Watertight Marketing: Book review

watertight-marketing-cover-240x360Did you know it’s Small Business Advice Week (31st Aug – 6th September)? The aim is to help the UKs 4.5 million SMEs (small and medium employers) thrive in what can still be tough times for many.

So with this in mind, I thought I’d tell you about the book I’m reading right now, which is Watertight Marketing by Bryony Thomas.

First of all, it’s a really excellent book. And if you’re thinking it might cover stuff about sales funnels that you’ve heard before, then you’re in for a nice surprise!

A central theme in this book is to give your prospects and customers exactly the information they want, when they want it. And this book really does practice what it preaches in that it’s taken what could be rather dry business theory and made it speak to busy small business owners. It does cover how to set up a sales and marketing system that works in the long term – for both your business and your customers – that is built on solid relationships. But it uses lots of quick-to-understand concepts (buckets, funnels and taps) and looks at plugging the gaps we all have in our marketing systems.

One concept that really grabbed me was the logic sandwich. If you’re wondering whether to sell using facts or emotions, this could be just what you need. Because when people are first looking at your products, they need an emotional approach. Then they’ll want to know all the facts and figures about your product – that’s the logically part. Finally, when they are just about ready to buy they’ll switch back to using their emotions again. And those are the three layers of the sandwich. If you get this wrong, you can end up by hitting them with the facts too early and scaring them off, for example.

One thing that many small business owners are afraid of is being too ‘salesy’. Watertight Marketing shows you that a more subtle approach that goes at your prospect’s own pace is much more effective in the long run than selling fast and hard. That’s a big relief for those of us who aren’t natural sales people!

The book is very practical, and you can download workbooks from the website given in the book to make it easier to implement what you learn as you go along. I haven’t had a chance to do that just yet but I definitely will.

So I recommend you grab yourself a copy of this book!

Seven business growth strategies CMOs can get on board with

marketIn order to stay ahead, continue to make profit and run a healthy business, growth is important. Here are some business growth strategies that make perfect sense and are important for a CMO to get on board with…

Try new marketing activities

A varied marketing mix can help your business to grow. Different activities can reach different types of customers and this is so important when you’re trying to find new markets. When looking at your options keep an eye on the activities that give the best return on investment. One overlooked activity is SMS marketing – take a look at GlobalMessaging for more information on how you can tap into an effective method of reaching customers on their favourite device.

VIP events for customers

It’s so important to keep your customers on side and one way to make them feel special is with VIP events. Knowing they are valued and looked after will just help to build the relationship between them and your company.

From here your account managers can work with these customers to continue to develop that relationship and bring in more revenue.

Identify where to make cuts and where to invest

Being ruthless is important in business so time needs to be taken once a month to have a look over expenditure to see what’s necessary and what, in terms of marketing, is working. Have a bigger review each quarter and don’t keep going with something if it’s not working as it should be. It might have sounded like a good idea – and may have even worked in the past – but if it’s once it’s apparent that something is not working then it’s time to ditch It and move on. Continue reading “Seven business growth strategies CMOs can get on board with”

How to find your perfect customer

Today’s post comes from Claire Hughes of Handmade Horizons.

You can grab Claire’s latest FREE ebook for Mums Who Make by clicking here.

Hands up who is excited about 2013? I know I am! Chances are you started January with head full of exciting plans for your business, which you couldn’t wait to get started on.

But if there’s one thing I’d urge you to do before you get stuck into the day-to-day, it’s to have a fresh look at who your target customer is.

If you’ve just started a business or have been trading for a while, you may think you already have a pretty good idea who your target customer is. Perhaps you’d describe them like this:

– “Women who live in the UK and like buying jewellery”
– “Busy mums with kids who live at home”
– “Small businesses who need help with their accounts”

If so – sorry to break it to you, but you’ve got some work to do! Why? These are just too broad. Continue reading “How to find your perfect customer”

I started a business with a baby: Andreea Ayers of Product Marketing Breakthrough

Andreea Ayers started her extremely successful business Tees For Change in 2006 when pregnant with her first child. (And when I say extremely successful, I mean that she sold over 20,000 t-shirts in over 300 stores worldwide!). Andreea is now teaching other entrepreneurs how to launch and grow profitable product-based businesses.

Later today she’s releasing part 3 of her free training course Product Marketing Breakthrough. You can sign up and join in here. Over to you Andreea:

“I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but somewhere between high school and college I convinced myself that life would be ‘safer’ and I would be ‘better off’ if I went on to work for a prestigious company. After graduating with a degree in Business and Marketing from Cornell University, I spent the next few years working for many prestigious companies and organizations in NYC, including McKinsey & Company, Citibank, W Hotels and New York University.

Even though I worked for some great companies and learned a lot, I had always wanted to start my own business.  I had dabbled in running my own business (including knitting hats and selling them in college or setting up candy machines around the water cooler at one of my ‘office’ jobs) and there was something about it that I really enjoyed. Whether it was actually knitting the hats or buying the candy, I felt like I had actually created something from nothing – simply because I had an idea that I wanted to try out.

Soon, I realized that I had to start my own business, so I did what I knew best – marketing and market research. I set up a consulting business and started working with clients to help them with their online marketing (some of my clients included SpaFinder, The Leading Hotels of the World and Ideal Bite).

Then in 2006 I became pregnant with my first baby. While I was taking a prenatal yoga class at a local studio I felt inspired to start a new business. But this time, it would be a product-based business (t-shirts), rather than a service-based business (marketing). I knew nothing about the apparel or t-shirt industry, how to manufacture a t-shirt, how to print one, how to sell to stores or even how to set up an online store to sell a product.

So I started to research and learn as much as I could, ordering t-shirt samples and coming up with design ideas. Well, since I was really not a designer, I decided to do t-shirts with only words, not graphics. That way I could still have control over every aspect of running my business and do it all myself (which was not such a good idea, as I soon learned).

So, about a month before my son was born, Tees For Change, a line of inspirational and eco-friendly tees, was also born. I was slowly learning about the t-shirt industry and reached out to a lot of already-successful t-shirt entrepreneurs to ask them for advice. Most were very generous with their time and with sharing their knowledge, which I definitely appreciated. I felt like I had so many mentors to guide me along the way.

Of course I made a lot of mistakes along the way!

To make a long story short, I’ve come a long way since that day in 2007 when I started with 96 t-shirts (and sold out of them within a month, to my surprise!). After four years of running Tees for Change, I’ve sold over 20,000 t-shirts in over 300 stores in the United States and internationally and have had six figure sales after only one year of running my business.

My t-shirts have appeared in over 200 magazines, newspapers and TV shows, including ABC, NBC, Fox, The Bonnie Hunt Show, Redbook, The Chicago Tribune, USA Today Magazine, Ladies’ Home Journal, Self, Shape, The Nest and many more. And I even got Tori Spelling, Ed Begley, Denise Richards, Sarah Jessica Parker and Sarah Michelle Gellar to wear my tees!

Of course I made a lot of mistakes along the way! Like the time I spent $6,000 on a PR company hoping that they would help me get tons of press. I got some press, but definitely not enough to cover my $6000 investment. Or the time I spent $1000 on advertising in a local magazine, only to get zero sales from it. Or the time I signed up for a booth at a trade show that was definitely not for my target market – and had only three orders in two days. And what about the time that I trusted that my manufacturer would get my order right, so I didn’t bother to ask for samples before ok’ing the full production run of over 5,000 shirts? Well, half of the shirts came back the wrong color, ALL of them came back with the wrong neck label and another half came back a size too small!

pmb_180-x-150_4Needless to say, I could have done things better, but I was grateful to have learned all the lessons that I did (even though some were very expensive and time-consuming lessons).

I kept getting emails from other entrepreneurs (who had products other than t-shirts) and who wanted to get them into stores and wanted to know how I did it all. So I started to focus more on working with other entrepreneurs and helping them increase sales for their product-based business. So, in 2011, I sold Tees for Change and now my main focus is on working with entrepreneurs and teaching them everything I know about getting their products into stores, in the media and increasing their online exposure and sales.

I’ve worked with entrepreneurs who sell bath and beauty products, products for babies and kids, food, gifts, yoga products, eco-friendly and green goods, handmade and one of a kind items, accessories, greeting cards and stationery products and a lot more! I love seeing other entrepreneurs succeed while pursuing their passion!

I managed to grab Andreea to ask her a few questions…

1. You started your first business when you were pregnant with your first child. How did you find the time (and energy!) to have a baby and a business at the same time?

I really took it one day at a time and didn’t try to do it all! I tried to set up as much as I could before my baby was born so that way a lot of things were in place by the time he arrived. After he was born, I took some time off, of course, and then I started to add more time to my business when I could.

2. We live in times where business, the economy and technology are all changing fast. How are you dealing with this in your own business and what’s your advice to people who are new to or in the early stages of business?

I set aside time each week to learn about new technologies or new things that are happening in the industry. I also read and subscribe to relevant blogs and magazines so I can stay up to date with what’s going on. My advice would be to pick one or two sources that you love and stick with those instead of trying to read everything!

3. Of all the lessons you’ve learned since you started your business in 2006, which is the most important one?

Great question. The most important one is that success comes in the following up. Most of the time you contact someone (whether it’s a store, the media or a potential partner), your first email or contact will most likely not get a response. But when you follow up, that’s when success comes in.

4. Which quote or saying best sums up your approach to business success?

It’s actually a quote that I came across recently “The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them” I don’t know who said it, but it is so true!

Click here to sign up for Andreea’s  free Product Marketing Breakthrough training course.

Got a product-based business? Free training videos here…

If you have a product-based business that sells accessories, fashion, bath and beauty products, baby and kids products, or any other product in fact, I’d like to tell you about a really useful video training series.

Andreea Ayers of LaunchGrowJoy.com has just released a FREE four-part video training, called Product Marketing Breakthrough, in which she shares:

– 4 proven strategies to get your product line into the spotlight with your customers, retailers, and the media so you can increase your sales and income immediately

– The 3 most important profit boosters for your website, wholesale accounts, and publicity

– 3 specific strategies you can implement right away to create more income in your business immediately, as well as specific how-to’s for each step

– The 3 top mistakes most product-based entrepreneurs make when they try to grow their product line (Yes, I’ve made them all myself 🙂 Are you making them too? )

– Stories of product business owners who have made huge leaps and bounds in their businesses by implementing these Product Marketing Breakthrough strategies

Andreea just released her first video today and she’ll release more videos over the next two weeks. You can sign up to receive all four videos as soon as they are ready by clicking here.

I have just watched the first video and in it she tells the story of how she started her business at around the same time as her first child was born. So Andreea really did have a business plus a baby. She goes on to explain what you should so if you have a product line or idea for a product, but don’t know how to successfully get your product into multiple stores and media outlets.

Andreea will be teaching highly effective strategies you can implement right away and see instant results in your business. She used these strategies herself to grow her t-shirt business to 6-figure sales in her first year. Pretty impressive, especially with a baby in tow!

Click here to sign up to see the videos.

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