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Marketing

Andrea Hardiman talks about your ‘Why’

Andrea Hardiman talks about your ‘Why’

Andrea Hardiman is one of our Partner Members, a true Rainmaker and the founder of her own marketing solutions provider based in Norwich, Norfolk, called ‘All About The Message.’ She is as passionate about marketing as we are about the Rainmakers Club, making her a true asset for all out members. Andrea, like many of us, understands the importance of knowing your true ‘Why’ and has written the article below to help spread the word.

 

What is your ‘Why’ and why is it so important?

You’re a business owner.  Why do you do what you do?  Why do you get out of bed in the morning?  To earn money?  To be recognised?  To gain security?  To be independent?  To regain control?  To help your family?    Yes, these are reasons, but none of these is your ‘Why?’

Your ‘Why?’ runs deep

When discovered; your ‘Why?’ will pull at your heartstrings or make the hairs rise on the back of your neck.  It’s all about you.  It’s personal.   It is your unique story and you’ll know when you’ve tuned into it.

What happens when I tune into my ‘Why?’

For you

Your ‘Why?’ will be something that fires up your passion for what you do, gives you the energy to keep going when everything seems impossible. It makes you fight, not give up, stand up not stand back, push forward not standstill, never fading.  It reminds you why you are here, doing what you are doing, right here, right now.  It is your purpose.

It could be about having quality time with your children, being able to pick them up from school,  continue a family business, make sure you have the money to have a family holiday, be independent from your partner, get control back in your life and earn your own wage.  The list is endless.

For your customers

Your ‘Why?’ helps customers understand what you stand for in a crowded marketplace. You’ll stick in their heads.  They’ll want to find out more.  They’ll want to connect.  It will give them insight into you as a person, someone they may be doing business with now or in the future, your ethos, what drives you and what makes you unique.

Your Why + Your Passion = Your Success

Once I find my ‘Why?’ what do I do with it?

No one else will have your ‘Why?’ Therefore, it can be part of your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) that shapes your marketing messages.  Communicated in the right way, your ‘Why?’ will help you stand out from the crowd vs your competitors, getting you recognised. It can be used in your social media, when you go networking, written into the ‘About me’ page on your website, or when you’re talking about your business to a potential new customer.   Of course, you must be comfortable with what you’re saying, if you’re not, don’t say it.

My ‘Why?’

I’ve always loved marketing, watching the iconic TV adverts of the 1970s and 80s and trying to understand why they used aliens to advertise mashed potato, dancing pandas to sell chocolate bars and who was J R Hartley?   These adverts captured my imagination and I wouldn’t let my dad change the channel until I’d watched them.

Fast forward 20 years working for some global brands in the UK.  My passion was always to create marketing messages that worked for the audience, devising creative ideas that got the products and services talked about and remembered.  Nothing gave me a buzz like it.   However, I was made redundant.  My son was four at the time and I’d planned to take the summer off, spend time with him and find another job when he started school.

As the summer came to an end, I realised this was no longer my Master Plan.  I craved autonomy, independence and the flexibility to take my son to school, pick him up, to be there for sports day and volunteer for school trips.  I wanted to be with him while he was still young and while it was cool for him to have his mum around! Time passes too quickly.  You can’t get it back and I didn’t want to lose a moment.  My ‘Why?’ was my son.

So, in 2015, I founded my own marketing company, All About the Message.  I have always been a bit of a free spirit.  It was essential for me to have flexible working hours, be able to promote my brand how I wanted, to choose whom I collaborated with to grow my business, pitch for the clients that I wanted and to forge the relationships that were important to me.  All of this added even more fuel to my fire and my ‘Why?’

 

Fast forward to last year.  My father died suddenly and unexpectedly. He had Stage 3 Prostate Cancer. Neither my mum or I knew.  He did. He kept it to himself.  He was of the generation that ‘you just got on with it’.  He did just that and he got on with life in the time he had left.

The passion and conviction of my ‘Why?’ has never wavered, even when my confidence has crashed and self-doubt has crept in.  This is the power your ‘Why?’ holds.   Somehow, since my dad died, his resolve, stubbornness and ‘just get on with it attitude’ has fuelled it even more.  Imagine a furnace, powered by a volcano…the size of a planet!

If he can get on with life knowing that time is short then, for my business, I can absolutely ‘nail it to the wall and ‘kick it out of the park’… for my son and me and that is ‘Why?’

Want to learn more about ‘Why?’  Simon Sinek  is all about the ‘Why?’

 

GDPR – What’s it all about?

GDPR – What’s it all about?

What’s it all about?

There has been lots of talk about the new regulations that will come into effect in May 2018. The big question has to be who does it affect? Well if you’re a business and you use email marketing or send direct mail, or make sales calls, the law is changing what you can and cannot do. Things you do today may soon not be allowed anymore!

This all happens on the 25th of May 2018, which is really just around the corner in business terms. On that date, the General Data Protection Regulations come into force. The reason you’re hearing so much about it is that it is a big deal, particularly if you get it wrong. I am guessing that one of the big temptations is to leave this until nearer the time. For what its worth I feel that is a mistake and that there are some very simple steps you can take right now!

It is also important to point out that this new law is very detailed and quite complex and I am only just scratching the surface in this article. Its purpose is only to get you thinking in the right way and not a comprehensive guide or how to document, it is merely a few tips to help you start the process of compliance.

The key to all this is for you to understand what data you’re collecting, for example, if you’re using Google Analytics then under the new rules you will be considered to be storing data covered by the GDPR. In essence, the law applies to any data that can be traced back to an individual and people have the right to know what personal information you’re storing about them.

You must have a Privacy Policy!

If your site lacks a Privacy Policy then this should be one of the first things you put right, because you’re going to need one to comply with the new regulations. As a member of the Rainmakers Club, you’ll be able to find a number of members who can help you with this.

Let the People have their say

If you are sending someone email marketing before you can do it you need to have obtained their explicit permission to do so. You certainly can’t assume you have their permission. They must opt-in! We would suggest this is something you should start sorting out right now and not wait for the changes to come into effect.

Check your contact and registration forms, used for your websites and make sure they have an opt-in tick box. The key is it needs to be opt-in, not preset!

Time-sensitive opt-in

So it’s very clear people need to opt-in, but there is a little more than that to consider too. You are going to need to record when they gave their permission and you need to have a record of what it is they saw when they made the decision to opt-in. One of the easiest solutions perhaps is to have an email notification sent to you for each opt-in but then to fully comply you’ll need to ensure the email clearly states what the tick box said at the time of completion; retain and store securely those emails as part of your audit trail for compliance purposes.

What about other laws?

GDPR seems to be quite explicit in this regard, saying that if there’s another law that conflicts with it, then the other law has the priority. A good example that has been used in the publicity running up to the eventual implementation is that of email and telephone marketing covered by PECR, as this allows for what is called ‘soft opt-in.’ In effect, this means that if you have sold something or negotiated with a client you can send that person. marketing about the same kind of thing they were interested in.

However, it is also worth noting that PECR looks set to be replaced by a new stricter ePrivacy law currently being debated in parliament. At this time it is not clear if ‘soft opt-in’ will remain. With that in mind, you could argue it makes sense to work on explicit opt-in as a matter of standard procedure.

People have the right to say No!

People have the right to stop you sending them marketing. More than that, you must make it easy for them to opt-out of future marketing.

The simplest solution is to ensure all emails of this nature carry with them the ability to opt-out. We would suggest a simple link that allows them to click on opt-out. If you’re using printed mailers they need to clearly tell people how they can stop receiving more of the same.

Once a person has opted out you need to maintain a ‘do not contact list’ and maintain it. If you don’t do this you could be facing some very hefty fines.

What about TPS?

If you make sales call to someone who’s on the TPS list you will be breaking the law. A word of warning times have changed and the current organisation responsible for this, the ICO are much stricter than Ofcom who used to ensure compliance with this regulation. You don’t need explicit permission to make a sales call but you do need to check the TPS list before you make the call. Don’t be fooled into thinking this only applies to individuals at home. There is also the CTPS, the corporate version! Checking numbers is simply a case of going to the website http://www.tpsonline.org.uk

Secure your site

Have you got the little padlock symbol on your browser bar when you are on your website? This icon indicates to the rest of the world that your site has an SSL certificate (Secure Sockets Layer). If you’re storing any personal data on your website, you need to have an SSL. This will ensure that the data is encrypted. Last October Google took this to another level by labelling sites without SSL as non-secure.

This means that even if you’re only using a basic contact form on your site and you don’t have the SSL, you will be marked as insecure! This may well impact on how people feel about visiting your site and so SSL is worth investing in. We have a few good Rainmaker members who can help you with this.

The GDPR Mission

Its all about the protection of personal data and to prosecute organisations who misuse that personal data. As with many compliance-related missions, this will make life a little more difficult for the majority of good honest and decent organisations, who are just working hard to build their contact database and attract more business.

But just a few simple steps mentioned in this short blog can help you navigate through the main points of the new regulations:

1. Have an explicit opt-in for your email marketing (you can still take advantage of soft opt-in for as long as it lasts).

2. Check the telephone preference service list before you make that unsolicited sales call.

3. You don’t need explicit consent for traditional mailers in the form of letters, brochures or catalogues. This is providing that you make it clear how they can stop getting future mailings from you and that the content is relevant. Sending direct mail is ok as it is still seen as a legitimate action in the interests of your business development.

A bit more on direct mail

Direct mail seems to be experiencing a bit of a revival. Direct mail is less common and perhaps that’s why it tends to indicate better results than it has historically? The fact is that most of us are getting less traditional post than we used to and a knock-on effect is that we take a little more time with our traditional mail as a result. So at the very least, this may be worth revisiting, maybe!

If you would like a referral to one of the Rainmakers Club Partner Members who can help you with all things GDPR, marketing and web, you need only ask, use our contact form and ask for help, or use the mobile app, we are here to help you and your business!

Winking In The Dark

Winking In The Dark

Winking in the Dark was one of my early books, written originally as an e-book to support a workshop I was jointly running with a design and SEO business in Norwich, Norfolk. The full title was ‘Winking in the Dark – Rainmakers do it with the lights on.” This short book was designed as a short and informative introduction to on and offline marketing the smart way, the new way.

Now it’s not so new but still as relevant to the small business as it has always been. The basis of the original book was to demonstrate the value of ceasing the traditional advertising and interruption techniques and replace them with quality content that could be delivered directly to the smartphone or iPad of your target and demonstrating your expertise to them.

 

There is no need to burn money just be demonstrable and work to the three C’s. They are Content, Conversations, and Connections the lifeblood of your business, or at least a very important component. You see the better your content, the more conversation you’ll start and conversations will lead to more connections. Connections lead to more content and so it goes on.

In reality with social media, it works just as well with Content developing connections leading to conversations and then more content and so on. Providing the content is good enough there is absolutely no need to burn money on lead generation. But there is a work of warning, it will not happen overnight. Don’t expect results straight way, you have to work at it. Work hard at it just like every other aspect of business!

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