All of a sudden, it’s become VERY hot in my house.
Certainly a lot hotter than I’ve become accustomed to in mid-March.
And the thing is, it’s got nothing to do with the weather outside.
We’ve had some good days and some bad days, but generally speaking, the weather this year is pretty much the same as it was this time last year.
So why is it so much hotter?
“Smithy’s brother” is the answer.
Thom’s younger brother Sam (or “Beef” as he’s known by his nearest and dearest; and by me when he’s not in earshot) runs a window business in the West Midlands, and a month or so ago, he stopped by to fit a new bay window, a new kitchen door and a couple of kitchen windows to replace some old single-glazed units.
Before Beef’s visit, the house was cold, however much heat we threw into it.
We could pop the heating on, crank up the radiators, even turn the fire on, but it wouldn’t make any difference.
Any heat we generated escaped fairly quickly, which meant that a lot of jumpers and blankets were required to get through the winter.
Now we turn the heating on, and twenty minutes later it’s tropical inside.
You’re probably wondering how this is relevant to marketing, so let me get to that.
Before Beef’s visit, heat that we were generating was escaping like there was no tomorrow, because the structure we had in place wasn’t good enough to retain it.
We were spending money that was sticking around for a few minutes then flying out of the window.
But by looking at a few key areas where we were losing the most heat and improving those areas, we were able to drastically improve the heat retention in our home.
It’s exactly the same with our customer acquisition processes, or “funnels”.
Now just to be clear, I don’t really like the word “funnel” – it’s used by lots of infomarketers as a way to bamboozle their audience and sell products and programmes – but in this case it’s useful.
If a funnel’s full of holes, it’s not going to work very well, is it?
Same deal with your marketing funnel.
Put a group of prospects through a funnel with lots of holes in it, and it’s inevitable that some (or lots) of them will fall out of the holes.
But start to plug the holes, and a lot more of them will come out of the other end.
The process of “plugging the holes” is one we do frequently with our Private Clients and consultancy clients.
Take Phil Weston of Berkeley Weston for example.
Phil’s a top guy who sells a ‘done for you’ Probate service that his customers find really helpful, and when we first start working with him at the beginning of last year, he had a decent customer acquisition process that worked.
But it wasn’t the finished article.
It had a few holes.
Gradually over the last 12 months we’ve helped him to plug some of them; working on a hole at a time.
We’ve looked at things like:
His lead generation ads, honing them to try and ensure that only the right people are getting through to the sales page.
His follow up process, to ensure that his prospects get more touches and more opportunities to buy.
His remarketing, bringing non-converting visitors back to look at the sales page.
The result? More prospects getting to the end of the funnel and getting past the finish line.
Sometimes marketing can seem like a big, scary thing with hundreds of moving parts.
And it is, unless you break it down into each element, into ‘bitesize chunks’ like the old GCSE Bitesize adverts (remember those?).
When you break each element down and work on them separately it becomes much easier to get stuff done and make improvements.
That autoresponder campaign you haven’t touched for four years that you KNOW contains outdated information.
The list of negative keywords that you haven’t updated for 12 months now.
That crappy hold music that could easily be replaced by a sales message.
The flyer that you had produced a couple of years ago when you knew less about marketing and hadn’t heard of a call to action.
The quote follow up process that ends after only two phone calls and a tentative email.
Most businesses could very easily make a list of every aspect of their customer acquisition process and some improvements that could be made to it.
The trick then is not to try and improve every element at once.
Work on one thing at a time, tweaking it, honing it and improving it.
It might not be as exciting as writing that brand new webinar, or doing Facebook Lives, but it should be, because the beauty of this sort of activity is that it has a continual impact.
Once it’s done, your improved autoresponder, better landing page or your lengthier follow up will be experienced by every single prospect that comes into contact with your business; and the chances of you converting them increase.
And over time, as you improve more and more aspects and plug more and more holes, the more prospects will stick around in your funnel and the more customers you’ll create.
I’ve seen a real-life example of this, with my ovenlike abode.
No longer do I pour the heat in and watch it escape out the windows.
Plug the holes in your processes, and you’ll stop more of your prospects escaping in a similar fashion.