Andrew: Now this week, our topic is where to find your best prospects. We will share some of our best strategies and tips there for finding prospects both online and offline.
Well, so of course have our usual question from clients coming up, a great tip of the week, an inspiration from the week, and then a brief intro to our next show.
Now, so for today Kenny, we are talking about where to find your best prospects. The reason I think this is important is because whatever business you’re in, you know your best prospects are out there somewhere. Now there may only be a handful of them or there may be thousands of them.
We’ve discussed the challenge of cutting through the noise to get their attention once you found them, right? How to craft the right messages to appeal to them, how to get them to be engaged by your website and take the right next steps. But how do you find them in the first place? This is obviously the critical first step, isn’t it?
Kenny: It is, absolutely. It’s just so important that you choose the right places, what we call channels, the right channels to market because if you don’t, if you spend money or you spend time and energy on the wrong channels, you could target the wrong people, which could totally waste your time, money and energy. You need to be where your target audience congregates and where they’re active.
Andrew: There are so many ways to try to do this. Of course there are the very old styles of print advertising, TV advertising, radio advertising where you’re blasting out your message and hoping you’re reaching some small percentage of the right people.
But these days, there are so many ways to make it so much more targeted. I’m going to start by talking about some of my preferred ways to reach prospects, which of course is online.
Kenny, I know you’ve got some ideas to share about some offline strategies as well. So what I would like to say first is find out if your ideal prospects would actually be searching for you online.
This is my favourite place to find them because if they are looking for you online, you can leverage tremendous automation and scale compared to say cold calling or going out and doing in-person networking.
When you’re cold calling or cold emailing, you are just trying to reach people who you think might fit the right profile and hope that some small percentage of them actually care about what you have to say right now, and that’s just a very small numbers game.
It’s tough to really make that work unless you’ve got a tremendous volume of cold calling happening. So the reason I like online and finding people who are searching for you is because obviously they’ve got you in mind now. They’ve got a problem now that you can help solve and if you can reach them, when they’re looking for a solution, that’s 100 times more powerful than cold calling.
That just is impossible with traditional advertising. You can’t target like that with TV, radio, magazines and newspapers. But online gives you that power.
So how do you start to see this? How do you see if this can actually work for you? Well, the first place I would encourage you to go is to the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. Now this is a free tool that you can access through the Google AdWords interface. You just need to sign up for a free account. It’s very quick and easy.
Once you’re there, you can type in some of the things that you think your prospects might enter into a Google search box when they’re looking for your solutions or when they’re trying to solve their problems that your business can solve.
Once you do that, this tool gives you hundreds of related ideas other searches, variations on those searches, that might apply to your prospects, that are very, very tightly related.
Then it gives you a wealth of data for those searches. It will show you how many searches per month people in the US or worldwide are performing for those particular search types.
It will give you a sense of the competition, how many advertisers are actually out there trying to show ads to people performing those searches and how much are they willing to pay for those ads.
Sometimes it can seem scary if you look at that and think, “Oh my gosh, people are spending that much on advertising. It’s way too competitive. I shouldn’t get in there.” But also think about the fact that if they’re spending that much on advertising, it’s probably because there’s money to be made in that space. That could be a great indication that your ideal prospects are out there searching on those terms.
Finally, the search volume itself can tell you so much. If you type in a few phrases that you think they may be searching on and you see the hundreds of other ideas that Google comes back with and the volume is in the thousands or tens of thousands of monthly searches, that gives you a pretty good indication that your target prospects are out there. They’re searching for you and therefore you can reach them online. This is just fantastic data to be armed with to have some confidence when you go out for starting your own search campaigns.
Kenny: It’s just so powerful, isn’t it, that we have that data at our fingertips? I remember when I first started in search engine optimisation and there was data out there. There were tools like Wordtracker that kind of collated some level of data and then some friends of mine, a guy called Dan Raine, created what – I think he called it something like G Trends.
What he did is he used Google Trends because – let me just get this right. I think it was about 2007 or something that they launched this keyword tool. Before then, it was pretty much a guessing game and so what he did, Dan Raine, is Google Trends was out at that point. What he did is he would measure. He knew how much getting to number one spot in Google, what traffic would get for a certain key term. He knew that because he was number one spot in different key terms.
So what he would then do is if he had a – if he made a search in Google Trends, it would basically give him a line as to where that trend was in comparison to his other keyword, because you could put two keywords in there.
Then he would measure the distance and through that, he was able to kind of estimate the kind of traffic he would get. Then all of a sudden, Google said, “You know what? We’re going to give this information away for free,” and it was just life-changing for anyone out there who was in digital marketing.
Andrew: Yeah. There are a number of tools that can really help you with that. Another tool I really like for this is called SEMrush. It does something similar to what you’re talking about, that your colleague did there. It actually goes out and estimates search volume and then estimates how much you’re getting to your particular site.
What you can do there, it’s very powerful. Enter any competitive site that you want. Put in your top five competitors and the tools show you all the keywords and search terms that are leading people to that site and the volume of those search terms.
So again it’s a great way to get a sense of how much traffic there is for your ideal prospects out there.
Andrew: Now another way I want to recommend looking at this is especially if you’re a B to B consultant, is the power of using LinkedIn because that can be another great avenue for reaching your prospects. I know a lot of people know about this. They think they should be using LinkedIn but may not really know how or may not have tried.
So I just want to give you a very easy thing you can do here that depending on your industry can be extremely powerful. If you go to LinkedIn, log into your account and go to the search terms of the search field to search for your industry, your profession, the profession of your prospects rather, the titles of the prospects that you’re looking for, LinkedIn will return a huge number of search results that you can then continue to filter down based on geography or anything else you may be looking at.
But then there’s the key. You can get that information perhaps a lot of different ways but here’s what makes LinkedIn so powerful. Once you found some good prospects that really hit your ideal demographics, now it’s completely different from cold calling. You don’t just send them a cold email and try to introduce yourself. Instead you find someone in your LinkedIn network who can make an introduction for you.
That is so much more powerful. You get a personal introduction to your prospect. That’s a hundred times more powerful than just a cold call from someone who they don’t know.
Now, best is if you can find a first level connection between the two of you, someone who knows both of you. But I found that even second level connections can work great because people are happy to make introductions if they see it can be mutually beneficial.
Now in a sense, this is still a cold call because those prospects may not need your service right now. They may not be hoping that someone like you contacts them. But even if the timing isn’t right, right now, by doing this, by getting that personal introduction, you just might end up planting a seed that can sprout in the future; some day when they do have a need for your service and they will remember that personal introduction.
Even today, when there is so much we can do online, so much we can do remotely, so much we can do anonymously, I would say there is even more value than in the past in getting that personal introduction, because it really sets you apart.
That’s what LinkedIn can do for you in a way that no other tool can. So I really recommend giving that a try, especially again if you’re a B to B consultant.
Kenny: Yeah, that’s great. If you’re absolutely desperate to get in touch with that person, you notice that you will have no connections with them, no first level or second level connections with them. A sneaky little trick is to see what groups they are connected with. Join that group. Try and get involved in that group a little bit. Answer a few questions in there and add value to the group and then contact that person, because you can actually message them for free if you were in the same group as a person. That’s an unknown fact. I didn’t know until Mark Williams, Mr. LinkedIn, told me that.
So message them and say, “Hey, I’m in this group with you and I just thought I would connect,” and then go from there. It’s not as warm as going through a connection. That’s as warm as you’re going to get. But it’s still a lot warmer than cold connecting with them.
Andrew: Well, it is. I mean suddenly you have something in common. You’re sharing this group. I mean it may seem small but it’s so much more – again, so much more powerful than just cold calling or cold emailing out of the blue with no reason for other than the fact that you’re hoping for business.
So just being in the group, you get to say, “Hi. We are in this group together and I thought I would talk to you or mention or maybe be interested in X, Y and Z.” That’s fantastic.
Kenny: That’s right. Now what I would like to talk today – what I would like to talk about today is strategic alliances because these can be made both online and offline. As you know, because I spoke about strategic alliances when we shared the stage recently at MIT, Andrew.
I managed to grow one of my previous businesses which was called Domain Face from zero members to 50,000 members in just 18 months by integrating and setting up a strategic alliance with a bigger business in my field that was called Market Samurai and we were able to sell that business just two years from conception, which was really, really powerful.
So what exactly – when I’m talking about strategic alliances, what do I mean by the term? How do I refer to the term? Well, I say it’s a person or a business with a ready-made target audience, so they’ve already got that target audience that you’re looking to attract.
That target audience already know, already like and already trust them and even better than that, they’re willing to introduce you to their audience. These can range massively from complementary services. So when I say complementary services, I’m thinking – think about who already services your target audience but isn’t in direct competition.
So for example, I’ve got a business finance broker friend and he has strategic alliances with accountants, with lawyers, with insolvency practitioners, because his target audience are small businesses and accountants, lawyers and insolvency practitioners play a really high role on knowing what’s going on in the small business finance departments, which is really relevant to him.
There’s – you could actually have competitors that you have a strategic alliance with. So for example, in information marketing, you get groups of competitors who produce products at different points in the year. Yet when each – one of them produces a product, they all promote it to their audience and they get a commission for each one they sell, which is great because instead of me just selling my own products to my audience now, because I’m information marketing and producing maybe a product once a year and getting that one payment, I now get paid whenever I promote anyone else’s product to the same list.
So it works in certain markets like information marketing. It works really, really well.
You can find affiliate marketers out there and these tend to be like bloggers who blog in your space and they write blogs about products and services and you may want them to write a blog about your service and then again pay them a commission for every lead you get or every deal you get.
Associations, groups, like forum groups, so again online and offline groups here, find out who the leaders are and who controls those groups and see where we can strike up a strategic alliance, because it’s not just all about incentivising them financially, which you can do. You can do pay-per-lead, pay-per-deal or even pay-per-landing page per se, if you want to get really sophisticated.
But it’s about adding value to their audience and you will find some strategic allies who don’t want to take a commission. They see it as, at some level, unethical. But they will be willing to introduce you to their audience for free because they see your service or products or the way you roll out your service or product as highly beneficial to their audience.
Like I say, you can do lots of different ways of incentivising them, pay per lead, pay per deal, or you can do straight swap referrals, which I know my friend there was mentioning earlier, the business finance broker. That’s what he does. He does straight swap referrals.
Andrew: So if I could summarise this in my own way of thinking about it Kenny, it really sounds like what you’re doing is as opposed to going out and trying to find new prospects one at a time, through whatever channels including some of the online search marketing I’m talking about, you’re going out and finding people in groups that have already aggregated a bunch of your ideal prospects together into their audience and then trying to find a way to reach their audience by partnering with them in some way.
Kenny: Absolutely. That’s exactly what I did with my business. We had a complementary service. Market Samurai introduced their audience to our service and a certain percentage of those took them up on that. Market Samurai added more value to their audience by doing so and took a certain percentage of our proceeds in the process.
Andrew: And you’re happy to pay that percentage with tens of thousands of new customers.
Kenny: Yeah, because I didn’t have to risk any outlay. There was no money outlaid in that transaction. They sent me very, very targeted traffic for free and we converted that traffic and then rewarded Market Samurai for doing so.
Andrew: Yeah, fantastic.
Andrew: What happened at the end there? Didn’t you also do something else with that company at the end?
Kenny: Yeah, we sold that business within two years of starting the business. So it’s a very, very good deal.
Andrew: That’s what could happen through the right strategic alliance.
Kenny: Exactly, exactly. So I would highly recommend that because it works both well online and offline.
Andrew: Well, great. Thanks for that Kenny and now, we’re going to move on to our question from clients for the week. This week, the question we’re answering is, “How can I figure out if running an AdWords campaign to find my best prospects will actually be worthwhile for my business?”
I get that question all the time. I focus a lot on AdWords campaigns and obviously before, new clients are going to want to spend a lot of money on AdWords. They would like to know if it’s going to work. I would say a couple of things about this.
First, sometimes it’s obvious that it won’t work. If you are highly, highly specialised, if you already know the six companies in the world that whatever buy your widget or never pay for your services, then you have no need to advertise, right? There’s no one else you’re trying to reach.
But if your market is bigger than that, if you don’t know where they are, you need to try to reach them in different ways and you think that they may be searching for your type of solution online, then there’s really only one way to find out. You have to test. You have to approach paid advertising including Google AdWords as a test vehicle, because every business is unique.
You have your own unique target markets, your own unique offers, unique features of your business, unique benefits, other differentiators that are unique about you and the way you go about delivering your product or service. That’s going to make you different. It’s going to make your appeal different.
So the only way to know whether paid advertising can really work for you, in your specific case, is to try it out. Plus competition comes and goes and evolves over time. There may be massive competition today and none tomorrow or vice versa. That’s going to change dramatically, your ability to get AdWords to work for you.
So the only way to know this is to go out there and test it and to test it, you really need just two things. You need a high quality landing page where this paid traffic can go and have their first experience with your company and your offer. We covered everything about landing pages in episode number eight and you need a high quality AdWords campaign to actually put the right ads in front of people, put them in front of people who are searching for the right terms.
We touched on that in episode number 10. So if this is something you want to pursue, I highly encourage you to go back and take a listen to episodes number eight and episodes number ten.
Once you have those two things in place, then you need to mentally and emotionally and financially commit the right time and money. You need to commit at least three months because for most small businesses, it takes that long to collect statistically significant data and to be able to run several rounds of analysis and refinement before you can even get to a point where you can project your long term results and your long term return on investment.
You will need to commit at least $2000 or $10,000 on ad click spending depending on your market and it may sound like a lot, three months, $2000, $10,000. But I will say that if the market is truly poor for you, you will know fairly quickly and you can stop sooner than that. If the market looks promising, you will need to take a little more time to really flesh it out and see what the long term prospects can be.
As I said, it really does take that experimental mindset. There’s no guarantee. Every business is different. So you have to test and see. If you would like to learn more about this or get some help getting started, this is what I specialise in. So feel free to contact me through the MagneticConsultant.com website and I would be happy to see if I can help a little further.
Now, Kenny, you have the tip of the week this week. What did you want to share?
Kenny: Yeah. I wanted to share a website and I remember again I mentioned this on stage at MIT last week and I just thought I would share it today because it’s so relevant with what we’re talking about. It’s called SimilarWeb.com and it’s a website that, as they say, allows you to get insights on any website or app.
So if you’re kind of trying to guess where your – where one of your competitors are getting their traffic from, then SimilarWeb can give you some really good insights as to where their traffic sources are.
So it will tell you how much traffic they get direct, how much comes from referrals, how much comes from SEO, from search engines, how much comes from social. It also tells you what – if it’s a global business, it will tell you what countries it’s getting most of its traffic from. We will split that down into percentages.
But it will also – when I said referring sites before, it will show you some of those referring sites like the top 10 referring sites, which is really powerful as well.
So if your competitor is getting a lot of traffic from a certain number of sites, then it’s down to you then to sort of like work out why that is. Why are they getting traffic from those sites? So I tested it out on Entrepreneur.com and we saw that most of the referrals traffic for that site came from Feedly.com.
So if you were in competition with Entrepreneur.com, you would want to ensure that you’re on Feedly.com and make sure that your feed, your RSS feed was on there, so that you were starting to get that traffic as well.
But it also shows you where they’re sending traffic to as well, the destination site, so where people are clicking the most from, in this case, Entrepreneur.com. It showed a couple of different kind of curveballs really. There’s Alison.com and Udemy.com, which are online training course websites.
So you’ve got to try and work out. Why would Entrepreneur.com send them so much traffic? Well, it’s probably because they’re making revenue from them. So if Entrepreneur.com was one of your competitors, then you may want to kind of work out how they’re making revenue because that might be a new way of you generating more revenue for your website.
Also it shows you display advertising as well. So where is Entrepreneur.com advertising? What networks, ad networks, are they using to advertise? It gave here the top one. It was Outbrain.com. So again, you as – if that was one of your competitors, if Entrepreneur.com was one of your competitors, then it would be worth you investigating Outbrain.com as somewhere where you could display your ads.
Then it also shows you similar sites to your competitors that you can do even deeper research as well. So just a little tip there. I just thought it’s a nice, relevant concept, a nice, relevant website that people can use for free straight away today.
Andrew: I like that because it can really help you leverage what others have done well to quickly grow your prospect base.
Andrew: So the whole idea is you find a competitor who you think is doing the right things and then you can study what they’re doing and figure out, “How can I apply this to my business and take advantage of some of the same channels?”
Kenny: Yeah, and we love spying. It’s just human nature. Most of us love being able to spy, especially on our competitors.
Andrew: It’s human nature and it’s a great way to try to ramp up quickly and I assure you that if you get to – if your business gets to a point where it’s a market leader, others will be spying on you and obviously you can only go so far by imitating what your competitors are doing. There’s also a lot to be said for innovation, but there’s nothing wrong with observing best practices and learning from it and seeing how you can build your business based on it.
Kenny: Correct. Why reinvent the wheel every day? Definitely be innovative but at the same time, try and see what’s already working for other people and just do it better.
Andrew: That’s right. Great. Well, thanks for that tip Kenny, and finally the inspiration of the week. So this week, I was inspired by something I saw right around the turn of the new year and I don’t remember now actually. Maybe I even saw this from you Kenny, because I know you also talked about this when we presented at MIT.
It was a great little blog post called Forget Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead.
Kenny: That was on Entrepreneur.com.
Andrew: And you talked about how it got so much traffic and why just based on the headline because of the curiosity, because of playing into our sense of pain and pleasure. It’s a great headline and it caught my attention because obviously New Year’s time, everyone is – or a lot of people go about saying their New Year’s resolutions. I stopped doing that a number of years ago just because I didn’t feel like setting goals based on an arbitrary point in the calendar was really the most effective way to do it.
But I still set a lot of goals for myself and that can – that’s always very challenging. You meet some goals. You fall short of others. You’re constantly struggling to find ways to better achieve your goals and the purpose of this article was to say, “You know what? Shift your mindset from that entirely. Instead of setting goals, focus on systems. That’s really the key point here.”
An example they give is an easy one to understand. If you’re a coach, your goal is to win at championship. But your system is what your team does at practice each and every day. You can start to see the difference that comes out if you’re focusing on the system instead of just the goal.
So what are some of the reasons that systems are better? Well, if you ignore your goal but focus on your system, you will still get results. But if you ignore the system and just focus on the goal, it’s going to be very hard to get results.
Working a system also brings great feelings of accomplishment and happiness right now and throughout the entire time that you’re working the system, whereas with goals, they’re structured. They’re made such that we put off feeling good about it until the goal is achieved, which might never even happen.
So why not instead focus on something that brings you daily and weekly feelings of accomplishment? Finally, you can’t control all the factors that go into whether or not you’re going to achieve your goals. A lot of it is just out of your hands. It depends on other people. It depends on other events.
But you can control your system and it’s always going to be better for you emotionally, financially for your mental health, for your happiness, to focus on what you can actually control.
From my own personal example here, my goal for several years has been to become fluent in Japanese. My wife is Japanese. We’re hoping to move there someday and I would just love to be fluent in another language and Japanese is it.
So every year, that’s still my goal and I’m getting closer but not very quickly. So reading this blog post was really an “aha” moment for me and I immediately made a switch. So instead – now, instead of just staring at that goal every week of becoming fluent in Japanese, which is a huge mountain of a goal, I’m now staring at my system and my system is to complete five hours of Japanese study every week no matter what.
I can see. I can understand now. That is what is ultimately going to get me to fluency. Not chasing an intangible mountain of a goal, but by focusing on the daily and weekly system that will get me there.
By the way, I found one really cool tool to help motivate this, if you’re trying to do something along these lines. It’s called Stickk.com and it’s a very simple tool. It lets you input your specific measurable goal. Like for me, five hours of Japanese study per week, that’s my system, and then you can actually put a financial bet on it.
So if I fail to meet that five hours in a week, I am going to be forced to give a donation of money. The really cool thing is you can choose where the money goes. So they have four categories. You can send the money to a friend, send it to an enemy. You can send it to a charity or send it to an anti-charity.
So what I did was signed up for an anti-charity. I won’t mention the name, but it’s a charity that I would never want to donate my money to. So I know that if I fail to meet my five hours of Japanese study, I’m going to have to send 10 bucks for that week to that charity that I can’t stand. That’s great motivation.
I mean even if I put it off most of the week, that last day, I’m going to get this done because I don’t want my money going to that charity. I think it’s a really cool little activity there.
Andrew: Kenny, I know that you’re a big believer in systems too. Is there anything that you would add to this?
Kenny: Yeah, there’s someone called James Schramko who has been a good mentor of mine who just builds his business around systems. I think it was him who introduced me to a book by Sam Carpenter called Work the System that I highly recommend.
Through it, Sam tells you the story of how he built his business. It’s a – like a – how would I describe his business? His business is one of those businesses that kind of – it’s a call answering service business. So if you were a small business and you need someone to take calls for you, they’re the kind of company that do it.
Anyway, he was – his health was bad. He was working 18-hour days and the business just seemed to be going nowhere. In fact, it was going backwards and he was facing bankruptcy. He was on his last legs and he was laying on his bed one night and he had an epiphany.
His epiphany was almost like a vision. He was half-asleep and he had this vision of creating systems of procedures for his business, because it just didn’t have any. It was just a complete mess, his business.
So he then decided at that moment that he was going to go into work and just work on the system and work the system of his business, and create procedures for absolutely everything even down to the point whether the procedure of how to put the toilet roll – is that what you call it in America, toilet roll?
Andrew: Toilet paper roll.
Kenny: Toilet paper, yeah. Even on how to put the toilet paper roll on properly, so that it pulls from the top and not from the bottom. He has a system for absolutely everything, so that the business works for him, not the other way around. He has manuals that he created for his business and anyone who joins that business, even if it was just a man who he pulled off the street, would be able to do pretty much any role in that business, because there’s a manual for the business. This turned his business around and now it is thriving and so is he.
Andrew: And it can work even when he’s not working on it himself, because he made it easy for other people to run it for him.
Kenny: Correct. So it now runs itself and the book is great, because it’s a story as well. So it tells you the story of his business and at the same time, he gives you the tools that you need if you want to work the system for your business.
Andrew: Kenny, this might be a great place to mention your PODE [0:34:42] [Phonetic] system. Would you like to talk about that briefly?
Kenny: Yeah. So for my – the system I use is I prioritise, I optimise and then I will delegate. So if I’ve got anything within my business, so say I’ve got something for – say I’ve got a system that needs – that I need to create, I will first of all prioritise to work out exactly what needs doing first within that procedure. Then what I will do is optimise it as much as possible, because sometimes you will notice that if you have a procedure, that you can actually remove task three and five in that procedure and still get the procedure done.
So it’s an optimised procedure made up of less tasks than it was before and then once I’ve got it into that kind of level where it’s an optimised procedure and it’s written down, that is when I will delegate it.
Andrew: That’s fantastic. That’s what gets you to a business where you can step away from it because you’ve put it together in such a way that you don’t need to be the person doing all the work all the time. Other people can do it for you and that’s where we ultimately want to get to with our systems, we want to get with our businesses. We want to get to some level of freedom like that.
Kenny: Yeah. So it’s prioritise, optimise and then what I forgot to mention before is automate. So anything that can be automated, automate it. There are lots of wonderful tools these days that you can use to automate your business.
In fact, we should do a show on automation tools and then anything that you can automate then delegate and there are lots and lots of ways of delegating these days outside of your business. There are sites like FancyHands.com which is brilliant and then there are other places if you want to have – if you want to have virtual assistants, you can employ them on places like oDesk.com or Elance.com.
That’s the final part of the whole procedure is just delegate if you can’t automate.
Andrew: Let’s do that. Let’s put together a future episode on automation tools and processes that can certainly be an entire episode by itself.
Andrew: And for next week, what do we have on tap Kenny?
Kenny: Next week, we’re going to be looking – we’ve been talking a lot about how to – this week was what channels to use to drive traffic and all of that kind of stuff. So what we really want to be talking about next is how do we measure and how do we track our results that we know that we’re going in the right direction and that we know that we’re not wasting time.
Andrew: That’s right. We want to make sure that we are spending our time on things that work and putting it in best practices. But to make sure it’s working, we’ve got to track it. So how do you do that? We will go into that in great detail next week.