In the episode:
01:02 – Allan’s marketing bestseller
02:53 – A marketer by necessity
04:25 – Marketing defined
06:05 – Putting it all on one page
07:10 – The plan in three stages
09:40 – Who the plan works for
11:48 – Who are you going to serve?
13:08 – Crafting your message
14:59 – The media that outlives all others
17:38 – If you’re not using email…
20:42 – What automation can do
22:55 – Delivering world-class experience
26:54 – How to increase customer value
28:39 – The four types of revenue
31:30 – Where do referrals come from?
38:19 – A 30-minute marketing plan
James: James Schramko here. Welcome back to SuperFastBusiness.com. This is Episode 596. Today we’re talking about marketing. I’ve brought along a friend of mine, a client who’s been a member of my SuperFastBusiness community and SilverCircle and somewhat the expert in marketing, especially marketing plans. Welcome, Allan Dib.
Alan: Hey, James. Pleasure to be on the show.
Allan’s marketing bestseller
James: It’s such a great opportunity to have you on the show talking about marketing, because currently you have The 1-Page Marketing Plan as a book, is the number one marketing book on Amazon.com, which is a tremendous achievement. It’s super inspirational for me, having just published a book, learning from you what things have worked well and seeing your meteoric rise. It would appear that one-page marketing plans are very popular.
Allan: Yeah. So the book’s definitely been doing really, really well. I’ve been very proud of that. It’s probably been fighting between number one and number five or so on the bestseller list for the better part of 18 months. So that’s been really, really exciting. I’ve loved making an impact and I’ve loved hearing from a lot of readers that they’ve enjoyed the book and enjoyed the process.
James: Looks like you got an endorsement from Al Ries (I don’t know if that’s how you pronounce it) but I remember reading his book, and it’s great when you get such a credentialized endorsement on the front cover. And such a prominent book, too. I got a copy here in front of me. When I went to direct response training, they said that the best standout color is a yellow background with black text, and you’ve got lashings of that on your front cover.
Allan: That’s it. That’s it. I went to the bookstore and I wanted to see what color would stand out when it’s on the shelves and it certainly does. There’s a few other yellow books now, but it still stands out among the crowd, which is good.
James: So, marketing’s something we live and breathe, and it’s probably worth just taking one step back from that. Two things, really: one, it would be worth defining what you think marketing is, just so that we can get a handle on that. And secondly, just seeing, where did Allan Dib get into the marketing journey? Just the brief version will be interesting, just to see how you arrived at this, and then we’re going to break down the one-page marketing plan in more detail.
A marketer by necessity
Allan: Yeah, for sure. So I got into marketing, I think probably like you did, James, by absolute necessity. I was a dead broke IT geek, I was good at the IT side, I kept learning, and I kept recertifying in the latest software and hardware and everything like that, and I thought that would bring me more clients, and of course it didn’t. I was really, really good at the technical part of what I did, but unfortunately, I didn’t have enough clients. The clients that I did have absolutely loved me, but I just didn’t have enough of them.
So that took me on a journey to learning marketing and learning from trial and error. And that’s really my journey into how I got into marketing. So I finally ended up, long story short, building that business out. It became a national business, and I exited that, and then I started a new business which was in the telecommunication space and I grew that very, very quickly from zero to four years later being in the BRW Fast 100, and I exited that as well. So now I’m just helping other small businesses with their marketing.
James: Right. So marketing is really, I think you mentioned in your book that it’s the highest leveraged activity that a business could be doing, and it’s worth spending time and attention on.
Allan: Absolutely. And it’s not because marketing’s the most fun or whatever. It is fun, by the way, but it’s a very, very high leverage activity. So if you get 10 percent better at the technical thing you do, or service delivery or customer support, or whatever, that’s great, that has an incremental effect. But if you get 10 percent better at marketing, that can have an exponential effect on your business and on your income. So that’s where it really gives you that leverage.
James: Right. Maybe you can take us through the different definitions of marketing that you talk about in the book, you know, in the various phases from promotion, right through.
Allan: Yes. So, I mean, if you look up what the definition of marketing is, there’s hundreds of definitions. People call it branding, people call it advertising, people call it all sorts of things. But to put it very simply, I say that marketing is really just the strategy used for getting your ideal target market to know you, like you and trust you enough to become a customer.
“Marketing is really propulsion.”
And the way I like to sometimes illustrate it, I say marketing is really propulsion. So if you’ve got an idea or an offer, whatever, marketing is there to help you propel that. And an illustration I use sometimes, you know, if you and I were in the middle of a park, and you’ve got a big heavy bowling ball, and I’ve got a helium-filled balloon, and we both want our objects to get airborne, you’re going to need a whole lot of propulsion, you’re going to need to strap on a big rocket to your bowling ball, whereas I’m just going to need to give my helium balloon a little bit of a tap and it’s going to going to go up there.
So that kind of highlights, I guess, something that you often say, James, is that you really need to start with an offer that converts. So marketing is the propulsion, but your core offering, your core offer, that’s really going to determine how much propulsion you have to put under it.
James: Right. So that gets sort of where we’re at. Now, if your marketing is your propulsion, then really the whole basis of what you’ve created a book around is how you plan for that, and how you can actually structure it and engineer this to happen rather than just rely on a bit of luck, or you know, throw something out there and see where it lands. Hope marketing, I suppose some people call that one.
Putting it all on one page
James: So you managed to put this plan onto one page. That must have been a feat.
Allan: Well, again, it was by necessity. It wasn’t something I just sort of dreamt up. I was working with clients and one of the things I wanted clients to do was put together a marketing plan. And almost all my clients would resist, and it very rarely got done, because they all felt like it was something that was difficult, that was expensive, that was hard to do.
And to a lot of extent, they were right, because I mean, in my own experience in my previous business, when I hired a consultant who helped me put together a business plan and a marketing plan, it ended up being a document that was hundreds of pages long, had charts and graphs and projections and all that sort of stuff.
And it just wasn’t practical. It sat in the top drawer of my desk until one day, I was moving out of the office. And we were chucking all the stuff out and I tossed it in the bin. So I really wanted to come up with a process where clients could put together a plan very quickly, very simply, and do it in 20 or 30 minutes. And that’s what I did. And it was incredibly successful with my client base. And that’s where I decided to write the book around the process and get it out to a much wider audience.
The three stages of a marketing plan
James: So if we’re looking at the plan, there’s really three main areas that you look at in terms of stages. I’ve heard this described in different ways – one way is before, during and after. Anyone familiar with Dean Jackson might have heard that, too. Actually, a funny story way: back in one of the early FastWebFormula events, I came up with a BDA formula, which was a before, during, after, and then years later I heard Dean talking about it, and I gave up on that naming convention.
I’ve heard other people talk about attract, convert, deliver. But whichever way you want to describe it, it’s really the three phases are, what you’re doing in the lead-up to acquiring a customer, then how you actually get that customer into a buyer, and then it’s once you’ve got the buyer, what you’re doing with that buyer to keep them as a customer and to get more customers. Would that be an apt description of the process?
“Most of the money is in the after phase.”
Allan: Yeah, hundred percent. Hundred percent. So that’s exactly right. Because so many people focus on just getting the customer, and that’s where their marketing ends. And it’s unfortunate because most of the money is in the after phase.
James: Oh, it’s an obsession. I mean, it’s definitely a big deal in our market. We hear a lot about funnels. Funnels, funnels, funnels. Traffic, traffic, traffic. Facebook ads and… Everything. It almost seems like 99 percent of attention is on getting a customer, whereas I know fans of this show will have heard me talking a lot about the recurring business model and actually keeping customers, which is a lot easier and more profitable, I think.
And then there’s any number of cool conversion strategies, you know, to turn that prospect into a customer. We’ve been through the webinar phases, and we’ve had the chatbot wave, and there’s still the good old telephone. But maybe if we were to break each of the stages down, there’s probably about three steps in each stage that will be worth paying attention to, right?
Allan: Yes. So the one-page marketing plan canvas, it’s broken up into those three major stages, and then within each of those major stages there are three, I guess, steps within them. So if you visualize a single page broken up into nine blocks, and that’s the one page marketing plan canvas, and they’re grouped in before, during and after. So, exactly as you said there, James. So yeah, that’s basically the one-page marketing plan canvas. And it very much follows direct response marketing philosophy and strategy. So it’s not about kind of mass marketing or trying to get your name out there or whatever else. It’s very much around direct response marketing.
James: And who is this relevant for?
Who the plan works for
Allan: I get a lot of emails each day from readers, and I’ve heard people applying it from people just thinking about starting a business down to very large corporates. And I’ve had nonprofits and everybody else. And the reason why it’s applicable to everyone is because everyone needs to create a plan for getting their message out there. And the reason’s a plan is just so important.
In the research for the book, I spent a lot of time thinking about this, because whenever you look at anyone who’s doing anything reasonably important, they usually have a plan. So, you know, an airline pilot will have a flight plan. An army has a military operations plan, a doctor has a treatment plan. So anyone who’s professionally doing anything worthwhile will usually be following a plan. And you’d probably freak out if you walked onto a plane and you overheard the pilots talking and one guy said, “Look, don’t worry about the flight plan. We know how to get there.” So even if you knew that they knew how to get there, you still want someone who’s in a very responsible position to follow a plan.
And so many businesses just do not follow a plan when it comes to their marketing and their business. And there’s a lot riding on it. I mean, there’s your income, there’s your business, there’s your employees, there’s all the people who rely on you. And if you don’t have a plan, you can possibly be in a lot of trouble.
James: Yeah, absolutely. And if you have a plan, and if it’s easy enough for you to actually execute on, then you’ll probably go where a lot of business owners never end up.
James: What are some of the most important steps from the one-page marketing plan?
Allan: So, hugely, hugely important is in the before phase. And the before phase is really when we’re defining. The first step is defining the target market. And then the second phase is the message to the target market. And the third phase is media. So most people who’ve studied direct response marketing will have heard that before, that it’s about a message to market to media match. So that’s really the before phase. And that’s where a lot of time is spent really trying to define your target market, defining who do we want to serve? How do we want to serve them? And then, how do we get that message across to them?
Who are you going to serve?
James: When you’re thinking about who to serve, what sort of process do you have?
Allan: So the process is around, I mean, there’s multiple aspects to it. So first of all, who’s going to be a profitable client? Who’s going to be the kind of client we love to deal with? Because sometimes a profitable client might not be someone you really want to deal with on a regular basis. And then seeing, essentially what’s going to be fun? Because, I’ve really learned that from you, James, that you know, you don’t want a business that’s just about revenue, you want a business that’s going to support your lifestyle, that’s going to be fun and that you’re going to actually love to want to do.
So a lot of the time, people go into a target market that they think is going to be profitable. But they don’t necessarily consider these other softer factors around, you know, what do they actually want to do and who do they actually want to serve, and why?
James: Yeah, I was pretty interested and delighted to see that you have a scoring mechanism in there where you can actually work out, having personal fulfillment is one of them. It put a smile on my face, that’s for sure. Because I think sometimes, you know, everyone puts the dollar first. It’s the typical scenario. And certainly in your case, and my case, we started out where that really was the most important thing. But over time, you can have the luxury of deciding who you work with. And so that’s pretty interesting.
Crafting your message
And then once you figure out who you want to work with, you have to craft your message. So perhaps a couple of tips on that.
Allan: Yes. So crafting a message is, it’s probably one of the most important parts of the one-page marketing plan. And I think if I recall correctly, it’s probably the longest chapter. But there are a lot of ways to do it.
A process that I go through with a lot of clients is, and one that probably many people listening will be familiar with, is defining an avatar. And when you think of an avatar, it’s almost like the marketing version of method acting. So if you think about your ideal prospect, you know, who are they? Give them a name, even cut out a picture or search a picture on the internet. What are they likely to look like? What do they drive? Where do they live? What are the things keeping them up at 3AM in the morning? What’s got them angry? What’s got them excited? What are their fears and frustrations?
So visualizing your ideal client is something that’s hugely, hugely important because it’s going to come out in your copy, it’s going to come out in who you target, it’s going to come out in the media that you choose. So being very, very specific around who you want to serve.
And it’s very, very tempting, a lot of people will say, hey, I want to serve the largest audience; hey, my stuff is for everybody. I’m a, you know, a psychologist or chiropractor or internet marketer or whatever else, and I can help everyone. And that’s probably true. But you know, it’s interesting. My wife recently injured her knee, and guess what she started typing into Google? She started typing in “knee specialist” and stuff related to knee. And she didn’t just type in general doctor or whatever.
So the whole point is for your target market to read your message and say, hey, that’s for me. So that’s really the whole point of the way that you craft your copy and the way you craft your message.
James: So it should be relevant.
Allan: It should be highly relevant. Absolutely.
James: When it comes to the media, do you have a favorite media channel that seems to apply to the bulk of your customers?
The media that outlives all others
Allan: The media channel that just seems to outlive all else is email. I know the rise of social has been happening and there are lots of medias that have come and gone, but I absolutely love email marketing. It’s been going very, very strong and seems to continue that trend and has outlived a lot of predictions that it was about to die.
I’ve built a very reasonable-sized business purely based on email marketing. I’ve obviously used other media, but I’ve largely been absent off social media. I’m going to change that soon as well, based on your advice as well, James. But I love email marketing. It’s just had such a long, long life and evolved over time and gotten much more sophisticated.
James: So where do you get the emails from?
Allan: Where do you get emails from? So you mean the content for the emails?
James: Yeah. So if your favorite media channel’s emails, how do you get someone onto your email list?
Allan: So I get people on my email list, I get a lot of people through the book. So people have read the book, I’ve peppered the URL and the opt-in URL for my website all throughout the book. Prior to the book, I did it by writing in-depth articles, and a lot of those in-depth articles actually ended up making part of my book. So I would rank very well for certain terms and you know, essentially, I would have people opting in because I provided them value in advance. And that value was usually good information related to either business systems or marketing and they’d find me that way. Now, I get a lot of opt-ins via the book, though.
James: Right. So the media channel for you reaching your market could actually be the book or your articles, and then the lead capture system is where you’re into that sort of lead management side of things in the during phase.
Allan: Yeah, exactly.
James: Yeah. So you capture them, nurture them. I’m a huge fan of emails. Well, it’s come up a number of times in in the last few podcast episodes. We recorded one with an email software provider who’s doing a million dollars a month selling an email capture system. That was with Nathan Barry from ConvertKit. And then before that, I was speaking to Ryan Levesque, and he still thinks email’s King Kong. I know that that is the conversion device that turns my prospects into customers, it’s the email. So big tip there, email is not going anywhere in the short term.
What about we kind of kind of went through three boxes there – lead capture, lead nurturing and sales conversion strategy. What if email is not your sales conversion strategy? I imagine for some people, especially depending on the business, it might still be over the telephone. Is that still the case?
If you’re not using email…
Allan: Yeah. And that’s probably, I mean, depending on what service or product I’m selling. So certainly for higher-ticket items. And you actually bring up a good point, because I get a lot of people who come to me and say, all right, how do I automate all of my sales? And yes, there are really cool tools for automation, so I think both you and I use Ontraport. There are other tools like ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign and others.
And I don’t like to think of marketing automation, I like to think of marketing leverage, because all of those tools, yes, they serve the purpose of helping you with automation and helping you sort sift and screen prospects. But at the end of the day, especially if I’m selling a high-ticket item, the point of my emails and my email sequences is to get somebody on a phone call and make sure before we get on a phone call that they’re actually qualified, that they understand the price and they understand what’s involved in all of that.
And then when we get on a call, it’s essentially, it’s not like a cold call where they ask, “OK, what’s this about? They’ve probably already read my book, they know what I’m about. They know the process. They know how much everything costs, and really the phone call is just about, “Hey, are we a good fit for each other?”
So rather than completely automating the whole funnel, and you can absolutely automate the whole thing, but usually it’s for lower-end products. But if you’ve got any kind of high-ticket item or service, it’s likely that you’re going to want people to get on the phone and have a chat about whether it’s a good fit. And if it is, they become a client. And it’s a very natural sales process. So it takes a lot of the pre-screening out of it, but it’s not fully automated. It’s highly leveraged, but it’s not just put on automation.
James: Yeah, it’s, true. From my own experience, I have a heavy amount of automation on the front part of my marketing, and a lot of people do buy through that. But I will say that some people jump out of the automation and into a more manual but still via email process for SuperFastBusiness. When it comes to SilverCircle, nobody’s joining that unless they speak to me. That’s definitely a phone call, and quite often face-to-face. I might have met someone at a conference or in real life, what’s that, “IRL”? In real life. That’s still a great medium.
I’ve just got a custom bookshelf measured up yesterday. This guy called Bruce came around and I met him face-to-face and then he sent over his quote and we had a chat and I’ve ordered this. But that was a that’s a real old school industry, where they have to come out and measure up for custom work, joinery etc. And that business can do really well if they blend some of these elements, if they have a strong search engine presence, if they can send good email if they can get to a phone call quickly, make a face-to-face appointment and then follow up via email.
So using a bunch of different media channels and marketing you know, we’ve got face-to-face, telephone and email in that chain, but it’s a short transaction if you do it properly. I think the whole thing took 24 hours.
What automation can do
Allan: Yeah, and I love that you can use automation to just sort out, like a lot of the clients I deal with, sometimes lead flow is not actually their problem. Their problem is dealing with a lot of tire kickers, a lot of people who are just, you know, not ready to buy or just interested in more information or whatever.
And having an automation system can keep those people in the funnel, keep them interested, keep them motivated. And then when they are ready to buy, that’s when it moves down the pipeline. Because anyone can sell to someone who’s ready to buy right now. Someone’s ready to buy a car or house or anything, anything right now, we all know the process. OK, great. You’re ready to buy? Well, here’s the process – fill in this form or sign up here or whatever else.
Where people have a lot of trouble is being able to keep prospects warm for six months, 12 months, 18 months, or move them through the cycle until they’re ready to buy. And I’ve had people on my mailing list for years before they’ve ever done any kind of business with me. The vast majority probably never will. But, you know, it’s interesting that if you have a process where you can keep prospects warm for a long time, then you’re going to have a much, much easier time than if you have to deal with every Tom, Dick and Harry who’s asking questions and really not ready to buy.
James: Yeah, I like to move people into the correct treatment from the homepage of my website, depending on where they’re at, like what challenge they’re having, what size their business is. They’re going to get moved into the right process. And there’s three very different areas that they could go to.
But one thing that we have done is what I call Own the Racecourse, and that is to stay in touch with people who are in each category here. They might be a prospect, they might be in the buying window, they might be a current customer. Or they might be an ex-customer who is still staying in touch and getting updates and news.
For example, when we finish this recording, we’re going to manually broadcast that to our database. And somebody will listen to this and think, gosh, you know, Allan could help me with my marketing or James could help me with my business. And they might take the next step and end up taking a transactional sort of email that ends up with a conversation that ends up into a purchase. So that’s how that works, by serving those three groups on a consistent basis.
We’re sort of stepping into the last part, the after, and one of those steps is how you deliver world-class experience. Easy to say those words, but what does that actually mean in translation for executing on them?
Allan: Yeah, it is. You’re absolutely right. It is easy to say and difficult to do. Very often, we think transactionally, and you know, I even catch myself doing that sometimes. And really, we need to be thinking much longer term. And the reason for that is because someone who becomes a raving fan is far, far more valuable than just somebody who’s giving you money. So someone who’s giving you money and becomes a raving fan is hugely more valuable because they turn into, I guess, if you’re going to use a corporate term, net promoters. So some people know the NPS, the net promoter score.
So there’s promoters, there’s passives, and there’s detractors. And you want someone who’s going to be a promoter of your business, a raving fan, someone who’s conspiring for your success. So those people are the people who will really propel your business forward, because they’re more than just a transaction, they’re more than just dollars in the bank, they’re positive energy and they’re bringing other referrals back through into your business.
James: Right. So you’re basically moving past just processing people and becoming a little more intimate.
Allan: Very much so, very much so. And it’s about sometimes creating a little bit of theater around your product and service. It’s around helping people in noble and unexpected ways. It’s about also using technology just to reduce friction. So many times people will use technology that actually increases the friction, you know?
So like, it’s funny, there was a restaurant we used to visit on a very regular basis – beautiful food by the beach, they had a wood log fireplace, and they always had this credit card machine that was broken. It was a really high-end place, but they even kind of gave up and just had a tatty handwritten note stuck there saying sorry, payWave doesn’t work, you’ll need to Insert your card.
And I was thinking to myself, you know, here, this business that has got so much right about their customer experience, they’ve got beautiful food, they’ve got a beautiful location, they’ve got all of these things, and here they’re using technology that’s actually creating friction, rather than reducing friction. And it’s creating friction in one of the most important parts for them, is the part where they get paid. And they’re introducing a whole bunch of friction.
James: I went to buy something recently, and they said, Oh, sorry, you have to insert. And then the assistant said, “Will that be OK?” I said, “Yeah. What do you mean?” He goes, “Oh, well, people are so used to payWave now that we’ve had a lot of people today not be able to remember their pin numbers and they couldn’t actually complete their purchase.
James: Yeah, this is for under $100. What an interesting one. Now, on a similar note, with restaurants while we’re at it, how could someone be offering world class service if they’re working at McDonald’s?
“It comes down to really knowing who your customer is.”
Allan: McDonald’s is a business that is all about cheap food and consistent food. And they do offer a world class service. If you want good, cheap, clean food, generally speaking, McDonald’s is the place to go. And I should know, I used to work at McDonald’s. So I still have the little badge with the “Allan” on it. And you know, I wasn’t flipping burgers at McDonald’s, because that would have been the job I would have got had I got promoted. I was actually in the in the back cleaning out the grease vats. Anyway, that’s a story for another day. But again, it comes down to really knowing who your customer is. McDonald’s knows who their customer is. They know what their customer wants, which is food served really quickly and cheaply and consistently. So they’re probably never going to win gourmet awards. And they’re probably never going to win health awards. But that’s not what they are in business for.
James: Yeah. No, I specifically asked you that because I did spy the McDonald’s badge and I wanted to see if you’re going to have any conniptions on the show.
So once you’ve got the customer, you can actually increase their value. How do you do that?
How to increase customer value
Allan: You increase their value through the ability to service them better. Because sometimes, something that’s right for a customer today is not going to be right for them in six months or 12 months’ time. An example of that is like, for example, in internet service. So today, it might be really fast and good and everything like that. And then new technology comes out, you’ve got services like Dropbox, cloud services, all of that sort of stuff. Netflix has come out, all of these things. And suddenly the internet that used to be pretty good is now not good enough.
Now if my ISP isn’t keeping up with me and isn’t keeping in touch with me on a regular basis to see, am I satisfied with my service? Is it doing what I need it to do? Are they providing enough volume and frequency? Then I’m probably going to have a churn event at some stage. I’m going to get sick of this really slow internet, I’m going to think, let me start shopping around for other ISPs in my area or whatever else.
So very often, we forget that even though somebody may be a very satisfied customer or client or patient today, that that may not be the case in two months, six months, three months’ time. And you’ve really got to keep in touch with your existing clients. And that’s part of creating a world-class experience as well.
James: Something you talked about in the book that I don’t think I’ve seen in many places, and I’ve read quite a lot of books, is the polluted revenue and the unequal dollar. I really liked that part where you split up your customers into different classifications. Because I suspect, you know, your average business is probably treating most customers about the same when it hits the spreadsheet or when they do their profit and loss once a year for their tax return, even if they’re up to date. But you’ve split it out into a couple of groups with some pretty cool names. So I’m not sure if you want to share that. But I thought it was very interesting.
The four types of revenue
Allan: I’ll be happy to share that. And just to give full credit, this is something that I first heard from Richard Tripp. I think he was someone who worked a lot with the guys at Infusionsoft. So the concept is basically that, you know, all dollars are not equal. There’s polluted revenue. And there’s a few different types of revenue.
So there’s the tribe, and that’s kind of the raving fans that we were talking about. They’re the supporters, the cheerleaders, the people who promote your business actively and just conspiring for your success. That’s the really healthy revenue that we want, and that’s the revenue that we want to go after.
Then there’s what’s called the churners. Now, the churners, they really can’t afford you, right? So they can’t afford to do business with you, but maybe because you’ve pushed them a little bit hard with marketing or, you know, the sale has been a little bit aggressive, they kind of buy. And they will often leave pretty quickly, and you’ll end up in your business having a churn flu. So you’ll have so many people churning out and then coming back in, and it’s usually a result of heavy discounting or overhyped promises and things like that.
Then there’s the group we call the vampires and unlike the churners, the vampires, they can afford you. But you just can’t afford them. Because these are people who just take up so much time and so much energy, they’re always wanting to speak to the CEO of the company, or get some special attention or treatment. And they’re usually rude to your staff and your support people. So these are people that just suck the life out of your business, like vampires.
And then the fourth type is what’s known as the snow leopard. And these are big and beautiful customers. So they might account for like, 50 percent of your revenue. They can be that big whale of a client. And the problem with those is they’re very difficult to replicate. So they’re very difficult to get another one of those kind of clients. And they take up a lot of time, so your team spends a lot of time servicing them. And they may be really great to work with and everything like that, but they’re a poor investment just because they’re so rare and they just don’t represent a really good growth strategy in your business.
“Not all dollars are equal.”
So they were the four main types of revenue that you have in your business. And the takeaway is that not all dollars are equal. So dollars from a tribe member are much more valuable than dollars from a churner or a vampire.
James: Yeah, that’s really good. I mean, I’m all for segmentation and understanding what’s going on at a deeper level in the business. It’s really helpful.
“Someone who’s part of the tribe and very happy might be able to refer someone else.”
At the end of all of this is the idea that someone who’s part of the tribe and very happy might be able to refer someone else, because that’s a really good, trusted marketing channel. They know what it’s all about. They’re happy with the service and the supply. How can you actually improve the number of referrals that you get? Because I’m pretty sure a lot of business owners are leaving it up to complete chance.
Where do referrals come from?
Allan: Yeah, so that gets into the last part of the one-page marketing plan canvas, and that’s where referrals come in. And it’s funny – in Australia, at least, there’s a term saying, you know, don’t rely on a free lunch, or there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Right? So, and, you know, when you get, just given a referral, that’s fantastic. It’s kind of the equivalent of a free kick or a free lunch or whatever. And sure, we take that, but most people are not orchestrating and stimulating referrals.
And a lot of my thinking on that has been shaped by Dean Jackson. So, he talks a lot about orchestrating and stimulating referrals, and a lot of it is around just simply asking. A lot of people are very uncomfortable about asking for referrals. And a lot of the time they’re uncomfortable asking referrals because they don’t want to seem desperate, they don’t want to seem like they’re beggars or the businesses is not doing well. But if you frame it in a way where you know it’s actually you doing them a favor, then it’s something that can be incredibly powerful.
So if you think about your referral strategy and actually come up with an actual plan for creating referrals in your business. it can be incredibly, incredibly powerful.
James: So what’s an example of how you could do that?
Allan: An example is your book, James. You’ve got an awesome book there right?
James: Thank you.
Allan: And I absolutely mean that. I read it and I loved it. So that’s a hugely powerful tool to create referrals for people. So if you wanted referrals, you can give your book to someone to give to someone else, right? So you could give your accountant a stack of 100 of your books and tell them, look, give a copy of my book to any of your favorite clients. Now, when they do that, they’re doing that for the reason because they want to look good. So when your accountant gives a book to one of their clients, they look good because they are giving something of very great value to their client. And that’s got referrals all built through it. I mean, they read your book, they’ll see your URL, they’ll see what kind of services that you offer. And, you know, they’ll enter your marketing funnel. So it’s a very, very powerful way of creating referrals by giving your market something to give to their market.
James: Yeah, that is a great idea. You know, something that I’ve done with SilverCircle is I send out the book of course, and send out a hoodie which has got a very discreet circle logo on it. It doesn’t say SilverCircle, it doesn’t have writing all over the back of the hoodie. Those overly promotional ones, you know, I don’t wear those ones, because I don’t want to be a walking billboard. I’m a very discreet person.
That’s like a secret code or a tribe, and I can’t help but think when SilverCircle members wear that hoodie to an event or something, that they are reminded of it and it’s top of mind. So I’m just helping them stay connected with the source, being right where they are. Because that’s kind of the uniform in our industry these days, mine anyway, is hoodies. You know, if it’s a cold climate.
And so that’s a great example, giving away the books. I know so when you sent me your book, you sent a couple. Of course, I’m not going to read two of the same book, so I have to give the book to someone else. So I’ve already deployed it out there into the universe, and it’s a very clever strategy.
And I Imagine if you get books in bulk, it’s actually one of the lower-cost strategies if you get the right type of customers. Because you’re obviously sending it to highly qualified people in the first place. And accountants are great business referrers, because they know everything about a business. They know who’s profitable, they know who’s got the right business model, etc. So I also think it would help them if their customers are profitable and planning their marketing properly.
Allan: Yeah, exactly. That’s it. That’s 100 percent, right. And you’re absolutely right. I never send a single book, I always send them in pairs. So one for the person, and one for the person to give away, because it does create referrals, but it also makes that person look good to whoever they’re giving the book, because they’re giving something of value.
And we’re actually testing a campaign right now with my team to see if we can make book giveaways essentially self-liquidating. So, can we give away 100 books and have it become cost neutral, essentially, because of some of the bulk orders that it creates, or some of the referrals that it creates. So we’re testing that right now, and I think we’re close to getting to that point.
James: I know it’s possible because I’ve worked with a client before who had a goal, I think it was to give away 10,000 books, or maybe it was even more. And they were definitely cash flow positive. The upsell was to invite people to an event, and the conversions from the events would more than pay for the books. So they were on a mass scale. They would actually give the book away. Not one of those pretend book giveaways, you know, free book plus shipping. They were like, free book and free shipping – an actual, no bullshit free book offer, which is unheard of.
I know I’m a bit cynical about that one, but I do think people get suckered into that.
Allan: No, you’re right, you’re right. And that’s exactly what we’re testing right now. Can we give the book away completely free including printing, shipping, everything like that, and have it be a positive cash flow thing? Because if we can do that, we can give away thousands of them. And that’s what I absolutely intend to do because I feel like this book is the missing manual when you’re starting your business in terms of marketing, and I want to get it out there as far and wide as possible.
James: I had a client – this is an interesting one – I had a client give away free samples of a product. It was absolutely free, free sample, free shipping, until one of those giveaway sites got a hold of it and put it on. So all these really not very well-qualified prospects were applying for the free samples in such quantity, I think the number was staggering, it was like 65,000. And they just couldn’t send it out in the end. So that was a tough lesson.
I’d be happy if someone said, Look, the book’s 10 cents and you pay for shipping. But free plus shipping. I don’t know. I don’t want to rant about it.
Allan: The shipping price is usually well more than the actual shipping.
James: Oh, definitely, you know, it definitely covers their costs or liquidates. It’s an interesting discussion I think the main point, look, both you and I have books, and that is, it’s really a step up in terms of what options you’ve got for marketing your business, especially if you want to attract really good quality customers. I get the greatest customers. I’ve just looked at my stats, actually, year to date, from January to end of June, and the numbers this year are just fantastic. And I have to say, a lot of it has to do with putting out a book in December and now going on to Audible. And I just want to publicly thank you, Allan, for some of the guidance you’ve given me around the book publishing and Audible publishing, tips behind the scenes, you know, when we have our private catch-ups. It’s definitely been appreciated and I want to give you some acknowledgement for that.
Yeah, really good to see someone doing well with that. And I hope you have continued success on Amazon. I know we’ve given a really good overview, but I would recommend getting the book and working the plan. I think the beauty of it is, you don’t have to do a course on the five P’s of marketing and spend 20 hours going through building out some elaborate marketing document in Word. It’s just one page. You really could fill it out fairly quickly. How long do you think it would take to do a first pass of it if you were just starting on it fresh?
A 30-minute marketing plan
Allan: Yeah, so I designed the one-page marketing plan for someone to be able to fill that out in about 20 to 30 minutes. And I wanted it to be a living document, because I didn’t want someone to create a plan and then shove it in their top drawer like I did when I was running my first business.
When I was writing the book, I seriously envisioned that my client would have the one-page marketing plan and then just pin it up on the notice board in their office or have it sitting on their desk or whatever, because I wanted it to be a living document and one that wasn’t so intimidating. I mean, when you think of a marketing plan and if it’s only one page, it’s kind of like, all right, well, you know, let’s fill it in. Let’s just do it, right? Whereas if you’re thinking of a multi-step, super long marketing plan with graphs and all sort of stuff, and I’ve seen marketing and business planning software, you open it, and your eyes just water and you think, forget this, like, just get on with my business. Whereas this, I wanted to be something that someone could do in 15, 20, 30 minutes, and then they’ve got a very comprehensive direct response marketing plan that they could literally pin up in their office or have sitting on their desk.
James: Perfect. Yeah, that’s the thing. I think even the exercise of going through the steps will help you think about your business in a way that most business owners haven’t really sat down and spent the time on. In a half an hour, who could argue with that being a good return on investment.
Allan: Yeah, indeed.
James: So Allan, thank you so much for coming and sharing your thoughts and philosophies and, you know, your experience from restaurateur right through to successful author and coach. You’ve got a website there at Successwise.com, and I should spell Allan – it’s A, double-L, A, N. It’s a slightly different spelling of Allan than some of the other Alans out there. Your unique point of difference is really shining through in every aspect. Allan Dib, thanks for sharing with us.
Allan: James, it was a genuine pleasure.
James: All right. Well, that was Episode 596, we’ve been talking about the one-page marketing plan with Allan Dib, and you can grab the book on Amazon, I recommend it. Or Audible. And get into it, get your marketing cranked up. And I look forward to catching up with you on a future episode.
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