Facebook Engagement Tips That Work

Facebook Engagement Tips That Work

Facebook engagement – what’s it all about? Well, if you’ve got a Facebook page for your business, you’ll know what a challenge it can be to get fans, and even more of a challenge to get them talking! It’s often so bad, you wonder why you bother at all – you find yourself posting random things just to see if you can spark a reaction, but nothing. Zilch. It’s like talking to an empty room.

And yet other people do it brilliantly, so what’s their secret? What do they have that you don’t?

The answer, apparently, is ENGAGEMENT. And that leads to REACH. Which is what you want lots of. So, what the heck is it and how can I get some?

What IS Facebook Engagement?

Well, in a nutshell, engagement is when people like, comment upon, tag people in or share your posts OR watch your videos and stories.

What is Facebook Reach?

Reach is the number of people who see your posts.

Except it isn’t really.

You’ll see under each of your Facebook posts there’s a little area where it says ______ people reached. While this is an indicator of the number of people who have seen your post, it’s actually a wild guess with a bit of optimism thrown in by Facebook (yes, I’m sure there’s more to their Algorithm but this is how it feels).

In theory, every time your post appears in someone’s timeline, that adds to the reach. Their friends might see it too, especially if that person ‘likes’ it or comments on it, which adds more reach. If they share it, even more people will see it, so the reach gets higher still.

Sometimes Facebook goes a bit wonky and will tell you that your reach is 3 people when 5 people have liked that post, which clearly isn’t right. I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t get too hung up on reach.

But DO try to improve your engagement.

So how does Facebook decide what you see?

Well, the first thing you need to know is that Facebook is all about giving a great experience to individual users – that’s you and me without our business hat on. They want to show us updates from our friends AND they want to show us more of what we love.

There are billions of Facebook users now. There are millions of businesses trying to get seen by those users, and paying lots of money to do so. And in amongst all of that Facebook wants to show YOU, the individual user, things you find interesting and enjoyable.

Some of what you see is down to paid advertising based on interests you have, pages you’ve liked, on how you describe yourself in your profile and on other pages, TV programmes, books, events etc you have ‘liked’.

Some of it is your actual friends – and the more you interact with them, the more of their posts you will see.

And the rest is down to things Facebook thinks you will enjoy based on pages you have liked. The same goes for your customers and potential customers.

And that’s where engagement comes in. Facebook has to have a way of deciding WHAT to show people like you – think about it. If you’ve liked 5000 pages, you can’t see every post from all of them every day because you want to see posts by your friends

So, Facebook looks which posts are getting lots of comments, likes and shares out of the pages you like, and they think ‘ooh that looks like a GOOD post, I bet you would like that too’ and up it pops in your timeline.

Which is why you see funny cat videos, cute Halloween pigs and other ‘viral’ content that gets lots of likes and shares because it makes people laugh and is cute.

Clearly there’s still work to be done, but you can see the HUGE challenge Facebook has.  (Clearly this is the simplified Claire version, so apologies to the coding geniuses at Facebook who make this happen).

How Can I Get Better Facebook Engagement?

Create Your Facebook Posts For the Right People

Well the first thing you need to do is remember that certain types of people are more likely to like, share and comment on your stuff. They are the people who are a great fit for your business – I call them your Super Customers.

Think about what THEY would like to see. On my own Facebook page I share occasional ‘general’ posts and videos that ‘speak’ to me but for the most part every post is aimed at women business owners.

I share marketing tips, inspirational business posts, introduction threads and marketing blogs. There might be a few non-business owners on my page and they are very welcome, but I don’t cater for them. I cater for business owners. And because of that, I attract lots of them.

Lots of the things I post get likes, shares and comments from business owners. Any of their friends who are business owners will see the posts their friend has liked, and will like it too. And so it begins.

Who do YOU need to get on your page? What are they interested in? What would they love to see? What would they love to know? What do they like talking about?

Try The 3 Qs For Facebook Engagement

Remember, you’re trying to get people to like, comment and share. Here are some types of post that give you a better chance of achieving this – BUT if you’ve got random people on your page rather than Super Customers, these won’t work as well.

Asking Questions to Get More Engagement on Facebook

Asking questions can work to get people talking. Sometimes really simple questions like ‘where in the world are you?’ can get people to come out of their shell and reply. The bonus for you is, you can see where your fans are.

The questions you ask need to be simple and with no risk of making the person feel like they are getting it ‘wrong’. The more relevant you can make your question to your Super Customer, the more likely you are to get replies. So, if you target crochet lovers you might ask them ‘what are you working on right now? Post a photo’. If you do children’s classes  you might ask ‘how did you choose your children’s names?’ or ‘how old are your littlies?’. If you are a florist you might ask ‘who did you last send flowers to and why?’. If you’re an accountant you might ask ‘are you scared of TAX – yes or no?’

If one doesn’t work, don’t give up. Try the same question at other times of day. Leave it for a few weeks and try again. Try different questions.


Posting Quandaries to Get More Engagement on Facebook

People LOVE to help. On my page I often get people messaging me for advice and I sometimes ask if them if they would like me to ask the Page.

I call them Reader Questions and I leave it up to the ladies on my page to answer, even if I might know the answer myself. It’s not about making me look clever. It’s about the person who asked the question benefiting from many people’s opinions and experiences AND the benefit to me is it creates engagement on my page.

Win, Win!

Using Quotes to Get More Engagement on Facebook

Facebook fans love a good quote or saying. I often just use my own words but it works just as well if you share something amazing somebody else has said. You can either post it as text but it’s better to make it SHAREABLE and the best way to do that is to turn it into an image, also known as a MEME (rhymes with theme).

If you’re quoting someone else, make sure you CREDIT them, in other words say who said it. So if you were using the words I said in this meme, you might say ‘Every successful business started out as a daydream’ – Claire Mitchell, The Girls Mean Business®. It’s essential you do this, otherwise you’re passing off someone else’s work as your own and you’ll have some upset people on your hands.

Some More Great Facebook Engagement Tips

Introduction threads can work very well for some businesses. I run one every Friday on my Facebook page where people can say who they are, where they are, tell us what their business does and tag their Facebook page.

Stories are big on Facebook and Instagram

They are little collections of snippets – photos, video clips, words, polls, questions, shares from pages and accounts and more – that last 24 hours, then disappear. Facebook and Instagram want us to use them. They are putting them at the top of our feed and encouraging us to click on them by making the circle around the profile picture glimmer to grab our attention!

Why use stories? And how?

Well, some people use them like a daily diary where they record or snap photos of what they are up to throughout the day – like a stream of consciousness with works in progress thrown in. Others use them strategically, sharing tips or offers, asking questions and running polls. Because Facebook and Instagram want us to use them, they naturally favour them over other content so if you create stories, you will *probably* get more engagement. It sometimes takes a little while to happen but if you are consistent and create content your audience enjoys, you will start to build more engagement and reach which means the rest of your feed will show up more often for your fans and followers, too!

Shares from other BIG pages can also work well.

It’s a strange Facebook phenomenon but sometimes when you share a post from a ‘big’ page you sort of borrow some of their reach – your reach goes up even though your page fans stay the same. It’s odd but good, it doesn’t always work and you have to choose things to share that will resonate with your Super Customers.

Videos are great for engagement.

Facebook live videos seem to do the best at the moment but other types of video also do really well.

The key factor is that they are uploaded direct to Facebook. If you simply share a link to YouTube or to a video on your website, it doesn’t work anywhere near as well. Facebook makes it super-easy to create videos using your photos in a slideshow – it’s the fourth option down on this dropdown that appears when you choose ‘image’ as you create a new Facebook post.

Your fans love to see YOU.

Any time you share photos of you at work, your workspace, stuff you’re working on, things going on in your business, you usually get a much bigger and better reach with more engagement. I am careful about what I share – I very occasionally post images of my little girl if it’s relevant to something I’m talking about but I’m always aware that there are some strange people out there in social media land and I have no idea where my photos might end up. I’m not so fussy when it comes to me, I’ll happily post photos of myself and my work and I LOVE doing short teaching videos that help people get to know me.

Phew, so hopefully now you know what engagement is on Facebook, why you need it and how to get more of it. I’d love to get your thoughts and any experiences you’ve had trying these – pop them in the comments below. Have I missed any? Wishing you LOADS of success in your Facebook marketing!

If you liked this blog post, you will LOVE these easy-to-follow online training classes! Click the image to find out more.

How To Run Your Business When Chaos Reigns

How To Run Your Business When Chaos Reigns

At the time of writing, we’re going through a global pandemic. You can’t get much more chaotic than that! But it’s not just lock-downs that cause chaos. Illness, bereavements, changes in circumstances, family issues, any of these can cause your life to suddenly change track and along with it, your business. Sometimes chaos ensues from smaller things like school holidays, problems with suppliers, cashflow challenges – it doesn’t take much to wreck an often fragile routine and leave you feeling a bit lost.

But where does that leave your business? Truthfully, in a bit of a mess. When chaos reigns, we go into coping mode. Our business vision gets shoved out of sight, our ambitious, exciting plans are put on hold and we focus on surviving, on getting by until the chaos goes away. But, sometimes the chaos is long-lived. Whether it’s a Coronavirus lockdown or a long-term illness, a redundancy or an ongoing family situation causing the ‘chaos’, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon, so what can you do?

Revisit Your Vision

When you’re feeling adrift, it’s a great idea to look back at your vision and plans made at a time when you were excitedly focusing on the future. When you’re in coping mode it’s easy to lose sight of why you’re doing this, so tapping into your WHY can help. Even if your business vision feels a million light years away at the moment, know that this situation is temporary. Your vision is on hold, not cancelled.

Do a Brain Dump

It’s hard to focus when your brain is stuffed full of ideas, worries and thoughts. Get a notebook or sheet of paper and write down EVERYTHING taking up space in your head, so you can see what you are dealing with. You can add to it as more thoughts appear. Often, our brain holds on to all sorts of irrelevant stuff so at least you can cross off anything that’s out of your control or doesn’t need to be taking up brain power. Then look at the rest. What can you delegate? What can you schedule for later? What can you do now? Doing this can really help you focus, because you’re not constantly feeling like you are going to forget something. Getting it all out onto paper means it’s visible and tackle-able.

If you can’t write it down, then use a free app like Otter.ai and talk to yourself as you go through your list. It will transcribe everything you say, then you can go through it and start working through your list. Alternatively, try mind mapping your thoughts – I do this a lot. I use MindMeister but there are loads of alternatives if you Google it.

Work Out What Can’t Wait

Do a brain dump of all the things you feel you ‘need’ to do, then list them in priority order. Things that bring in money for your business need to go at the top, so sending invoices, payment reminders/credit control and selling existing stock. You would also include proposals waiting to be written if that’s how your business works, but they need focus and concentration so you may need to see point 7 about managing expectations. Dealing with customer orders or enquiries would also be at the top. Now, just because they can’t wait doesn’t mean YOU have to do them. See if you can find a trusted friend or family member who can act as your second-in-command for a little while. If not, see if you can find a virtual assistant to do a couple of hours work getting you on top of your admin.

One Thing A Day

This is something I default back to regularly, when things aren’t going as planned. The principle is this: No matter how long your to-do list is, pick one thing you are going to get done today. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, it can be something as small as ‘write an email’, ‘post on Instagram’ or ‘come up with an idea for a newsletter’ but crucially, it’s getting your brain into business gear and doing something to move your business forwards. If you manage to do more than one thing, then brilliant! But if all you manage to do is that one thing, that’s brilliant, too. It’s definitely better than doing nothing, if you’re worried about your business. And sometimes, once you tackle one small thing it inspires you to tackle and second, and a third (but sometimes it doesn’t and that’s 100% OK).

Set Deadlines

This is something I often do when I’m feeling distracted but need to focus. I set an alarm for 45 minute’s time and I aim to get a task completed in that time. Whether it’s writing a blog or recording a video, I tell myself I’m going to get it done before the deadline. I close the door, switch off social media, ask everyone in the house to give me 45 minutes without interruption (yes, I know this might be wishful thinking but it sometimes works!), get my head down and work.

If my mind starts wandering, I quickly get back into ‘focus’ mode because it’s only for a few more minutes and I need to beat the deadline. This has got me through many a blog (like this one) and video class recording that otherwise would have sat on my to-do list for days (and the rest) and even if I don’t get the whole task completed, the process gets me into the flow and usually I just carry on after the alarm dings, until it’s done. Even if I can’t do any more, I’ve still made headway and I can repeat the process again later until I get it done.

Chip Away

Once I’ve done my brain dump I make a list of jobs that only I can do, in order of importance. Then, I break them down into lots of smaller tasks because the chances of me having enough focus in one day, when I’m dealing with other stuff, to do a big task are slim. Little tasks, on the other hand, are much more achievable. I might not be able to plan a whole blog, but I can mind-map it and at least get some structure.

I might not feel like photographing all the stock that needs doing, but I can do one thing or at least, set up a table with some props so I’m ready when I feel like getting the camera out. I might not be able to cope with scheduling a week’s worth of social media but I can come up with ideas for a few days’ worth, then tackle a post or a meme image on Canva when my brain needs a creative job to do. Big tasks always feel overwhelming when you’re already dealing with chaos and the chances are you’re going to struggle to focus on completing them. Tiny tasks, though, add up very quickly and before you know it you’ll have crossed loads off your list.

Manage Expectations

Both yours and those of other people. When everyone is going through chaos, it’s easy to manage expectations – nobody expects very much! However, when you’re going through your own, personal chaos it’s different.

Let’s start with YOUR expectations. When you’re dealing with other stuff, it’s hard to focus on anything to do with your business. Worry and stress are big distractors and however much you know it doesn’t help to worry, that doesn’t stop you doing it! You are going to find it difficult to concentrate, which means you will struggle with things like pricing, writing blogs, proposals and even product descriptions on your website. You’ll feel uninspired when it comes to social media. You’ll probably feel flat as a pancake when you sit down and tackle a business job that you would usually fly through. That is why you need to manage your expectations of what you can realistically tackle, while being kind to yourself and realising this is a totally normal reaction.

The ‘one thing a day’ method in this list can really help at times like these. So can giving yourself permission to have some dedicated time off where you allow yourself to rest, or do the gardening, or read a non-business book or watch a box set. Giving yourself permission and time to switch off is a great antidote to the usual ‘stare at your phone or computer for hours wondering what to do’ state we often find ourselves in. An enforced break from the business can often help you get a little bit of enthusiasm back, especially as our brain has a habit of throwing amazing ideas at us when we’re not in a position to do anything about them.

Now, let’s tackle other people’s expectations – the best way to handle them is to COMMUNICATE. I know you might not feel like it but it will help. I don’t mean get on the phone and ring around, or post your personal story on Facebook – not at all. I just mean let people know how things are working at the moment and what they can expect. If you’re not sending out orders for the next few weeks, say that on your social media and online shop. No need to go into details. If you’re only managing to answer emails twice a week, let people know on your website and order page, add an ‘out-of-office’ type autoresponder to your emails saying you ‘only answer emails on a Tuesday and Thursday at the moment so please be patient.’ If your chaotic situation hit when you had a full order book then maybe recruit a friend or hire a virtual assistant for a couple of hours to see if people want to rebook/reschedule, get a refund or choose some other option.

Most problems occur when businesses go quiet and shut down as the owner goes into ‘hiding’ while they try to cope with whatever is going on in their life. While you’re coping, the rest of the world just sees you have disappeared along with their money or booking and that’s when the nasty messages and emails can appear. Best nip it in the bud and give them a bare outline ‘we’re coping with a family situation at the moment but we will be in touch within 10 days to let you know what is happening with your order. If it’s urgent please text ____ (a friend’s phone) and we’ll do our best to help’

Look After You

Know that this lack of focus and feeling of distraction are totally normal when chaos reigns. Do not beat yourself up because you’re not ‘coping’. You are coping better than you think. When the world around you feels like it’s falling apart and your ‘normal’ seems to have run off into the sunset, never to be seen again, remind yourself that this situation will end. It’s temporary, even if you don’t know for how long. You might need to rewrite your business plan at some point. You’ll probably have to reassess your targets (I’ve had to do that a few times over the last couple of years). You will undoubtedly spend lots of time feeling like you’ll never get this back on track, like your brain is incapable of doing what you need it to do (yes, I’ve had that too) – that’s to be expected. What you CAN do, though, is be kind to yourself. Give yourself time because it’s going to take time to adjust, to find your new temporary way of working and to get help. Even though you feel like you’ve been catapulted into a new, unreal world, the rest of the world is carrying on around you, dealing with their own stuff – just remember to manage their expectations so they know what to expect.

In the context of this Coronavirus pandemic, nobody is expecting much from you I promise. If you can keep the business going, then great! If you shut it down temporarily, then great! There is no ‘right way’ to do this, you have to do what is right for you. I’ve seen some amazing business ideas spring up from this. I’ve seen struggling businesses suddenly unable to deal with demand (our local food stalls in the neglected covered market and local butchers and bakers are now doing deliveries and they are barely keeping up with orders!). I’ve seen amazing business owners close down for the foreseeable because they can’t find a way to make it work right now. Everyone is taking this differently. Some people are inspired and full of beans. Others feel down and deflated. You are where you are and you’re doing your best. Come into my free Facebook group if you need moral support or just to hang out online with people who ‘get’ it.

Once this pandemic is over and we get back to some kind of ‘normal’ you can pick up where you left off. The world will be waiting for you so don’t give up hope, we need your awesome business!


Oh, by the way, I have a one week £1 trial on my Brilliant Business Academy at the moment. It’s my special membership where you get access to over 50 classes and courses, plus monthly group business clinic calls and weekly guided brainstorms, where I put one business into the spotlight and help you get past a block or see a way forward. It’s my favourite place to be! Why not come over and give it a try?

After a week it’s just £17.50 per month and I remind you your trial is ending, so you don’t get caught out. If you need one thing to help you get past your blocks, learn the marketing stuff you need, get access to a fab business coach (me) and network with other amazing, ambitious and kind small business owners then it’s perfect for you.

10 Ways to help your small business survive the Coronavirus Pandemic

10 Ways to help your small business survive the Coronavirus Pandemic

It’s REALLY tricky for small and micro businesses right now. Falling sales and cancellations are leaving business owners scared and anxious, worried this will break their little business.

So what can you do to help keep the cash flowing at times like these? It’s time to think like your customers and anticipate their needs. It’s time to be flexible and adapt. It’s time to reframe this crisis and turn it into an opportunity to help and add value while keeping your business going, even if it’s in a different form to usual. Here are some things to think about. Also, you are awesome and you can do this.

  1. Be visible, communicate and reassure. Think about why people are cancelling or not buying and do your best to address those fears. Think about what you can say and do. What will make them feel better? Think about how you can help.
  2. The need for what you sell doesn’t really go away, your customers just can’t (or don’t want to) access it in the usual way. What can you do about it? How can you make it easier for them? How can you help?
  3. Everyone is having to adapt. Everyone is having to find new ways to cope and carry on. How can you change what you offer to suit this new, albeit temporary way of life? What do your customers need right now? How can you help?
  4. Diversify where you can. You can park your current business for a little while if needs be. You are a small business so you can quickly change direction. You have so many skills that others can use, even if you aren’t using them in your current business. What can you offer or create? How can you help?
  5. Look at how you can take your business online. How could it work? What would it look like? This way of working will quickly become the norm so make sure you embrace it where you can. Don’t worry about the tech, there are easy ways to do it. Just get clear on how you need it to work, then figure out the how afterwards.
  6. Turn the cancellations and quiet times into a positive. You just gained precious time to do all the things you never get around to. Create and schedule your social media. Work on building your email list. Write blogs and e-newsletters. Create videos. Work on your business vision and targets. Plan!
  7. Support other small businesses as you would want to be supported. Promote them. Buy from them when you can. Recommend them.
  8. Don’t sit and suffer in silence. Anxiety is amplified when you try to cope alone. Seek out others in the same position. Brainstorm. Support. Chat. Build community. Join my Facebook group! www.facebook.com/groups/takeyourbusinessonline 
  9. Remember this is not forever but it might be for weeks or months. Use your entrepreneurial brain to come up with solutions and embrace them now, not later. Be ahead of the curve.
  10. Keep marketing, more than ever. Businesses that stay visible, add value and keep marketing in tough times are the ones that hit the ground running when times get better.

One way or another we will find a way through this. We might come out the other end of it with a changed business and a changed life. Who knows? Why not treat it as an adventure and an opportunity to use your amazing entrepreneurial skills to help others while keeping your business going? We are in this together. You are awesome.

Love, Claire xx

Are Your Money Beliefs Hurting Your Business?

Are Your Money Beliefs Hurting Your Business?

I was teaching a class about Super Customers recently in my Brilliant Business Academy and a lady asked a really good question at the end.

She said something along the lines of “I make keepsake bears. I couldn’t afford one of my bears. I don’t think people will pay my prices”

Woah! That is a biggie. We had a talk about it on the call. Let me tell you how that went.

There was a whole lot going on here, as you can tell.

This lady – we’ll call her Pam – creates amazing keepsake items and focuses on teddy bears made from items of clothing.

Some of her customers want their child’s baby clothes made into keepsake bears.

Some customers though, have lost loved ones, from babies and children to parents and siblings and want a keepsake bear to hold, to remember their loved one by.

Pam doesn’t just whiz them together. She has special touches she incorporates into her keepsakes, things that make them unique and even more valuable to her customers. The quality is amazing. Her service is amazing. The feedback she gets is amazing.

Some people think she is too expensive, but they are not her Super Customers. Other people think she is worth her weight in gold because she creates something precious to keep when they are going through a sad and tough time – the cost isn’t vaguely an issue.

So why does she think her customers won’t pay her prices?

Maybe because Pam’s confidence in herself isn’t great? Maybe a few of those ‘too expensive’ comments from people hit home even though they weren’t her Super Customers? Or maybe because at the moment money is a bit tight for Pam and luxuries like keepsake bears would be out of her budget for now.

Any of these would give you pricing wobbles. Combined, they are enough to make anyone doubt themselves.

And Pam could be any of us.
Depending on how we feel on a given day, our confidence in our pricing goes up, down and all around. If we’re feeling a bit broke and sales are thin on the ground, then we might assume everyone else is a bit broke too – our mind does that to us. It projects OUR money beliefs onto other people.

In other words ‘If I can’t afford it, then others probably can’t’ or ‘If I wouldn’t pay that, nobody else would’.

But you know that’s not true, don’t you?

People value different things for different reasons, depending on what is happening in their life.

If I’m not into cycling then a bicycle has no value to me. If my doctor told me to lose weight and get fit quickly, I would probably see the value in that bicycle and even think about upgrading it, because it’s something I need now.

If I haven’t lost a loved one then a keepsake bear might not even enter my thoughts. When I do lose someone dear to me, all of a sudden a keepsake bear seems like a wonderful idea and a way to keep a loved one close, even after they have gone.

And when I look for keepsake bears, I will have a choice. I might only be able to afford a ‘budget’ bear or I might decide to buy a really special one, like the ones Pam makes, even if I have to forgo other expenses or save up.

The thing is, you don’t know what I would pay more for.

You don’t know what I’d save up for.

You don’t know what I value or what is happening in my life.

You are not a mind reader.

All you can do is figure out your Super Customer and speak to them in your marketing.

In Pam’s case, her Super Customer is the bereaved person who is looking for a beautiful, special keepsake created with love and care by someone who knows how hard this is for them.

  • Someone who can guide them through the process of selecting the best fabrics and the best types of clothing to choose.
  • Someone who understands how precious these clothes now are
  • Someone who will handle these precious clothes with love and compassion

Pam does that and her Super Customers don’t care that she is more than twice the price of some other makers.

It’s irrelevant to them. What matters is the experience and how it makes them feel.

So, Pam realised her fear that people wouldn’t pay her prices was unfounded. Actually, for her Super Customers the price is secondary.

All she has to do is speak to them in her marketing. 

  • She needs to tell them what she does, and why.
  • She needs to show them how she creates beautiful keepsakes with care and compassion and tell them she will help them with the really tough bits.
  • She needs to involve them in the journey. Tell them how it will work and how long it will take. Explain how they can add personal, special features if they want.
  • She needs to show off her beautiful makes and her testimonials from happy customers.
  • She needs to be proud of the difference she makes and the joy she brings at a difficult time.
  • The LAST thing she needs to do is assume what they would pay, based on how she is feeling about money at the moment.

And even better, once she changes her marketing to speak to these Super Customers, who will be so happy they found her, she will sell more keepsakes and her money situation will improve. Win win.

And Pam’s question made me think of you.

  • How often have you projected your money beliefs onto your customers?
  • How often have you assumed people won’t pay *that much* because cash is a bit tight in your house at the moment?
  • How often have you thought it’s not worth marketing your products or services because it’s too far from pay day?
  • How often have you caved in and given discounts without thinking about how valuable your products and service really are, to the RIGHT people?
  • Every time you do this, you are devaluing what you sell. Every time you do this you are letting your money beliefs hurt your business.

To the right people – your Super Customers – the price is secondary, because they VALUE what you sell. They might even forgo other expenses or save up for it. Imagine that. Best get stuck into Super Customer marketing, eh?

You are awesome.

Love, Claire xx

PS: That class about Super Customers I mentioned? It’s in my Brilliant Business Academy now and you can get a week’s trial for just £1 HERE. Hope to see you in there, I think you’ll love it!

If you liked this blog post, you will LOVE these easy-to-follow online training classes! Click the image to find out more.

I Should Have Waited For The Bus!

I Should Have Waited For The Bus!

Oh my goodness, what a morning!

Chloe, my 11 year old, went back to school a couple of weeks ago after 3 years of being home-educated. Her decision and she absolutely loves it. Rather than put her into the big town school near where we live, she chose to go to my old school, a little rural Academy in a village about 6 miles away.

It means she needs to get the local bus service which goes past our lane end and yesterday she finally got her bus pass, which was the cause of much excitement.

This morning was going to be her first morning going on THE BUS.

I was going with her as it was her first time and it’s not a school bus, so I wanted to make sure she knew the route and where to get off. We planned things meticulously. The bus is scheduled to arrive at 7.55 so I got up extra early, ran down to feed and muck out the horses, then ran home and got a shower and grabbed some porridge.

Chloe, in the meantime, got up, got a shower, got dressed, made a pancake and was waiting, hair brushed and ready to go at 7.30. All was going to plan.

We wandered happily up to the bus stop and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

7.55 no bus. 8.00 no bus. 8.05, 8.10, 8.12 no bus.

I started to panic as it’s a good 20 minutes in the car to her school. Finally, I bottled it and said, quick, let’s run home and get the car and I’ll drive you to school.

So, off we ran.

I’m not a big runner and I’d already run TO and FROM the stables that morning, so I arrived home slightly frazzled.

I looked for my car keys. Nowhere to be found. A couple of minutes of turning the house upside down and then I remembered I had worn another coat yesterday and they were in the pocket. Gah!

So now it was 20 past and I was stressed out. Chloe didn’t need to be there until 7.45 but it’s a busy road full of tractors and pickups and you can’t go fast, which is probably a good thing.

We finally got into the car, took a deep breath and set off, grumbling at the blummin’ bus and how annoying it was that it hadn’t come. Grr.

We got 2 miles down the road and found ourselves BEHIND THE BUS!

It must have come just after we ran home. When I was panicking about losing my car keys, it was already on the way to school, 15 minutes late but still ahead of frazzled me.

It detoured around one of the villages while we carried on. I got to school, dropped Chloe off and passed the bus coming into the village where the school is, just as I was leaving and only about 5 minutes behind me.

It would have got us there at 8.40 in plenty of time for Chloe to walk over the road and get to registration.

Why am I telling you this? Well, as I was driving home I had a realisation and it made me think of you.

This morning could have been so different.

Until 8.00 all was going so well.

Then I got impatient, thought the system was broken, started to panic and ended up stressed and wasting almost an hour of my morning in the car only to find myself a mere 5 minutes ahead of the bus.

If I had trusted the system (the bus always comes) and been patient, I would have had a calm 20-minute bus ride with Chloe to school. We wouldn’t have had to worry about traffic. We would have got to school in good time and it would have saved me lots of time, worry and energy.

And it made me think of you.

Because this situation is very similar to marketing.

We have an expectation that things will go a certain way, don’t we?

We set up a business, start marketing it and sales will come quickly, right? That’s how it’s supposed to work? We set up a website, write a blog or two, get active on social media and wait for buyers. Except they don’t come, at least not as soon as we would like.

So we panic, think the system is broken and get stressed. Then we waste loads of energy and money trying to rush things through, only to find ourselves where we would have been if we had just trusted the system and been patient.

The ‘system’ in this case is marketing.

It always takes longer than you think. Things rarely go as expected. But the surest way to get your marketing working is to figure out who you should be targeting (your Super Customers) and market to them, day by day, little by little, consistently.

Even if it feels like nothing is working. Even if it feels like you’re talking to nobody. Even if it feels like you’ve been doing this way longer than you’re supposed to and the buyers just aren’t coming.

Here’s the thing. If you’re targeting the right people and putting a consistent stream of marketing out there, talking to your Super Customers, showing your value and reminding them why they need you, it’s got to work.

Like my bus, it might not work when it’s supposed to. It might not be as quick as other ways but your marketing system will get you where you need to be if you’re patient, keep doing what you need to do and trust the system.

Now, I’m off for a big cup of tea and we’ll be trying the bus again tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Love, Claire xx

Are You Caught In A Price Trap?

Are You Caught In A Price Trap?

Did you know that pricing is one of the biggest challenges in business? It’s true! Get it right and your business runs beautifully, attracting lovely customers and making you a great living. Get it wrong and you barely make a profit, even though you’re working like crazy.

I was talking to a lady recently, who was working way too many hours for not enough money.

She was burned out, fed up and broke. She knew something had to change before she gave up altogether but she was scared of getting it wrong. She was scared to raise her prices because, even though she wasn’t making any money at the moment, she was convinced if she put up her prices nobody at all would buy. She thought she just needed to work harder and get more customers, but she was already working way too hard.

She was in a price trap where she didn’t have enough hours in the day to make the money she needed and her current business model meant it could never grow.

I had to give her some tough love. I told her she had an expensive hobby, not a business. By the time she factored in all the hours she was working, her hourly rate was a pittance and she wasn’t making a profit. I told her  she was too cheap and giving out all the wrong signals, attracting bargain hunters and people who didn’t value her. And I told her she needed to change things fast before she made herself ill.

My biggest piece of business advice for her was to VALUE herself and her skills and put up her prices a LOT.

She was really shocked but she soon realised what I meant.

What To Do If You’re Attracting The Wrong Buyers

Even though this lady had probably known this for ages, she had been scared to put up her prices because she thought no-one would buy.  And people were buying but they were the wrong people – people who wanted cheap products rather than those who wanted GOOD VALUE (There is a BIG difference). She was marketing (verging on spamming) in local selling groups and trying to compete with cheap prices online and yes, she was selling, but at what cost? Something had to give.

When we worked through the numbers it became very clear very quickly that if she targeted a different type of customer she could charge more for her beautiful products.

She would need to make some big changes starting with her mindset. Instead of thinking of herself as ‘little old me’ who can’t charge much because nobody will pay, she needed to start thinking like a BUSINESS OWNER. Someone who sells an amazing product that the right people will adore and will happily pay a premium for. She had to start valuing her time and skills, her experience and expertise.

We worked together to help her understand her value. The products she created were far better than the stuff selling cheap on Amazon and Ebay and yet she had been trying to compete with them. She realised the people buying those things were buying based purely on price. They weren’t bothered about quality or service, they just wanted a cheap commodity.

Her products were better. They were beautifully made. The quality was amazing, from the sustainable materials she used to her eco-packaging. She was passionate about creating products that would last a long time and even be handed down through families. Her customer service was fantastic.

She quickly realised there were a few different groups of people who would happily pay more, she just had to pick one and start marketing to them.

The Super Customer Marketing Journey

Instead of trying to find customers in local ‘buy and sell’ groups as she had been, she instead needed to figure out where her Super Customers were looking. After a little research we worked out that, with a few changes to her product photography style and some hashtag research, Instagram could really work for her.

She was already using Facebook but her page fans were the wrong sort of people, so she needed to start attracting more of the right people. She could do that by changing her behaviour on Facebook and instead of acting like a bargain-basement business, she needed to reposition herself as an artisan making handmade creations that oozed quality. It would take some time but gradually her fan base would change and Facebook could become a really effective marketing tool for her.

We talked about sharing her journey, from design scribbles to materials, work in progress, finished items, little touches, packaging and also a new focus on her, as a maker. Weaving her story into her online presence, sharing her inspiration, talking about why she did things the way she did, why she loves what she does – that personal thread running through a business is a game-changer. It’s not about price, it’s about the journey of amazing products from idea to completion.

I told her I often buy gorgeous things on Facebook and Instagram exactly because of this approach. Watching a sketch take shape and come to life is magical. Many’s the time I’ve already decided I’m going to buy something even before it’s finished because I feel that I’m part of its journey. From felted bees to oil paintings, embroideries to cookies to make-up bags, I bought them all this way.

She realised she had just got herself into a ‘cheap’ mindset and it nearly broke her AND her business BUT it was reversible. She saw that she could reposition her business and she got very excited. She had looked at other makers featured in magazines and online and never dreamed she could be in the same league and yet, there was nothing stopping her other than her self-belief. Yes, it would take some time but the sooner she started, the sooner it would happen.

Do You See The Shift?

Do you see how things changed from an attitude of ‘I have to be cheap to compete with Ebay sellers’ to ‘I’m a skilled maker and the things I make are unique, beautiful and valuable’? Do you see how that would change a business beyond recognition?

Which would you rather have? Which would you rather be?

As soon as you realise your value and your worth, the energy in your business changes. Your marketing takes on a new feel. Your prices increase to reflect the quality and the journey of your work. You start to make a really nice income AND you attract customers and fans who adore you and your work.

A few weeks after repositioning her business and putting up her prices she started attracting the RIGHT kind of customers. She deleted all her ‘cheap’ posts from social media and gave her website a mini-makeover. She looked on Instagram and Pinterest to see how other makers were using props and lighting in their product photos and she learned fast.

She started sharing her journey. She started building online relationships with other makers and artisans and shared their beautiful work on her social media with no expectation of them returning the favour, but guess what? Some did! And even for those that haven’t (yet) the fact she was sharing their gorgeous (not cheap) things helped to position her and her business in the right way. It elevated the perception of her business into a higher league.

None of this cost her much money – it just took a weekend of online tidying-up, research and learning.

The best thing is it’s going to get better and better for her. She is gaining confidence. She is attracting new fans. She’s enjoying doing her marketing and social media. She is feeling more inspired and creative. And she has to work fewer hours to make the same money. Yes, she lost a few people and had the odd grumbler but her business needed to let them go, they were the wrong fit and were keeping her stuck in the price trap.

So, Why Do Business Owners Struggle With ‘Proper’ Pricing?

Well, I reckon a lack of confidence and that pesky ‘little old me’ syndrome have a lot to answer for when we talk about pricing.  Loads of people accidentally fall into the price trap because they don’t know any better and they don’t feel confident enough to charge what they are worth.

Let’s look at how most people price their products and services – maybe this is how you did it, too?

  • You look at what your competitors are charging and opt for prices just above or just below them, depending on where you believe you rank in the pecking order (which can have damaging consequences if you’ve made the decision on a day when your confidence is low!)
  • Perhaps you’ve asked your friends and family what they think and been greeted by a sharp intake of breath.
  • Maybe you started off well but a catty comment by a ‘bad-fit’ customer knocked your confidence and convinced you you’re too expensive?

This happens all the time. For many small business owners, pricing seems to be a particularly emotive topic and one we take personally.

  • We worry that we don’t have enough experience or we’re not good enough to charge ‘proper’ prices
  • We fixate on what our competitors are charging without questioning whether they are right
  • If we can’t find out what others are charging, we worry we’re getting it completely wrong
  • We also fear being judged by others. After all, perhaps other people might think you’re getting a bit too big for your boots if you put your prices up? You know what I mean, the voice in your head that worries people are saying ‘who does she think she is?’
  • Then of course there’s the fear that you might lose customers or not attract new ones

Do any of these seem like a proper, sensible pricing strategy a ‘proper’ business owner would create? Or do they all seem a bit knee-jerk and random? Hmm?

So, Are You Caught In A Price Trap?

  • Are you working too hard for not enough money?
  • Are your prices based on the value you bring or are they based on what other people are charging?
  • How can you reposition your business to attract better customers who love what you do and are willing to pay for it?
  • Even if you don’t completely scrap your current product or service range, maybe you can create a luxury or VIP tier? You can focus all your marketing on your higher-end offerings. That way you can transition out the ‘bad-fit’ buyers and unprofitable offerings without removing your income (however meagre).

The only way to do it is to do it. Be brave. Dig out that self-confidence and go for it. In a few weeks you could have a completely new business and you won’t look back.

And what’s the worst that can happen?

Nobody buys, right?

Well that’s just a sign that you need to keep tweaking and keep marketing.

  • Make sure you’re walking the talk. Make sure your marketing is up to scratch, that your website reflects your new higher-level business and that your social media is on point.
  • Focus on the VALUE you bring to your Super Customers.
  • Share your journey as you develop your products and services.
  • Engage your audience. Talk about what your products and services do for them. How will they help? What difference will they make? Why are YOUR products and services a cut above the rest?
  • Keep marketing. Keep tweaking. Keep marketing. Repeat.

It doesn’t matter whether you sell HR training or make handbags, the principles are the same. Get really clear on the value you bring. Understand how it makes your Super Customers feel, then charge what you’re REALLY worth.

Let me know how you get on and good luck! You’re awesome.