19 Things You Need On Your Coaching Website

19 Things You Need On Your Coaching Website

I have a question for you.

What is your website DOING for your business?

I’m asking because, if your website isn’t bringing you clients or building your list, then I’m sorry to tell you this but you’ve probably wasted your money. Every week I see beautiful-looking coaching websites that have cost their owner a small fortune but aren’t achieving either of these things and it frustrates me!

Let me share something. My website pays its way. I get a GREAT return on my investment.

  • It builds my credibility
  • It helps me get found in Google searches
  • It’s a place where my clients can find loads of free help and advice
  • It gathers leads for me – lots of leads, every day
  • It builds trust with my web visitors
  • It adds value for my readers
  • It drives sales
  • It brings me money

Does yours?

If not, don’t worry because I’ve put together a list of 19 things that will help you to make the most of your website and get it working for you the way that mine works for me.

Here are 19 things it would be REALLY useful to have on your coaching business website (if it’s going to build your business and make you money)
 1. Your personality, shining through

Yes I know it sounds simple but do you KNOW how many coaching websites I look at each week? Loads is the answer and do you know how many stand out and are memorable? Hardly any at all. Most are samey and sterile. They use the same old stock images. They look the same as each other. They say the same things in the same words. Booooooooring!

Do you know what your best selling point is in your business? It’s YOU. You are the differentiator. You are unique. You are what sets you apart from every other coach, even those in the same field. So BE YOU on your website. Talk from the heart. Use personal stories and experiences. Write as though you are talking to a friend. Ditch the ‘professional’ language and explain why you are the perfect solution for your super-clients. Share successes and breakthroughs. Be you, loud and proud.

2. What you do and for whom

DON’T just list your services – people aren’t interested in what services you provide. No, stop arguing with me, I know what I’m talking about, I promise! It’s all about them. People want to know what you can DO FOR THEM. They want to know how you are going to make them feel. They want to know what problems you are going to solve for them and how their life will be better, as a result. They want to know the outcomes, not the processes. So make it really clear who you work with, who your Super Clients are and then tell THESE people what you will do for them and why they should care.

3. Blogs

Blogs are a biggie on any coaching website. They add value for your visitors, especially if you are really clear on your Super Clients and write specifically for them, addressing their challenges and solving their problems. Blogs are brilliant for getting your site found on Google because the search engines LOVE new, regularly-added content and a blog is the simplest way to achieve this.  Every new blog you write gives the search engines more to choose from when they are picking which sites appear in searches. Weekly or monthly blogs on your expert topics allow you to showcase your expertise, add value for your website visitors and build relationships with your readers. Every blog you write has the potential to turn into LOADS of other things, from social media posts to e-books (even more reason to get blogging right now!)

4. Videos

You need to bridge a big gap from stranger to trusted coach before people will buy from you and adding videos to your website is the quickest and easiest way to do this – it allows people to see and hear you, to learn from you and see whether they think you’re a good fit. A video will act as a magnet and a filter – it will attract the people who ‘get’ you and love what you are saying and will filter out anyone who doesn’t feel you’re right for them. Think about including a little ‘my story’ video on the about page if your story brought you to coaching, or how about a couple of mini help videos or classes, under 5 minutes long where you give people a valuable snippet of what you do – after all if they like your free stuff, they are going to LOVE your paid stuff.

5. Sign up box on your front page

If you don’t collect email addresses then you are losing out on every person who visits your site and doesn’t buy right away and that’s a waste! There are loads of reasons why people might not buy on their first visit to your site – it wasn’t the right time, they were just researching, they needed to speak to someone else about it, they got distracted, plus a whole load of other possible reasons. That doesn’t mean they WON’T buy. It just means they weren’t ready at that point, so what you need to do is create an easy way to figure out if they are a good fit for you and if they are, then give them a reason to sign up and hear from you.

Encourage them to hand over their email address using a great offer that really speaks to your Super Customer but not really to anyone else (because you only want to attract the RIGHT people onto your list, not just random people) and then you can start to build a relationship with them. Getting them onto your list means you can send regular value-packed e-newsletters and (occasional) amazing offers that will keep you top of mind and show your subscribers why they need to read your emails. Adding a sign up box is easy peasy with Mailchimp or any of the major email software packages.

6. Irresistible Freebie

Once you have your sign up box, you need that tempting offer I mentioned in point 5 to encourage people to hand over their email address. This can be a cheat sheet, a short video, a guide or e-book – anything your Super Clients will love (don’t worry about what anyone else thinks of it). You can use Canva.com to create quick and easy great-looking freebies that you can download as a PDF and deliver using your email software.

7. Contact details

You want people to be able to get in touch with you, so make it easy for them. It’s helpful if you let them know where in the world you are, if you offer local sessions but you don’t need to put email address on there (which will be picked up by the spammers in a matter of days)…Instead, you can use a contact form Most websites let you do this as a standard feature or your web person can set one up very easily. This will let people contact you and will forward enquiries to your email. It’s also helpful if you can manage people’s expectations and let them know when they are likely to hear from you. You could say ‘we respond to emails within one working day’ or ‘we will get back to you during our working hours (9-5 Monday to Friday)’ or whatever works for you. That way enquirers won’t expect an immediate response and if you do happen to get back to them sooner than expected, that’s a bonus!

8. Good quality images

Don’t use the same old stock images ‘woman looking thoughtful’, ‘woman staring at ocean’, ‘woman at laptop’ – make a bit of effort! You want your website to SPEAK to your Super Clients and be memorable and if it looks the same as every other site out there it’s not going to do either. Think about a style that reflects YOU. Don’t always go for free images – a better, less over-used image might only cost a few pounds but will set you apart. A professional photographer could spend half a day with you and take LOADS of photos that are yours, to love and keep and use. It won’t be as cheap as buying images off the internet but really, what’s it worth to you to have a beautifully branded, unique site that will look amazing and professional, but not samey? Also, think about getting illustrations done – they don’t have to be expensive but they can really stand out in a crowded market place. Fiverr.com is a brilliant place to start. We’ll talk about photos of YOU shortly…

9. Client testimonials

If you have happy clients and are getting great results, SHOUT ABOUT IT! When people visit your website they want to know what you can DO for them, what results you can bring and how you can make them feel. Now you can tell them but imagine how much more compelling it is if your CLIENTS tell them. Ask your clients for testimonials and be really specific about the sort of details you would like them to include and then USE them. Have a ‘success stories’ page or a ‘testimonials’ page or ‘what people are saying’ page. Testimonials are what we call social proof – they are a third party saying that you do what you say you do, and that’s worth a LOT

10. Good bio

You must include a biography (or bio) on your coaching website to show people, quickly and concisely who you are and what you have achieved.

This can feel quite uncomfortable to write, but put yourself in the mind of your website visitors and think about how you would sum up YOU. In my case I say I’m a mum of one, I give a brief history of my career to date (literally a sentence or two) and then I talk about my biggest achievements! This is your chance to shine and connect, so be yourself. Don’t list all 27 of your qualifications – if you MUST list them, just do the top few most important qualifications and maybe create a PDF where you list all of them that people can download if they really want to. Think about places you’ve been featured in the press, any events you have spoken at, anything that adds credibility and shows you’re not just any old coach.

11. Sign ups on bottom of blogs

In addition to your front page sign-up box I mentioned in point 5, it’s also a REALLY good idea to add a sign up box to the bottom of each blog. Why? Because hopefully you’ll be sharing your blog on social media and people will be following your links back to read your individual blog posts, bypassing the front page. That’s a lost opportunity so make sure you add a link to your irresistible freebie onto the bottom of each blog to capture those visitors who never see the front page – you can use JotForm (free) or Magic Action box (paid) for this.

12. Photos of you

Yes, I know you don’t like getting your photo taken. Yes, I know you’d like to lose weight/grow your hair/get a new wardrobe first – just stop it! You are gorgeous as you are and your Super Client website visitors don’t CARE if you’re not a super model, in fact they are relieved you’re not, and that you’re a real person like them. You NEED photos of you on your site. With coaching, people are buying YOU either in person or remotely via online programmes and you have to show them who you are (remember, YOU are your USP). Invest in getting some nice photos done – yes get your hair done and look your best but don’t wait, just book in and get them done asap. And instead of getting just the usual head/shoulders shot, why not have you being yourself? Don’t be boring. Be you. Let your personality shine through!

13. Social sharing buttons

Some of my blogs have got over 1000 shares on social media and guess what, if I didn’t have social sharing buttons that would never have happened. Over 1000 people shared them on their social media accounts, so just imagine how many MORE people saw them? I’m thinking it could be squillions! You NEED to add social sharing buttons to your blog. My blog and site are on WordPress (if you’re not then you need to seriously consider it) and you can get lots of social sharing plugins to add buttons to each blog. Google ‘social sharing plugin’ and go for those with the best reviews and ratings. If you’re not on WordPress then ask your web person if they can add social sharing buttons. Every blog shared is another chance to reach new Super Clients and another chance to build your list if you have a signup box on the bottom of each blog, as I mentioned in point 11.

14. Credibility strip

A credibility strip is a little strip on your website where you have the logos of all the publications/websites/media where you’ve been featured. Remember I talked about social proof in relation to testimonials? Well, a credibility strip is an other example of social proof – it’s a third party endorsement because you’ve been featured in the media. My credibility strip includes Marie-Claire, The Guardian, Ireland AM, Huffington Post, Essentials Magazine and Closer Magazine to name just a few. Do you think this helps my credibility and helps people to trust my content? Of course it does, it helps a lot and that’s why you need one too. Even if you’ve only been featured in your local press, it matters! Start to be strategic and think about what you’d LOVE to have on your credibility strip and how you can make that happen! PS ONLY EVER put logos on your credibility strip if you have actually been featured there – fibbing lacks integrity, is bad form and will come back and bite you!

15. Media page

If you DO want to build your credibility strip then you need to start getting featured places! This means you need to proactively seek PR opportunities and then do your best to show you’re just what that paper or magazine needs. Add a media page to your website showing your core areas of expertise and where you have been featured before because if you DO approach journalists, they are going to do some research on you. If you can make it easy for them, show them where you’ve had articles featured, any books you’ve written, where you’ve been an online expert or who you’ve done speaking gigs for it makes their decision easier. Link to any guest content or articles you’ve written so they can get a feel for your style and see if it works for them and their audience.

16. Easy path to buying

Look at your website. Are you making it easy for people to get in touch? Work with you? Enquire? Buy? Really? How many pages do they need to click through? How many hoops do they have to jump through. Why not ask someone else to look at your site with fresh eyes (ideally someone who is as close to a Super Client profile as possible) and see what they make of it. The more hoops and hurdles you put in place, the less likely someone is to stick with it and sign up for your freebie, fill out your enquiry form or buy that product.

17. Facebook likes box

If you have a business Facebook page it’s a great idea to embed a Facebook likes box into the front page of your site because it gives people another way to connect and engage with you. Tell them that you share loads of tips and advice on your page and to come on over and say hi. The more ways you can connect and engage, the quicker your visitors will get to know, like and trust you, and the quicker they will buy if you are right for them. Embedding a FB likes box is as simple as including a bit of code on your site – if you can’t do it then your web person will be able to sort it easily for you.

18. A clear call to action

What ONE thing do you want people to do when they are on your site? On my site I want them to join my mailing list or buy something. I give them tons of great value, high quality free marketing resources while they are there but really, I want to be able to keep in touch with them once they’ve left the site so the minimum I want them to do is sign up for my irresistible freebie, or one of my tailored list-builders like the one on the bottom of this blog.

19. Something unexpected your Super Clients will love

Instead of the same old stuff everyone else is sharing, why not think about sharing something that will surprise and delight them? Share your favourite energy-boosting smoothie recipe, a list of your favourite books, your best productivity tip – something that they can’t get anywhere else and that makes them feel that you’re opening up and sharing part of your life.

You don’t need to have all these on your site right now, but you do need to get them on there at some point. Some are really quick and easy. Others like photos of you or a great irresistible freebie might take a little planning but put them on the list and give yourself a deadline.

If you have all 19 of these elements in place your website will magically turn into a brilliant marketing and sales tool that builds your list, drives enquiries and brings you new Super Clients while you’re busy doing other things. What’s not to love?

Let me know if you have any more to add to the list. What really works on YOUR site?

Why You Need The Hermione Effect In Your Business

Why You Need The Hermione Effect In Your Business

Something strange has happened in our house over the last few weeks.

My lovely 8 year old daughter, Chloe, has never been much of a fan of homework. Once she gets into it, she enjoys it but it was the THOUGHT of it that she didn’t like.

Same with piano practise, I had use any means at my disposal to get her to do it but she grumped and grumbled and grouched about it. Once she sits down and gets playing, she LOVES it.

It has felt like a bit of a battle for the last couple of years, if I’m honest.

Then she got into Harry Potter.

We started off with Audio books. Then, a couple of weeks ago I found her up at 7am on a weekend perusing my bookshelf where I’ve got all the Harry Potter books. She picked up the first one and headed off back into her bedroom to read. I didn’t see her for a couple of hours and so it began.

She has decided she is Hermione. 

She’s given herself Hermione as her new extra middle name.

She has decided she loves homework now, doing it as soon as she gets in from school while she waits for her tea. She used to HATE maths – it’s now her favourite subject and she’s doing brilliantly at it.

She voluntarily does piano practise (because that’s what Hermione would do) and even does EXTRA (and enjoys it). She even decided to practise for her spelling test without me nagging her.

I nearly fell off my chair.

She has totally changed the way she sees school and learning – she sees clever, strong, brave, amazing, studious Hermione and she wants to be like her. There are definitely worse role models.

My child has been transformed, in a lovely, happy way. I call it the Hermione effect.

And it made me think of you.

If Chloe can decide she’s Hermione, YOU can decide you’re a successful business owner.

Chloe asks herself ‘what would Hermione do?’ You can ask yourself ‘what would a successful business owner do?’

PRETENDING you are confident, capable and brilliant at business might sound a bit weird but it WORKS! I have living proof in my house of the power of pretending.

It doesn’t matter if you’re 8, 28 or 48 you can still do this.

I did it last night at my ballet class – I pretended I was a graceful ballerina and for an hour I forgot I was 46 with a collection of muffin tops. I felt GREAT AND I danced better because of it. 

So, my challenge to you this week is to forget your fears, get rid of your doubts and PRETEND you’re a brilliant business success. Act like you’re a successful business owner .Think like a successful business owner – before you know it, you’ll BE a successful business owner, making money and hitting your targets .

Thanks, Hermione. 

(PS I’m keeping an eye on her, of course. I know it gets a bit scary after book 3 so we’re having lots of chats:) )

17 Small Business Saturday Marketing Tips

17 Small Business Saturday Marketing Tips

Small Business Saturday is the one time each year when the world’s eyes are on small businesses – certainly in the UK (December 3rd 2016) and the US (November 26th 2016) there are major initiatives backed by Government to encourage people to shop small and/or local. Lots of focus is put on bricks and mortar businesses who are battling with big high-street retailers, especially around Black Friday, but Small Business Saturday is a chance for ANY small business to make your mark and tap into the buzz.

Here are 17 ideas to help you make the most of Small Business Saturday, no matter where you are in the world.

1 – If you have a shop or other premises, download the posters and window stickers from the Small Business Saturday website (here’s the UK ONE and here is the US ONE) for your country and put them up where customers can see them.

2 – Download the Small Business Saturday logo and banners and use them on your website to show you’re taking part.

3 – Create special Small Business Saturday Facebook and Twitter headers using Canva.

4 – Tweet photos of your products, premises, staff and customers using the#SmallBizSatUK or #SmallBusinessSaturday hashtag in your tweets – especially if you have SBS themed pics.

5 – Follow the #SmallBizSatUK or #SmallBusinessSaturday hashtags on Twitter and see what other businesses are doing – see if you get inspired to do something that will work for your business.

6 – Retweet tweets with those hashtags to help other businesses spread the word and there’s a good chance they will do the same for you.

7 – Have a special Small Business Saturday promotion or offer just for that day – mention in your email newsletters and social media posts that you’ll be having a MEGA SBS day and build the buzz!

8 – Ask your customers what promotion they would love to see – maybe give them a choice of 3 or 4 on social media and ask them to vote for which mega deal they’d love to see.

9 – See what is going on in your local area that you can link with – some towns and cities host special SBS events, local newspapers will have special SBS features (be warned they are usually chargeable!) and there may be special Twitter hashtags you can use or town-specific Facebook pages you can use to join in with the local campaign.

10 – Host an event either alone or with other businesses. I’ve seen this done really successfully both on an industry theme (maternity, bridal) and in a local area (a street of shops) where everyone had posters and window stickers on their premises, website and social media. I’ve also seen shops create a ‘trail’ where customers had to visit each shop and take a selfie and the selfies with the most votes on Facebook won a prize, also one where customers got a stamp and full ‘stamp cards’ were entered into a prize draw to win a hamper from the shops involved.

11 – If you can’t do an event, why not just have mince pies, or balloons, or bunting – something that will encourage people to come in and feel part of the celebrations. Invite your local brass band to play in the street or the local majorettes to do their thing – see who’s up for a performance (just let your local council know if you’re doing this in case they need to sort traffic or other issues).

12 – Record a video for social media from you and/or your team all about your Small Business Saturday plans – talk about why you’re doing it and the difference it makes. Don’t get hung up about how you look or sound – just talk from the heart and share why Small Business Saturday matters to you and have a laugh, too. Post it on Facebook, put it on your website, link to it from Twitter, tag your local paper and radio station when you post it on social media so they are aware.

13 – Make the most of trending topics on Facebook – any topic that is trending automatically gets much better reach than other posts so join in the trend!

14 – In the UK the Small Business Saturday team choose 100 businesses to represent all small business – those on the top 100 list get lots of mentions on social media and even get invited to Downing Street. You’ve got to be an early bird to get that one – the results are announced in August each year.

15 – Tell everyone you know that you’re part of Small Business Saturday and ask them to support you – if you don’t ask, you don’t get and they are not mind readers.

16 – See if you can get some PR coverage – there’s a good chance your local media will already be doing something and, let’s face it, they are going to cover the most interesting/exciting/newsworthy events so make yours one or all of the above! You just need to drop them a tweet or an email letting them know your plans and see if they are interested – be brave!

17 – Be proud. Shout about your business. This is the ONE day of the year when the world makes it easy for you to be seen and heard as a small business so make the most of it!!

Remember, once you’re in the marketing swing of things, don’t let it rest there.

Just because Small Business Saturday is over doesn’t mean you stop shouting – make the most of the buzz and energy you created and build on it. Keep tweeting, posting and shouting. Keep in touch with the media you contacted and tell them about other interesting things you’re up to, after all you know them now.

Keep up the momentum. Small Business Saturday is not just a day, it’s a leg up and it’s up to YOU not to waste it. What are you waiting for?

8 Easy Ways To Get Laser Focus Right When You Need It

8 Easy Ways To Get Laser Focus Right When You Need It

People say ‘FOCUS’ is the magic ingredient in any successful business and they’re not wrong, but they make it sound like it’s EASY! And it isn’t! Being able to focus when you feel like you barely have time to turn around, is not easy. Trying to find space in your brain to focus on just one thing, when you’re trying to juggle life, business, children and other jobs is tricky!

The trouble is, without focus you’ll struggle to get anything done. Jobs take far longer to do when you’re trying to do a dozen other things at the same time. Even the simplest tasks can take hours, if you’re being pulled in all directions when actually they would take just a few minutes if you were able to focus on them. Life is easier when you can focus. Business is easier when you can focus.

So how DO you get the focus you need to get stuff done and build your business?

Well, I’m no focus guru but I am a mum and a business owner and I’ve learned how to do this (or I would have gone crazy) so I’ve put together 8 tips for you to help you find more time and do more with it. Give them a try, one or two of them could seriously help you build your business, reduce stress and help you get more done. What’s not to love?

1. Stop multi-tasking!

Women are brilliant at multi-tasking. We’re told this as we grow up. It’s like a badge of honour and we sometimes feel like we’re scoring major girl points, the more we can boast we can do at the same time. And in life, it’s great to do that – I often make tea while helping with homework, while making a dentist appointment and answering quick work messages on my phone – I’m sure you’re the same. We HAVE to do it or the day would run away with us, but in business it’s different.

I was talking to a woman recently on Skype and I could see she was busy working on something while I was talking to her ‘Oh keep talking’ she said ‘I can do this while I’m listening’. But she wasn’t quite with me. I didn’t feel listened to. And it mattered.

Maybe you CAN do invoices while you’re helping a customer, but you’re opening yourself up to making mistakes and to be honest, you would get the invoicing done far quicker and more accurately if you blocked out 10 or 15 minutes and just did it, without spreading yourself thin.

We often kid ourselves into thinking we’re getting more done by multi-tasking, but we often end up just spending a lot of time spinning our wheels – things take longer, mistakes are made. So, my advice for what it’s worth is to give ONE thing your full attention, even just for 10 or 15 minutes and just do it. Give it your full attention because that’s when the magic happens. You get more done but because you’re focusing fully, you see ways to improve, you come up with ideas, you remember things you had meant to do ages ago – it’s great!

2. Finish tasks that are easily completed.

You know that my mantra is ‘don’t get it perfect, get it finished?’ Well I mean it! Most of the time you’re having trouble staying focused is because there a bunch of little things on your mind that you know you need to do.

Get a pad and pen and write down everything that can be completed in under 10 minutes, then finish everything on the list before you start on a project that requires more focus.

This doesn’t mean that every time something comes up that would take less than ten minutes to do, you do it. You simply batch everything together that requires ten minutes of time or less. And don’t agonise or keep putting it off because it’s not perfect – just get the darned thing done! Finished!

3. Stay in the now.

As much as you can, practice focusing your attention on the present moment. I know that person really annoyed you last week. I know you might be worried about something coming up soon. But being bothered about something that happened in the past (that you can’t change) and being worried about something that might happen in the future – you have no control over them. The only thing you have control over is what you are doing right now – how you are feeling, how you react, what is getting your energy – you can change that right now.  And the things you DO and DECIDE right now have a big impact on what WILL happen.

Don’t dwell on ‘might haves’, and ‘should haves’ and ‘if onlys’ – don’t let the baggage of the past hold you back. Focus on what you are doing and can do right now and let the other ‘stuff’ go.

4. Respond, don’t react.

We’re busy. Often the person who shouts the loudest gets seen to first – that’s how life works, right?

Here’s a thought; instead of reacting to the latest ‘urgent’ email or phonecall, take time to think. If you keep reacting, then you’re not being productive.

Work out what YOU need to do each day and protect your work time while you’re doing it. Don’t immediately react to requests or messages, instead only check messages when it suits your schedule and don’t feel that you have to come back to people immediately. It’s perfectly OK to sit on an email for a couple of days while you consider your options or get something more important finished. Take control of your time – respond in a way that’s right for you and your business instead of reacting.

5. Declutter your workspace.

It’s really hard to focus and be organised when your workspace is a mess. If you have piles of papers, empty cups, unpaid bills, and other ‘stuff’ piled up and around you, how can you expect to think clearly, let alone find anything? Declutter your workspace. Do it now. You will feel so much better once it’s done and you’ll find it easier to concentrate too.

6. Love what you do.

If you don’t love what you’re doing then you’re going to have a really hard time staying focused. A lot of the time we can’t focus because we really don’t WANT to. We’re bored. Or we really don’t like what we have to do. And yet as soon as we have a job we’re looking forward to, we have no trouble finding the time and space to focus, right?

If you don’t love your business, do something else because that feeling will only get worse. If there are certain parts of your business you don’t like, then find a way to either get rid of them altogether or outsource them. There is always a way, you just have to be open-minded and creative. Spending your time and energy on something you really don’t enjoy or actively dislike is a sure fire way to make an unhappy, unproductive, unfocused you. Time to face up to it and do something about it, eh?

7. Distinguish between urgent and important.

What’s important in your business? What’s urgent?

They are not always the same thing.

Important things are running your business properly, managing your money, creating great products or services, getting more customers, providing great service, keeping on top of your tax – they are all really important. But most of the time they are not urgent, especially if you deal with them regularly and don’t leave things till the last minute.

Urgent things tend to be of our own making. Oh no! That tax return is due in tomorrow and I need to find all my receipts and call my accountant and find my government website login but I’ve forgotten the password and they will only send a replacement out in the mail…yes I’ve been there too. But it was only urgent because I hadn’t treated it as important before, and had it all sorted out well in advance. It wasn’t unexpected.

In business there aren’t many URGENT AND UNEXPECTED things. Most of the time, urgent things are just important things that we’ve forgotten about or ignored.

It’s really hard to focus when everything seems or feels urgent. So stop creating urgent things. You can do this!

8. Set a timer.

If you really need to get something done and you keep getting distracted, set yourself a deadline. There are loads of free timer apps online or for your phone. Set yourself a time limit of 10, 20 or 30 minutes and focus on that ONE job for that period of time until the buzzer goes. It’s amazing how much you can get done when you’re up against a deadline!

I do this all the time and I’m always amazed how productive AND focused I am when I’m trying to beat the clock!

What are YOUR top focus tips?

I’d love to read them – pop them in the comments and share the focus love!

How To Keep The Money Flowing Into Your Business

How To Keep The Money Flowing Into Your Business

I was chatting to a lady the other day and she said ‘Claire, this business is bad for my nerves and my blood pressure. One day it’s fine, I have money in the bank and then within days it’s all gone on staff costs, supplies and other bills. Then there are days when sales are GREAT and other days and weeks when nothing I do works, nobody buys. I feel like I’m always playing catch up – why can’t I get a steady stream of customers and money coming in, so I’m not always in this position?

I totally understood what she was talking about – it’s the unpredictability. Wouldn’t it be lovely to be able to predict the future and know who will buy, and when? To know you have enough money coming in to cover your costs, pay yourself a salary and have some left over? But as you probably know, it’s harder than it looks. Business is like a rollercoaster, where you lurch from highs to lows, seemingly with no control over what’s happening.

It’s a real challenge, because when your business behaves like that the only way to stop that rollercoaster effect is to change the way you do things. You have to smooth out the bumps and level out the ride and that takes time and effort, but once you get there it’s SO much easier (and better for your health).

So, How Do You Stop Those Frightening Ups And Downs?

The ups and downs are caused by a few things.

By not having a steady stream of clients, by not having a steady stream of money coming in and by not having a plan to keep sales moving all the time. So, what can you do about it?

Well, there is one thing you can do that will change the way your business behaves. It will smooth out the lumps and take out the quiet patches. And yet, hardly anyone does it. And even when they do, they hardly ever do it properly and consistently and yet, it could TRANSFORM their business for the better.

What is it?

Build Your Database!

This is one of the most under-rated areas of business EVER!

So many people don’t bother building their database or collecting email addresses – or worse, they collect them and do nothing with them – and yet it could be the ANSWER to most of their business rollercoaster problems!!

Let me explain. 

When someone visits your website, they might take a look around, find a few things they like but they don’t buy – why not? Because it’s not the right time for them. Either they are looking for something they don’t need right now, but are just researching (think gifts for upcoming birthdays or other celebrations) or they aren’t in a position to buy YET because they are saving up or need more information or to talk to someone else about it.

So, although they LOVE your stuff, they decided not to buy today. So they go. Forever. And then they forgot what your site was called so even though they vaguely remembered how lovely it was, after a quick Google it didn’t show up so you lost them.

What are you going to do about it?

“What do you mean, what am I going to do about it?” You ask! “I can’t MAKE them buy, I can’t MAKE them come back!” I hear you say. Well here’s the thing: you can’t make them buy TODAY but do you know what? You CAN make them much more likely to come back and buy when they are ready.

How?

You can get them into your database (or onto your mailing list, however you want to describe it) and you can build a relationship with them.

You can send them your regular e-newsletter, packed full of things they will love and find useful. You’ll share new product information, you’ll tell them about any sales or offers you have, you’ll talk about the business, you’ll suggest ways to use your products and services and you’ll include lovely testimonials from happy customers. Every month.

That way, they get used to seeing you in their inbox.

They start to look forward to getting your emails and hearing from you. They look out for your sales and offers. They become familiar with your name and your business and your products and services.

A Transformation Takes Place

They change FROM someone who loved your stuff but wasn’t ready to buy, so they left your website never to return INTO someone who looks forward to your monthly email and buys even when they hadn’t planned to because you put such lovely things under their nose all the time. 

You go from being a lost opportunity TO being the business they think of when they need what you sell. And when they are ready to buy, they will buy from YOU. It’s like magic. But it’s actually quite simple, really. You just need to stay in touch, keep sharing stuff they love and keep adding value.

It Just Keeps Getting Better

Not only do they get used to seeing you around in their email, they also start to get to know you (and people buy people, remember?). They learn about your business.

If you’re clever, you’ll have videos and images on your website and social media pages of you and your team so customers know who they are dealing with – it will bridge the gap between you being an ‘untrustworthy stranger’ to being someone your subscribers feel they know. And you can direct people from your newsletters to your website to find out more about you and your team.

People are much more likely to buy from you if they feel there is a ‘real’ person behind the business who loves what they do and can help them if they struggle with a purchase. This is where you have a HUGE advantage over the big faceless corporates who can’t manage that personal touch.

Smoothing Out Cashflow Lumps

And remember we talked about that lurching rollercoaster feeling of ups and downs in sales and money coming in? Well building your database and keeping in touch with your subscribers via regular e-newsletters is an antidote to that. It smooths out the big lumps. It steadies the ride.

Think about it. Most businesses rely on potential customers finding them on Google. If those people visit their website and don’t buy there and then, they have lost them. What a waste.

Not you though, you’re clever and you’ve got this covered. You know now that you need to get them onto your email list and keep in touch with them.

And you’re sending them lovely newsletters packed full of things they will find interesting, useful and valuable.

And then once a month you send them a BIG DEAL newsletter. A newsletter with a FAB offer they can’t resist.

Do you think they will take notice? Well, they will probably take far more notice of YOUR offers than those of any other random company who happens to tout to them. What will actually happen is that you’ll have control over your sales. Let me just repeat that in case you didn’t get it.

YOU WILL HAVE CONTROL OVER YOUR SALES

That’s MASSIVE!

Because 80% of your newsletters and newsletter content will be non-salesy, added value loveliness, when you DO send out an offer your subscribers will take notice. And BUY.

This is what I do with my business. It’s what ALL successful businesses do – because it works!

It takes time to build your database and build those relationships. You have to put some work in to establish your monthly newsletter and work out what your subscribers love to see and read. But once you get the recipe right, it really works.

When you send out offers, the people on your growing email list will buy. 

That counteracts seasonality. It flattens out those horrible rollercoaster peaks and troughs. It gets rid of the stress and the fear of NO SALES. It works whether you have a physical shop or premises, or you’re totally online. Quiet times are a thing of the past. You just need to plan your e-marketing in a very simple way and you’ve got it covered (eg. January Sale, February Valentines, March Spring Offers, April Showcase, you get the idea)

So let me just recap:

  1. Build your database (another blog coming next week to tell you HOW to do that)
  2. Keep in touch every month
  3. Share information that’s topical, useful, valuable and interesting but not SELL, SELL, SELL
  4. Once in a while, on a regular basis, send out a BIG DEAL OR OFFER newsletter
  5. Watch the sales come in

Are you up for a challenge? The sooner you start building your list and e-marketing, the sooner the magic will start to happen. I can’t wait to see how you get on!