It’s 2020, and once again it’s that time of year when everyone is looking for the magic ticket. That special something that’s going to triple the bottom line. We’ll see endless, sponsored posts on one method being dead and how now you need to use THIS one instead…

The brave direction (which does take a bit longer) is to build a following, a fan base to which people feel that they belong and they genuinely care about what you have to offer. If you are serious about building or even selling a business then having a community surrounding it proves its value. Nowadays trust comes at a premium and people go with a referral over a CV.

Building this way is story-driven, however, if your marketing message is broken you will have to invest in untangling the mess. More time, more effort, more investment.

If you’ve got a website that doesn’t reflect your business today, you will have to invest in a process of rediscovering who you are now and not who or what your business used to be.

 We workshop businesses to help them discover what they are now. It’s not an elaborate briefing journey but clarifies any mission drift or lack of empathy with the audience they are looking to engage.

What we often find is that businesses are passionate about their cause but frustrated about why others are failing to buy in as perhaps the medium no longer reflects their message. Or businesses take a DIY approach because they believe that “no one understands us like we do”. What people then tend to do is to communicate their services rather than the benefits to the end-user. This does not mean that a business is not good at what they do but they might not be the best people to frame the narrative. Businesses need storytellers. When a story is told well, people share it!

‘No one understands us like we do’ suggests exclusivity and a select club, narrowing one’s ability to communicate to fresh audiences (from where growth can come).

Ask any designer on the planet who hasn’t heard from a client… ‘I know what we want and I’ll tell you when I see it’ approach. What it really means is that they have absolutely no idea what they want.

So why do a workshop? Well, it will give you focus. It takes a collective and collaborative environment and teases out the information necessary to produce marketing that has depth. A few podcasts on marketing and reading a book on it doesn’t make anyone an expert. Our workshops are a way of building a narrative which promotes unity, connection and empathy both externally and internally.

You are an expert at what you do and we help you share that story in a way that resonates.

That’s the point. Everyone is an expert in their field but the world changes and it changes fast.

Here’s the reality, often the clients you enjoyed working with might not be the ones that need your services now. Your target market may be starting to recruit someone as part of their team to do what you used to do for them in-house.

The clue for innovation is going back to the problem you are trying to solve. You don’t always have to go high ticket even if you did so in the past, you might be looking to gain a wider audience by releasing things worldwide using other tools. Think podcasts and webinars for example over books.

One of the biggest changes to the landscape of business is to add value before a sale is made.

Too often people worry that doing this will rob them of future work. This is not the case.

What it’s going to do is establish you as an authority. Reach creates a pipeline.

We’ve worked with so many experts, and thankfully they have listened to us and many have begun blogging, content writing, podcasts. These people are winning. They are gaining traction. Social posting has opened doors that answering machines haven’t.

Now, you don’t need a workshop to add value. You can start now. Make 2020 that time where you finally launch a podcast, finally start posting on social media or even just getting out from behind your desk and start talking to strangers. There isn’t a magic pill, it’s about communication.

The return on investment is building a community. People engaging with you.

Not everyone will buy from you but they become the referral partners because they have caught the value. How often have we brought someone in on a recommendation? It’s easier to do business, right? Creating a community does exactly that. The return on investment is the creation of a referral community that becomes an engine for growth. It does take time but you will start to relate to people who need your help.

Referral networking is great and has been the way we scaled our business.

Taking this approach online takes an investment of time but ultimately it will give you traction.

One of our biggest clients came through Twitter! A client of ours telling someone else about us. It didn’t happen ‘by chance’ but by us giving ourselves a chance. We invested in content and used social media to get our message out there. Being present means you can connect.

The start of the year is full of people going to gyms and taking advantage of offers to boost their self-esteem. People end up signed into a 12-month deal that they know won’t be used. Gyms can ignore the faithful ones, forget to celebrate the committed, and miss out on renewals because they are so focussed on the newbies.

Chasing new membership is forever an approach to growing new business which is often flawed. Doing business with existing customers is one clear success strategy that helps everyone.

If you can help your clients grow and have more impact they win and so do you.

You see you might have neglected to tell clients that you do other things. When we started our video arm we didn’t tell everyone and after a few discovered it actually became a department (Production) that has given us some great traction (we have now produced a documentary for inflight entertainment for a prestigious airline).

This leads me to say I’m astounded at the number of times data sits on the shelf. Where businesses can add so much value to their client base and yet they never talk to them. That’s right, databases of email addresses that never get used. Getting permission or at least telling them you have their data represents a great way to engage with people once again. Once you get permission and stop hiding you resurrect opportunities.

Email helps you send more of the content straight to their inbox and notify people about blogs or posts. Emails with great content are not spam. Remember to add value. Don’t be offer-led only, rather be education led. Empathy + Education = Engagement.

You don’t have to work too hard to gather momentum with those connections that you worked hard to cultivate. Yes, you might have to put work in, yes you might have to delete some addresses out but actually these people might be your best advocates for future intros or indeed need a repeat journey or widen the audience for you within their company.

So as we step into 2020, let’s not forget that marketing takes work. It takes investment in content.

It takes consistency. It’s not about an ‘event’, it’s simply about delivering value and widening the circle as you get more consistent.

Start with social, grow to email, then share the events, become part of the journey, not the destination. When you create conversation, you’ll build a community. Too often people are going for the wedding without the courtship.

2020 is about what are you doing to create a community, so get out there, create empathy and then add value, value, value. When you do this you become more valuable and so does your business.

You wouldn’t sell a restaurant without a client list, so make sure you have a community actually engaged with your business. Revenue without pipeline is history.

So, gain clarity, create conversation and enjoy the power of community this 2020.

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