9 Ways To Increase Your Volume Of New Business Enquiries

1. Take a fresh look at what you say

  • Review (and improve) what you say about your business and your services
  • On The Phone:
    • Who answers the phone?
    • What do they say?
    • How are calls transferred?
    • How are messages recorded?
    • What’s the hold music?
    • How could the menu options be improved?
  • In Person:
    • How do you record interactions with prospects and clients?
    • What do you and your team wear?
    • How do you follow up?
    • What action do you ask them to take next?
    • How does your team answer the question “what do you do?”
  • On Your Website
  • In Advertising
    • What is the secret sauce of your business?
    • Why does it exist?
    • Why is it important?
    • Do you lead with your logo, or a headline that states the benefits of your service?

Continue reading “9 Ways To Increase Your Volume Of New Business Enquiries”

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt

It was only recently that I developed an an interest in politics. It was during my 2016 campaign in which I sought election onto the Tauranga City Council. I was not elected but that has not extinguished my new found fascination with politics, both local, national and international.

I came across a TED Talk in which Chris Anderson interviewed Jonathan Haidt on why Trump was elected into office. I found what he had to say very interesting and I sought out this book to find out more.

I loved the book. It really does do a great job at explaining why people vote the way they do.

One section that really stood out to me was in Chapter Four which talked about how being accountable to an audience increases “evenhanded consideration of alternative points of view”. I saw myself in this because I’ve found that having my audience on my mind when I read business books helps me concentrate, and again when I read through a large volume of council documents during my election campaign, I read them with an open mind because I intended to share my summaries of them with the public.

Another thing I’ll say about Haidt is that he writes amazing chapter summaries. Continue reading “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt”

Need To Motivate Someone To Take Action? Will You Email, Phone, or Meet Them Face-to-Face?

Have you noticed that there are only 2 ways to get things done in this world?

There Are Only 2 Ways To Get Things Done

  1. Do it yourself
    • But you have just 24 hours in a day just like everyone else, it’s hard to leverage your time
  2. Get someone to do it for you
    • You might be asking them to buy something from you
    • You might be asking them for help on something small/big
    • You might be asking them to make a small/big change to their normal behaviour, the way they normally do things

Imagine if you could motivate 10 people to do 10 hours of work for you everyday? That’s 100 hours of productivity every day.

So how do you motivate someone?

Money works. Sometimes.

But I think the biggest motivator is attention.

Could Attention Be The Biggest Motivator?

Continue reading “Need To Motivate Someone To Take Action? Will You Email, Phone, or Meet Them Face-to-Face?”

Testimonials: Tips About How You Can Get Powerful Testimonials For Your Website

Firstly, Sean D’Souza in his book “The Brain Audit”, has this to say about Testimonials:

Why We Are All Sceptical About Testimonials

  • Testimonials are like resumes; they’re not entirely believable.  Which is why most customers tend to view testimonials sceptically. Even if we don’t say it out loud, we view testimonials as one-sided.
  • It’s the seeming lack of reality in a testimonial that makes us doubt its genuineness.  So the way to pump back the reality is to give a testimonial a before/after effect. And voilà, we get the ‘reverse testimonial’.
  • The ‘reverse testimonial’ is nothing but a testimonial that brings to the fore how the customer was feeling before they made the purchase.  The doubts; the slight discomfort; the pain; the frustration. These all run through a customer’s mind right before they buy a product/service. These doubts need to be brought up front, because they bring a massive dose of reality to the testimonial.
  • To get this factor of reality, we need to ‘construct’ our testimonials, instead of just ‘getting’ testimonials.  Construction doesn’t mean you’re faking a testimonial. Construction means you’re using parameters to build a structurally sound testimonial.

The 6 Questions You Need To Ask To Get A Powerful Testimonial

  1. What was the obstacle that would have prevented you from buying this service?
  2. What did you find as a result of buying this service?
  3. What specific part did you like most about this service?
  4. What would be three other benefits about this service?
  5. Would you recommend our service? If so, why?
  6. Is there anything you’d like to add?

Why Are Testimonials So Important? Because They Remove Objections

It’s not just a matter of asking the questions to construct a testimonial.  Testimonials play an important role in removing objections. Therefore the objections must be listed. And it’s important to then get testimonials that defuse the core 98% of objections that stop your customer from buying your product/service.

This of course, doesn’t mean that you don’t accept a testimonial that’s given by a customer. Hey, a testimonial is a gift. And sometimes you get the most incredibly powerful testimonials from customers. Sure they may not have the awesome structure you’re hoping for, but these testimonials still work. So don’t go about being uppity and rejecting testimonials that don’t fit the structure of the ‘reverse testimonial’.

Testimonials tell stories. Stories rich in colour and detail. Stories that you could not have dreamed up in a squillion years. And yet, these stories are totally believable, because they come from the customer. And more importantly, because they have a solid dose of reality at their very core.

3 More Things You Need To Know About Testimonials

In addition to this I have found the following to work very well:

  1. Full name and the city they are from
  2. A small head and shoulders photo (no glamour shots, no model shots, just real NZ people). A good size is 75px x 75px
  3. A huge list. The longer the better. Eg I have over 100 on http://www.management.org.nz/student-testimonials/. When the list of happy customers is that long what else do you need to know before you’ll buy?

Every client I’ve ever worked with knows that they need testimonials on their website, but many of them haven’t gotten round to it yet.

The most common reason is that it seems like it’s a big job (that and maybe they’re a little shy).

They picture asking their customers for an A4 letter printed on letterhead. No, no, no.

3 Different Ways To Ask For A Testimonial

You have 3 options:

  1. Ask customers via a short email like this:
    • Hi first_name, I have a favour to ask. If you found my product/service useful, could you write a short testimonial for my website? Just a few sentences would be fine. I’ll put it here: link_to_your_testimonials_page. Include your full name and city and your website address so I can link back to your website. Thanks first_name, I’d really appreciate it.”
  2. Create a feedback form and send it out via email to customers they day after they have visited you which says “May we have a testimonial from you that we could display on our website and other marketing material? If you get stuck, you could use these 6 questions to help you write it…” and copy in the 6 questions above
  3. Call them up and ask them questions like the 6 above and scribble down notes. At the end of the 5 minute conversation tell them “I’ve been writing notes while we’ve been talking, can I turn them into a short testimonial and email it for you to check and approve before I put it on my website?”

What’s Next?

What do you have to do to get 3 new testimonials on to your website in the next 24 hours?

Well, stop reading and go and do it!

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

My notes on Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.Blank white book w/path

Lots of interesting stories in this book, but I’m just going to talk about 2 that really struck a chord with me.

The Cost To Avoid Guilt? Just $3

Economists in an Israeli study in day care centres started imposing a fine of $3 if any parent was more than ten minutes late picking up their kids.

The number of late pick-ups doubled.

The incentive had plainly backfired.

Continue reading “Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner”

Customer Survey Package

I’m about to show you that with your next customer survey, it is possible to generate satisfaction rather than just measure satisfaction.

Let’s consider the customer’s perspective first.

Do any of the following 3 scenario’s sound familiar?

1. Imagine you have just started dinner and the phone rings…

You pick up and it’s someone asking you to partake in a market research survey.

Do you leap at the chance?

2. Imagine you are out and about and get asked to fill in a satisfaction survey…

You get half way through, does it suddenly occur to you how pointless the questions are?

Maybe it occurs to you “surely they will get so little usable information back they really shouldn’t have bothered!”

3. Imagine you get emailed a link to a survey with a free prize at the end…

So you start it, expecting it to take 2 or 3 minutes, but it turns into a 25 minute marathon, so you rush blindly through the rest of the answers just to qualify for the prize.

And then you get to the end and you realise it’s not a free prize, it’s the chance to win a free prize, so you get angry because you’ve wasted your time for no reward.

And just as bad, you’ve provided them with a useless response anyway because you didn’t even read most of the questions.

Sound familiar? (I’m looking at you Subway).

There are 2 major problems with Customer Survey’s these days:

  1. The customers experience is horrible. Most survey’s are boring and feel pointless
  2. The whole point of them is to provide actionable information to aid business decisions, right? Well, they they fail dismally at that

Well, I have good news for you, there is a better way.

There is a way to generate satisfaction with a survey rather than just measuring satisfaction.

  • Do you want to know more about what turns on your customers?
  • Do you want to explore opportunities to grow your customer base, or sell more to your existing customers?
  • Do you want to identify defects in your service that you can fix immediately?
  • Do you want to be customer-led and pro-active rather than fall behind your competitors?
  • Do you want to take action from the results rather than just file them on a shelf somewhere to get dusty?
  • Do you want to craft questions that won’t bore your clients to tears?
  • Do you want to ask only the most important questions because you know people will get bored if there are more than 10?
  • Do you want to motivate your customers to provide you with full answers rather than tick-the-box responses?
  • Do you want to communicate to your customers that you really care about their responses?

If you answered “Yes” to these questions, then this is for you.

This Customer Survey Package Is Not For You If…

If you already have a good feeling for what your results will be and just want the data to back up your hunch, walk away now.

I have zero tolerance for that crap.

I’ll strip back your questions to the bare basics and give your customers every chance to answer in the way they want to rather than how you or your boss wants them to answer.

This way you’ll actually get results you can take action on, rather than ones that can immediately start to accumulate dust on a shelf somewhere.

Do you need to pretty much copy the questions from previous years so you can show statistical improvement?

Too bad. I don’t care about the past. I just care about how your customers today can help you adapt to the customers in your future.

So leave your past behind and let’s tap into your customers minds and future-proof your business today.

Q: “How Much Does it Cost?”

  • $1800.00
  • No hosting fees

Q: “What’s involved?”

We will start with a short meeting. I will ask you questions such as:

  • What do you want to achieve?
  • What action will you take if the results show x, or y?
  • What questions do you think we should ask?
  • How will you invite customers to fill it in? (eg by email invitation, hyperlink on your website, or advertising)
  • What incentive will you provide for them to fill it in? What’s in it for them? (“Out of the goodness of their heart” will only get you so far)

Geeky Technical Stuff

  • I use open source software. My favourite is Lime Survey (check out the demo) or Google Forms or Survey Monkey
  • If your website is on an Apache server running php and MySQL, I can host the survey on one of your sub-domains eg http://survey.yourwebsite.co.nz
  • Otherwise, I will host the survey on one of my subdomains eg http://yoursurvey.marketingfirst.co.nz, or we could purchase a new domain for your survey if you are really serious

Want to Find Out More?

    Your Name: *

    Your Email: *

    Your Phone: *

    Your Website:



    “I Think It’s Too Long, Can You Make It Shorter?” A Phrase I Dread

    I do quite a bit of copywriting:

    • email proposals
    • email newsletters
    • sales pages on websites
    • blog articles
    • direct response letters
    • and the occasional fax (I’m joking about the fax, it’s not the nineties anymore)

    The pieces of work I create are as long as they need to be and often include all of the following components:

    • Headline: A headline dripping with benefits that leaves the reader hungry to read the rest
    • Highly personalised: In email newsletters I like to mention the recipients first name 7 times. In direct mail my record is mentioning their first name 16 times
    • Chatty and friendly: Written in a one-on-one style as if the two of us were sitting down over a coffee and having a chat. This decreases the distance between you and I
    • Compelling content: That tells a story and focuses on what you get out of the deal. It even addresses your objections before they form in your mind
    • A limited time offer: “Respond before 5pm Friday”, and/or a limited number of customers “Only 10 positions available”
    • A call to action: Eg choose between 3 packages with ascending prices and value. “Call 0800 123 123 to secure your position”

    I put my heart and soul into this work.

    I work on it like it’s a piece of art. It just has to be perfect before I’m happy to release it on the world.

    And time and time again this work pays off, because it generates the responses/action/sales goals that I set for those pieces.

    But sometimes, a client comes back and says that dreaded phrase “I think it’s too long, can you make it shorter?”


    There are 2 reasons why clients say “I think it’s too long”:

    1. Because they are not in the target audience (I’m not trying to sell your services back to you, I’m selling them to your prospects. It’s no wonder you aren’t captivated)
    2. They are bored of simple explanations of what they do. This is what prospects that have never heard of you need, but you might be bored of simplifying your story

    Because the fact is, if something is interesting to an individual, they will keep reading and keep reading and keep reading.

    They are thirsty for the content, and they can’t stop because it tastes like cool water as they read.

    Most novels take 4, 6, 8, 10 hours to read, right?

    If you had just started a novel by your favourite author that you’d been waiting months to get hold of, and I told you that I had a one page summary in a sealed envelope and I tried to give it to you would you yell at me “Keep that away from me!! Leave me to read my book in peace!”

    Sure you would.

    Length isn’t important.

    It’s the journey.

    It’s the story.

    So the next time you read an article in a newspaper, or an email newsletter, or draft copy from someone who is helping you write an email newsletter, and your first thought is “I think it’s too long”. Check yourself.

    Are you in the target audience?

    If not, keep your opinion to yourself.

    Made to Stick by Chip & Dan Heath

    My notes on “Made to Stick” by Chip & Dan Heath

    S.U.C.C.E.S.s: Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible Stories41hMTwhl6IL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_


    • Not dumbed down or sound bites
    • Find the core fo the idea
    • “The curse of knowledge” if you say 3 things you say nothing
    • Simple = core + compact, forced prioritisation
    • To make a profund idea compact use flags – “tap the existing terrain of your audience”
    • Schema’s are a collection of generic properties of a concept or category
    • Higher level schemas are composed of other schemas. Analogies are great
    • The goal is to write a proverb

    Purple Cow by Seth Godin

    My notes on “Purple Cow” by Seth GodinpurpleCow

    • Remarkable marketing is the art of building things worth noticing right into your product. If it isn’t remarkable, its invisible
    • The Advertising Age
      • Before: Word-of-Mouth
      • During: Ever increasing consumer prosperity, and endless consumer desire. Simple formula: Advertise on TV & mass media = increased sales
      • After: Word-of-Mouth with new networks at rocket speed

    The Award For The Worst Toll Free Number Goes To 0800 MELANOMA

    There’s an ad playing on the radio at the moment about a local skin cancer specialist.

    I have a problem with their choice of phone number:

    0800 MELANOMA

    To me, this is a classic case of being unable to consider the customers perspective, who is looking into the business from the outside.

    The business owner must have thought “we deal with melanoma every day, it’s what we do, so if 0800 MELANOMA is available, it’s the right number for us”.

    Meanwhile, the customer is thinking “I don’t like the look of this mole on my arm. I think I’ll be ok, but I better get it checked by a professional just to be sure”.

    And then you want them to dial 0800 MELANOMA?

    No thanks. I don’t want melanoma.

    If you had two take-a-way pizza joints to choose from would you call: Continue reading “The Award For The Worst Toll Free Number Goes To 0800 MELANOMA”

    In New Zealand Is Facebook Just For Kids? No.

    I thought it would be interesting to combine age group data from Facebook with age group data from Statistics New Zealand to see what proportion of each age group is using Facebook.

    In particular, I was interested in answers to questions like:

    • Is Facebook mainly for teenagers?
    • Are people over 50 using Facebook?
    • Are people over 65 using Facebook?

    What questions would you like answered?

    Let’s take a look at the data:



    NZ Facebook Users*

    % of total Facebook users

    NZ Population**

    % of age bracket on Facebook














































    *Source: SocialBakers.com

    **Source: Stats.Govt.nz

    ^How is it possible that more than 100% of that age group use Facebook? I don’t know.

    What do you think? Do these results surprise you?

    Write your comments below

    Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation by Sally Hogshead

    My notes on “Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation” by Sally Hogsheadfascinate

    Fascination Scale

    • Avoidance
      • You’ll take steps to avoid TV commercials
    • Disinterest
      • You might leave the room during a commercial break to grab a bite
    • Neutrality
      • You don’t really care if you watch the commercial or not. You’re not going to take steps to avoid it, or to watch it
    • Mild Affinity

      • If a commercial happens to pique your curiosity, you’ll watch. Otherwise, eh, whatever
    • Interest
      • Commercials entertain, at least the good ones
    • Engagement
      • You actively enjoy commercials. During Super Bowl, you pay more attention to the commercials than the game
    • Immersion
      • You go out of your way to watch commercials, even going online to search them out
    • Preoccupation
    • Obsession
    • Compulsion

    Continue reading “Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation by Sally Hogshead”

    Money Back Guarantees: Should You Offer None, 30 Days, or 30 Years?

    You may have heard that money-back guarantees are a good idea but you are not sure if they are right for your business?

    Perhaps you are holding back because you are worried it’s going to cost you money handing out dozens of refunds, right?

    Offering any kind of money back guarantee is better than offering none at all because the main two things that customers care about is:

    1. Price
    2. Risk

    And a money back guarantee helps with both.

    A money back guarantee reduces risk for the customer because:

    • It signals that you are confident about the quality of your product
    • It reduces their nervousness about making a bad purchasing decision
    • It goes beyond the normal offer of replacing the item if something goes wrong, because they can get their money back

    A money back guarantee reduces the price for the customer because:

    • There is a cost for returning something for a refund: time. Knowing that you are able to get cash back for your trouble is better compensation than a replacement
    • Customers perception is: Price + money-back-guarantee = Free Trial. Free is a customers favourite price

    These are all “up-front” factors that persuade a customer to buy in the first place. Which is great.

    In fact, let’s just slap a number on it and say that offering a money back guarantee will generate 20% more sales for you.

    But the real magic happens in the “tail-end”, a long time after the sale.

    Let’s say you purchased the Ginsu 2000 never-needs-sharpening-can-cut-through-a-can knife with a 30 year money back guarantee.

    And it’s year number 29 and you decide it’s crap. Do you ask for your money back? Hell no. For 4 reasons:

    1. You forgot about the 30 year money back guarantee anyway
    2. You can’t be bothered
    3. You feel you got your moneys worth any way
    4. You don’t want to impose or be a nuisance
    5. You’ve had it so long it feels like yours, you feel like the owner. This reduces the obligation of the people you bought it from

    Yes, it’s an extreme example but you get the idea. Let’s look at another:

    Let’s say you purchased an ebook about Search Engine Optimisation for $19 with a 3 month money back guarantee.

    It’s the 2nd month, and you only just got around to reading it and you decide it’s crap. Do you ask for your money back? Hell no. For 3 reasons:

    1. You forgot about the 3 month money back guarantee anyway
    2. You can’t be bothered
    3. You don’t want to impose or be a nuisance
    4. It’s in your possession and so you feel like the owner. This reduces the obligation of the author

    Let’s just slap a number on it and say that you get 5% of customers that actually do go ahead and ask for their money back.

    So to summarise, you are getting 20% more sales to get out 5% refunds… Ummm, that’s really good isn’t it?

    Yes. Yes it is.

    4 Ways to Make A Great Money Back Guarantee:

    1. Make the expiry really really long. The longer it is the more chance of the customer forgetting about it, or feeling like they are imposing by asking for their money back
    2. If a customer asks for their money back, provide it the same day. Don’t drag your feet and make them wait. You will impress them with your customer service, and this experience may trigger Word-of-Mouth so you might get new sales from people they talk too!
    3. Tell them up-front how to get one eg “To get your money back, just call us on 0800 xyz xyz and you’ll have your money back within 24 hours”. You could just provide an email form for them to request their money-back, but in this case, I advise putting up a small barrier for them and getting them to talk directly to you
    4. Arrange their refund over the phone, and when it’s finished and approved, at the last minute ask them why they asked for one. Their feedback might be valuable. Don’t ask this question upfront because it will make them feel more uncomfortable than they already are

    What about services?

    Money back guarantees can also work for services but you’ll have to go overboard with your offer Eg “If you are not happy with our car washing service we’ll redo it for free + give your money back”

    What do you think about money back guarantees now?

    What do you have to add to this? Will you give it a try for your business? What’s the most outrageous money-back guarantee you’ve ever seen?

    Expired Domains: Picking Fruit From A Graveyard Of Failed Ideas?

    Occasionally, just for fun, I spend a few minutes browsing www.ExpiredDomains.co.nz.

    Expired Domains lists all .nz domain names which have expired and are in the .nz registry’s official 90 day pending release period.

    But what I find most interesting about this list is that at first glance, many of them look like really good names!

    Every single time I look at this list of Expired Domains, I have these same three reactions:

    Reaction #1:

    “oooo, I can’t believe that xyz.co.nz is available! And it’s only $24.50! What a freakin bargain, I’ll set up a website and make millions! I simply can’t lose!”

    Reaction #2:

    I do a double-take.

    “wait a second… they are on this list of expired domains because someone, like me, thought they had potential.  But that person failed to make any money from it at all, and let it expire rather than waste another $24.50 on it to renew it… hmmmm”

    **Warning Bells!!**

    “calm down Sheldon, calm down, I don’t have to whip out my credit card right now and buy it before someone else gets a chance…”

    Reaction #3:

    “Oh, in all that excitement I forgot that it doesn’t matter what your domain name is. What is most important is your content!”

    What do you think?

    The next time you are tempted by an expired domain, pause, and remember that you are picking fruit from a graveyard of failed ideas.

    Add your comments below:

    How To Modify Your Advertising Depending On The Customers Usage Level And Loyalty

    The next time you are writing an advertisement, or an article, or updating your website, choose your audience along the following grid of “usage” vs “loyalty”.

    Choose just one and ask yourself “how can I modify my message to speak just to them?”.

    Usage vs Loyalty: Where Are The Opportunities For Your Business?

    Let’s look at each sector in more detail:

    1. High/Med/Low User + High Loyalty To You = Your Best Customers

    • This is where you are making all your profit.
    • What else can you do today to keep them fiercely loyal? 2 ideas:
      • Keep adding value, keep improving
      • and keep putting your prices up (the best way to maintain or grow your profitability and signal to them that you are working hard to improve the value of your products and services)
    • Don’t waste your money communicating to this bunch with mass-media. Surely you have their email addresses or phone numbers? But more important than a cheesy Christmas card every year is to keep delivering the top quality products and services they have come to expect. Keep up the good work. Nice job.
    • High Volume:
      • If we all had lots of high volume / high loyalty customers we’d all be rich! But unfortunately they are hard to get, hard to keep and there are few of them.  So don’t retire yet
      • It’s a double edged sword: Does having just a few major contracts make your business secure and stable, or does it make you weak and vulnerable?
    • Med/Low Volume:
      • Don’t neglect the little guy. They might never turn into high volume, but they are your bread and butter today. But you already knew that I’m sure.

    2. High User + Low Loyalty To You = Your Competitors Best Customers

    • Do you think you can win the most loyal customers of your competitors? You’re dreaming! They’re out of your reach
    • Can you turn a Holden fan into a Ford fan? No, you can’t. So give up and pick a fight you can win
    • But, be ready – wait for the competition to make a huge screw-up and be there with a smile on your face welcoming them home
    • This group is completely blind to your advertisements. They have made their choice of supplier for this category/industry/niche. Life is easy and peaceful for them. Let them be at peace.

    3. High User + No Loyalty = Attractive But Deadly

    • This group is super attractive, because there are so many of them
    • Your boss will put enormous pressure on you to do whatever it takes to make this group buy from you this week. Most of the time the only tactic that will work is a super special price (maybe at break-even point!)
    • Sure, you might make the sale this week, but next week you’re playing the same game again and next time they’ll choose a different supplier
    • These guys suck up your advertising budget and contribute little to your profitability
    • They don’t care about the brand you’ve worked so hard to build. They don’t see distinction or differentiation between your brand and your competitors. “Who is cheaper this week? That’s the one for me!”

    4. Non-Users + No Loyalty = Untapped Markets

    • This group has never made a purchase
    • They have the same problems and issues that all the other customers are facing, but not know that a solution exists!
    • For example, one of the most popular websites in NZ is called 1-day.co.nz with half a million visits a day, but it seems that 80% of the people I tell about it, have never heard of it! Could the same be true for your business? What are they reading/watching/listening to that you don’t normally advertise in?
    • The only bummer with speaking to the members of this new market is that you are breaking the ice for your whole industry and they may not choose you!

    5. Med/Low Users + Low Loyalty To You = Your Competitors Bread and Butter

    • This is where your growth can come from
    • It’s about maintaining your high quality, providing remarkable service (even if only occasionally) and trying to activate Word-of-Mouth
    • What can you do to turn your customers into ambassadors for your brand?

    Need Help?

    Need help analysing the opportunities for your business?

    I’d loooove to help!  Call (07) 575 8799 or email sheldon@marketingfirst.co.nz.


    Demographic Segmentation: Are You Still Segmenting Your Customers With Demographics Like Age, Gender, Address Etc? Stop.

    If you’ve looking into buying mailing lists you’ll know that those lists are all about demographics.

    Typical demographic are:

    • Age
    • Gender
    • Address
    • Job Title
    • Income
    • Education

    Do you like being put in these boxes and having assumptions made about you regarding your buying preferences?


    Neither do I.

    Let’s pretend for a moment that you and I are exactly the same on the 6 attributes listed above. (33 years old, men, live in Tauranga New Zealand, work in Marketing, earn $200k/year, have a Bachelor Degree, a Post Grad Cert, and will both finish our MBA in May 2011).

    Does that mean we are likely to choose the same toothpaste? Same car? Same restaurants? Same insurance policy?

    Hell no!

    Because there are more choices in the market place you and I are more different than each other than ever before.

    For this reason, demographics are out.

    Behaviour is in.

    This year it’s about segmenting based on the action that people take.

    As an example let’s use a web hosting company.  For all the people that sign up for your free trial you can put these people in your “only-want-free-trial” segment.

    For all those who upgrade to your basic paid plan because your welcome email was particularly persuasive, you can call this segment the “responded-to-upsell-in-welcome-email-within-a-week” segment.

    Do you see how demographics mean nothing in this context? But you can definately make sound business decisions when you have action-segments like the 2 examples I’ve just provided.

    Decisions like “what changes can we make to our offer to convert more people from group #1 to group #2?”

    This post was inspired by “For Your Eyes Only – the three levels of customer behavior based data

    What Do You Do When You Need A Businesses Phone Number?

    When I need a businesses phone number I go to Google Maps, and search for the business name there. 95% of the time the business appears with their phone number.

    What method do you use?

    Hardcopy white pages? Google Search? Google Maps? Finda.co.nz? Yellow.co.nz?

    Add your method to the comments below.

    How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer

    My notes on “How We Decide” by Jonah Lehrer:télécharger (3)

    Which of the following 2 sentences of praise encourages kids to challenge themselves?

    1. “You must be smart at this” (intelligence)
    2. “You must have worked really hard” (effort)

    The research revealed that the kids praised for their intelligence chose a puzzle of equal difficulty. Of the kids praised for their effort 90% chose a more difficult puzzle.  When praising intelligence, the kids hear “look smart, don’t risk making mistakes”. The fear of failure actually inhibits learning. Continue reading “How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer”

    Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson

    My Notes on “Ready, Fire, Aim” by Michael Masterson:41XjfgOsASL._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_

    When Launching A New Business, What Should Consume Your Time?

    • In launching new businesses, many entrepreneurs do the opposite of spending 80% of their time of their time on selling.
    • They spend most of their time, attention, energy and capital on things such as setting up an office, designing logos, printing business cards, filing forms, writing contracts, and refining the product.

    • They have the impression that they are doing things in a logical order – getting everything just right before they open their doors.
    • In fact, they are wasting valuable resources on secondary and tertiary endeavours.
    • It is enough to have the product and customer service just okay at the outset. Perfecting them can be done a little later, after you have gotten feedback from your customers.
    • Sell as soon as you can – if possible before you have spent a lot of time and money making it perfect.

    Continue reading “Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson”

    If You Don’t Like The Movie, Can You Get a Refund?

    I get very nervous when I go to the movie theatre.

    Not about the chance of soiling my pants with explosive diarrhea after eating too much from the all-you-can-eat Chinese smorgasbord from next door.

    Not about the possibility of dropping my frozen coke onto my lap and leaving the theatre looking like I pissed my pants.

    I’m nervous that the movie will be crap.

    If so, I’ve wasted 2.5 hours of my life (including travel time), and more importantly, $24 hard earned dollars (2 tickets).

    I did ask for a refund once (and I’ve been too scared to try again). It was for Sudden Death (1995) starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.

    Right in the middle of the climax when the helicopter is falling in slow motion onto the ice hockey rink (sounds exciting? well, it wasn’t!), I got up, stormed back to the ticket window and demanded a refund.

    “Sorry, we don’t give out refunds” she replied.

    “I’m serious, the movie is crap-tacular, I just walked out during the climax, it really is terrible, I think I should get a refund!”

    “Sorry, I can’t help you” she replied.

    I stormed back to my seat in the cinema and very grumpily watched the epilogue.

    The Movie Theater Business Is Dying, Maybe This Idea Could Save It?

    We often hear about how movie piracy and illegal downloading is killing the profitability of the movie industry.  And certainly the ticket price is high (and bigger TV’s are more affordable and convenient), but maybe the movie theatres could change all that by offering a Money Back Guarantee?

    Would you go to the movies more often? I would.

    Would you get a refund sometimes? Sure.

    But if they are getting your butt into the movie theater seats an extra 10 times a year, isn’t it a good investment?

    Can you think of one other product or service that doesn’t offer a Money Back Guarantee?

    I can’t.

    How come we have let the movie theatres get away with it for so long?

    If you have an awful restaurant meal do you have to pay? No.

    If your plumber screws up your new toilet installation do you have to pay? No.

    If your dentist gives you buck-teeth do you have to pay? No.

    Sure, give them a chance to put things right before you take it to this extreme.  Same for the movies then.  Give me a voucher so I can come and see another movie.

    Your Challenge, and Your Marketing Lesson

    First, your challenge: I challenge you, the next time you fork out $25 of more for a crap movie theater experience, demand a refund.

    It shouldn’t make any difference whether it is in the middle of the movie, or you waited until the closing credits to see if it would turn around in the closing minutes.  You probably won’t get it, but it’s your right to ask for it!

    Second, your lesson: Offering a money-back guarantee is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it works.  So do you offer one? Do you make a big deal about it? Perhaps you should.

    2 reasons a Money Back Guarantee works:

    1. It reduces risk for the buyer
    2. Most people are too lazy to ask for it

    Good article for more info about Money Back Guarantees

    (One more thing: Why is the word guarantee so bloody hard to spell?)

    Do You Make Your Most Loyal Customers Furious?

    I have been with Genesis Energy for 12 years. I’ve spent about $20,000 – $25,000 with them in that time.

    6 months ago they did something that made me furious, and this morning they did something else.

    That’s twice in 6 months!

    Will they get the next $20,000 that I am likely to spend on electricity in the next 12 years?

    (Yes, probably. I’m too lazy to change, and they’re the cheapest)

    What made me furious 6 months ago?

    I had been receiving my bills by email as attached pdf’s for 5 years (I think they were the first to start doing it). It was an awesome setup. I felt that I was doing my thing for the environment, and it was super convenient.

    But that all changed 6 months ago.  Genesis announced that they were no longer doing that (which took 1 click to view), they now required this process:

    1. Visit the Genesis Energy website
    2. Have several attempts at remembering your username and password
    3. Click about 3 levels into the account to find your bill
    4. Download the pdf
    5. Repeat this process every month

    I complained at the time and asked them to keep my set up as it was. They explained they couldn’t.

    Oh well.

    What made me furious this morning?

    I got an email this morning telling me to sign up for Brownie points. The thing is, I am already enrolled. – FAIL!

    Why send this email out to people it is not relevant to? It’s confusing.

    Anyway, I thought I’d hit “reply” button and let them know I’m already enroled. But the email bounced because it is “no-reply@genesisenergy.co.nz”. – FAIL!

    The “reply” button is the most natural button in the world to press but Genesis Energy has disabled it.  It’s like a slap in the face. It says “we don’t want to hear from you so shut up”.

    So I clicked on the “contact us” hyperlink at the bottom of the email instead and got this contact form:


    What do you notice about this contact form?

    There are 11 fields! – FAIL!

    How much information do you need from me just to send a friggen email?

    Worst of all, the Consumer Number is compulsory so I have to dig up an old invoice to find my consumer number (surely my email address is enough to find me in the system?). – FAIL!

    What’s the point of this rant?

    My point is this. What are you doing to annoy your most loyal customers?

    Is the door to your restaurant sticky?  Is it hard to find your phone number on your website? Do you impose a system on your customers that makes it easy for you, but annoying for them?

    Can you tell me what you want?

    Just watched a Malcolm Gladwell presentation about the work of experimental psychologist Howard Moskowitz. He talked about how people don’t know what they really want. They have trouble articulating it.  “The mind knows not what the tongue wants”.

    One example he used is; ask people how they like their coffee, they will reply “a dark rich hearty roast”. And 25-27% of people do like their coffee that way. But the majority of people like their coffee “milky and weak”, but they would never tell you that.

    Another example from the video is how they toured the U.S. with 45 kinds of spaghetti sauce, and asked thousands of people to rate them on a scale of 1 to 10.  There was never going to be one perfect spaghetti sauce, instead, the data was clustered into 3 categories “plain”, “spicy” and “chunky”. “Chunky” was a brand new category that noone had ever mentioned in focus groups, ever.  They made US$600 million with a range of chunky spaghetti sauces.

    Have you heard that “focus groups don’t work“?. Everybody lies, and give you the answer that they think you want to hear, so they are very unreliable.

    So you can’t ask people what kind of coffee they want. You have to ask them to buy.  You have to watch their behaviour to see what they want. Present all the possible options for them and let them choose.

    Unfortunately, you will find that there is not one perfect coffee that you can sell to the masses.

    Have you heard the phrase “market of one“? That’s when mass marketing doesn’t work anymore, so companies realise that people want something unique to them, personalised to their preferences (as long as it doesn’t cost more!).

    I think that’s why Starbucks, and Subway do so well. They realised there is no such thing as the “perfect coffee” or the “perfect sandwich” that they can sell to the majority.  But each and every person can choose their own perfect coffee or perfect sandwich if the options are there in front of them.

    So is there a way you can offer customisation of your products and services but without increasing your costs or the price the customer pays?

    Essential Steps for Building a Website That Generates Business For You

    8 Essential Steps:

    1. Define the most important action that you want the audience to take. Is it filling in an enquiry form? Call your toll free number? Download an information pack?
    2. Make it dead easy for them to take that action. 1 click or 2 clicks. Not 5 clicks
    3. Make your forms super short. Ask for essential information only. Not their age, not their gender, not even their address (if you aren’t posting them something, don’t ask for it). And it doesn’t matter if some of your form field aren’t compulsory, if it looks too long it will turn people away
    4. Ensure your code is search engine friendly:
      • Clean urls like “this-is-a-page-about-how-to-do-stuff.html” rather than “index.php?ss=2&s=abc”
      • Clean html code, eg use H1, H2, H3 tags instead of heavily formatted paragraph tags
    5. A stripped down CMS for commonly updated content (like blog entries, articles, products). Lock down other pages so you’re not tempted to wreck them with crazy fonts and colours
    6. Write for the web” by formatting all your content with headings, sub-headings, short paragraphs (none more than 3 sentences), bullet points, numbered lists, and internal hyperlinks
    7. Follow usability guidelines, such as:
      • Hyperlinks that look link hyperlinks. Buttons that look like buttons
      • Breadcrumbs so when the users deep-link they can quickly figure out where they are
      • Disable the hyperlink in the navigation if the user is already on that page
      • And just about everything else website usability guru Jacob Nielsen recommends
    8. Choose a web site developer who knows about all this stuff

    Continue reading “Essential Steps for Building a Website That Generates Business For You”

    Brain Rules by John Medina

    My Notes on “Brain Rules” by John Medinaby:cover-BR2

    Rule #1: Exercise boosts brain power

    • Our brains were built for walking 20km a day
    • To improve your thinking skills, move
    • Exercise gets blood to your brain, brining it glucose for energy and oxygen to soak up the toxic electrons that are left over. It also stimulates the protein that keeps neurons connecting.
    • Aerobic exercise just twice a week halves your risk of general dementia. It cuts your risk of Alzheimer’s by 60 percent

    Continue reading “Brain Rules by John Medina”