As we pause for breath after inhaling another all butter mince pie/purple quality street/dry roasted nut, rose tinted specs are off to gaze back at 2022. Tis’ the season of goodwill so it feels like a great moment to share what we have learnt. It may be of use to you fine people as we glide into 2023. This gift comes from the great and the generous in our network, so big thanks to all of you.
Anna Mullenaux co-founder of MarketingKind recently heard Ian Hislop (of Have I Got News for You and Private Eye fame) describing this year as 'rock bottom'. “I think that may actually be an optimistic take. With the economic, social and environmental implications of climate change, crises are likely to continue and increase (though maybe the government's preparation for them and response to them can improve?!). So what have I learned this year about how marketers and creatives can help to chart a rebound from 'rock bottom'?
1. Create products and services where better for the environment is a given (not a premium).
3. Learn from and support businesses that are helping to create needed shifts in consumption (ebay and Olio are two of my favourites).“
Cheers to that Anna!
And when you’re talking about your rebound on LinkedIn keep it authentic and human. If you’re looking to glean more business leads Jen Corcoran has some sage advice about how not to do it.
In case you were wondering “Spammy DMs and cold outreach on LinkedIn is so 2020”. The smart people who will get results in 2023 are the ones taking the time to research their ideal clients, making them feel seen, heard and understood. We’re all over being sold to aka slap pitched in the first DM (and sometimes in the connection request). It’s off putting and builds zero know, like and trust.
If you want to get positive traction and engagement, read people’s profiles and content before asking inane questions like ‘tell me what you do’, ‘let’s jump on a call to get to know each other’, ‘here is my calendar link’….
Every time you send a DM you’re interrupting someone’s day and productivity. Make it about THEM! The secret to leveraging LinkedIn is in the giving. LinkedIn is not Amazon marketplace. Sure people want to buy products and services but you need to earn the right before you self-promote.”
Gideon Barker is a research specialist who runs Customer IQ and makes it his business to stand in the shoes of real life people and learn genuine insights. When it comes to targeting, he’s all for “being bold and going for that niche. It feels better, enables you to make decisions easier and lightens the load from trying to target too many people.”
“Invest in support,'' continues Gideon. “It may seem counter to the bank balance and economic gloom but even a small investment in someone to help you or give you specialist advice can make a real dent in the long list of "stuff I need to do but never get around to it"
We all know that tech can be our friend so why not go one step further and invest in “turning your website into a 24/7 virtual assistant powered by automated workflows, streamlining repetitive tasks that save you time and money.” says Paul Ormandy one of the founding punks of Punk My Pixel.
What if you could produce estimates, sales funnels, onboarding, customer support, document sharing, proposals, scheduling and book appointments without lifting a finger? What’s not to like?
Jessica Gregson from Extra Brain ponders on the year. “In 2022, I learned that everything takes more time than you think to come to fruition, and was reminded (again) not to make assumptions about what people want (be they colleagues, clients or customers).
In a small business, It's easy to make a snap decision that your proposition is wrong because you didn't get an immediate response, or to think you might have somehow burned a customer relationship because they didn't reply to your email. You're often wrong. It's just your timing was off, they had other priorities, or you didn't quite compete well enough for attention. Unless you have a burning deadline, pat down your patience, try and isolate what specifically is going wrong and give it some more time before you make any wholesale changes.
Make testing part of every day practice in your business. Research, ask, observe and look for things that disprove your assumptions. You may think, due to the success of your business; everyone sees the vision, must want the same thing, shares the same problems or places the same importance on things as you do - why wouldn't they? Have you ever questioned if that's correct? They may see something which is still very valuable to them, but just in a completely different way. Ask before you assume. “
While this may not be new news to some it’s worth championing the humble email. As Christine Corbin, E-Comm and Marketing consultant points out “Social media platforms come and go, but an email list of customers who care about your brand lasts forever. Don't forget to maintain email marketing as a critical pillar of your brand strategy.”
And ensure you maintain your site’s SEO. “SEO optimization is a marathon, not a sprint. Take some time at the top of the year to review your site's meta titles, descriptions and alt text, making sure you've included highly descriptive keywords and the clearest, most concise language possible. Your search results will thank you!”
And finally a thought from us, if you’re a small business, solo entrepreneur, freelancer or start up don’t skip over building your brand. It is a vital part of standing out from the competition and attracting support. It doesn’t have to be a hugely drawn out process and the best bit is that distilling your product or service into a brand identity can unlock all kinds of extra goodies from defining strategic partners to stumbling across that all important niche.
As we canter to the finish line, make time during the festive break to recharge and be ready for whatever 2023 brings 🥳.