Six hidden Marketing Leaks draining Profits from your Business
by Bryony Thomas, Author & Founder of Watertight Marketing
Over the last decade of working with ambitious, fast-growing, businesses, I’ve had many conversations in which the MD has told me that what they need from their marketing is more leads. But across thousands of company assessments I’ve run, fewer than 10% indicate lead generation as the top priority.
Typically, an entrepreneur is accustomed to seeing the sales process drawn as a Funnel or a Pipeline, but in reality, the sales process is more of a Bucket, above which are Funnels, and then above that some Taps. In placing lead generation activities in the Taps, it becomes obvious that this is a wasteful activity if you have a hole in your business Bucket.
There are potentially six hidden marketing leaks draining profits from your business:
1) Forgotten Customers
First, look to anyone who has ever bought from you. They already know you and have an opinion. If you can get even a small number of these to pay more, buy more, and tell a few friends about you, you will increase your profits. Taking the time to map out a clear customer, and lapsed customer communications plan pays dividends.
My rule of thumb on customer communications is to ensure that you’re akin to the friend who gets in touch because they actually like you, not just because they want something. This means earning the right to ask for another sale by first providing materials of service, creating a level of social connection, and making them feel special.
2) Poor On-Boarding
Once you have your ongoing customer communications plan in place, the next project is to zoom in on how you welcome a customer when they first buy from you. In many cases, a customer will find themselves warmly welcomed with an invoice, a daunting user manual, or lengthy contract. More of slap in the face than a friendly hug.
Start by taking the time to map out what a customer needs from the point of placing an order to the point at which they would define themselves as a happy customer of yours. From a simple Thank You card in the post, a little Welcome Pack with all the key information they may need, or a sequence of how-to videos, there are pieces of communication - delivered in sequence - that can transform the level to which a customer commits to and appreciates what they’ve bought.
3) No Emotional Connection
There comes a time when someone is about to part with their money - when a quiet voice in their mind will ask… ‘are you sure?’ If a few things don’t come together to align with the emotional connection they’ve built with your business then the answer to that inner voice can be… ‘no, something doesn’t feel quite right here.’
What you’re aiming to create is trust. You need to be the sorts of people they want to spend time (and money) with. A mish-mash of visual and written styles erode trust. For example, they’ve read your website which speaks their language, but when they go to buy from you the tone switches to legalese. Or, they see you present at event with powerful slides and compelling imagery, but when they ask for a proposal it looks wholly different.
Making an investment in clear visual and written guidelines, templates, image libraries and photography is essential to ensuring that there’s no gear change in what potential customers experience of your business, whomever they engage with.
4) No Gateway
One of the things that’s often missing in growing businesses is an entry point or bridging purchase that gently guides someone into a customer relationship with you. This takes some careful crafting.
We work with people to create a product ladder that takes a buyer through what I call the three levels of value exchange, from a) spending time with you, b) to spending time and data with you, c) to spending time, data & money with you.
Undertaking a project to create a natural sequence of offerings that incrementally increases a person’s commitment to you will mean that even the shyest of buyers has a path to follow.
5) No Critical Approval
However well-crafted your product ladder, you will often find that before committing to a purchase, a buyer will ask for the explicit or implicit approval of a third party. This can be the finance director, a spouse, a parent, a friend, or simply the other voice in their head.
We aim to be genuinely helpful in supporting someone to assess whether buying from a given organisation is right for them. This can have the effect of helping someone realise that there’s a better or cheaper alternative.
6) No Proof
It’s essential you substantiate the claims you make and it’s essential you do that in your marketing too. We encourage all clients to undertake a Proof Audit.
This involves identifying the promises you make, and mapping proof to each one. Proof includes such things as reviews, testimonials, awards, research, statistics, etc. Wherever you promise that a customer will see a benefit in buying from you, evidence this with some proof that clearly demonstrates this.
One of the key things about these three projects is that they are not jobs that a marketing agency could ‘take off your plate’. The knowledge needed to create these marketing Funnels and Filters is in your business.
One of our B2B clients, Monkey Puzzle Training & Consulting, provides leadership training programmes for enterprise level organisations. Co-founders, Karen Meager and John MacLachlan focused fully on these middle three leaks. In a series of workshops with their training associates - who also perform in a sales function - they worked on creating these tools. Within six months they had landed a game-changing corporate project, and within twelve months they doubled their turnover with no additional spending.
Only then are you ready to turn those Taps on
These six marketing leaks form part of the Thirteen Touchpoint Leaks™ - they are the ones that businesses may not even know that they have. So much marketing literature is focussed on the Taps, that these unsung marketing projects get forgotten.
There are thousands of experts that help to turn Taps on… from advertising agencies to pay-per-click specialists, shouting loudly is a well-trodden path… that, typically, you pay to be the loudest voice.
With a proven framework for marketing decisions, you can calmly and confidently choose where to focus, and critically, sequence your investments to underpin long-term, sustainable growth.