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6 Common Leaks Sinking Your Business Boat

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 23/03/2016 Tom Ayling

I was looking over my balcony. I felt the anticipation in the air, the calm before the storm. A huge weekend was budding at Penn State.
My phone rang. It was one of my best friends in South Carolina.
"DUDE. I just found out that eight out of 10 businesses fail. All we have to do is create 10 businesses. Two of them will work."
I just chuckled the kind of chuckle that says, "Wow, dude, we got the keys."
I've pursued a handful of ideas. One worked; the other four flopped. Most of the mistakes I made could had been solved at one place or another in the digital marketing funnel, which is why I've dedicated hours upon hours to understand it better.
Imagine you and your team are feeling the excitement and exhaustion it takes to build a brand new product for the market. This product is cutting edge, and your brand's reputation is sure to rise in the aftermath of its release.
This product release can go many ways. I'm going to go through the various ways I've seen a launch go horribly bad, most of which I've experienced, for better or worse.
To define where your company has a leak between your product/service and the consumer, I'd start with inspecting The Digital Marketing Funnel:
2016-03-22-1458677793-3081679-DigitalMarketingFunnel.jpg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2016-03-22-1458677793-3081679-DigitalMarketingFunnel.jpg Exposure -- Common Leak: Lack of Eyeballs
One of the worst directions a release can take is after you build this innovative product and launch it, nobody but your team hears about it. The product fills a need, but the consumer doesn't even know the product exists.
This leak happens at the exposure mark.
One way of patching the hole is word-of-mouth. Word-of-mouth needs to be at the core of every product because it signals many important factors:
1. The team believes in the product -- anytime you get off of work and call your mom to tell her what you did that day, you know you're building a product you believe in.
2. Word-of-mouth displays leadership -- the cornerstone to great leadership is the ability to inspire others. Inspiring others around a single idea requires ruthless clarity.
3. It points to practical use -- people don't promote crap.
But in this global economy, word-of-mouth on its own doesn't cut it. To generate eyes, you need to exist where people are searching to fill needs. This place is currently Google.
Placement is at a premium right now. I've seen revenue growth go through the roof with my clients, aggressively pursuing placement. Ninety-nine percent of my clients use search engine marketing plans, as that's where the money is right now. Additionally, with the changes Google has made to the right rail, you're going to see stiffer waves of competition focusing on profitable pay-per-click programs.

This isn't to discredit the search engine optimization space either, but unless you have serious experts handling your campaign, the common folk can't possibly hold high placement in competitive categories. Some of the most common mistakes companies make include poorly optimized title tags and lack of mobile optimization. Another common error I see is company's unorganized site hierarchy, generally steaming from html code. I'm on a rant roll, I KNOW! but I see these things all of the time, like publishing poorly written content. More and more people are using their mobile devices, which makes mobile optimization mandatory.
Discovery -- Common Leak: A Slow Website
The average attention span is about eight seconds. If you captured my attention in that eight seconds, you have approximately four minutes and 52 seconds until my attention span is diverted again.
When a visitor lands on your site, the first requirement is that they land there with speed. A one-second delay in load time results in a 7 percent decrease in conversation rate and 11 percent of individuals are less likely to invest their time on another page.
The discovery phase allows the consumer to learn more about your company and your product/service.
After speed comes website design, and then the focus is all about grabbing the consumer's attention for the next four minutes, which requires making your site more "sticky" by providing creative content marketing and uploading riveting video and marvelous images. The reality is, the consumer is in the driver's seat, or the movie seat for that matter. It's your job to entertain.
Consideration -- Common Leak: Not Promoting the Product
The most common leak I see (and have had) is presenting a product or service in a typical salesy way -- egoistically telling the potential consumer how great the company and product are. Instead of telling the potential customer why they need the product, explain how it can benefit them. It's shift in focus from getting to giving.
Give advice tailored to the potential customer's perspective.
Conversion -- Common Leak: Not Asking
I was afraid to ask. This common leak spilled over to many parts of my life. I was afraid to ask for the sale, the date, the... you name it.
Without asking, nobody will answer.
Customer Relationship -- Common Leak: Showing Your Bad Side on Social Media
The world is changing -- fast.
Well, I'm only 24 and just started paying attention to "the world", so I don't know how much substance that statement actually has. But looking at history, threats once came only from major media outlets and competitors. Now, threats come at us from all angles at an increasing rate from common consumers via social channels.
This story picked up by Tech in Asia tells about a discussion between an unhappy customer and a Chief Executive Officer (CEO)!
If you told any CEO in the early 90s that you'd be handling customer service issues in front of thousands of individuals, they would think you lost your mind. In 2016, the CEO always handles these issues.
Brand reputation is built and burned on social media and every day this strategy is evolving.
Retention -- Common Leak: Lack of Intimate Connection
As you saw from the story in Tech in Asia, the CEO was EMAILING the unsatisfied customer.
A study in 2014 from Mark the Marketer Fish found, on average, that email marketing generated a 44 to 1 return on investment! In other words, for every dollar spent, $44 dollars came back.
There are several other attributes that count towards customer retention. According to Stephen McTaggart, "If visitors, and therefore potential customers, are not returning to your website, then it can tell you that they are not being hooked in by either your product or how you are presenting that product."
Once you have converted visitor into a paying customer, it should be of primitive importance to nail all those elements that can bring customer back to your website asking for more, selling them once is good, but making them repeat customer should be your goal and that you can do by staying intimate with your customers.
Based on my experiences, I would say email marketing is the one of the most intimate location for you to communicate with your customers. Meaning, it's one of the easiest way to bring old customers back to your website.
To email such individuals, it's recommended to hold "sticky" content back in exchange for their email.
If the exchange of goods for the consumer's email is worth the bargain, you'll find yourself building a strong connection with a growing community.
In a closing sentence, I want to make it a point not to fall off during any part of this process, as I already have many times. I have found that if there are any leaks, it's only a matter of time before the ship sinks. Find the leaky holes and patch them up with the solutions above.

IDEA LIGHT BULB © Wavebreakmedia Ltd via Getty Images IDEA LIGHT BULB

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