I certainly didn’t and let’s face it, other than Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Bill Gates pretty much nobody else did either. Predicting the future isn’t easy.
Even Taleb and Gates, however, couldn’t tell you when it was going to happen or how the world’s governments would react to it, if and when it did strike.
So what can we learn from this?
Personally, I’ve never been a fan of long-term business planning.
How on earth can anyone predict what the world is going to be like in three years, let alone five or ten years’ time? Producing thick tomes full of spreadsheets is just a waste of time and effort.
Our world is always under the threat of the unexpected, the so-called ‘black swan’ events.*
These often devastating occurrences like 9/11, the financial crash of 2008 and now the coronavirus pandemic are difficult, if not impossible, to predict.
Their consequences seriously impact our lives forever in ways we can’t even imagine till they happen.
There are those that think that ‘big data’ will come to our rescue and enable us to predict the future more accurately, but somehow I doubt it.
The track record for predictions by so-called experts is abysmal and getting worse – think economists, financial planners and governments!
Does this mean that we should just stick our heads in the sand, cross our fingers and hope for the best?
Of course not, that would be mad. What I think is sensible and astute for all companies to prepare, however, is a crisis plan.
Crisis planning has nothing to do with trying to predict what disasters might possibly impact our businesses in the future. It has everything to do with putting in place plans for dealing with unexpected business interruptions or events.
1. Assess the risks to identify the areas in your business most vulnerable to disruption.
2. Determine the business impact of interrupted revenue streams, supply chain issues, employee challenges, communications with customers and internal staff, legal implications, etc., the list can be long, dependent on the industry.
3. Identify contingencies – how can you deal with such issues and keep the business operational.
4. Build a simple, but comprehensive plan that is easy to understand and implement.
5. Make sure your team buys into the plan and understands their roles within it.
6. Revisit the plan annually with a particular focus on new technologies that may impact solutions to improve your plan.
Then, when a ‘black swan’ hits, there are basically four stages you will need to deal with as the situation unfolds;
i. Implementation (of the plan)
Getting all your ducks in a row as quickly as possible.
ii. Reassurance (to all stake-holders)
Communicating with staff, customers, suppliers and other interested parties to keep them up to date and in tune with your planned strategy.
iii. Transition (back to the new normal)
Planning an effective route back to the status quo, if such a route exists; if it doesn’t, working out the new modus operandi.
iv. Analysis (& feedback)
Reviewing how the crisis unfolded, how your business dealt with it and the lessons learned that can be applied to future crisis planning.
It would be great if we didn’t have to face these ‘black swans’ that cause so much disruption out of the blue, but the reality is they could become more frequent. Trying to predict what will hit next is a waste of time, but having a plan in place to help manage these situations is more than just common sense.
If you would like help creating a crisis plan for your business give Alan Myers a call on 0116 278 7788 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
* The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb was first published in 2007 and discusses the impact of the highly improbable.
Your homepage is almost certainly the most visited page of your entire website.
It is absolutely vital, therefore, that visitors instantly get it – they understand what’s on offer, how it will benefit them and why they need to get in touch with you now.
If visitors don’t immediately understand, they will be out of there like a rat up a drainpipe.
Most importantly, your homepage has to communicate the essence of your business – why your company does what it does.
If your response to ‘why’ you’re in business is: “To make a profit” – you’re way off base. Making a profit is purely a result of why you do what you do.
Take Tesla for example, if Elon Musk had said:
“We make electric cars. They’re better, quicker and more fun to drive than petrol or diesel cars. Please buy one.”
How many cars would the company have sold? It probably wouldn’t have got past first base.
Instead, Musk told the world why Tesla was in business:
“We really care about doing the right things. Our mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
“We don’t advertise or pay for endorsements. Instead, we use that money to make great products. Electric vehicles, for example, that are better, quicker and more fun to drive than petrol or diesel vehicles.”
A subtle, but massive difference.
With this approach, Tesla had people queueing up to put down hefty deposits on cars that weren’t even available for 18 months or more!
Why? Because they believed in Musk’s dream of challenging the status quo and they wanted to be part of it.
And because Tesla sold a dream others wanted to be part of, the company is now able to sell not only cars but also trucks, solar panels and Powerwalls (rechargeable solar energy battery storage units).
Communicating Tesla’s ‘why’ resulted in people trusting it and becoming loyal to the brand.
So if you want to attract customers to your brand, tell them your unique story about why you’re in business.
With this approach you will appeal to people who share a similar vision and, if your products and services are good enough, they will be more than happy to sign up.
Below is the check-list to make sure your homepage appeals to your target market…
1. Tell people why you do what you do; then tell them how you do it.
2. Be clear why they should buy from you rather than your competitors.
3. Keep the navigation clear and simple.
4. Create a strong six-word headline and use subheads throughout the page.
5. Have a powerful customer testimonial or two prominent on the page.
6. Feature your latest blog post.
7. Optimise the title tag, meta details and keyword or phrase.
8. Make it easy for visitors to contact you – put two or three ‘Calls to Action’ throughout the page.
9. Make sure it’s mobile-friendly.
9.5 Make it fun. If you can’t make it fun, make it interesting. If you can’t make it interesting, shut up shop.
And if you’d like help creating a killer homepage for your website, give Alan Myers a call on 0116 278 7788 or email email@example.com
January is traditionally the time when New Year’s resolutions are made as we look forward with enthusiasm to a new year (or in this case a new decade) full of hope and exciting prospects.
For most, these resolutions are rarely realised. Why? Because day-to-day pressures take over and our good intentions are put on the back-burner or forgotten altogether.
One of the problems is 12 months is a long time to maintain the willpower required to successfully complete our resolutions.
Most resolutions fizzle out by mid-February. So, rather than battling to keep things up over 12 months, why not set goals for just one month at a time?
Not only will it keep you motivated, but you will also be able to achieve a whole lot more in the year and feel great about it to boot.
To fast-track you to a super-productive 2020 here’s a plan for the year – just adapt it to meet your own personal goals.
Setting up a morning routine is a wonderful foundation for achieving continuous improvement. Most people say they just don’t have the time in the morning to fit anything else in – in almost every case, that’s just an excuse (unless you’re already getting up at 5 am).
My morning routine starts with 20 minutes stretching and core exercises, followed by 10 minutes of inspirational reading, 10 minutes writing a journal, rounded off with a 20-minute meditation.
I started this many years ago with just 10 minutes exercising and 10 minutes of meditation. The difference it has made to my life is immense. A morning routine is incredibly beneficial, but always remember to start small and build slowly.
The benefits of a good night’s sleep are massive. Do yourself a favour and this month make absolutely certain you get at least seven hours sleep a night.
The best way to get the most out of your sleep is to rise at the same time every morning (including weekends). If you get tired during the day, you can always take a power-nap.
Modern farming methods are seriously damaging the nutritious value of the food we eat. The fertilisers, pesticides, hormones and other chemicals used to increase and speed up production are causing all sorts of maladies in our bodies.
Go organic for a month. Buy local whole foods that are in season and cut out junk or convenience foods that have little or no nutritional value.
With summer on the horizon and the days lengthening now is the ideal time to get outside and soak up the energy that nature offers us all. If only for five minutes, get outside and appreciate all that nature has to offer – listen, look, touch and taste the freshness; if nothing else, it will clear your head, re-energise you and give you a natural shot of vitamin D.
Daily meditation is a wonderful practice. Not only is it calming, but it also clears your mind and gives you the opportunity to enjoy what is, without having to think about what’s happening next.
Personally, I find first thing in the morning is the best time to meditate, but it’s whatever works for you.
The Headspace app is a great place to start and you get a FREE 10-day trial:
If you’re having procrastination issues with work, the Pomodoro Technique is a powerful and practical time management tool. Developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, the technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks.
The Pomodoro Technique teaches you to focus. Firstly by prioritising one task to focus on per Pomodoro session and secondly by motivating you to eliminate distractions.
Try it for a month and you’ll be amazed at the volume and quality of the work you will produce.
Motivational speaker Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones is famous for many things, but perhaps his main piece of wisdom concerned the importance of reading. He said:
“You will be the same person in five years as you are today, except for the people you meet and the books you read.”
Get into the habit of always having a good book on hand to read. Whether it’s work-related, personal development, an inspiring autobiography, hobby related or a ‘classic’. If you need a few ideas, check these links out:
With the weather on your side now is a great time of year to make sure you get to exercise every day. Whether it’s a regular daily walk, run or gym class, 30 to 60 minutes exercise will make you feel alive.
If you’ve not exercised for a while, be sensible, start with short, steady walks and build slowly. If that’s not possible even gentle seated exercises will be beneficial:
This month, find something genuine to compliment whoever you come in contact with throughout the day. No need to make a big deal of it, but look for something positive to say to them. It will make their day and you’ll feel great too.
Short, regular fasting has been proven to help cleanse your body so this month, try having just a small amount of fruit and water for breakfast OR lunch. On either Saturday or Sunday, you can then skip lunch altogether.
Mobile phones are wonderful tools, but it is very easy to let them dominate your life. It is impossible to listen or be with someone one hundred per cent if you are constantly checking your phone.
This month monitor your ‘screen time’ on your mobile phone; turn it off after 8 pm every evening and don’t turn it on again until you’ve completed your morning routine (see January above).
Hopefully, as the year draws to a close, you will have found these short period goals more achievable and fun. This month it’s time to look back over what you’ve achieved, what hasn’t worked and what you can do better next year.
Also, spend time this month thinking about what you’d like to achieve during the next 12 months. Then break these goals down into monthly activities. With a bit of luck, some of this year’s goals will have become habits that you love. You are likely to continue with these successes because they make you more productive and happier.
Have fun with this and let me know how you get on. I’d love to hear about your successes and ideas that could help others – email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call Alan Myers on 0116 278 7788.
If you want to grow your business, you need to start paying attention to the activities that give you the biggest return.
A small increase in the success of your marketing can have an exponential effect on your turnover. Marketing, therefore, is the lynchpin for business growth.
My favourite definition of marketing is:
“Marketing is the strategy you use to get your prospects to know you, like you and trust you enough to become customers.”
Nothing more, nothing less.
The tricky part, however, is working out what you need to do to achieve this goal.
Just because you’ve launched a new website or introduced a new product or service, don’t fall into the trap of thinking your business will just magically grow.
It doesn’t work that way.
The ‘overnight success’ is often years in the making and there’s a lot of graft that goes on in the background to ensure such successes are achieved.
So you need a plan, a marketing strategy to achieve your goals.
A marketing strategy consists of the tactics you will need to employ to move towards success. These include PR, content marketing, pay-per-click, SEO, advertising, corporate identity, social media, etc.
It is the careful planning and implementation of these specific tactics that will make or break your company’s ambitions in the marketplace.
In my book, a marketing plan needs to be kept short and simple.
Don’t get me wrong, a huge amount of thought needs to go into producing it. The document itself, however, needs to be quick and easy to understand and implement.
If it isn’t, you’re limiting its chances of success from the outset.
Here’s a clear and easy to use template for creating a workable marketing plan:
When you’re dealing with the day-to-day pressures of business it can be hard finding time to think through the process of developing a marketing plan for your business.
Often, you are so close to your business that it is almost impossible for you to have a realistic view of what you have to offer, what the market wants and how to communicate this to your prospects.
At Leapfrog Marketing, we have gained over 30 years’ experience in helping hundreds of clients develop an effective marketing strategy for their business.
We’d love to meet you and discuss how our team can help take the weight off your shoulders and create a powerful marketing strategy for your business.
If that’s something that resonates with you, it would be great to hear from you – call Alan Myers on 0116 278 7788 or email: email@example.com and let us help you get 2020 off to a flying start.
Your website is quite literally your window to the world.
The question is, are you making the most of it?
Your site might have an eye-catching design and be full of content that is really useful for prospective customers. If they can’t find your site, however, you might as well hang a sign on the homepage that says, “Closed for business.”
Making your website visible to those prospects that don’t know your business exists is vitally important if you want to grow and expand.
There are lots of tools you can use to become more visible, i.e. appear on the first page of the search engine results pages (SERPs).
The two most popular ways of achieving this are:
PPC and SEO work well together. The performance data of impressions, clicks, and conversions from a Google Ads Search campaign can provide great insight and direction on a keyword-by-keyword basis for where to prioritise your SEO efforts.
On the flip side, organic traffic performance data and SEO strategy can also guide PPC campaigns.
If you haven’t tested a PPC campaign now is the time to do so; particularly if you have recently invested in designing and building a new website.
Failing to test PPC and SEO could mean that your not insignificant investment in a new website is, if not a waste of money, certainly one that doesn’t deliver a good return on investment.
At Leapfrog, we have an excellent track record of delivering results for clients with both PPC and SEO campaigns. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you get more return from your website, give Alan Myers a call on 0116 278 7788 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Generating new business leads is vital if you want to maintain growth. Fresh leads are the lifeblood of your company so it is critical you do everything you can to ensure your marketing campaign is focused on attracting prospects and building trust.
Here are seven ‘must-do’ activities that will help your business attract the right prospects:
Sounds obvious, but most companies don’t take the time to research who their buyers are. Think about the issues that keep them awake at night. What do they search for online when they need help?
Review the questions your sales team get asked by prospects on a regular basis. This is a great source of information and will help you create a killer list of keywords and phrases to use in your digital marketing campaigns.
The search engines are always looking for ways to deliver better results to their customers and local listings have been a major development in delivering this. Google My Business, Bing Local and others have been created to connect local businesses with local customers.
Has your business claimed its local listings? If not, now’s the time to do so otherwise you could be missing out big time. And while you’re at it, make sure your listings are complete and optimised. Here’s a free tool to discover if you’ve claimed your listings: moz.com/local/search (it will tell you how complete your listings are too).
Where would we be without Google? It is our first port of call when we want to find out information fast. For this reason alone, you have to have a continuous search engine optimisation (SEO) campaign in place.
Your website has to pop up high in the search results (preferably on the first page) otherwise you’re not going to capture those leads that are ready to do business.
Your own, targeted email list is potentially one of your most valuable assets. Producing an e-newsletter enables you to help your prospects by giving them handy tips and answers to the questions that cause them the most headaches in their work.
A regular e-newsletter is a great way to build relationships with customers and prospects. Not only will you be helping them, but you’ll be informing them about your business and gaining their trust.
Historically known as pay-per-click (PPC), Google Search Ads are a cost-effective way to drive highly-targeted traffic to your website. And the great advantage of PPC is that you set the daily budget and the results are totally measurable so you don’t have to waste money on something that doesn’t work.
If you’ve never tried it before, run a three-month test to see if it works for your business. A word of warning though, Google Ads Search is complex to set up properly and develop so best not to try and fly solo with this, get professional help.
The bulk of buyers doing the initial research for new suppliers are millennials. They love their mobile devices, watch videos and live their lives on social media. Is your marketing connecting with them?
If your target audience is hanging out on LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook, you need to be there. Setup profiles on these sites; be active on them by regularly posting useful information and commenting on what they are posting. Remember, however, it is social media so don’t even think about employing the heavy sales pitch approach.
At the end of the day, businesses just want to hook up with suppliers that they like and trust. They’re looking for people like themselves who understand their challenges, who have the experience and knowledge to deliver what they need for their business.
To build trust with these people you need to educate, inform and solve their problems. Everything from your website to your e-newsletter, your PR to your social media posts must have great content. Content that answers prospects’ questions, building confidence and trust that your business is the right one to partner with.
If you’re looking for help generating new business leads, why not give Leapfrog’s Alan Myers a call on 0116 278 7788? Alternatively, email email@example.com
If you haven’t heard of the PESO marketing model, it basically takes the four media types – paid (P), earned (E), shared (S) and owned (O) – and merges them together to establish awareness and authority for your brand. The model is the brainchild of Gini Dietrich and was featured in her book, ‘Spin Sucks.’
It has become one of the mainstays of digital marketing because done well, it builds authority for your brand. Having authority showcases your company as a thought leader.
People see you as the experts in your field and, of course, the search engines see you as experts too because your content builds authority and credibility; so it’s good for your human customers and the search engine robots too.
So what are the four cornerstones?
Here we are not talking about trade press advertising, but Google Ads Search (PPC), LinkedIn Ads and email marketing.
This is traditional PR – getting your brand’s name in print and on screen via press releases, case studies and thought pieces in the trade, local, national and international media.
Otherwise known as social media, it can be used internally and externally to create engagement and community amongst your target audience.
The content you create and upload to your website and/or blog. You own the platform and control the messaging; you tell the story the way you want.
Now, the alert amongst you may be looking at this and thinking why is owned media last on the list, surely that’s more important than the others?
Of course, you’re absolutely correct, but it would be much harder to remember OESP! Making things easier to recall, however, is good branding practice and so PESO it was named!
One of the keys to a successful PESO campaign is building a thorough understanding of your target audiences. What keeps them awake at night, which social media platforms they engage with, what keywords and phrases they use to search for information and the type of questions they have at different stages of the buying cycle.
Then it’s about taking the Genghis Khan approach (Genghis only had a small army, but his meticulous approach to battle meant he overcame foes with much larger armies than his). In short, he always had a tailored plan for each enemy and he stuck to that plan.
Having a weekly plan for all your PESO activity will keep you on track and make sure you have regular activity in each of the four cornerstones of the system.
You’re looking to build trust and authority; to do so you will need to be engaging and authentic. Your content will need to address your audiences’ concerns and interests at each stage of their journey, from initial interest through to conversion pieces and ‘closing’ articles.
For most of our clients, their sales cycle is fairly long and so we tend to lead with customer testimonials and case studies to build confidence. We earn coverage in the trade media, on and offline, to improve authority and back it all up with social and paid media to generate sales leads.
As most of the elements of a PESO campaign are digital, it is easier to measure the effects. Using tools like Google Analytics you can track how many times a blog post or piece of content has been shared. With paid campaigns, of course, you will know exactly how many clicks and conversions your campaigns achieve.
Earned media is perhaps harder to assess. These days, however, most publications have websites and they post your release and case studies to their site with links to your own website. So again, this will give you an idea of the exposure you are getting.
Another measure of success is if you can influence the sales cycle length. If you work out the average sales cycle period prior to the campaign launch, you can set a goal to beat it by the end of the campaign. And finally, of course, you can look at the bottom line – have revenues and profits increased?
Personally, I’m not sure there is such a thing when it comes to marketing. Carried out professionally and diligently, however, there is absolutely no doubt that the PESO model will help you build authority, trust and sales for your brand.
If you’d like to learn more about the PESO model or would like help implementing a campaign, give Alan Myers a call on 0116 278 7788 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Micro-animations are designed to surprise the user. Every time you take a small action on a website and there is a specific response to it, this is a micro-animation.
Hover and scrolling animations, chimes, and much more, all help to involve the audience in your website. Micro-animations help to subtly transmit information to the users and bring things to their attention.
With mobile browsing having firmly overtaken desktop, design styles are becoming increasingly thumb-friendly. Josh Clark in his book Designing for Touch, investigates how users hold their mobile phones and how their movements, particularly those of the thumb, should be integrated into the web design process.
More and more now, users will encounter navigation tailored to the thumb, for example, the hamburger menu moved to the bottom of mobile screens.
Chatbots have been with us for a while now but will move into the spotlight this year. This is mostly due to the advancements in AI and machine learning, making them more intelligent and efficient.
The new chatbots will be showing up more and more on web pages with higher WOW factors. Bright colours, animations and other attention-grabbing tools will make them not only more prominent on the page but more inviting.
Video content for the web is nothing new. It caters to an on-the-go audience who don’t have the time to scan through a lot of text.
What is new is the move Google has made toward mixed search page results, featuring video content above standard web pages. This has led websites to prioritise video production in order to make themselves easily searchable and offer content in the most efficient, shareable way.
Colour is over; daring black-and-white and sepia web designs are making impressive statements.
When colour is missing, we see the world differently: textures and shapes become clearer, and the world seems noticeably slower.
White by itself is clean and calm whereas black is strong and assertive. Combine these and you get an altogether striking look.
If you’re looking for a fresh approach to your website design and development, call Alan Myers on 0116 278 7788 or email: email@example.com
When potential customers are looking for a supplier or partner to work with on a new project their first port of call is usually to do a search online.
If your web team has done its job, your company will appear in the first couple of pages of results. Preferably on page one.
At this stage, what do you think the searcher is looking for?
Search intent is vitally important. If they are just doing initial research, they’ll be happy to visit a few different sites from which they’ll likely gather information and possibly draw up a short list.
On the other hand, if they’re at the stage of comparing or deciding who to contact for an initial meeting or quote, they’re close to committing. Before they do, however, they’re going to want to see some proof.
Can your business do what it says it can? Have you got experience in their industry? Will you be able to deliver your product in time and on budget?
Jump in B2B case studies. These third-party referrals are powerful tools to have in your armoury. They give potential customers peace of mind that your business is capable of delivering on its promises.
We live in a digital world, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for traditional formats. Printed case studies are great for enclosing with a written quote, handing out at exhibitions or leaving behind after a face-to-face meeting.
Online PDF case studies help to bring your website and email marketing campaigns to life. They offer proof that your business is an expert in its field and has delivered many similar projects over the years.
Your website needs to be littered with B2B case studies extolling the virtues of your offering. These case studies need to include quotes from your customers underlining the benefits of dealing with your company.
Videos take B2B case studies to another level. A short three-minute video which includes an interview with your satisfied customer brings the story to life. It is informative, entertaining and easy to consume. The power of sound and moving pictures is hard to resist.
Creating a convincing case study is not the work of a moment. It has to sound believable and avoid the pitfall of coming across as just another paid-for advert for your business. Asking your salesperson or junior to write it is unfair on them and likely to result in a less than convincing document. You need to employ a professional writer.
The same goes for photography. Yes, it’s true, almost everyone has a mobile phone with a built-in camera, but that doesn’t make them David Bailey or Steve McCurry. What makes a great photograph is the eye behind the camera and the knowledge of what makes a good photograph, not to mention the need for almost anal attention to detail.
When you get professionals like Leapfrog to organise your photoshoots you not only get a professional photographer, but you also get an art director. He or she will ensure that all the right shots are taken and there’s nothing in the photograph that shouldn’t be there, such as rubbish and other paraphernalia.
The same goes for video. Although more forgiving in many ways, video requires a unique skill. The videographer has to have a picture of the completed video in his mind before he starts. If he doesn’t, there is no way he is going to be sure to get all the right ‘B’ roll footage; the essential video material that will tell the story.
Competition is tough. We live in a world where so many things appear the same; you need something that your competition can’t copy. Case studies are the ideal vehicle.
Not only do stories about how your customers have used your products and services to solve problems set you apart, but they’re also great credibility builders, providing evidence of your performance.
Technical details and specifications are all well and good, but we want to hear about others’ experiences because if the product or service is poor, the tech spec is irrelevant.
Buyers are drowning in information, so it’s getting harder to capture their attention. Good stories cut through that ‘noise’. They appear more real, engaging us on an emotional level which means it is easier for us to remember them and their messages.
If you’d like help creating powerful B2B case studies, give Alan Myers a call on 0116 278 7788 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Gates described this as: “One of the most important books I’ve ever read – an indispensable guide to thinking clearly about the world.”
Author, Hans Rosling, was born in Sweden in 1948; he studied statistics and medicine at Uppsala University and public health at St. John’s Medical College, Bangalore, India. His book, Factfulness, details ten reasons why we’re wrong about the world and that things are better than you think.
In this information age, you’d think that most of us would have a pretty good grasp of simple questions concerning global trends. Knowledge about poverty levels, education and health across the world are surely commonplace?
Yet what Rosling found when he asked 13 questions on these subjects to diverse groups of people from industry leaders, politicians and academics to ordinary people and students, the level of accurate knowledge was worse than poor. The results were so bad, in fact, that chimpanzees (he actually went to a zoo and tested this) scored better than 80% of people!
The book goes on to explain why this happens. It reveals ten ‘instincts’ we use that distort our perspective, from our tendency to divide the world into ‘them’ (third world countries) and ‘us’ (the Western world) to the way our media reports news and how we consume it.
Essentially, it leads to us perceiving that most things in the world are getting worse. As Rosling says, however, “When we have a fact-based worldview, we can see that the world is not as bad as it seems—and we can see what we have to do to keep making it better.”
This is an inspiring book that will change the way you see the world and empower you to respond positively to the challenges and opportunities of the future.