Category: Business Building

The Truth About Marketing Every First Time Founder Should Know

While starting your own business is an exhilarating experience, many start-up founders struggle with successful marketing more than any other area of business. So if you’re thinking about starting a business, here are some of the key things you need to know about marketing before you take the plunge.

Paid Advertising Is Expensive

Every start-up founder will be looking to promote their business as much as possible in order to increase visibility and sales. But unfortunately, they will only have a limited budget and paid advertising can very quickly become an expensive exercise. In fact, most entrepreneurs will eventually learn that executing marketing strategies for paid advertising can end up costing so much that it cuts into too much of their bottom line to be effective.

And just because digital advertising costs more money over time, that doesn’t justify the expense, nor does it necessarily mean it’s any more effective than other strategies. It’s usually much better to spend your advertising dollars on a fully automated campaign with a bid strategy for maximising conversions. Then once you’ve worked out a cost per acquisition that’s both achievable and profitable, you will have a much better chance of potentially having a limitless ad budget.

SEO May Take Longer Than You Think

Seeing results from SEO takes time. While effective SEO is vital if you want to see your website reach the top page of search engine results, it’s a procedure that takes time to see results. The reason SEO doesn’t increase your ranking overnight is because it’s a cumulative process. Not only does researching markets and analysing the industry take time, it also takes time to create quality engaging content that converts. It also takes time for Google crawlers to recognise and assign your website the right authority, and then it’ll be a while before consumers finally start discovering your site.

No two websites are the same, even when they’re both competing for the same customers in the same industry. It basically comes down to variables around your website that impact how long it takes before you start seeing the results of an SEO campaign. But once you’ve started using good SEO protocols, your site will steadily perform better and rank higher as time passes from months to years.

“Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.” – Andrew Davis

Make Data Driven Decisions

Even the smallest business or start-up generates data. The insights that can be derived from this data can not only provide value in general, but data-driven decisions can provide a competitive advantage. Data helps businesses evaluate how they can increase brand loyalty, improve operational efficiency, enhance customer experiences, and create new revenue streams.

Everyone talks about the importance of creating a data-driven culture in order to unlock the full potential of start-up businesses, but where do you start? You need to start by looking at whatever data is available to you to establish a foundational baseline. Once you have a decent grasp on the data, you’ll be able to tell things like which channels work the best and the most effective tone of voice, before you can start constantly testing ways of improving the marketing effectiveness of your business.

Never Launch To No Audience

The launch of your start-up is an extremely important event for your brand, so you need to give yourself more time than just a couple weeks. Choosing a launch date that’s far enough in the future will help you develop hype for your brand while making sure that everything is ready. Your launch also shouldn’t be the same time you start generating leads, so you should have a waitlist of interested people or a list of your product’s beta users.

One simple way to create a pre-launch buzz is to construct a landing page on your website with a form that encourages users to register for your brand. This allows you to evaluate market demand early on, which gives you a pool of potential users to start it up. Your landing page should provide potential customers with enough information to stimulate their interest while ensuring they feel comfortable about sharing their contact information. It also needs to be simple and user-friendly as possible, so don’t over-complicate everything.

Quality Content Is King

Quality content is a powerful tool that still maintains its position as the most effective of all types of marketing practices. While it can be tricky to implement for some, this is what wins most people over. Which most likely seems like common sense because people obviously respond better to high quality, authentic content. Even with the rise of online video over the last decade, marketing with quality content statistically generates more leads than outbound marketing strategies, and it also costs less.

By sharing a regular stream of informative, meaningful, and interesting content about your brand on your website and social networks, you’ll be better positioned to gain trust and make sales during the buyer’s journey. Quality content helps you extend your brand’s reach by delivering dramatic results which naturally increases and compounds engagement.

Golden rewards await the advertiser who has the brains to create a coherent image, and the stability to stick with it over a long period.” – David Ogilvy

Most Campaigns Fail (And That’s Ok)

No product marketing campaign will succeed all of the time. Many of them fail, and some of the failures are catastrophic. Failed marketing campaigns can be caused by many different things, from bad timing, to lack of interest, going too far outside their market, or a million other possible reasons. While unsuccessful marketing campaigns will be discouraging, it’s important not to dwell on your failures.  

By taking the time to review your campaign and ascertain how it missed the mark, a failed campaign can actually be a blessing in disguise. Once you understand the reasons, you can make the necessary adjustments for your next campaign launch to be more successful. And each time you fail, it can open up new horizons to conquer. Remember that failure is always an integral part of any start-up’s success. So as long as you’re always trying something new and you’re willing to fail, it’s okay if things don’t go as planned.

Launching a start-up is never simple. And while no one can prepare you for what’s ahead, you’ll have the best chance at success if you know about these marketing truth’s beforehand. Remember, if going into business was that easy, everybody would be doing it.

Lessons We Have Learned About Scaling a Business as a Startup Founder

When we set out to start our own business a year ago, we never imagined bright lights for business meetings. Good thing we didn’t because it is nothing like that at all. It was a struggle from day one and we had to embrace the grind to grow.

This is probably why today, our company has offices in Dar es Salaam. We started from a humble place and are still growing. We have a long way to go, but we have learned some crucial lessons as a company co-founder headquartered in Tanzania.

One of the things that benefited our business and our personal journey as a founders, was honest accounts from others who had taken the journey before us. That’s why we will be sharing some key takeaways that can be applied by small businesses looking to expand their scope across countries and regions.

Pick the right time rather than the first opportunity

It reads like a textbook rule, but this is a fundamental principle that any business founder needs to follow when planning their growth. Think very carefully about the right time to expand internationally. Your staff, financials, and product all need to be in order, and you should ensure you have done your market research thoroughly. 

One of the things I see most entrepreneurs get wrong is their budgeting. Do not underestimate the budget allocations required to expand in your new region and sustain growth in your home market. Your expansion should not come at the expense of the work you have already established. 

“Scaling is only difficult when you grow your organization like a tower instead of a city.” – Jurgen Appelo

Valuing partnerships

As entrepreneurs, we need to do better at supporting our peers. Relationships between business starters can be soured by various factors: jealousy of success, placing value only on the opportunities offered by leads or contacts, and lack of shared experiences once businesses have varying levels of success. 

However, it is important to understand that collaborations and partnerships can be extremely valuable in helping business starters to overcome many hurdles they face, not only in terms of shared knowledge but as a therapeutic support network for a job that comes with a unique set of stresses and challenges. We need to work harder at building each other up and becoming a valid resource of support.

Partnerships are also the most cost-effective way to scale and generate business in my experience. Our network has been instrumental in generating revenue at the beginning and also during the pandemic, which was critical to us being able to weather the storm and come out stronger.

Being an agile business

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that stability should not be taken for granted; the entire world can turn upside down alarmingly quickly. While businesses have continuity plans that allow for a sense of preparedness, it is also vital to think flexibly and be open to pivoting quickly when a crisis strikes. Agility is the key to survival and scaling. 

Bass & Flinders Distillery in Tanzania is an excellent example of being agile, especially in such trying times. This startup adapted immediately to the circumstances of the pandemic, working first to produce hand sanitiser and then focussing on online sales and virtual tasting sessions to cater to a house-bound market. Through swift adaptations, they were able to survive a pandemic that has been devastating for the hospitality industry. 

Understanding that each market is different

The importance of fully understanding the market where you intend to move cannot be understated. A product that works in one region will not necessarily work in another. Sometimes costly adjustments are needed. Other times you may need to design a completely new product to meet a similar market need. 

By their nature, businesses that are operating locally will have a deeper understanding of the local market. Expanding startups will need to grapple with this if they are to flourish in their new environment – remember success in your home market is no guarantee of success elsewhere.

Many of these challenges can be reduced by doing effective research. Make sure you are getting information from accurate sources and have conducted proper testing. 

Investing in ground-based teams

Related to the previous point, it is crucial to have teams on the ground in all your operating locations wherever possible. We have teams in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and India- every single market where we have clients. These ground-based teams have proved invaluable in ensuring that we provide our clients in each market with a seamless service. I meet frequently with each of these teams, (virtually or physically) to maintain our strong collaborative relationship.  

While there are cases of successful companies being able to sell or provide services without being there in person, we find that in our experience and industry, having local knowledge and expertise is paramount. Trying to expand in regions without fully understand the local nuances is a challenge and an expensive one at that.

“The gap between what’s expected and what you deliver is where the magic happens, in business and in life.” – Jay Baer

Do not let irrelevant things hold you back

Sometimes it may seem that a lot of things need to be in order to get any startup running, let alone expanding the business across countries. This can be a stumbling block of a lot of people who never actually get their startup or business off the ground.

To better understand this, we spoke to a great entrepreneur, on our podcast Business Over Drinks, about his protein empire that started off from a garage and now makes products for supermarket giants across the globe. Prioritize your focus on your product and generating sales. Learn to prioritize. Producing a solid product and making sales is far more salient than realizing your dream office space, for example. 

Expanding your small business into new markets can be an exciting way to grow your business. Expansion to new markets can be daunting, but by ensuring you have the right product, budget, and have done thorough research, you can set yourself up to prosper across multiple locations. 

How To Write Words That Sell

When you think about it, the skill of copywriting (salesmanship in print), is a little like magic…

You can take the thoughts in your head, and you can share them around the world via email, websites, video, etc. And those carefully written words can inspire other people by the thousands, or even the millions, to pull out their wallet and purchase your product, or vote for a specific person, or even make a case peace or a case for war.

It is the ability to persuade people at scale, which makes it one of the most powerful, and valuable skills you can acquire.

In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote down and delivered a 6-page script that changed history. 

Words can move the world.

And the best part, is that it’s a skill anyone, (including you), can learn.

So how is it actually done?

Well the first step to mastering online sales is to truly understand what it is that you’re selling.

Most people think they’re selling their actual product. They’re not. 

For example, you might think that a real estate agent sells houses.

You might think that Home Depot sells tools.

Or that your gym sells memberships.

When in fact, none of those things are true.

Here’s an analogy that changed my life 15 years ago…

“No one buys a drill because they want a drill. They buy a drill because they want a hole. Therefore, if you want to sell drills, you should advertise information about making holes – not information about drills.”

You’re not buying a house because you need shelter. You’re buying that house because it feels like home. It’s where you want to make memories and create your future.

Home Depot isn’t selling tools. They sell creation. They sell improvement. They sell satisfaction of a job well done.

No one buys a gym membership because they want to go to the gym. They buy a gym membership because they want to feel good about themselves when they look in the mirror.

And no one buys a course on marketing because you want to read a course. You buy a course on marketing because you want to make more money.

So make sure that you realize that your customer is NEVER actually buying the product or service itself. They’re buying the benefit or result it will give them, and that’s what you want to focus on.

Once you understand what you customers are actually buying, we can move on to writing the script for your sales presentation.

As I mentioned yesterday, writing copy that sells requires a formula based on human psychology.
 

If we were to sum up this process in a single sentence, it might sound something like this…

“Making a purchase is an emotional decision, justified by logic.”

The foundation of every purchase we make is rooted in an emotional desire to either attain pleasure, or avoid pain.

That’s it. That’s our entire species in a nutshell.

But our brains have also evolved a safety mechanism that brings some discipline to our impulses.

It’s the side of you that makes a cost/benefit analysis of each decision. “Yes, I really want to buy and eat that carton of ice-cream, but I want to stay healthy more”.

Well this is where the “logic” portion of the process comes into play.

Logic is the key that we use to override our safety mechanism.

If we can provide our brain with a logical reason to follow through with that decision, we usually will.

“Yes, I really want to buy and eat that carton of ice-cream, but I want to stay healthy more. Oh look, here’s a non-fat, low-calorie ice cream which means I can have what I want, without getting fat”.

Or, “I know I really shouldn’t buy that new truck, but it’s on sale and I can get a tax write-off…”

So as marketers, we need to create an emotional reason for our customers to buy, and then give them a logical reason to justify that purchase.

The amount of time and effort it will take you to lead someone through this process in your marketing can take a single instant, or several hours depending upon their existing level of familiarity, trust, and understanding of your product or service, along with the amount of risk that’s attached in the form of price.

For example, it might take you five minutes to sell a $49 weight-loss supplement to a first-time customer.

Or in the case of my $1,500 list-building course, it will take me about 1.5 hours to successfully take someone who’s a complete stranger, and turn them into a new customer.

No matter what you’re selling or to whom, the formula is largely the same.

There are may variations that exist…

Some of them have four or five steps. Some have 12. The formula I use in my presentations which have made over $50MM has 25 steps.

But all of them can be condensed into this…

AIDA.

Attention. Interest. Desire. Action.

In order to sell your product or service, you must first get the Attention of your target audience. This is the specific group of people who have a problem your product can solve, or a desire it can fulfill.

In order to demonstrate what this formula might look like in action, I’ve put together a short, exaggerated example below for each step…

Here’s the example for Attention:

“Are you looking to lose weight quickly, but nothing’s ever worked?”

Once you have this group’s attention, you need to create Interest in your product. This is usually done by pointing out what is unique or different about your product than everything else.

Example: “That’s because your body has probably developed, “Leptin resistance”. Leptin is the hormone in your body that’s responsible for burning fat, and if you’ve had trouble losing those extra pounds no matter what you’ve tried, then you’ve probably become Leptin resistant.

How do you develop Leptin resistance, and how can you fix it so you can finally shed those extra pounds? Keep reading and I’ll tell you…”

Once you have their interest, we want to create Desire.

Desire is based on emotions and feels, so at this point in the process, we want to really focus on generating feelings of pain they’d experience if they continued down the same path. Then we want to focus on the feelings of pleasure they’ll experience as a result of using your product.

Example: “It’s okay if you’re angry. I was too when I found this out. Every single day you’ve woken up and been disappointed when you looked in the mirror, as you wonder what happened to that rocking body you used to have. You’ve tried diet after diet, only to experience disappointment after disappointed. But the worst part, is that you had no idea that you were fighting an invisible enemy the entire time. It wasn’t your lack of discipline or effort. It was a hormone in your body that was out of whack, and preventing you from losing weight.

Well today we can fix that problem thanks to WonderPill 2000… A revolutionary breakthrough in hormone science that brings your leptin levels back into balance, so your body can lose weight quickly and naturally.

In fact, take a look at these results from the men and women who were in the same spot you are just a few months ago, and what they look like today after taking WonderPill 2000…“

Once you’ve used emotions to create desire, we want to call them to take a specific Action.

That action could be to fill out an email form, to call a phone number, or in our case, to purchase the product.

This is also where we want to provide them with the logic they need to justify their purchase.

Example: “Click here to purchase your first bottle of WonderPill 2000 so you can repair your leptin levels, and start your weight-loss transformation today.

If you’re skeptical, that’s okay… We know that you’ll love the results you get with WonderPill 2000 when you try it, so every bottle comes with an unconditional 30 day money back guarantee. Either you get the weight-loss results you’ve always wanted, or you get your money back.”

So in this example, the logic we’ve used is, “I have nothing to lose with their guarantee, so there’s no reason not to try the product.”

Once again, this Attention, Interest, Desire, Action formula is most basic and broad representation of an effective sales formula that’s been around for decades.

Now that you have a basic understanding of this formula and how we’ll use it to write our script, we need to move onto the next step in the process, which is the creation of our actual sales presentation.

There are three formats you can put your presentation into…

First, it can be delivered as a long-form sales letter like the one I wrote for my book 10 years ago.

I don’t really bother with text-based sales presentations any more because videos work so much better, so let’s move on to that…

And why do videos work better by the way?

Because videos engage more of your senses.

While a written letter is visual only, a video sales letter, or “VSL” for short, involves the eyes, and the ears, and both of those allow you to convey emotion in a much stronger way than writing alone.

Your VSL can be live action with you on camera, or you can do what I typically do, which is to simply record the audio for the sales presentation, and combine it with images and slides into a video.

And finally, there’s a long-format version of a VSL, which is the webinar.

Tomorrow we’ll dive into both of these formats in detail, and I’m going to walk you through a few of my most success VSL and webinar case studies…

I wrote the simple scripts for these presentations and recorded them at home on my laptop over the past few years, and as a result, they’ve made over $50,000,000 in sales.

In other words, they work, and this skill-set can change dramatically your life.

If You Struggle With Selling Online, You’ll Want To Read This…

So I thought we’d spend a few days here tackling the primary challenge that separates entrepreneurs who are making money, and those who are not…

Which is the ability to SELL.

If you’re shy and hate the idea of selling anything to anyone…

Or if you have a great product or service, but no one’s buying it…

Or if you’re making a few sales, but haven’t been able to put together a scaled marketing campaign that’s pulling in 7 or 8 figures in revenue per year…

Then grab a pen and get ready to take some notes, because I’m going to spend the next few days teaching you how to actually sell millions of dollars worth of your products and services per year, even if this has been a major area of struggle for you.

Now before we dive into the techniques and mechanics, I think it’s extremely important to understand that this is a learn-able skill.

No matter how much you’ve struggled with sales in the past, we can change that starting today, and I’m living proof…

In fact, I was one of the WORST sales people you could possible imagine.

Let’s turn back the clock 20 years real quick and I’ll explain…

By the time I was in college, I knew that I wanted to work for myself.

So I started exploring all kinds of different business opportunities, but no matter what I did, I always ran into the same problem…

In order to make money, you had to eventually sell something to someone, which is obviously the definition of a business.

But I hated selling. I was horrible at it.

I was super shy and very introverted, and the thought of talking to a prospect in person, or over the phone petrified me.

I thought they would judge me. I thought they would reject me, or that I was being a nuisance and they’d get mad at me.

And that I’d basically end up looking like this guy…

So I did what most people would do in that situation… I started posting links and telling people about my products online in forums or on social media sites which just pissed them off.

I’d ride my bike around shopping mall parking lots at night posting fliers on phone poles, I’d buy leads, and drop “sizzle cards” in restaurants. If I heard of a sales technique working for someone else, I tried it, but nothing ever did.

I couldn’t figure out why other people could take the exact same product or service and sell millions of dollars of it, while I couldn’t make a single sale.

I’d constantly have to fight back the thought that I’m just not cut out for building a business, and that I just don’t have what it takes.

But I had one saving grace…

While I hated the thought of selling and my constant failure at it, I hated the thought of being broke for the rest of my life even more, so I kept hacking away at this business thing for the next 6 years, with zero success.

And finally… Six years later, I was waiting tables at a PF Chang’s during the day, and being mentored by some great coaches named Mark and Todd at night, who started to teach me how to have confidence with people over the phone. Slowly but surely, I started to turn the corner and get results.

Within a few months, I’d acquired dozens of customers and made a tiny bit of money for the very first time, but instead of feeling elated, I felt devastated inside.

Why? Because I’d spent the past six years of my life overcoming my fears, and now that I had, I realized that if this is what my life will be like…

If I have to call 50 strangers a day chasing after people to pitch them on a product, and then overcome objection, after objection to close the sale for the rest of my life, I had no interest in doing that.

So I had a choice…

Either I had to figure out a way to build my business in a way that I’d enjoy, which meant I’d never have to chase people down, pursue them, pitch them over the phone, or convince them of anything…

Or I’d have to go start over from scratch doing something else.

So I decided to look for a solution.

What I found would change my life forever, and it is the key to your success as well…

I discovered the concept of “direct response” marketing.

Direct Response is a type of marketing campaign designed to create an immediate action and even sell products right in the ad, without the need to talk to a prospect first.

It was if I’d been struck by lightening, or found the Holy Grail…

I immediately bought every book and course on direct response marketing I could find, and I started writing my first sales presentation which was this letter on a simple little website I made from scratch…

Don’t Be A Dancing Bear On Social Media – If You Want To Grow Your Audience And Email List FAST

Today I want to talk about the differences between building an email list, and building a large audience on social media… We talked about this briefly yesterday, but I want to dive into this subject in more detail for you.

Both have their purposes, but few people understand how they should be used strategically, and built intelligently…

At least once a week, someone tells me that “email marketing is dead”, and that it’s all about social media now.

Well… Is it true? Are they right?

It depends.

What the question really communicates is a lack of understanding about either type of channel and the advantages of each.

So should you build a large social media following, or a large email list? The answer is, BOTH.

Here’s the way I look at it…

In order to build a large audience or email list, it starts with attention.

You need to get the attention of a lot of people (1,000’s) every single day for a long period of time.

There’s two ways to do that…

1: You can become the “dancing bear” and essentially host your own social media show as you document and post your life 60 seconds at a time, 10 times per day on Instagram, SnapChat, YouTube, or Facebook.

While this is incredibly effective at getting people to know, like, and trust you, it’s a horrible way to actually build a company.

First, it’s a treadmill you can never get off of. The moment you stop posting, your influence starts fading, so dance bear, dance, and don’t ever stop…

Second, you have no control over who sees your posts.

Over the past few years, every single platform has introduced algorithms that control how many of your followers actually see your posts. And the numbers aren’t good. On average, only 1 in 10 people will even see the post you just made.

For example, my Facebook Fan Page has 82,000 followers, and yet only a tiny fraction of them will see my posts unless I pay Facebook $250 – $500 to “Boost” each and every post I want seen. These aren’t strangers… The are my fans who expect to hear from me, and yet I have zero control over that unless I pay up. The same goes for Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat.

2: The second way to get the attention of 1,000’s of people per day, is what I do, (and what I’d suggest you do…)

I buy it.

Instead of getting people’s attention doing the dancing bear routine every day, I simply advertise on these platforms.

For example… A few months ago I spent about 20 minutes making this short video ad. Since then it’s been viewed by over 1 million people.

So yes, social media platforms can be great at getting the attention of lots of people systematically.

But in order to buy that kind of attention every day, it obviously takes money.

And that’s where email comes into the picture…

Building an email list has a few huge advantages over social media…

First, it isn’t controlled by a faceless algorithm.

If you subscribe to my email list, you’re going to get my emails.

Second, email is where business takes place.

Social media is essentially for entertainment and distraction.

Email is for serious matters and important communications… Receipts, airline tickets, verification, password recovery, personal messages, and business communications, all take place via email.

And for these reasons, email is still by far and away, the most effective tool at driving sales.

When it comes to selling a product or service, I will take 1,000 active email readers, over a Facebook fan page with 100,000 fans, any day of the week.

And that’s exactly why all of the attention we buy on Facebook through our ad campaigns, is pointed directly to one thing… An email capture page.

We’re taking the ocean of low quality attention on Facebook, and distilling it down to high quality attention via email.

100% of our sales and revenue comes from email subscribers. 100%.

So is email dead?

Well here’s how we did in 2017…

Get Instant
BRAIWEB INSIDER

JOIN OUR COMMUNITY

Entrepreneurs like you come together to meet and support one another, get answers to burning questions, learn from experts, and more. Consider joining us!
YES, I WANT TO JOIN YOUR COMMUNITY
Hurry up, Limited Deals Available!
close-link