Author: Amanda Bedell

5 Ways to Stop a Consumer in Their Tracks (and look at your product instead of someone else’s)

In order of importance here are the five major components to great advertising copy: 

  • Command Attention
  • Showcase Benefits of Products/Services
  • Prove the Benefits
  • Persuade People to Embrace the Benefits
  • Call to Action

Advertising is sales; so you’ll need to think about the unique benefits your products/services offer and showcase them in a persuasive way. In short, you need to emphasize results, not features.

Let’s take a minute to talk about each of these components:

  1. Command Attention: This is usually accomplished with the headline. You need an attention-getter that makes people want to know more about your products/services. The best headlines give a vivid portrayal of the benefits or show how a problem can be solved with your products/services. The headline is the advertisement for the advertisement.
  2. Showcase Benefits: You have to showcase the benefits of your products and services and, more importantly, show how they solve or surmount an obstacle.. Customers need to know what’s in it for them. Include useful, factual, and clear information to show precisely what the benefits are and how they are going to work.
  3. Offer Proof: This is where you prove what the advertisement is offering. You need to establish you have a method to deliver. Consider information that establishes credibility and past performance.
  4. Persuade: Add compelling reasons for your potential customers to purchase your products/services. Use a hard-sell approach and create scarcity. This motivates your potential customers to act now, not delay and risk losing an opportunity. Which leads into the last component.
  5. Call to Action: You need to compel your potential customers to do something. They need to check out your site, sign up for your newsletter, purchase your products, contact you about services—something.  Offer a freebie like a booklet, sample, product, bonus, demo, consult, limited-time price, etc.

Download my free workbook, Profit Jolt for actionable strategies you can implement now.

What is Direct Response Marketing?

Direct Response Marketing is a method designed to spark a direct response by encouraging your target person to take a specific action. 

Most people love this because they get an opportunity to be heard, and business owners love it because they willingly raise their hands and express interest in what’s being offered.

Direct response marketing doesn’t use new tactics, it’s simply a way of communicating. Familiar avenues are: 

  • Social media ads
  • Direct mail
  • Print ads
  • Radio and TV ads
  • Coupons or other incentives
  • Telemarketing

“I honestly don’t think you’ll ever find a safer, lower-risk, higher-profit method of increasing your business or profession than direct-response marketing,” said Jay Abraham, one of the world’s highest-paid marketing consultants and strategic business problem solver. 

Some of the advantages of direct marketing are:

  • You can activate it during lulls in business
  • Empowering you to create deeper and more impactful relationships with customers
  • A great way to upsell and cross-sell to current customers
  • Low-cost way to generate new business
  • Offers measurable results
  • Reach outside your local area for new business with a fresh campaign
  • Use it to leverage introductory small sales into large sales
  • A cost-effective way to reach target markets
  • Use it to evaluate and increase the effectiveness of your sales force

Direct response marketing is one of the best ways to launch your business and reach out to everyone in your target market. Our GUIDED TOUR can help you put together a great direct response marketing plan and get you on your way to heightened success. Let’s dig in!

Equitable decision-making

Becoming intimate with your personal values and business ethics can guide you in times of crisis; those times when you don’t know where else to turn.

I realized that inclusion was a defining value of mine after completing a series of leadership workshops years ago. During a problem-solving exercise, taking in the moment, I scanned the room. We’ve all been in a situation just like this — there’s “that group” of 3-4 loud individuals debating what to do, opinions and ideas are coming from everywhere. It can be chaotic, especially for team members that don’t tend to speak up.

My sights landed on a person at the other end of the room, her body language suggested that she was slightly disengaged. I noticed a sigh and eye roll. “I bet she knows the answer,” I thought to myself. I quietly snuck over to get her read on the situation. After warming up, she offered the answer in a nonchalant manner. In my head, I exclaimed, “I knew it! She did know the answer!” I gently encouraged her to find the courage to speak up. If she didn’t interject at a workshop like this, when would she?…

As managers in organizations, how does this resonate with you?

How would the inclusion of voices that might not easily be heard shift the trajectory of your organization?

What I do know is this: “we don’t know what we don’t know until we know what we didn’t know.” Including employees at all levels of the organization will uncover hidden profitability gems. Now — more than ever — your business could depend on it for survival.

Here are some lessons I learned that day:

  • As the owner of my business, I need to watch and listen. Louder individuals have the confidence to speak up but there is genius behind those that are quiet.
  • Examine your process: how do we make decision-making inclusive in our organization? Are voices from all areas of the organization being considered and if so, do people feel comfortable sharing opinions? How can I engage with those who may be resistant to expressing themselves?
  • Marginalized voices are less likely to share opinions due to a number of things like peer pushback or judgment, stereotypes, and systemic racism that I may not even see or know about.
  • Having diverse voices at the table is step one; but are those voices cultivated, encouraged, and amplified in my workplace?

I hear this all the time, “But Amanda, at my business we have to make decisions quickly. I don’t have time for this.”

I’m not going to say there’s a quick way to build inclusion into how you do business. Especially if people have been burned in the past. But, there are ways to start, and putting in that effort will pay off over time.

Here are some ways to start integrating inclusion into your company processes:

  • Random anonymous surveys and send out frequently. From the results, there is transparency of findings, swift actions are taken, and excitement and accountability at all levels for improving the workplace dynamics.

  • Know your team and celebrate uniqueness. Know what makes each team member tick and encourage them to contribute in a way that is comfortable for them. For example, some people need brainstorming sessions to ideate while others need quiet time.

  • Explore bringing in a common language. I used CliftonStrengths in my business. It was a way for our team to know where each other’s talents were and how to ask for help. As a manager, it helped me identify pockets of talent and where (and how) to bridge any gaps.

Having used CliftonStrengths in my food business for years, I know from experience that it is a powerful communication tool to improve workplace culture. I wrote about this experience in this previous post >>

I’m now a certified CliftonStrengths coach who can implement this in your organization. Let’s dig in!

Are you ready for the next phase of your business?

My business was running me.

If you’re anything like I was, your business is running you. The everyday struggles of a bakery employing 15 people and non-stop production almost killed me. I was beyond exhausted and wasn’t sure where to turn.

When I went searching for support, I was overwhelmed by the amount of tactical “solutions” recommended to get my business to the next phase. It seemed like everything was surface-level. I didn’t want the latest marketing trend, a social media calendar, or prompts for content, or dead-end financial management support.

I say this often, “You don’t know what you don’t know until you know what you didn’t know.” I know now that I needed someone outside my business to help me see beyond the day-to-day. A person with the financial know-how to examine and question current systems — someone that could get us beyond what I already knew. 

Does this resonate with you? Maybe you feel stuck and aren’t sure how to get to the next level. Or your business is growing but relies on you 24/7, and you don’t know how much longer you can take it.

Download my Profit Jolt book and we’ll also share a link to an email training series on how to build a profitable business. We’ll get you off the “hamster wheel” so your passion can fuel the world.

Let’s take care of you and your business.

This is how to Guarantee a rockin’ Q4

This is how to Guarantee a rockin’ Q4

Hello fellow rockstars,

I’m jumping in to talk about why this is the perfect time to start the 90-day Jumpstart. Why on earth would you do a program in the middle of the summer as we’re exiting a pandemic?

It’s natural for some businesses to slow down during the summer — pandemic or not. After talking to businesses in a variety of industries, it was clear to us this is the optimal time to embark on the 90-day Jumpstart.

We have one goal: to make Q4, rockin’ for you!

This summer, get everything lined up:

  • Hone in on marketing messaging that directly speaks to your ideal customer and market position systems using the three marketing fundamentals and the marketing equation.
  • Attract employees and onboard them in a way that you can rely on them during your most valuable season
  • Create efficiencies and systems that enable you to take Q4 and run with it.
  • We are exiting a pandemic. Yes! We need you to take care of yourself right now. Get out, enjoy friends and family safely, take a vacation… but, I want to see you participating and working ON your business rather than do it. I have a vision of someone logging in from a beach. Wouldn’t that be so cool?

What is the structure of the 90-day Jumpstart?

The reason why the program is structured the way it is, comes from an experience I had in 2017 when I was a part of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses (10KSB) program. It’s kind of like an accelerated MBA where they pair you up with businesses that have at least $150,000 in revenue and four or more employees. To say this program was life-changing for me is an understatement. It was so awesome to be surrounded by entrepreneurs that had the same issues that I did. All of our businesses were in different stages and different industries but experiencing the same things. The camaraderie that developed was amazing.

I made my big life choice of leaving my bakery business based on a relationship that I had with someone in my 10KSB class. They asked me, “why was I hanging on so tight to the business when you have so much more to do?” My point in sharing that is that these deep relationships could stick with you for a lifetime.

As a business owner, I know that it can get really lonely, especially when you’re working day-to-day with managing employees and you — we all — need someone to listen to us, to help us see blind spots, and support us through challenging choices. That’s why 90-day Jumpstart is structured in a very intimate way where we have, at most, eight people in each cohort. So go ahead, click on the 90-day Jumpstart link and fill out the application if this at all interests you at all. The next step is you and I sitting down (virtually) and talking for 30 minutes about your business — and it’s free.

If the summer one doesn’t work for you, still fill out an application if this feels like a fit. We offer the program year-round and can stay in touch when the next cohort is available. There’s nothing more that I love than to hear about what you are doing. The passion fellow business owners have for their businesses, customers, and employees are so cool to me.

I look forward to speaking with you! Thank you for jumping in, considering the possibilities of upgrading your lifestyle by sustainably growing your business, and creating the life you want.

Let’s dig in!

5 strategies you will master by signing up for the 90-Day Jumpstart

90-DAY JUMPSTART BEGINS JULY 6

Are you asking yourself, why aren’t more customers buying from me? You invested in social media or a shiny new website but aren’t seeing conversions? Learn why your marketing doesn’t work and, more importantly, how to fix it NOW.

WHAT: 90-day Jumpstart is a structured virtual program where you will learn, practice, and implement a number of strategies that begin to grow your business immediately. Best of all, you’ll continue to see these strategies pay off for years to come.

After taking this course, you will never again ask yourself what you need to do and how to do it to increase sales, increase cash flows, increase efficiencies, or how to grow and attract dedicated staff.

Past participants have experienced 2x, 5x and even 15x growth in the first year these strategies were put in place.

HOW: You might be asking yourself, how is this possible?! You’ve likely been trying to get more customers forever but nothing sticks and you feel like you’re on a hamster wheel creating content with little to no engagement. Or, you’re getting engagement but not seeing sales. At the base of the 90-day Jumpstart, you’ll learn these strategies:

  1. Position your business in a league of its own
  2. Attract your soul-mate customer or client
  3. Attract and retain your ideal employees
  4. Increase your number of transactions
  5. Decrease your costs

WHO: Business owners in business a minimum of 2 years and generate $50,000 – $1.3M in revenue a year.

WHEN: The next cohort starts July 6.

Are you in? If it’s a hell yes! Fill out the application here >>

If you’d like to see more information, learn more here >>

Hiring – shift from filling a job to growing with a person

Like many, my first jobs were in the restaurant industry. Over time, I went from fast food worker to hostess, then to server and bartender. I rarely held a job longer than one year until I was 23 years old. 

This being my background — at my core — I know why employee development is not a top priority for owners or managers in high-turnover, entry-level jobs.

In 2012, when I launched my bakery  I was determined to have a food business that centered around people’s growth. I knew my employees wouldn’t be with me forever, but while they were, I wanted them to feel valued and heard, to have a sense of purpose. My bakery was just one step in their life-long adventure. I sincerely wanted my employees to grow up and out of my business and into higher-paying jobs.

My rationale was that if I created an ecosystem that values people, they would help my business both in the short and long term. Let me provide a few examples of how:

  • valued employees give better customer service thus they affect your conversion rate and number of transactions
  • positive morale increases productivity
  • turnover negatively affects your profitability
  • post-employment you have a loyal customer
  • post-employment you have a trusted referral source

At the base of growing this people-forward work environment was CliftonStrengths (previously StrengthsFinder). A friend of mine introduced me to CliftonStrengths and since then, I’ve spent more time working on what I love and more time hiring people to work in areas I don’t love. 

I grew my team from one employee to 15 and the fundamental reason why I implemented this in my business was to have a common language for us all.  Here’s a sample of what I gained from implementing CliftonStrengths in a bakery setting:

  • A common language to talk about strengths/blind spots (weaknesses).
  • A deep understanding of my own talents and how to leverage the talents of my team to minimize my blind spots.
  • A focus on coaching the employee on how their talents fit into their job and how to leverage the talents of the team to support their blind spots.
  • Knowing how to thoughtfully reward an individual for their work.
  • Developing a growth-focused relationship with employees.
  • Lower turnover rate even in a high-turnover industry.

And believe it or not, there’s much more!

From there, we can create a process around employee onboarding and check-ins that support employee development professionally and personally. All these systems save you money, increase your business’s capacity for growth, and will set-up your company as the desired place to work in your industry.

This all starts with you. Let’s dig in!

Kick start your marketing

In Reid Hoffman’s podcast Masters of Scale, he interviewed Brian Chesky from Airbnb and they talked about something that has stuck with me since I heard the segment in 2017, “If you want your company to truly scale, you have to do things that don’t scale.”

Today, I’d like to share three things I did to get (and keep) my first customers.

  1. Meet your customers in person: You must meet with customers/clients in person whenever possible. I understand that is challenging but remember the potential connections in-person meetings cultivate, otherwise, there’s always Zoom or Skype. You will learn so many valuable insights from this person’s attention that will carry you and your company to the future.
  2. Follow-up letter: When was the last time you got a piece of mail that was unexpectedly delightful? It’s been a minute for me (read: never). Your first customers want to feel valued and respected. Consider taking a moment to send a follow-up letter personalized with what you talked about and to thank them for taking the time to meet with you.
  3. Phone call: I hear you! No one calls anyone anymore. But, use the phone to share an article or something that triggered you to think of them, and that customer will be loyal forever.

A word of caution: None of these tactics will work if you don’t have a quality product or service to back you up.

Here are the key steps for putting together your start-up marketing tools:

  • Research potential customers, buyers, competitors, and their preferred methods of distribution.
  • Talk to potential customers! Surveys, polls, prototypes – take a hard look at your product from a customer’s perspective and see what it needs to be successful.
  • Follow up with your 3-step process from above.
  • Develop systems for contact follow-through, quality control standards, and customer service.
  • Keep lines of communication open with customers and build on your current relationship, possibly increasing future purchases.

“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.” — Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company.

I hope this lesson helps you put together a start-up marketing plan that can sustain and grow your business far into the future. The tools offered in our free training videos offer more of these strategies.

Stop wasting your resources!

Think about authentically attracting your ideal customer without wasting money on the latest social media platform. The fundamental questions you have to ask yourself are:

  • What do people really want to buy from me? 
    Once you figure this out, you will know who is more predisposed to purchase your product or services (your ideal customer avatar).
  • What related products are they already buying?
    Think about other businesses that serve the same customers.

Together, you can create an ecosystem that supports customers and makes it easy for them to purchase from all of you. 

The basic concept is this; you want to find existing businesses who have the customer profile that you’re looking for.

Once you do, strike up a relationship with those business owners to work out an incentive for customers to purchase from all your businesses.

As a result, you have an audience to market to and the other business owners generate added value from their current customer base.

So, how do you figure this out and become a success? There is a great formula from brilliant business strategist Jay Abraham you can follow.

LV = (P x F) x N – MC

Here’s what it all means:

  • LV = the lifetime value of a customer
  • P = the average profit margin from each sale
  • F = the number of times a customer buys each year
  • N = the number of years customers stay with you
  • MC = the marketing cost per customer (total costs/number of customers)

Once you know how much you need to spend, you will know how much of an incentive you can offer a business to help attract new customers.

Here’s your step-by-step process:

  1. Find companies that already have the customer base you are looking for.
  2. Negotiate an incentive for them to share that customer base with you.
  3. Focus your marketing resources on this group of customers.

If you need help working through this process, check out our free online educational videos for the most comprehensive system of marketing tools and resources.

Educate your customers

You may be thinking to yourself, “Educate them about what?”

Entrepreneur and documentary filmmaker, Jia Wertz, says it better than I ever could in the opening sentence of her Forbes article, “Majority of customers visit your website or your brick-and-mortar only one time. Think about that.”

She goes on to explain that we’re spending all that money to get people in and we get one shot. Consider this, many businesses focus solely on attracting new customers, but I encourage you to spend a good chunk of your time retaining current and former customers. I know it feels like a no-brainer but so few businesses create a system to bring back people who already know you and have bought from you.

Take the time to market and sell new products to your old customers and less time trying to sell old products to new customers and you will see a drastic change in your sales, customer quality, and branding position.

Here are key elements to use to retain your current customers:

  • Stay in contact: This means by phone, email, e-newsletter, in-person, and by carrier pigeon if you have must (lol)!
  • Post-Purchase Assurance: This means you need to follow up with customers. They need to feel supported for what they purchased. How many times have you purchased a product, then felt completely abandoned? Something as simple as a ‘Thank You’ note with your contact or customer service information can go a long way in retaining a great customer.
  • Deals & Guarantees: Always offer your current customers the best deals and guarantees you have. Show them you appreciate their business or even come up with a club specifically to reward loyal customers. You can also do this with a preferred pricing option.
  • Integrity: Using good business practices and simply upholding integrity, dignity, and honesty go a long way with customers. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of swindling with substandard product out there, and the safer and more confident you make your customers feel, the more they will trust you. That makes for an amazingly supportive and loyal customer.

There are three cornerstone ideas to a successful business:

  1. Quality product/service
  2. Offering useful products/services that solve a problem for or enhance the life of a customer
  3. Offer content your customers find interesting

Use this approach of educating your customers and offering them real information and insight and you will be rewarded with loyalty and success.

Stop wasting all your time on new prospects while your current customers fall by the wayside.

Legendary business strategist, Jay Abraham says, “Your best prospects are your existing customers. If you’ve been putting all your marketing efforts into acquiring new customers, stop and diverts some of your resources into reselling, upselling, cross-selling to those same customers. In every way possible – through package inserts, regular mailings, special offers – stay in touch with those customers and get them used to buying from you.”

Remember, you can access free support by signing up for our training videos. The videos can help you harness techniques to educate your customers and watch their lifetime value go up and your revenues pay off many-fold.