If we relate running a business to being a quarterback on a football team or the coach of a basketball team: 2020 was an all out blitz; the full court press was against us.
Most businesses spent the year playing defense. Cutting expenses, changing personnel, grasping at whatever play they could run to prevent being defeated. No doubt, this past year will go down as one of this generation's hardest years for running an organization.
That was 2020. But 2021 is for getting back to playing more offense. You've caught your breath, you've survived the attack, and now we should enter the game with a mindset to score. Defense alone does not win games. You will eventually need to play offense and score some points. The businesses that not only survived but grew, were not just playing defense – they were also actively looking for opportunities to score.
Here are 3 key plays a winning team needs to get ahead in 2021.
1. A Clear Message
First, imagine for a moment you had extreme confidence in your marketing efforts. That you were communicating to your customers with clarity and confidence. That your website said all the right things to your audience, built value and converted traffic to leads. Imagine that you had a system you knew was effectively collecting and nurturing those leads, turning them into sales as akey source to growing your business.
Imagine that your entire team could clearly, confidently and consistently communicate what you do for your customers, and the benefits you offer. The reality is most businesses don’t have any confidence in their marketing. They don’t know what to say, how to say it, what to do, and how to do it.
It feels like a guessing game.
- Is it working?
- Are we doing it right?
- Are we spending enough money on marketing?
- Are we spending too much money?
- Are we connecting with the right customer?
- Are we actually making any money as a result of our marketing efforts?
As business owners and even as marketers, when we think about marketing, we quickly run to what we need to do…
- We need a new website.
- We need to do Facebook ads.
- We need to up our social media game.
- We need to create content for LinkedIn.
- We need to go to this tradeshow.
- We need to do this and this and that....
But when our initial focus is on generating the list of “what to dos”…. we fail to spend time on “what to say.”
The thing is that “People buy products only after they read words that make them want to buy those products.” - Donald Miller, Building a StoryBrand
We need to focus on what to say first. What are you saying to your audience online: online, on your website, on social media, everywhere. When we’ve nailed down the “what to say,” the “what to do” becomes much more effective.
When you confuse, you lose.
If “People buy products only after they read words that make them want to buy those products,” then the words in our marketing need to connect to what they are looking for. Tangibly and aspirationally. The reality is most of us as consumers are looking for an easy button: the path of less resistance. We have a goal we want to accomplish or a problem we need to solve, but we don’t want to burn too many calories in the process.
- People don’t necessarily buy products that are the best.
- They buy the product that’s communicated the clearest.
- People don’t necessarily buy the best products and services.
- They buy the one they understand the fastest.
- The brand that communicates the simplest is going to win.
In the simplest language: Communicate what problem you solve for your customer, how you solve it and how their life will be better because of it.
2. A Website That Converts
Your website is a key part of your playbook. It's the playing field upon which a lot of business is being done. At its core, your site should do a few key things immediately. In fact, studies show a website has between 5-8 seconds to capture our audience's attention. Otherwise, your site visitor is clicking away.
Your website is your primary sales funnel. Don’t waste the opportunity.
Most websites just use the homepage to dump information on the visitor.
They fail to utilize the homepage as a primary landing page and the main tool for converting business. The homepage is It is the most likely place for your customers to engage with you and verify your legitimacy. They fail to help their customers through the phases of the funnel: awareness, interest, desire and action.
Once you’ve clarified your message and can clearly communicate what you do, there are a few things you need to consider to make your website as friction-free as possible.
Following clear messaging, here are three things our website needs to do very quickly:
- Identify what you do - be clear and succinct
- Show the value or benefit you provide your audience
- Communicate what they need to do in order to do business with you (a clear call to action).
3. An Online Sales Funnel
A sales funnel allows you to develop an ongoing relationship with your customer. It allows you to provide value with frequency. In exchange for an email address (for example, you offer them something of value. This trade off of email address for something of value (like a free downloadable pdf) is what we call a lead generator (or lead magnet). Lead generators that create sales funnels are the key to survival and growth. Especially in times like these. An email is a terrible thing to waste, so don’t. Try to collect email addresses from your potential audience as often as possible. Create opportunities to build and nurture relationships with your audience through lead generators.
The current rule of thumb is a good qualified email is worth between $15-$20. So whatever you are providing them, it must be something they would consider paying for
Here are some good lead generator ideas:
- Templates that simplify a process for your customers
- Top things they should know
- How to’s or tutorials
- One time discount code for signing up
- Things of value--be generous!
Once you’ve collected their email address and given something of value in exchange, you’ll want to nurture that relationship through ongoing email campaigns. There are a variety of platforms that exist for email marketing and automation including Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, etc..
Scrappy, resilient, strategic teams that make intentional moves with a few quality core plays can win championships. We see it all the time.
Business is a long game with endless quarters. But you have to be willing to play every minute.
Don't give up. Be consistent and persistent. Don't get hung up on perfection; instead, focus on making progress. If you continue to successfully push the ball forward, you will start to score. A clear message; website built to convert; and a sales funnel to nurture future sales are three parts needed for a strong offense. And a strong offense leads to success.