Meet the panel

The Q&A

The questions discussed during the panel Q&A were submitted by attendees prior to the dinner. 

There’s a saying that Content is King. Is that true for finding life long customers, or only in the short term… and does anybody even read it anyway?

Let’s address “content is king” first.  The whole point of the search engine is to index the content. So without content there’s nothing really … no reason to have a search engine.

However in a customer context, content is a way to build a relationship with your customers through sharing your thoughts, your thought leadership and your philosophy. And YES relationships are long term.

There are also things that we can do that support our content to have a sustainable influence over our customers.

Use the right words: So there’s some alignment between what humans want and what Google is saying to the robots. The better you understand your customers and the kind of language they use when searching for your company and your services the better you will be able to align what your customers are looking for and what the Google Robots are giving them.

Get the right links: In the Google context that would be things like a trusted link to your website from someone referring to your website. It says I trust this person for this particular service or product or whatever it might be. this is what we’re wanting to offer up to those searches and if you can really target in on what your customer wants and find those words that people are searching for then you’ve got the ultimate mix in the content that you produce to be indexed by the robots and the humans’ll like it as well.

The good news is that Google’s moving more towards a human experience and ironically using more technology and automation to achieve that.

Ian Hopkinson

To add to what Ian has said  – I think that deep work is important to really deeply understand who your clients are, what makes them tick, what makes them say yes to you and what makes them stay. So there’s the yes component and the staying component and then if you can marry that in with the words that you use online and Google makes you known for those words and your customers actually use those words and prospective customers do as well, that’s where the magic is.

Frances Pratt

Where do you see businesses waste money on marketing?

I’m going to take a sales answer to this one because that’s my specialty. Every single business that I’ve worked for, I’ve always started by selling to their existing clients because all of them always have been undersold to. They’re under serviced because people put their marketing efforts in and they win these clients and they do a little celebration and then they forget them. They forget to go back in. We need to be  marketing to our existing clients, otherwise you’re not getting the full potential life time value of every client, and THAT’s a waste of money.

Fran Pratt

I think the biggest waste comes because so many businesses think tactics first, rather than strategy.  A lot of money gets wasted that way because they either don’t have a strategy or they use the wrong strategy.

Building on that. If you don’t really understand who your customer is and how they tick, then you can’t come up with the strategy to speak to them. There’s a persona of your customer that you need to understand and you need to focus on strategies that deliver to that persona before you start investing in tactics.

Ian Hopkinson

There’s a saying that 50% of  marketing is wasted. The trouble is I don’t know which 50%. That’s crap. It’s actually more like 99.99% of your marketing is wasted and you don’t know which 99.99% of it it is. The issue is not so much how much is wasted. The issue is how much do you make out of it because waste in a marketing process is normal. That’s standard. 

Take a direct marketing piece if you get a 3% response rate, you’re doing unbelievably well. You’re up there with best practice. So that means 97% of it’s wasted. But all you have to do is just move for example, from 3% to 4% and you have just made a massive killing. So it’s about getting better bang for your buck and measuring and identifying how it’s performing and how you can make better bang for your buck. So, yeah, accept the fact that waste is part of marketing!

Ian Bosler

I guess I want to just add a little bit to what everyone else has said.

Like the measuring, obviously in  digital, we’re spoiled, especially in the Google ads platform, where we can measure every single nanogram of everything. But on what Fran was saying about understanding the customer -too many businesses do advertising or marketing and forget to show some empathy about how they are actually benefiting their customer. It’s like they  run around loudly and say buy my thing to everyone. The second someone buys it they yell it even louder to the guy next to him. All marketing, even Mr. Google Ads and his low hanging fruit, is much more powerful if we know the person we’re going after and we know how they want to be sold to and what pain points we’re helping.

Tony Sambell

How do we use digital marketing to attract and retain clients who traditionally would have come to us from a referral?

I think a lot of people look at marketing incorrectly in that they look at it as only advertising. Marketing exists throughout the entire buyer’s journey.

Most businesses separate marketing, sales and customer service.  If you bring the three of them together and look at it across the buyer’s journey  you can figure your process to follow how your customers think and work. You can then apply marketing and selling at different points all the way throughout that entire journey.

Then you can’t help but attract and convert high value, long-term customers who will go on to bring in more high value, long-term customers for you as well because you’re just matching what their requirements are across the whole journey, not just a little slice.

It’s more than marketing or sales or customer service it’s about customer experience.

Ian Bosler

There’s a thing in your Google analytics which you probably haven’t discovered yet called assisted conversions. What that shows you is the different touch points of the different marketing channels that came through an organic search,  Google Ad, Facebook post etc.  It shows you that customer journey and the different channels and how they work together for that final purchase. Strangely enough, that metric gets ignored in the reports that a lot of agencies seem to deliver, and yet how important is that for a business to and see how these things work together.

Ian Hopkinson

 Every single customer that comes via a paid ad is just as valuable as every other customer.

Often when I talk to someone and they’re not big on ads and they haven’t done it before, they say something like: ‘we’re not going to play in that field, I never click on the ads.’ But if nobody clicked on the ads Google wouldn’t be making $30 billion a quarter.

People click on an ad when it’s relevant. Making your ads relevant to your target customer will make people click on it. If someone clicks on your ad, they were looking for what you were targeting. So they’re looking for your services in your area or whatever. All your targeting was matched.

Any if it’s an easy decision sale… like an emergency plumber or something, then they’ll buy from you.

But if they don’t buy from you, it doesn’t mean that you then say well that guy’s dead to me ’cause he clicked on my ad and never converted. There is more you can do. You don’t just forget about them.

 This is where I see a lot of people wasting the click they just paid for.  They say people require something like 15 touch points. So first of all, give them some time. They’re going to have to take some more touch points before they come and buy your products and services.

So what are you doing to marry that up?

First: run highly targeted ads to get people in,  don’t run a broad net. Be empathetic in how you’re putting your campaign together and what are the people looking for, what messaging should I put in front of them? You want people to click on your ad and do it with intent. If you sell tyres in Glen Waverley and someone’s typing in ‘tyres Glen Waverley’, then you should have an ad that says you do that.  That person is no less valuable in the long term than a person who comes to you from a referral. Every single person that you’re converting via a paid ad you’d be looking at as lifetime value.

So different kinds of keywords are going to need different kinds of strategies.  There are keywords where people are looking for something right no and they’ll use once and never contact you again or there’s a higher chance they’ll never use you again, and there are businesses or services or products that have higher lifetime value. So you have to adjust your strategy, your budget and your mindset.

Tony Sambell

What’s the minimum budget that someone would need to do something serious with Google Ads? 

There’s no real answer, unfortunately.  I’ve been doing this for 10 years. If you paid over a dollar for a click when I started that was being aggressive where now you can’t get anything. It depends on your industry. 

Low-value products that someone will make a decision very quickly, you could do it with a very short budget like a few hundred dollars.

If people need to take time to decide whether they’re going to use you, you’re going to have to run that ad over and over because unfortunately, we don’t remember who we found. We remember what we googled and if your ad isn’t there when they come back, you’re screwed.

It’s not about what you spend – it’s about what your return on investment is. 

Tony Sambell

There’s a saying that customers buy from people they know, they like and they trust. What does that mean in reality?

 I think it’s often a  thing people say but they don’t actually understand how to do it.

I’m going to pick on accountants because it’s easy, right. So everybody knows what an accountant does.  What potential customers are more interested in than the what is the how; how do you do it, how do you do it that’s different to the next person, and how do you do it that’s relevant to me as the customer?

 So if we go back to the know, like, trust:  they know what you do, they like how you do it, but that doesn’t get them across the line. What they trust is your why. Why are you in business, why did you start, what’s the culture behind this? We all didn’t start our business to make money. We started our business because we saw a problem, because we saw a need, because we thought we could help people. So reconnecting back with that why is critical in this messaging so that people get to know you as an individual or as a company and your culture and what you stand for. That’s where trust happens and that’s what gets people over the line.

Fran Pratt

How does your marketing focus and the channels change between having a product that you’re marketing versus service?

This feeds off what I was saying before. A product is straightforward. Usually, you can compare apples to apples and then they’re just going to pick the apple with the best why or the best how. That’s literally it, very factual driven. It’s very easy to run a search campaign for that ’cause they’re going to look for tyres in Glen Waverley. Oh look there’s someone, and they’ll do it and they’ll donate the five percent to charity. They tick all the boxes.

Whereas services, services get brutal because usually if you’re offering a service, the return on investment is intangible. It can either be horrid or it can be excellent and the person searching needs to  figure out if this business they’ve found is going to give them what they really want for the fee they’re going to give them. And they don’t want anything other than finding the best person in the world, and this can be from remedial massage to a business coach because they’re are looking for the best possible result. This is where that long-term value really comes into how you’re going to run your campaign and how you’re going to structure it.

Obviously, you could do the basics. Someone looking for service in location. That’s going to cover some things. You will get plenty of clicks, but no one’s interested in clicks. You may get a few inquiries which is awesome and they may convert into deals, but when you’ve got this intangible client, how much you make out of a client can be anywhere from here to the sky’s limit, because it’s about the life time value of the client, and you’re looking for return on investment.  So this is why it’s such a different thing because we don’t already have a rough idea of what it’s going to cost or a rough idea of the outcome.  So this is why you need to pick the words a hell of a lot better. Don’t just go for the low hanging fruit. 

If you have 100 people click on your ad and only five are turning into a customer, that might be okay. 5% conversion, that’s pretty good, but you had 95 people that were all interested in what you do where you do it. So what are you missing out on here?

Where you can run other sorts of multiple touch point campaigns?

So we’ve all heard of retargeting or remarketing. But don’t just throw your logo up in front of them. If you’ve got a testimonial on someone that says that you are the bees’ knees, put that in there. If you’ve got your why, guess what? So maybe put that in your retargeting “that we are community driven and we donate this sort of amount of money to grassroot organisations. Those sorts of things educate all 100 people and suddenly you go from a 5% conversion rate to a 30% conversion rate. 

But it just didn’t happen from that first click, so like Ian said you have to be tracking your customer journey.

Tony Sambell

After you find a prospective customer what do you need to do to turn them into that lifelong customer?

It comes back to the buyers journey

At the start hey’re looking at how to solve their problem, but they’re also then searching who can do it for them as well. So that’s when they start to look at their why. That’s when they start to make sure that the messaging is consistent, everything that they see. Then they’ll reach out. Might get on the phone. They might email in. They might fill in a web form and they start to have some human interaction then. So that’s got to be consistent as well otherwise you don’t get past that assessment phase.

Once they get through that, you think about what’s going on in their head at that time as well. They’re uncertain, they’re unsure, and then they start to find clarity in their world. They start to get emotionally invested in making a decision because that part of their journey is nearly finished. It’s an exciting time for them. So that’s when they’ll come through and make the affirmation. They’ll affirm who they’re going with. Traditionally that’ll be your selling point, but it’s not so much straight selling anymore. It’s about being the right partner for them because if you just flog them a product ou’re less likely to have them as a long term client.

 If you sell them into a partnership and you affirm them into a partnership, they’re more likely to be a longer term valuable customer.

But it doesn’t end there. The business will go high five, yeah we made a sale.   And that’s quite often where the business and the customer just diverge immediately. As soon as that happens you really weaken the ability to nail the long-term customer.

At this time being consistent with your marketing and your marketing’s got to continue. Your selling’s got to continue. Your face-to-face, your human interaction’s got to continue on brand, all the way through until you turn them into a raving fan. Typically we see in a complex sale, whether it’s a large consumer sale or it’s a large, complex business to business sale, that you’ve got a 100 day window. What happens in that 100 days is what nails it. You’ve got to be right on top of your game every moment through that 100 days. Every touch point, and they’ll still be going out researching. They’ll still be looking on the internet. They’ll still be checking what’s going on because there’s this thing called buyer’s remorse kicks in and they’re going to start going oh shit, did we make the right decision here. They’ll start to go and research again. So you need to still be consistent. They still need to see your ads out there. They still need to see you retargeting. They’ll go and check more about your content. They’ll go and ask their network. They’ve got this burning flame which is this buyer’s remorse. So you’ve got to extinguish that flame

Ian Bosler

I think what a lot of businesses where they make the mistake in fanning the flame rather than extinguishing is they’re far too familiar and internalised about their own systems and processes. You know what your business does inside and out but your client doesn’t. So how do we externalise that? How do we make that transparent to them? So if you’re selling a service or even a product, but when I’m working with product companies I add a service element. When I’m working with service companies I add in a product element, but when you’re selling a services, three extra p’s in the marketing mix around people, process and physical evidence. So people testimonials. People, the people who are taking the phone calls, that face. So if I’ve been the salesperson and I’m handing over to a delivery team, then do a face-to-face delivery or a Zoom delivery handover. So that the client knows exactly who their point of contact is.

 Which speaks then to process. What’s the process that they’re going to go through? Lay out the yellow brick road for them. So when they’re at those points of caution around that post purchase dissonance or that buyer’s remorse that they have that certaintly, oh that’s right, Fran said there was going to be step bang, bang, bang. They’ve got this map right in front of them. They can follow the yellow brick road. 

The last thing is physical evidence. Prove, prove, prove, prove. Prove to them that you are what you say you are. Prove to them that customers come back through testimonials. Prove to them … Who has anti virus on their computer? What do they send you every month?

 A report. We’ve stopped 300 million 272 viruses this week  they prove to you that they’re being effective and service businesses and other business have to do exactly the same thing. Slap it being in front of them that you’re doing what you promised.

Fran Pratt

What should be done when we offer a little known service which prospects don’t know they need.

This is a tricky one ’cause as we were talking about earlier with particular language that they use and what your customers are searching for, to find that alignment you really have to divide your strategy into a couple of pieces.

You’ve got to go and look for the core terms that are being used by the searches. So look at what those volumes are, and look for opportunities in those core terms. There’s always terms there. I love it when I sit down with a client and they say, “But we’re in a niche area. This has never been done before, and we don’t have any competitors,” and all that sort of thing. It’s never the truth. There is always some related product or service that has come before you that people are searching for. Find that and build a strategy around that. 

Then the longer term strategy is to relanguage the marketplace. We’re going to start talking in a different way. We’re going to start even  making up words. Americans love to make up words, but the point is they start owning the language and owning the new areas, owning new niches. This is where AdWords and SEO work really well together because there may not be any searches organically for those terms and Tony can buy in some traffic and build demand for those terms and then that’s where the organic can come into play, and they work beautifully off each other. Google Ads is a long-term strategy just like SEO.

Ian Hopkinson

Just in the last 10 seconds of that, ’cause they do work so well together, if you’re selling something new or different, like Ian said, you wouldn’t be creating this if it wasn’t better than something or filling a need. So obviously there are people looking for this need or for this better service. But remember who you’re talking to. Be empathetic. Everyone will not take it up straight away. Who will?  The early adopters … So you put your message to the early adopters ’cause they’ll go into it ’cause they love stuff that’s new and broken and doesn’t work quite well yet because they feel special. So you’ve got to pick your target and make sure you message it right in your organic, in your ads and everything else because then they’ll take it and then you can leverage them for when you get the rest of the bell curve.

Tony Sambell

Meet the host

Stewart Clark, Founder and Principal coach of SCS Performance

SCS performance is a specialist consultancy firm delivering a specially designed range of coaching programs to the small to medium business market - to drive bottom line return.

Stewart is an energetic and experienced business adviser with many years of experience coaching, advising and supporting small and medium sized businesses across Australia.

Leveraging a lengthy career in finance and corporate business, Stewart has worked "in" or "on" a range of businesses and industries Australia wide.

Possessing a people-oriented style and a keen eye for detail, Stewart is well versed in strategic planning, financial analysis, sales delivery and business improvement. Stewart is also a published author of “It’s not what you make, but what you keep” and is a regular speaker.

Unlike a traditional business coach, Stewart focuses on enhancing the mechanics of a business – its people, its process and its systems – to achieve long-term business success.

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