July 31, 2019 Daily Post
What do you do when ‘sales’ stops working in your (otherwise) sustainable business?
We fix it! (What’s the alternative?)
There’s one of three reasons why your sales would decrease. The first is the most common: you’re the problem.
Not the market, not the platform… you.
How can you be the problem? Simple: you break it.
You could overcook the “marketing” with overly-complex technology solutions you don’t fully understand. Now it’s broken.
You could decide to try to improve on an undocumented sales process by introducing yet more undocumented sales process. Now nobody knows what they’re doing.
You could misallocate resources to sales, instead under-investing in training or development. Now nobody’s taking ownership of sales.
Any of these sound familiar? If so, you broke it. Fix it by refocusing on your audience.
The second way to break your sales, aside from you breaking it yourself, is when the market changes… and you didn’t notice.
Perhaps a competitor disrupted your space, and you had no response nor competitive advantage to combat it. Now you’re less desirable.
Or maybe the needs of your target audience changed, and you’re no longer solving a need that they have. Now you’re behind and have fewer leads.
Sound familiar? If so, you stopped paying attention to your market. Fix it by refocusing on your audience.
The last way to break your sales is when platforms evolve… and you didn’t evolve with them.
Perhaps you’re an commerce company and Facebook Ads started dropping in sales. You didn’t notice Facebook is controlling more of the process and prefer to serve higher-ticket items for their own profitability. Your strategy for the platform didn’t adapt to the landscape, and now you’re behind.
Or maybe you’re running AdWords on a product with thin profit margins and the price of your keywords increased to the point of break-even… and your business model didn’t create back-end repeat business to absorb the rising cost of acquisition. Your strategy for the platform didn’t adapt to the landscape, and now you’re behind.
Sound familiar? If so, your business needs to simply adapt to the rules of the platform; they’re the same rules for everybody! Fix it by refocusing on your audience (so connect at lower CPA and increase CLV).
Whatever the reason for a drop in sales, the answer is usually the same: Refocus on your audience.
July 30, 2019 Daily Post
If we have the right business strategies, can we circumvent the need for hard work?
If that’s the goal, it’s normally the wrong goal:
We’re sold this structure in almost every marketing advert we see online.
“There’s one secret trick you don’t have that enables easy success. Sign up for the webinar now.”
Of course, it’s premises like this that give “marketing” a bad name.
You see, this is unnatural in our current market. Effective, easy things either (due to saturation) become less effective or less easy. Things lose their luster when everyone is doing them, don’t they?
The moment it becomes less ‘easy’, the promise of “strategy without hard work” goes out of the window. This is typically when a particular corner of the marketplace enrolls into the next ‘secret trick’ for ‘easy success’.
What’s the alternative to this fruitless merry-go-round?
When we’re not afraid of a little hard work, we open up new avenues for our business.
While everyone else is chasing the next “easy, sure thing”, you can concentrate on refining your execution until it becomes truly effective.
That’s not to say every day must be ‘hard’… Rather, it’s a call to ‘putting our effort where our hearts are’. If that leads to the success of the businesses we work on and for the benefit of our teams, customers and causes they support, we need not fear hard work.
We’re not ‘missing a trick’ because we exceeded a four-hour work week this week. It’s simply an assurance that we’ll thrive.
I love the leverage we can create from implementing good strategies. That’s why our teams put so much energy into programs like BuiltForImpact.net, which help businesses communicate more clearly. But, as anyone will know who goes through our programs, those who get the best results aren’t just sat waiting for success to land on their laps. Instead, they’re prepared to relentlessly and methodically execute upon the right strategies until they create the results they’re looking for.
Do you have the right strategies AND the readiness to work hard?
July 29, 2019 Daily Post
Every time I make something, I’m haunted by this.
“How could it be better?”
“How could it be more valuable?”
“How could it serve more deeply?”
While everything must eventually ship, and while this is no excuse for procrastination, there’s a curse we should all carry if we care.
That curse is this: being haunted by the pursuit of bringing even more value to those you wish to serve.
Blog posts can’t be perfect. But if there’s more you could do for your audience on your chosen topic – more insight or value you could extend to others – it’s OK to be haunted by that thought. It makes your posts better.
Client services can’t be perfect. But if there’s more you could do to make a client feel even more looked after – more comfort or council or advantage – it’s OK to be haunted by that thought. It’ll lead you toward a better client experience.
Talks and presentations can’t be perfect. But if there’s more authenticity and empathy you can bring to your work – so that others will connect more intimately with you – it’s OK to be haunted by that thought. It’ll make you a better speaker and it’ll help more people.
That “haunting” feeling isn’t because you’re not good enough. It’s because you’re worthy of your post.
July 28, 2019 Daily Post
“Why is profit not the most important thing to your business?”
Great question, and one I received this week that I thought I’d speak to on the daily blog.
Profit’s important, of course.
Profit is a requisite economical component of operating a business in the market in our era. Without any profit, any hiccup will put us into debt we can’t pay back. We can’t invest in growth under those conditions, we can’t support our teams under those conditions, and we can’t commit to supporting causes that need us under those conditions.
But it’s easy to confuse a requisite piece of the system with purpose.
To a race car driver, wheels are requisite pieces of his race. He doesn’t get far without them! But he doesn’t race “because of wheels”. He races because he wants to win a tournament for his team.
What’s your purpose? (Don’t say profit.)
Business as an organism
If your business were an organism, what would your organism ‘do’?
For example, organisms that exist only to grow for its own benefit – to the detriment of its environment – are called ‘tumors’. Is your business like a tumor?
Another example could be trees. The great thing about trees is, when we help them grow while they’re vulnerable, they’ll reward us with clean air, fruit, and multiplication. They grow for their benefit – but also for the benefit of everyone around them.
We support, buy from, evangelize and enjoy working within businesses that nourish their environments as they grow. We protect organisms (like trees) that do this in our environment.
Profit serves us in serving the world. That’s what’s important.
July 27, 2019 Daily Post
Doing good has always been hard.
It has always been easier to turn a profit when you don’t keep giving it away to people who can never repay you. Worse, to those who you wouldn’t permit to repay you, even if they could.
The interesting change occurring today is… that’s all changing.
People wear their hearts on their sleeves, heads, pants, wrists… this is the new economy: people care more now.
Assuming responsibility for the world we live in – using business as a vehicle to manifest change – is our new economy.
Stakeholders in cause-driven businesses know this.
Focusing on profit doesn’t lead to more profit.
Focusing on solving social problems in collaboration with the market, solves problems in collaboration… and creates profit.
The marketplace supports businesses when their beliefs align.
Not so much the ones that pursue profit alone.
Shareholders serve us in serving the world. If a shareholder is OK with that, they won’t be left behind.
July 26, 2019 Daily Post
We see 10,000 ads a day, according to Forbes. Ten thousand.
And we receive them across phones, tablets, notebooks, smart TVs, smart speakers, messengers… people are getting blind to ads, right?
What doesn’t work anymore
People are not getting blind to ads.
They’re getting blind to selfish people.
They’re more-than-ever interested in messages, stories and encounters with people who clearly have a heart of service for them.
People may be seeing 10,000 ads a day. But 99% of those are selfish.
The cost is increasing for the 99%. That’s why the 1% has such an opportunity in marketing today.
What works now
As a cause-driven or sustainable business, your heart is in serving others. You wouldn’t be able to hack cause-driven work for the long-haul if it wasn’t.
That’s the secret ingredient most lack today.
If you tell the right story, to the right people, from a heart of service, you become part of the 1% of advertisers who get it right.
Here’s the ad formula for companies doing great work:
Care enough about those you wish to serve to listen, understand, then serve unapologetically.
You don’t enter the equation. They’ll come knocking when they recognize who you really are from the above ‘formula’.
You are the solution to your advertising woes. Harness what makes you special.
Tip: If you’d like to harness what makes you special in your brand messaging, go to BuiltForImpact.net.
July 25, 2019 Daily Post
We all measure progress a little differently, don’t we? Consider these scenarios…
Male entrepreneurs on Instagram with their success quotes and nice suits.
‘Like’ counts that dictate whether the highlight reel of our life is worthy.
How many dollars turned-over in our business in a 12-month period.
Compare these scenarios to…
Using the tools available to us to bring something special to the world (because the well-copied path is already well-trodden).
Staying the process regardless of how many ‘Likes’ something gets (they really don’t matter that much, it’s a game some play and others don’t).
How much of a difference you and your team made in the areas you set out to influence (since dollars are seldom a good scoreboard for change-making).
How do you measure progress?
Tip: If you want to communicate the latter to the market, BuiltForImpact.net will help you do that.
July 24, 2019 Daily Post
You’re turning customers away without realizing it.
The reason? Paradoxically, because you’re too afraid to turn away customers intentionally. Let’s unpack this…
Nobody wants to wear one-size-fits-all clothing.
It’s not flattering. It doesn’t pull in any of the right places. It doesn’t hide your embarrassing bits. It’s not your color.
Yet the garment that doesn’t want to turn anyone away… the garment that pursues a “yes” from everyone… gets a “no” from everyone, instead.
The market wants what is flattering. What does pull in the right places. That does hide their embarrassing bits. Because it understands their needs.
Is your product or service one-size-fits-all, or does it focus on the needs of those you wish to serve?
This isn’t just for the sustainable fashion brands watching.
This is for all cause-driven and sustainable brands: If you want to be wearable, don’t be like market “swag”.
You know the kind… the things you pick up at tradeshow booths to use as pyjamas. The t-shirt you wouldn’t be seen dead in. The water bottle that isn’t as good as the one you already have.
They’re made to be ‘functional’ for anyone who would pick them up at the booth. And consequently, bespoke to nobody.
This line of thinking extends to all of your brand marketing. Think about it… Do you want your brand to be the “it’ll do for pajamas” option, or the “this fits me perfectly” option?
If you want the latter, you need to be ready to turn away some customers. Indeed, the only way to get more customers, is to start turning off those who aren’t a good fit for you.
Tip: Want to learn how to communicate like the latter option? Go to BuiltForImpact.net.
July 23, 2019 Daily Post
Which pieces are the replaceable parts of your cause-driven business?
The whole thing:
As we’ve covered in the past on the blog, consumers are becoming increasingly intolerant to businesses without cause.
As that trend continues, we’re going to see more and more cause-driven and sustainable businesses for the benefit of the marketplace and of causes that need our support.
None of us are, individually, so special that the world needs us. If you don’t make the change happen, someone else will. The difference will be theirs to make, and the financial support of the marketplace will go with them.
Just because cause-driven and sustainable business is – fortunately – on the rise, and your contribution is not critical, that doesn’t diminish your responsibility.
In fact, that’s the one thing that could undo the trend of social entrepreneurship and social-conscious contribution: the notion that “someone else will deal with it.”
If you’re going to enter the marketplace during the new economy (where doing good is good for business) then we must all hold you to a higher standard than your conventional counterparts. Someone else may do it, but that doesn’t mean it’s your responsibility.
There’s not been a better time to use your business as a force for good. You may not be the savior of the world, but you can do a world of good.
Tip: Social entrepreneurs need to communicate right. Go to BuiltForImpact.net to make sure you do.
July 22, 2019 Daily Post
There’s a popular Forbes article doing the rounds at the moment, citing that social enterprises must put purpose second in order to survive.
Purpose is part of a cause-driven or sustainable business’ ability to relate to its target audience.
It’s a way to isolate not just “why this” but also “why us” and “why now”.
Delaying connection–denying a business’ ability to relate with and endear those it wishes to serve–is a fast-track to commoditization.
As we’ve covered many times on the blog, consumers are becoming increasingly intolerant to companies without a cause.
So why, then, in a time of crisis would a cause-driven or sustainable business shed one of the very things that grants it such a market advantage?
Not to mention the lives of those who are relying on the business to support them.
The reality is, cause-driven and sustainable brands must be held to a higher standard.
More is at stake for companies like these. They don’t get to drop the cause when time get tough, because social good is not a luxury but a responsibility.
If you’d drop your advocacy at the first sign of trouble, are you really cause-driven, or just cause-convenient?
Tip: If you’re cause-driven or sustainable, make your marketing shine with BuiltForImpact.net.
July 21, 2019 Daily Post
Fascinating thing about website owners…
A website is needed… So a website is made.
When it’s done, you hope it’s amazing. And when you think about improving it, you do one of two things:
Here’s the fascinating part…
At no point at all during the process of trying to make that website better for those you wish to serve, do you speak to those you wish to serve.
At no point does a real conversations occur.
Either because it feels awkward, or because you don’t know what to ask. Either way, listening isn’t happening.
If they are who it’s for… and your marketing message is one of the most important things to your business… are you spending as much time speaking with these people as you should, given the importance of this?
What would happen if you circumvented the guesswork and “latest hacks”, and just picked up the phone?
(P.S. Our Creative team is exploring this fascination in detail. If this is something you’re experiencing, let me know on social media and I’ll pass your thoughts along. There may be something in it for you.)
July 20, 2019 Daily Post
Your social-conscious or sustainable brand has a website.
We’re told to put testimonials and ‘social proof’ on our websites, right?
There’s two approaches to this. One’s right, one’s wrong. Let’s get into them:
This is the most common form of ‘social proof’.
We’re told to take our best reviews and put them online. The problem is, we listen for what sounds like the best review…to us.
To us, we’ll select the one that makes us feel great. The one that says we’re amazing. “The best ever. Great product. Love it.”
These tell visitors nothing. But they make us feel good, and our mums proud.
It’s all about us. And that’s why they don’t help.
This is the less common form of endorsement.
These quotes–or videos–scarcely mention you at all. Rather, they focus on the problem somebody else had, and how they solved it, using you as a bridge from ‘problem’ to ‘solution’. You’re a tool, a method, a means to an end. But definitely not the focus.
These tell visitors everything they need to hear: “If you have this problem, and want this solution, here’s how I achieved that.”
It’s all about the customer, not the business, and that’s why most companies don’t choose these endorsements. They like the ones that make them feel good, instead.
Which will you choose for your website?
_Tip: Your website should be all about your customer, not you, too. Learn more at BuiltForImpact.net.
July 19, 2019 Daily Post
Hey, we all do it.
If you’re a cause-driven or sustainable business, if you hear the cries of an unhappy client, you race to their aid to make things better. To do all you can to improve their situation and move them forward.
You refine your work to avoid that problem in future.
This has a name. It’s called, Optimizing for the wrong customer.
You’ll have these. Sometimes the problems are yours to resolve. They’re opportunities to refine your work.
Other sometimes–and this is a hard pill to swallow when you care a lot–sometimes the problems aren’t yours to fix.
Sometimes, the problems are unrelated. Maybe they’re just complaining to get free stuff. Maybe they’re just in a bad mood. If you attempt to refine your marketing or your products for these people, you’ll simply move further away from the people you should really be focusing on.
So who are they?
You’ll have these. They’re the customers who need a hand, but don’t necessarily make a fuss.
They need what you offer. They would respond very well to your marketing message if only you were brave enough to speak to them directly, rather than worrying about trying not to exclude the others.
When you learn to listen for–and respond to–those who are uniquely positioned to derive maximum advantage from your work… you’ll find your customer satisfaction rockets. The joy of serving increases. The difference you create in the market balloons.
Why not just focus on them, then?
Tip: If you’d like to see how to do that, go to BuiltForImpact.net.
July 18, 2019 Daily Post
We all do it.
Sometimes more than others. Some of us more than others. But we all do it.
Sometimes, after a successful sale, you celebrate and pour that energy into pursuing more people you and your team can help serve and support. Other times, you celebrate then retire into busy-work or reading a blog… allowing the energy of the win to pass you by.
Sometimes, after you solve a problem on a project, you build on the win by seeing how you can take it to the next level, perhaps by documenting the win or making that work even more remarkable. Other times, you sigh a sigh of relief and check your emails instead.
Sometimes, after a great interview, you lean into who you can talk to next, to further your pursuit of contribution and service. Other times, you’ve “done your social bit for the week”, and you withdraw into tasks you deem easier… quieter… or less important.
What makes us do one or the other?
Is it caring enough about your work? Or being desperate or satisfied enough with your efforts?
I think it’s something simpler than that.
I think it’s perspective.
Sometimes we think we’ll ride a high into the sky. We’re just as likely, in this mindset, to fear a setback will slide us right down into hell.
Other times, when we have our perspective right, we recognize the ups and the downs. The ebbs and the flows. We see a success as something worth building upon, something worth repeating, because things won’t always be this way. Not out of fear, but out of respect for the process
How does your perspective affect your meaningful work?
Tip: If you want to help guide prospective customers toward a mindset that motivates them to buy, check out BuiltForImpact.net
July 17, 2019 Daily Post
Why would you underestimate your competition? Isn’t that how you get overtaken?
But it’s also an opportunity to shift your focus:
Some of them are busy worrying about competition.
These guys are stalking their competitors.
If a competitor makes a move, they’re quick to follow.
If none of their competitors are innovating, they’re quick to shut down new ideas.
“If it’s worth doing, they’d be doing it too,” is the rally-cry of these folks.
The result is a commoditized, middle-of-the-road, “that’ll do” option, that is quickly displaced by someone who cares just a little more… someone who’s brave enough to stop worrying about this stuff.
Some of them aren’t worried about competition
These guys aren’t stalking their competitors.
They’re aware of what their competitors are doing, they just don’t really care.
If all of their competitors are zigging, they’re quick to zag, if zagging is better for their target audience.
“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth trying… our audience will tell us if it’s worth doing again,” is the rally-cry of these folks.
The result is a special, tailor-made body of work that fits a particular corner of the market. And for that corner of the market, this is the only body of work that matters.
Which of these two options would you prefer for your company?
Tip: If you’d like to be perceived as special in the eyes of your market, BuiltForImpact.net can help you with that.
July 16, 2019 Daily Post
Ever experienced marketing that feels ‘natural’ to you? Like it talks your language?
To achieve this for our own cause-driven, social-conscious companies, we have to do what is for us inherently unnatural.
Here’s the difference:
Bring ‘your natural’ to your work, allowing your genius to create something your audience will love. But remember they will not understand any of it.
Without ‘your natural’, you’d run out of energy. But decisions happen in the minds of the market, not in our own, don’t they? So then, it’s also our responsibility to be in their hearts and minds as much as possible, in order to provide the greatest levels of service.
We need ‘their natural’, too.
Bring ‘their natural’ to your work, allowing you to connect intimately and effectively with your audience. But remember it will not not be easy for you.
In fact, you’ll likely need to continually remind yourself to enter this space. It’s tough, but it’s all that matters to your market.
The more time we spend together with them in their world, talking their language, seeing things their way…the easier it is for them to choose your company over any other option in the marketplace. Regardless of scope, price, quality or value.
Your natural enables your genius. Their natural makes those breakthroughs theirs.
Those who compete against you are unlikely to understand this.
That’s your advantage.
Tip: If you want to speak the language of your market–to win over your market–check out BuiltForImpact.net.
July 15, 2019 Daily Post
If you’re a cause-driven or sustainable business, it’s time to change your relationship with sales.
Do you see it as…
“They wouldn’t be calling me if they weren’t desperate…” This is a saying I’ve encountered many times.
I’ve thought it myself, even.
The reality is, sometimes calls are from desperation. But that is very rarely the case. More often than not, they’re because a company was stable enough to invest in growth.
If you’re selling something useless, perhaps you’ve cause for concern. But that’s not you. You’re doing work that matters. It’s your responsibility to create increase.
Whether that’s picking up the phone or sending that email, it’s your duty to create increase if there are people who will benefit from your success – causes you support, clients, team members… they’re all relying on you.
“I wish they’d leave me alone, they keep calling…” This is a saying I’ve also encountered many times.
And it’s also one I’ve found myself saying in the past.
The reality here, again, is this is no excuse to not create increase. If you weren’t doing work that matters, perhaps it’d be worth dismissing as annoying.
But you’re not.
You’re doing important, cause-driven, sustainable work. To overcome the inertia and fear that plague those you wish to serve, is an act of service on your part. Most people are afraid to take action. Sales becomes a leadership role – of helping people move forward in ways most beneficial to them.
They need you to follow up. It’s not annoying to transform lives for the better.
“There are more important things for me to think about than mere sales…” This is a mindset many founders suffer with.
Thankfully, I’ve not wrestled with this one personally.
Pondering ways to create change… more meaningful advantage for our choice of market… innovating and uncovering new and exciting ways to create transformation…
…Does any of that matter if it never finds its way into the hands of those who need it?
The best products and services don’t always win. The best-known do.
A great product or service created by a company too afraid to sell effectively is merely a waste of talent and enthusiasm.
You’re a disciple of the change you wish to see in the world. Sales is your weapon. Use it.
Increase is your responsibility.
Tip: If you want to stand out and sell better so you can make more impact, check out BuiltForImpact.net.
July 14, 2019 Daily Post
This may sound like a staunch aversion to innovation…
But it’s not. Quite the opposite.
We must make products that are different, but not too different. Here’s why…
We must answer to the “If”, the “Which”, and the dreaded “Any”:
If you’re too different, nobody’s really shopping for what you’re selling. We lose an audience to which to ask, “Which of these is best for you?” We limit ourselves instead to the question, “Do you want this?”
With nothing to compare against, with no convention to challenge, the market is left to decide in a vacuum.
“Which” gives us a bigger and better opportunity than “If”.
But if you’re not different enough, who knows what folks will do. The market may not be faced with “If”, but they’re presented with something far worse. “Any.”
“Any” reduces a decision to choose anything, with whomever, regardless of the provider’s level of care, quality, service or contribution.
We want “If” to be answered with “Obviously”, and “Which” to be met with an “Obvious” solution (you), removing the potential for “Any” to appear.
Choose the right size pond. People don’t fish where there are no fish. And they aren’t picky when all of the fish look the same.
Are you the best choice in your market?
Tip: If you want to be seen as the only logical choice in your choice of market, use BuiltForImpact.net.
July 13, 2019 Daily Post
Most businesses have a resistance to the question, “What’s a simpler way of doing that?”
To ask it is to admit there may be a simpler way. And admitting it means something might have to change. That we may have been wrong, or that we may have over-complicated things.
A simple marketing message takes 10X the time and effort to create of a competing message 10X in length. And yet it’s usually 10X more effective.
An offer that is simple but immediately and clearly valuable, usually outweighs an offer that delivers 10X as much but takes 10X as long to understand.
In an effort to serve, we always seem to want to add more. When really, we should be stripping away.
Turns out, less really is more.
Your industry might suggest you need a complicated product range. Ten different colors. Four pricing plans. 12 variations. To have only one product in that environment can feel reckless.
As can a simple marketing offer, when others insist you must have fourteen different offers with several marketing funnels associated with each. Sometimes, simply offering to talk with someone is enough.
An ability and willingness to do anything for your market, can degrade into offering everything to your market.
‘Everything’ is too many things.
A simpler way of doing that might give you the elegance and simplicity you need to connect with more people, more effectively.
Tip: You only need one webpage to win your audience. BuiltForImpact.net has the blueprint for that.
July 12, 2019 Daily Post
Whether you love him or hate him…
There’s no denying there’s a lot of folks who love him.
A Trump rally not far from my Florida home appeared to run successfully before anyone knew who would run against him in the next election. It simply didn’t matter to them.
Compare it to when an Apple-fan buys an iPhone. It’s of little consequence to them what the rest of the industry is doing. All that matters is what the brand they trust has prescribed for them.
For Trump, many appear to feel as though they have been heard–and represented–by him. These are those who are used to being overlooked in favor of a stereotypically higher-educated white-collar voting demographic.
Trump famously quipped that he could shoot someone in Times Square NYC and not lose voters.
He might even be right.
A Tesla enthusiast won’t flinch when an autopilot-related car crash makes its way onto the news. “They’re working on the bugs”, they’ll reply.
Tesla gives its audience what they want. Futuristic technology for early-adopters that’s environmentally friendly and makes them look cool. The fact that the technology is experimental is part of the allure.
Similarly, Trump gives his audience what it wants, too. His audience wants things like bans on certain nationalities and tariffs to protect US industry, delivered using everyman vernacular. The fact that he’s occasionally crass in his language is part of the everyman endearment.
Representing his tribe, listening to them, then doggedly committing to them regardless of those outside his focus may think, is a recipe for evangelism and advocacy.
What if your business were to channel those same emotions toward something good?
Tip: If you’d like to win the affection of your choice of market, BuiltForImpact.net can help you with that.
July 11, 2019 Daily Post
It’s one thing for someone to like a product or service of yours…
It’s a whole other thing for them like it so much that they’ll stake your reputation on it.
These types of customer aren’t particularly helpful. They buy, are satisfied, providing no advocacy and no feedback.
If they didn’t like your work, they’ll tell you why, and you’d improve it. But they’re happy enough – it’s “fine” for them.
We are these people, most of the time.
If we want to move people beyond this lukewarm place, we need to elevate them–and ourselves–to another level of engagement and transformation.
We need to create so much benefit that they’ll put their reputation on the line and tell their friends.
These types of customer transform brands. From every one of these customers comes many more new customers. They’re organic, viral, referral-generating machines. They’re people who have harnessed the fullness of your market offering, and have derived maximum benefit from all your hard work.
Whether it’s a Birkin bag that never let you down, or a particular brand of smartphone you swear by, there are some brands you’ll stake your reputation on.
We aren’t this way very often. Few brands unlock this in us.
What if your brand was one that did?
What if you cared enough to understand who they are, to fall in love with them instead of your products, and to commit to their transformation?
Tip: If you’d like your website to stand out and sell better, check out BuiltForImpact.net
July 10, 2019 Daily Post
Most industries, be it ethical fashion on cybersecurity, have a thinking problem.
We all have it. It’s this:
We like to do what others like us do.
We think it’s safe. It’s not:
This line of thinking is what keeps us in the middle of the road.
It keeps us from being last… but it also keeps from being first.
And being first (or perhaps second, sometimes) in the eyes of our specific target audience is the only position that matters.
If you lead an eyewear brand and your competitors all offer free shipping, what car dealers do (“take it home for the weekend, try it out”) never occurs to you as an option.
Until it occurs to Warby Parker, and they change the rules of the market.
This line of thinking tends to follow the former.
We all have time to study what those in our industry do, but seldom appear to have time to study beyond those walls.
[Yellow Tail] wines noticed most beverages not from wine brands stood out with interesting colors and approachable names. Circumventing the learning-curve associated with wine (from the label to the taste) enabled them to capture a market previously unavailable to wine brands.
All they had to do was look beyond their industry to study what others do.
It doesn’t matter what your competition does. What matters is what your market needs. The answers are often outside the confines of our industry.
Your competition hasn’t the time to look…what if you made the time?
Tip: Communicating competitive advantage in a way our audience cares about is tough. BuiltForImpact.net can help with that.
July 09, 2019 Daily Post
If you run a sustainable or cause-driven company, congratulations: you’re a designer now.
The relationships your work forges with the market needs designing intentionally.
You can’t leave it to happenstance; you’re held to higher standard of excellence since you represent a better way of working. The world may bend in your direction of sustainability, but the market is still deciding if it prefers the new economy or not.
You represent all of us. Be careful.
The economics behind your work need designing intentionally.
Remember, you have an additional overhead others don’t: a cause to support. Crafting a company that can support one effectively, while staying solvent, requires your thoughtful consideration.
Design your company intentionally, even if that means taking longer than your conventional counterparts would.
The experience you give to the market as it looks for someone like you has more potential than your conventional counterparts have.
Yours contains heart, shared beliefs, mission. To not tell that story effectively is to do yourselves–and those you want to support–a huge disservice.
The ability to leverage your mission as ethical competitive advantage in the marketplace is one of the rewards of doing good work.
Tip: If you want to make sure the story your audience sees about you is strong enough to make you stand out and sell better, go to BuiltForImpact.net.
July 08, 2019 Daily Post
Working on a sustainable or cause-driven business is full of fear.
You can keep your fears, if you want to. Or, you can trade them.
Often, when we’re hit with fear, it’s because we don’t know how to do something we need to do. We’re entitled to this fear. But if we choose, we can trade that fear for the skill we lack. It must be a trade, you cannot keep both.
Sometimes, our fears are born out of failure. We tried something, it didn’t work, and that caused us pain. That process gifted us with a fear, which we can trade if we choose. If we permit ourselves to accrue enough of it, we can trade it for experience. It must be a trade, you cannot keep both.
The unknown can be scary. Sometimes, when we’re hit with fear, it’s because we have no idea what comes next for us and our team. There could be success, disaster, embarrassment, pain, who knows. But if we care enough about our cause, our team, and those we wish to serve, we create a debt that is paid with our fear. It’s a trade, you cannot keep both.
Fear isn’t a bad thing, really, is it. It’s a currency. Spend wisely.
Tip: If you’d like the marketplace to know you care enough to put their needs first, check out BuiltForImpact.net.
July 07, 2019 Daily Post
How do you ask the marketplace to give your product or service a try?
I find that folks fall into one of three buckets in this regard.
You’ll surely spot yourself in one of them. But is it the one you want to belong to?
The marketing world has a lot of this.
You know the folks. The ones who don’t know when to be quiet. To listen. That don’t realize you’re not interested in listening to them pitch and peddle their super-secret trick or life-changing webinar or never-seen-before eBook.
We don’t listen because we don’t feel heard.
These guys would benefit from a change of heart: they fell in love with themselves, instead of those they wish to serve.
The trouble with this one is, it sometimes works.
An intentionally constructed luxury offer that thrives on its inaccessibility is one such example. You can only buy a Ferrari if you already own a Ferrari.
But outside that design, what remains in this bucket is lots of scared business owners.
Those who may put out goodwill into the market. Perhaps they give samples, newsletters, video content even. But they’re afraid to ask for the sale.
Either because they believe it’s beneath them, or they’re afraid they’ll seem like the first bucket.
These guys need a change of focus: they’re still thinking about themselves, just like the first bucket. Only this time from self-consciousness rather than from grandiosity.
This one is the rarest of the three.
These people don’t want to appear pushy and slimy. And they understand that not offering to help people is also selfish; nobody’s lives are enriched when the business chooses not to act.
They care too much to not try to help people. They care too much to force people and make them uncomfortable. They care too much to let people make bad decisions.
These people thrive in the tension between the first two buckets. And they stay there by focusing exclusively upon those they wish to serve.
Which bucket are you in?
Tip: If you’d like to communicate to the market that you truly care, BuiltForImpact.net can help you with that.
July 06, 2019 Daily Post
Do you think your brand needs more attention?
Attention isn’t the problem.
With $0.03 per video view on Facebook, targeted to almost anyone in the world, attention is cheap now.
We have to work pretty hard to create an attention problem for any meaningful brand.
And while the price may not always be so low, access is only going to become more widespread, as more and more of the world goes online.
If you’re focused on getting attention, move along to the next problem. Because this one has long been solved.
If attention is so cheap and so accessible, commitment is where you’re suffering.
Commitment to a particular body of people.
Commitment to understanding them well enough to have them see themselves in your words.
Commitment to crafting the right message–so that your choice of market will perk up and listen–is what is required to capitalize on the abundance of attention available to us.
There are no attention problems. Only commitment problems. How committed are you?
Tip: If you want to get the targeting and the messaging right for your business, go to BuiltForImpact.net.
July 05, 2019 Daily Post
We’re our own worst enemies in marketing.
We either care so much about the market that we want to target everyone…
…Or we care so little that we don’t care who we target.
Can such broad target really be a ‘target’? Or is it just an excuse?
Saying “No” to some people enables us to be heard by others.
Who sounds more focused – the company that serves “urban American white-collar 30–45 democrat women”, or the company that serves “women”?
If you were to be in within the area of focus, which would you suppose would serve you better?
We earn the attention of our target when we speak to our target specifically. We can choose specificity, or we can choose to be ignored.
Saying “No” more sets us free to serve the right people more effectively.
Who makes better shoes for women – the company that specializes in women’s shoes, or the company that makes shoes for women, men, children and dachshunds?
We earn the attention of our target when we describe their need specifically. We can choose specificity, or we can choose to be ignored.
Saying “No” is really just saying “Yes” to being heard by those we wish to serve.
Are you saying “No” enough?
Tip: If you need help getting your focus right, BuiltForImpact.net can help you with that.
July 04, 2019 Daily Post
I’m not really very good at telling stories.
Most of our Creative team can’t cook up stories on the spot, either.
And yet they help meaningful brands tells engaging stories all the time.
How does that work?
If you’re a brand doing important work, storytelling is seldom limited by the depth of your creativity. Rather, it’s limited by the depth of your empathy.
How much do you care about your market? The answer will determine your potential to birth a story worth telling.
How much do you want to talk about what you want to talk about? The answer will determine how much you’ll sabotage that potential.
Great brand messages aren’t about saying what we want to say.
The creation myth behind your product… the reason you started the company… these are good elements to have, but they aren’t what really makes a story work.
Most people just want to know that you see them and value them. Brands that can tell good stories are effectively comforting the market by saying, “I see you.”
Do you truly “see” those you’ve chosen to serve?
Tip: If you’d like help creating a great brand story, go to BuiltForImpact.net.
July 03, 2019 Daily Post
Some companies seem to find good customer service really easy and stress-free.
Others make getting a useful response as enjoyable as having a tooth pulled.
How do the greats get great?
When trying to provide great customer service, we all start here.
This is where customer service is good, albeit a little inconsistent. People are generally very happy with your manner, but wish you didn’t drop that occasional ball.
We have to go through this stage. But we don’t have to stay in it. Most do.
What’s the next step?
We get here when two things happen.
First, we’ve become so familiar with providing a higher level of service that it’s become second nature for us.
Second, we’ve equipped the company with those who relish in the process, for whom it has also become second nature.
Service is elevated, and consistent.
Does your brand communicate with the market with elevated levels of service and consistency? Have you made great service second-nature?
Tip: Great communication with the market is more important than ever. BuiltForImpact.net can help you elevate yours.
July 02, 2019 Daily Post
Walking around Lake Como, I noticed a trend that plagues good online stores manifesting, in real life:
Many have exquisite products, but they do not distinguish themselves.
If you have great products, but your audience has no way of telling, what good does having great products do?
Many of the low quality merchants appeared to be selling better simply because they, while low quality, made an effort to reach out to people.
How can you refine your product messaging so that you can’t be overthrown by inferior products produced by companies with less ethical responsibility to the market?
Different and Better are different things. You need both.
Better, alone, could be compared to a high-performance no-name smartphone found from a plastic container in Shenzhen, China. Better tech specs don’t set it apart. It’s just like all the others in the eyes of consumers.
Different, alone, could be compared to a haute couture item on sale that, while great for what it is, isn’t likely to be taken out of the wardrobe very often.
How can your work be both different, and better, at the same time?
There are lots of great products out there. And there are lots of people willing to do the work to connect with an audience.
What would happen to the market if you were able to do both…at once?
Tip: If you can create a great product, use BuiltForImpact.net to connect with your audience.
July 01, 2019 Daily Post
What are three key things you can do to make your website world-class in your choice of market?
Our Creative team is representing in Lake Como to receive an award for being #1 internationally in “web design”, and we did so by following these three steps:
We think we can get by without this. We think we know them well enough.
This foundation can multiply every aspect of design, marketing, service, and sales. Shouldn’t we treat it as such?
The only story that matters to those we wish to serve, is their own.
To become a part of their story and express it to them better than they could themselves far outweighs our own story in connection, contribution, and service.
What better story is there to them than the one they’re already telling themselves?
Your product matters only for as long as it solves the problem of those in your care.
When the problem changes and your solution doesn’t, that’s when advertising costs go up and contribution goes down. You stopped listening.
Express their story as best as you possibly can. Then don’t stop listening. If it changes, it’s your moral responsibility as a leader to those you wish to serve to listen, then serve.
Are you listening?
Tip: We built BuiltForImpact.net specifically to help good companies solve this problem, for good. Check it out, for the benefit of your market.