As you learned in my previous article, we were in the Magaliesberg mountains this week on a family holiday! Look at all of us…
The mountain part of our holiday has come to a close and the trip was fantastic. When you’re in the mountains you can’t stay in the resort, you must go hiking!
We love hiking…
The resort we visited has a hiking trail called the kudu trail. The path is clear and easy (until you really start the ascent, where it is quite a steep battle). Nonetheless, they had small yellow markers tied to trees that appeared often, to remind you that you are headed in the right direction.
To some this might sound strange, and to others, wonderful. The boys love to explore (and we did find our own way up the mountains the next day), but the ladies preferred a proper path!
These markers were everywhere, and if you looked ahead far enough, you would see where the path would take you next until we reached the top…
Obviously, we took a bit of a break, hydrated, and snacked, but we were off in no time. The chilling realisation hit us soon after: we were basically lost. There were not markers in sight. At all. Anywhere.
After wasting energy exploring our various options and routes, we stumbled upon a marker and made our way down – but we almost forged our own path home.
We weren’t the only ones (in case you think we’re just horrible hikers), the next day we met a couple who mentioned how they went through the exact same thing, at the exact same spot. You don’t want people’s conversations about you to sound like this!
What you should take from our experience
Our marketing excites prospects and it aims to get them to the peak of their ‘buying thresholds’. This is the moment where they want to pull out their wallets and make their way down. But, sometimes, we are excellent at exhorting them, and horrible at closing the deal. We end up losing them to our competition.
The path we strategically lay for all potential customers, should consider all levels of the sales cycle. You want them to ask questions – but in the end, you want them to buy!
Contact an expert – Mirror Marketing and we’ll help you turn trials into perfectly designed trails!
Leave a comment if you have anything to add – I’d love to hear from you 🙂
By now, you are probably thinking that I am obsessed with spiders. If so, I admit that the struggle is real!
This time, though, amidst my disgust and cringing, a small spider actually taught me a lot:
The story unfolds…
It’s the holiday season and my sister has travelled from the mother city – Cape Town – to join us on a family vacation. We are all together, in one of our favorite places: the mountains!
If you have ever settled down for a while in the mountains, one thing is for sure – you would have encountered spiders.
Knowing this, I went to the restroom last night to shower and prepare for bed, but it was like I was walking into a trap – fully aware?!
And there it was… Dangling (creepy little thing) in the corner of the shower between the lightbulb and the wall. Though I knew I would find my eight-legged friend there, I still had some hope! This time could be different, couldn’t it?
…but it wasn’t.
Then it struck me!
Bugs, flying and crawling, were all drawn to the light like moths to a flame! This little guy was hanging there, fully aware that his food will be coming to him. He was hunting, or prospecting, as we would call it.
This in itself is the essence of marketing.
Put yourself in the middle of your targets journey.
Dangle near their favorite places.
Work smart, not hard.
Use the web at your disposal (social media/internet/website/social gatherings) and have them come to you.
But this wasn’t all my bittersweet friend taught me…
Every now and then, he would start moving toward me (away from the light) probably to further develop his little trap and then I would lightly blow at him. This made him run the other direction…
Luckily, this resulted in a win-win situation… He would run to the light (which is where his food was at) and I would have no spider near me. But, it could have been different.
Sometimes we are blown away from our clients by the winds of adversity, competition, or even confusion. Always evaluate if the results you are getting, are the results you planned to achieve. If not – it might be time to check where the light is 😉
If you haven’t personally experienced the horrible feeling of walking into an abandoned building, then I’m sure you’ve seen examples on the TV and in movies.
Usually, you’d be in a dark alley somewhere, a horror film about the zombie apocalypse, or deep in the woods, where all men fear to tread.
None of those examples sounds nice! This must mean something.
Why do abandoned homes, buildings, or towns fit into eerie scenes so easily?
How it all began
You are probably curious as to how I even got onto the subject in the first place. So here goes…
I really don’t like spiders at all. I mean any kind of spider; poisonous, harmless; huge, small; hairy, smooth – I just hate and cringe at the thought of any kind of spider.
That’s point one; point two is this: I’m not the most disciplined guy in the world either. I don’t like cleaning or washing, or any kind of ‘unimportant’ work (normally).
But, If you put a spider or his web in my line of sight, I become a clean freak.
After one of these episodes – destroying all signs of spider-life in my universe – I kicked back, relaxed, and we started talking about how spiders always inhabit a place where little goes on (and boy, they don’t waste any time).
This, naturally, freaked me out and so I allowed (or begged for) the subject to change to how you can actually see the lifelessness of a building if no one lives there.
We are alive
A feeling similar to nostalgia took over that moment. The sunlight seemed brighter, the walls seemed whiter, my family seemed happier, and everything seemed to have life – because we lived there…
Our homes, our workplaces, our communities, our countries breathe because we live in them. It seems strange to us that an inanimate object could become alive, like in the cartoons we watched when we were children, but maybe they weren’t so far off…
I’m trying to put a fun spin on this, but I’m struggling (It’s really more compassionate than fun). This is my message: Thanksgiving has passed and Christmas is around the corner – if buildings visually die right before our eyes due to the absence of people, how much more would those we care about, if we abandoned them.
In this season, let’s expel abandonment and instead live self-sacrificially; may all our actions be motivated by love.
When people start talking about marketing their products and business they come up with amazing, creative ideas. Notice, though, how the list is huge – and I’m not saying that this is wrong, or that the ideas won’t work – but for some reason, doing anything for free is right at the bottom of this list (if it even features).
The power of Promotion
If you like quality luxury goods, you must have heard of the Jo Malone brand before. Jo Malone started her line of fragrances while being a florist by day and a beautician by night. She had a passion for fragrance from a tender age. She experimented with combinations of flowers from her parent’s garden and soap to learn more about fragrances.
Though all of this is great, it’s not how her business began. In fact, one critical event gave birth to her business…
She gave her clients, a new fragrance that she created, as a gift.
Yip…That’s it, nothing more. Without selling and marketing like crazy, she freely gave away her product and the response was mind-blowing.
Many people in my industry are writing books and self-publishing them on Amazon. Some are extremely successful and others hardly sell anything. Of course, there is no certainty at the beginning that any book would skyrocket onto the bestsellers list – but you can improve your chances.
In fact, some of the authors who hardly sold anything at the beginning, turned the tables by doing one thing differently:
They gave their books away, free of charge.
Amazon has an option available, when self-publishing, that they will promote your book if you give it away free, for at least 24 hours.
This may sound like madness – but this is how good authors turned their horrible results into cash machines.
Take a long-term view
Often, we expect people to see our products and instantly pull out their wallets – but more often than not, this doesn’t happen. People don’t know anything about you and what you do; they have never heard about your products, why would they want to buy it?
Like Jo Malone, if you create exposure by ‘losing’ money in the short-term, your beneficiaries will do most of the marketing on your behalf!
“If you sow, you will reap”
For those of you who read my articles and enjoy them, you’ve probably noticed that I love using pictures as inspiration.
Well today, I cleaned out the small dustbin I have in my room. Now, I don’t know if it works like this all over the world, but here in South Africa, we place a plastic bag inside the dustbin frame. So when the dustbin is full, we pull out the bag and replace it with a new and clean one.
This got me thinking about the perspective we should have on business.
For the love of business
I love business, not in a “love of money is the root of all evil” kind of way, but in a “passion for the art of business” way.
I have my own freelancing business, I have a food business that caters to markets and festivals, and I work in the financial services. These are not the only businesses I have had, nor will it be the last. I just love it.
When you get any kind of business advice, the best advice – and these days you’ll hear it a lot – is that you should work yourself out of a job. You should have a business system; your business must not be dependent on your presence.
The dustbin is the business
Like with my dustbin, my business must allow me to plug logistics in and out, avoiding the messy consequences.
This allows you to play with new marketing strategies, key person involvement, and new products whilst making sure the bottom line is unaffected.
If you find that you can’t exit the business as easily as I remove the plastic bag from the dustbin, it might be time to restructure.
With the New Year around the corner, rethink your resolutions, and create more TIME than work for yourself and your family.
When it comes to sports or games, I am brutally competitive. My girlfriend hates it – and I hate that she hates it!
This is my perspective most of the time: You can’t play a game if there is no winner; why would you want to play for nothing?
The Games Night
Well, recently a group of us got together for a games night. The plan was to have some fun, relax, and enjoy ourselves (excluding my plan of winning every single game, of course). Soon everyone will be away for the holidays, and we wanted to be together for the last time in 2016.
Whilst trying to figure out what games everyone would like to play, something almost unanimous occurred – it seemed that poker was the most popular game suggested.
Just to backtrack a bit…
I am extremely competitive when there is nothing to gain but the ego boost of winning. Can you imagine if you combined this with money?
Nightmares, I tell you, nightmares.
Games Night Continued…
Anyways, we got together and sure enough, we had a few players that have never played poker in their lives.
We ran through the rules, played a few ‘bet-less’ rounds so that they could get the hang of it, and off we went – everyone put on their poker faces and everyone smelt the blood in the water.
I am making it sound a lot more intense than it was. (Remember I gave you my background – this should be explanation enough!)
Bam! Just like that, two players were almost bankrupt. No chips left; can’t even match the blinds; how will they get back into the game?
Then my girlfriend almost gave me a heart attack: “Why don’t we all take a few chips and split it between them so we can continue the game together?” Boy was having a poker face valuable in that moment. I didn’t want to share! They lost; it’s not my fault…
What did I learn that night?
Though my ego fought the idea, I can’t imagine how horrible that night would’ve been if those two had to just sit and watch.
We had a great night! We enjoyed each other’s conversations and laughed till our tummies ached.
Though it didn’t really matter anymore, I still won…
Sometimes we go through life thinking we have to be stingy, self-serving and brutal to be successful – but we forget that those who give generously are the ones who end up receiving.
Instead of only trying to accumulate (in some cases hoard) let’s use this season to give. Give of our time, our money, our talents, our smiles…
A life lived like this, is a life well lived.