be Proud To Show Your Partners

When it comes to the website design itself – an easy thing most people do is simply check-out their competition and decide how they want theirs to look like. While this is a good approach you don’t have to limit yourself to only your industry. If you have no specific preference you can have your designer show you several samples after interviewing you and getting to understand your organization and your marketing positioning.

3. Ensure you are Fully Accessible On Phones & Tablets

Since most people accessing websites today are doing so from mobile devices, then you will want to ensure that your website is able to “fit” in these devices by getting a mobile version of your website or making the website responsive – meaning its able to adjust based on the device.

4. Drive More People To Your Website

If you are more serous about trying to drive more people or traffic to your website through google search without having to pay Google for advertising, then integrating a news or blogging or Sermons (for churches) system is the way to go. The news system will also ensure your website stays current and provide something new for a returning visitor to see.

5. Keep Your Partners Up To Date With The Latest News & Offers

If you want to engage with your clients even more – then you may wish setup your email newsletter system. If you already have one in place you may also want to ensure the email that goes out is designed and customized with your letter head, layout and colors that match the the feel of your website.

6. Promote Solutions / Events To Everyone Passing Through Your Website

Sometimes you may wish to Promote an Event, a particular Program, a Class, a new Product or a Solution. Or you may simply be promoting your new Lead Capture page.

Since many people visit your website from your Facebook posts, email marketing, google search etc, and most of these people will ‘enter’ your website through some other page other than the homepage. so in order to ensure that everyone coming into the site will see your latest event or promotion you use Banners / sliders placed at specific vantage points around the website.

7. Achieve Branding Consistency Across Your Social Media Pages

If you have are are looking to quickly open your Facebook, You tube, Twitter, Google+ or Twitter Accounts then you might also wish to have it properly branded and showing a customized message instead of simply putting up your photo.

You might want to help people who are visiting your page to find your contacts easily or checkout your latest offer right when they land on that page – usually the cover photo is the first see they see, so maximize that space by communicating something of value.

You may also use that space to drive them to your website – where they learn properly about you. or you can “point” them to a particular landing page on Facebook for capturing leads etc.

8. Setup any other special back end systems

Like your Portfolio management systems to have a special area where you showcase your work, Testimonials management systems – to build credibility and trust when a person first visits your website etc.

9. Launch, Manage & Promote

Finally you want to launch your new website, continue to update the content with a simple easy to use system & most importantly send out a few engaging emails linking back to the latest stories or updates on your News section and with your banners promoting your latest event or offer. Thus leading to more visibility & inquiries from web visitors and past clients alike.

The 3 Biggest Mindsets Slowing You Down In Your Marketing

As we continue into this year, one of the things that we’ve noticed with most business owners is that while we are all passionate about our work we tend to live on that false adage of  ‘if you build it the clients will come’. Funny truth is that our sales numbers don’t lie 90 days after we slow down our marketing campaigns.

But what really causes us to relax our foot off the marketing gas? Why do we proudly sit back and proclaim we are the best and that our ideal customers will find us somewhat miraculously?

‘ I am not yet ready and it still doesn’t look good; nor does it have the perfect shine …’

This can be a particularly stiffling mindset; you might be delaying the launch date for example. At the same time you might not quite have the budget to do that perfect marketing campaign. So should you wait? Remember that delays cause one to waste so much time and the best option would be running with the simplest solution.

This and the idea that the best marketing automation software at the time (Infusionsoft) was was quite pricey for me led me to wasting several months instead of just running with the and most direct & simplest solution.

For instance there was a time I needed to implement a little marketing automation mix into my marketing and based on research, most digital marketers recommended all these perfect marketing funnels that you could use to drive different prospects through. For instance if this was a new lead they would receive a series of very particular messages over a certain period then if they became a likely client for a particular service they would be put on a different sequence. This and the idea that the best marketing automation software at the time (Infusionsoft) was was quite pricey for me led me to wasting several months instead of just running with the and most direct & simplest solution.


‘What will people think if we execute that aggressive campaign?’

This problem is especially faced by the older entrepreneur who has been in business for a while and is now trying to break into a new field or who has experienced a setback and is trying to bounce back.

The problem they face is probably more mental; of trying to appear like they don’t really need to be marketing. Often this leads to a weak marketing copy and web copy that often doesn’t speak to you nor does it convince the customers to buy/enroll or hire you. But instead it is more focused on the branding type marketing versus direct response marketing.

‘This is a lot of work; I am too busy to Prepare the campaigns needed right now.’

Do you believe that it takes too long to prepare and work on this project? The more you think about it the more you want to avoid it. You delegate it to another staffer and hate the final result yet you still don’t want to deal with it. Finally when you do sit down to deal with it, you do it in 30 minutes and you then wonder why you procrastinated the project for so long!

Whatever is holding us back is often a particular mindset. With the right mindset however we are able to take the right action faster and achieve our results sooner than latter. 


How To Use Your Testimonials & Reviews To Turn Doubtful Prospects Into Long-term Clients

We’ve generally heard testimonials from open air preachers, tv commercials of the woman who used a particular detergent and it cleared some tough stains and even from friends who’ve used certain recipees that really turned around their meals. Most small and medium sized organizations will however shy away from using testimonials mainly because they aren’t aware of their power over their marketing and the effect it can leverage on your word of mouth and referral marketing.

The best testimonials are those that will explain in emotional detail the pains that the person went through in such detail so much so that other people who are going the same problem will be able to identify with that exact problem and mentally proclaim “hey that’s me”.

Most of us have had raving customers who have experienced our wonderful service and most of these happy customers will often tell their friends when they start looking for your particular service. Unfortunately most of these people also have a finite number of people in their network that they might tell, for instance they might only tell 10 people of your wonderful service or even that they simply know someone that they trust in your line of work. This is where officially gathering the testimonials works. A simple example for instance is where a church has had miracles in the past and the testimonies from those healed and so on are gathered and printed out as a small booklet or magazine which is then given to hundreds of potential believers – this little pamplet is then able to amplify your testiminial which may have been proclaimed once but is now being repeated everytime a person reads this.

Now imagine being able to do this for your school, church, ngo or company? In fact it’s already being done – people on social media are already mentioning you & your service whether in a good way or a bad way – but getting in control of the process will definately help you control the narrative and  amplify your marketing results.

So which testimonials work

The best testimonials are those that will explain in emotional detail the pains that the person went through in such detail so much so that other people who are going the same problem will be able to identify with that exact problem and mentally proclaim “hey that’s me”.

To be able to however elicit this reaction from the most number of people you will need to realize that our audience will also consist of different categories of people each with different problems – however the overal categories may be only three. For instance your church members might have people who are looking to resolve their “Lack of love”, “Lack of a job” and a “Lack of spiritual fulfilment” . What this means is that your testimonials will then follow a certain vein covering the three topic categories.

For instance your first testimonial may be “how i saved my marriage” the second maybe “how I got a job” and the third maybe “how I found a husband despite being blind” note that the third is covered under the first topic category but the title is still unique unto itself. This way you can now use 20 testimonials each unique but all covered under your 3 key topic categories.

If your testimonial can get them to that point, then you will have them ready to listen to the next part of the testimonial which is ‘What I did’ – that ties to you and your organization.

Another way to pick the testimonial categories is to simply look at what objections you might be getting during your selling process. for instance they keep saying that you might leave their project halfway through and not deliver – your tesimonial would therefore run alon gthe lines of – “I had doubts that he could deliver, but I gave him a shot and he surprised me with the end result.”

As you cab see testimonials dispel doublts, they speed up the sales process and also reveal problems people didnt even realize they had. Knowing  what you now know how do you then go about the process of collecting these testimonials? I’ll be sure to cover this in a future article.

The truth about the cost of websites

Many people looking to get a website will often be confused with why there is such a variance in the cost of websites. They will initially encounter web designers who propose to get their entire websites done for as little as 10k, all the way to several hundreds of thousands and often they won’t understand why this is so.

So how can you ensure that you get value for your money, avoid being duped and and eventually get a sucky website? There are 3 key factors that play a role in the pricing of websites:

1. Skill level of the web designer

It goes without saying that once you’ve found a web designer you will checkout their portfolio and make sure you like their works and design style. additionally you will want to checkout how long they’ve been doing this for and how many projects they’ve handled. Also are they really a web designer or a broker?

What you will find is that the longer their experience and the more projects they’ve handled the more likely they are to be more stable and are in this for the long-term and that this is a full time job for them, which is really what you want when you call on them a few years down the line. However with this stability and experience comes a more expensive person since not only are you more certain to get a great looking website based on your original concept but you are also likely to be happy with the overall service.

In addition to what is mentioned above an experienced designer can help you solve some real business problems using the website since they are also involved in their own marketing and sales efforts.

2. Level of service you require

I’ve met people who initially explained to their web designer that all they needed was something “very simple” or “just standard”. Now often they will say this during the initial negotiation phases so that they get the best deal. Additionally while they might get several quotes and then go with the cheapest usually they haven’t communicated the full scope of the project other than the usual standard features. The problem with this is that once the project is underway their very basic project suddenly becomes a high maintenance project with multiple changes and multiple people from the organization and even friends of the client that will start giving them their input and suddenly you start modifying the concept you wanted initially into something else, needless to say this now costs the designer their time and pretty soon (since this was a fixed scope project) they start loosing money and start dragging their heels and looking for their next project elsewhere. The best way to avoid this however is to ensure you know what you really want, look at other websites and get the concept you want then secondly involve your other stake holders during the initial meeting with the designer to ensure they all communicate the ideas they have across during this initial meeting. then finally you can agree on a good price for both you and the designer.

In certain cases you might not have the full scope of the project in mind or you might be representing a board or directors who for some reason don’t want to involve themselves in the creative meetings especially in the beginning. Whenever you have this the best solution as an organization is to simply pay on a per hour basis which will obviously be more expensive but its the cost of being able to execute different ideas from different stakeholders or to get the full scope of the project where a clear one doesn’t exist in the beginning.

Personally I like splitting the project into 4 stages. The 1st where we discuss with all stakeholders and get the concept. The 2nd stage where I produce the initial version of the website then the clients can see the initial design and give their input (again all stake holders present to ensure all ideas are captured). Then a 3rd stage where their changes are implemented and the rest of the website is done. Finally a 4th finetuning stage after the launch for an additional 30 days to iron out any additional issues.

3. Scope of work

Although I left this for last it’s also one of the most important things that will affect the cost of your website. Any experienced web designer has obviously been asked to design a Facebook knockoff with 2 or 3 special features and the real kicker was when they heard how much the person was willing to pay…now you know why some designers throw tantrums especially if they initially agreed to such a project unless it was all just for fun.  

Scope of work for a website project will often involve detailing to the minute level what you want to see at the end of the day and not just some vague generality. It’s often best to open a similar website and point out a specific exact feature if you have one in mind than just mention it verbally in the passing. One of the things that I like to do when scoping out the project during the initial meeting is to not only open specific websites but to also sketch out the website and the different pages based on your concept. What I’ve found is that once everyone is looking at the screen and also once it’s on paper there is a higher level of clarity.

Hopefully this has opened your eyes to understanding the true cost of what goes into a website. If you are looking for more insight or have a few more questions please get in touch with me here.

A Look at 3 Interesting Animated Side Ad Banners

First off, Most of these ad banners were either featured on related websites e.g. small business and tech websites for the tech products and others were mainly re-targeting ads I’d seen based on previous research, this means they didn’t need to provide a lot of descriptive information like for instance explaining what is QuickBooks and what does it do. These appeared on sidebars of other websites, mainly content websites like forbes.com. Most of these we swapped in mid 2016. 

The cleanest of the 3 below is obviously the QuickBooks banner, which highlights both the new offer “40% off” and also the call to action “buy now” since it’s sold online. The Headline they choose to highlight their benefit is also interesting to look at “Easy accounting for SMBs”. Although personally the only reason I would use QuickBooks could be 3 fold:  1.”The most Popular accounting software”  2.”used by over 1,000,000 companies” and 3.”The standard software tool for most accountants, hence lower costs managing your company’s books”. That said, as with all ads, they probably tested their strongest benefits and used the other benefits on the other slides of the animation.

The use of animated banners was obviously powerful in getting noticed quickly on the websites they were advertised on. 

An Amazing Sales Page Design Swipe

Recently I was checking out a sales page for an offer from Grant Cardone and unlike most sales pages you can tell he’s spending quite a bit to have the modern look and personalization which I should beleive is helping with increasing the conversions on the page.  I just had to swipe it for that reason alone. Unlike most sales pages the page isn’t all that long, they’ve cut out segments like explaining who this is etc probably because the page is being seen by people who already know who this is and who have been following his work, so the page is going straight for the close.


What 6 Strategic Features Should You Focus on In a Standard Website?

I’ve recently found that many people who ask me about getting a basic standard website also wished to know what goes into such a website or at the very least the things they should take care of to ensure their website is a success. This article aims to enlighten you on some of the key elements that you should focus on. Please send me your feedback and other questions you may have.

1. Clear Goal & Call To Action

As you get started on your simple website this will be your most important element which is simply understanding the ultimate course of action that you want people or prospects visiting your website to take. A simple action maybe that you want them to call you or that you want them to fill a form and then you will contact them latter.

Once you understand this then your content, your pages and your visitor journey through the website will be directed toward this goal of getting them to take this primary action. Without this clarity from the very beginning we will be blind and directionless.

2. Strategic Design

The design of the website obviously plays a crucial role. What you don’t want is a website template that is simply slapped with your content that doesn’t really advance your partners or potential clients down the buying funnel.

An example of this is using a slider because it’s the cool thing and your friends will be impressed by this without understanding that this prime real estate on the website is the first thing a website visitor will see and should be used to convince potential clients on why they should stick around.

3. A Simple To Use Management System

The next important thing to have in place is a simple to use content management system, this is what enables you without much training to be able to update your website easily, and keep your website content fresh and up to date.

An automatically updating system is also a plus since this will keep your website software up to date and secure.

4. Compelling Content

Most people are quick to say that they have all the content about their organization ready or that it is easy to come up with it. However as many realize latter this is one of those things during a website project that can hold up the progress as the designer waits for promised content which takes too long to put together since you are busy as well. One of the things you can commission the designer to do as well is help you with crafting the content as well.

In addition to this the content should be re-purposed in a way that it compels your prospects to choose you. What we are saying is that the content has to come in two forms one is the normal content development describing your organization etc and two the copy that’s meant to sell you. However the 2 forms are also fused together compiling the content.

5. Good Photography

If you have ever gone to a website that made you go “wow”, chances are that that website had amazing photography and old photos were well cleaned. Good photography is often the difference between the good and the great websites out there.

The most captivating type of photos are often of people, done as close-ups with some cleaning & editing applied to the photos. If you do take your own photos or have product photos make sure you also provide them to your designer in the highest resolution possible and in their raw form. Compromising on this is simply compromising on your own website.

6. Easily Accessible Contact Information

There are two locations to place your contact information for highest visibility. One is right on the header area of the website and the next spot in the contact us age. The former is the most valuable as this will be seen on every page and no matter what page the visitor in on when they decide they want to contact you they will be able to get to your contact without having to hunt your contacts down.

With these six areas taken care of you should have a pretty good standard website design in your hands to get you going with your online promotion. I will soon publish what else you can get in more advanced websites. Please send me your feedback and other questions you may have. 

How to drive more people from facebook to your website in less than a minute

Lately I’ve been receiving this question from several clients about how they can quickly drive more people on facebook (Fb) to their site other than of course adding their website link in the facebook page profile.

If you are thinking about this you might be just curious or you may be  serious about engaging your Fb users and getting more of them interested in what you offer. So how do you do this in a quick way several times in a day?

First off your site would have to have a blog, news or resources page available in order for this to work. Next ensure that each post or article on the site also has a cool featured image attached. The 3 things this article or post should have are:

  1. A compelling headline that is of great interest to your audience e.g. if you are a medical practioner it could be ‘how to know if that lump is cancer’. The headline is the most important part of your story; this is what will cause them to stop and read your story.
  2. A first paragraph that ends with a hook. Going with the obvious example this could be ‘Have you or a family member had any unexplained lumps on your skin that may get be hard or soft, painful or painless? Find out the signs that could indicate that this is cancer’. The goal of this first paragraph is to create interest and secondly, the first few lines or words are the ones that Fb will capture and display in other people’s timelines.
  3. A captivating photo that will capture the readers. This goes hand in hand with the ‘catchy’ headline in making sure it stops readers right on their tracks.

Once your article is done it is now time to publish it in Fb and to do this simply go to the article page on your site and copy the URL or link to this particular story then go to Fb and where you post your new messages paste this link and publish.

What happens next is that Fb will automatically pull your headline, photo and a portion of your first paragraph into Facebook and this will appear on the timelines of people who have also liked your page.

Now the next time readers see your compelling title and click to read more they will be directed to your website where they can finally read the article and also learn more about your practice.

Once you have several of these articles then posting and relating them on Fb should be as easy as copy, paste and publish and in less than a minute you’ll be in on your way to faster growth.

Now while there’s obviously more to this, this is probably the simplest way to get started and get going in driving more people to your site.