- If you’re struggling with a new challenge, you probably need a new strategy. If you’re struggling with an old challenge, you absolutely need a new strategy.
- Your competitors work hard and are passionate about building their business. Not all of them. But enough of them to destroy your business, if you underestimate them.
- If you have a business challenge and you can’t talk about it, now you have two challenges.
If you ever find yourself struggling with a business challenge and want to get it resolved, here’s one of the fastest and most effective ways to do it. I use this daily and have taught it to thousands of people.
It’s about making a list… but not just any old list. I’m specifically referring to an every list.
If you’ve never used an every list before, here’s a quick look at what they are and how they work.
How to use an every list
In this example, let’s imagine you want to improve your email marketing open rates. You’d start with a list called something like:
Every way to increase my email open rates.
Then, you would begin writing every possible way to increase your open rates.
When you start, you find the first things on your list come easy.
- Write subject lines that are more compelling, so people are really curious about what’s inside.
- Make sure my subject line doesn’t contain trigger words or characters, which are blocked by some junk mail filters.
- Use fewer images, as these can also trigger junk filters.
- Identify the best time of day and best day of the week to send my emails, by testing new times / days.
- Try different gaps between emails – increasing or decreasing how often I send them.
- Improve the content. If my emails have become less useful or interesting, my readers will be less inclined to open them.
- Use professional email marketing software, from respected providers. They are experts at getting emails delivered and bypassing the kind of hurdles that block emails. They also use clean IP addresses, which increases delivery rates.
Then it gets trickier, because you’ve listed the most obvious things. However, you still find some more.
- Put fewer links into my emails as this can be a red flag for some email servers.
- Use fewer merge tags.
- Check the meta data in the images I use.
- Clean my list, so abandoned (hard bounced) email addresses are removed.
- Make my emails look more like regular email.
Now things get really tough. You’ve already listed the obvious and the less obvious ways to increase open rates. Plus, you now have a number of options to look at, so it can be tempting to start working on those.
This is where an every list makes all the difference
It causes you to dig deeper. Because you know there must be more possibilities. This additional commitment to keep going, even though it can be extremely frustrating, pushes you to the edges. And it’s at the edges where we find the innovative, creative answers.
So, you keep going. And find one more possibility.
- Look at my open rates over the past 12 months and see if there’s a point, where open rates started to drop. If so, there’s probably a clue right there.
The example used here is based on a marketing professional I’ve mentored, and her experience using the every list technique with one of her clients. In this case, the 2 things that created 75% of her client’s improvement was cleaning the email list… and the very last possibility; examining historic open rates and looking for clues.
Had they stopped after the first 8 or 10 items on their list, they’d have missed the answers they needed. And they wouldn’t have massively increased their open rates.
When we’re faced with a pressing challenge, we need to invest the time and energy required to solve it. And the every list helps us do just that.
Einstein famously said, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” Well, he was “so smart”. He was a genius. Yet his core point is solid. If a man like Einstein is willing to dedicate more time and dig deeper, when solving problems, then surely we should too.
Use an every list and keep looking for ideas even when (especially when), you think you’ve exhausted the possibilities. Because you almost certainly haven’t.
In no particular order.
- The pandemic has impacted everyone, to a lesser or greater degree. Factor this in. If someone’s being more unreasonable than you expect, cut them some slack.
- A business can only be as successful as the weakest link in its leadership. Many potentially great businesses never achieve the results they should, because one senior team member’s influence is holding them back.
- When opportunity isn’t knocking, it’s time to build another door.
- To earn better fees, or charge better prices, solve better problems. This is also foundational in retaining more clients (or customers).
- To get more word of mouth referrals, give your clients an experience worth shouting about.
- Check your assumptions. One of the easiest ways to massively improve your business results, is to make decisions based on the most accurate feedback or data possible.
- Take mini vacations, before you feel forced to take them. This could be a 30 minute break or a long weekend, depending on your unique circumstances.
- Always leave people better than when you found them.
- You can’t eat low quality food and expect to have high quality energy.
- Create a new and utterly compelling reason, why someone should buy from you… and not a competitor.
One of the best pieces of business advice I ever received, is just 4 words long. And today I’m going to share it with you, so you can apply it to your marketing.
It’s simply this: Don’t rush the process.
I know. Without a little context, it doesn’t sound particularly useful. But over the years it’s been essential to the way I work and helped clients of mine worldwide enjoy profoundly better results.
Don’t rush the process (in context)
Business owners and marketing professionals tend to be a pretty motivated bunch. We have to be, right? Not only are we motivated, we also believe in the value of our product or service. When you combine motivation with belief, you create a potent mix. An essential, high energy blend that keeps us moving forward and inspires us to persist even when things are tough.
Sometimes that mix of belief and motivation can work against us.
For example, we speak with a prospect and immediately see that our product or service is the perfect match for them. We’re now eager to help them make the right decision.
Here’s the thing: There’s a thin line between encouraging someone to make the right decision, and rushing them to decide. When that line is crossed it radically changes how the prospect feels about us. It can quickly lower their confidence, create uncertainty, cause wariness and make them feel apprehensive.
Based on my experience and observations, this seems most likely to be a problem during the follow-up process. If we don’t get a yes or no answer on the day, we need to be spectacularly mindful regarding how soon and how often we follow-up with an email or call. Because different industries have different accepted time-frames for decision making, there’s no universally perfect timing for following-up. So be sure to consider the size of the decision the prospect is making, (financially or in terms of their reputation, etc.) then follow-up accordingly.
Don’t rush the other processes
Obviously, the ‘don’t rush the process’ advice has much wider marketing utility than I’ve mentioned here. It holds true for everything from; building rapport, copywriting and outreach, to growing a valuable network, developing new products and decision making… and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Important note: Don’t confuse rushing the process with being appropriately proactive.
There are times when we need to be swift. To move quickly. Most opportunities in life and business come with a use-by date. If we take too long, we’re often too late.
The key word here is ‘rush’. The advice is don’t go too fast. Fast is fine. Too fast is rushing.
I hope you find this idea useful. More importantly, I hope you do something with it.
This could be the right time to expand the marketplace you serve.
It really could.
But often when a business owner explains their scenario and asks for my advice, the solution is not to expand. Their marketplace tends to be big enough.
Usually, the answer is for them to make their prospects more interested, engaged and reliant upon the products or services the business provides.
This means pumping more great value into their offering. It means looking at every detail of their product or service, for opportunities to massively improve it. It means building the “wow!” factor into it, so it’s compelling enough to attract attention and create the essential word of mouth publicity they need.
If you’ve been through this process already, and seen a significant increase in your market share. Then it’s time to either look for additional value you can add, or expand your market.
However, if you haven’t yet given your products or services a radical review and implemented the improvements, consider doing that first.
Things are moving fast. We’re already a few days into April 2021, the so-called bounce back year.
If you’re one of those business owners who has some ideas you’re waiting to deploy or a project you’re almost ready to launch, today’s post is especially for you. It’s based on an email I received from a reader and contains a very valuable lesson.
The reader said that they were almost ready to start a new business. That everything is in place and they’re now waiting for the right time.
Here’s an excerpt from the email: “[…] I’ve been waiting to pull the trigger on a new business since 2014 but things have been hectic to say the least. I’m hoping things settle down now so I can get started. I’m a perfectionist so things need to be just right.“
Now 7 years later, that new business is still just an idea.
The perfect time to start
The problem with waiting for the perfect moment is that it never comes. Perfection is elusive and fleeting. That’s because business, and life in general, is a series of challenges. Challenges that we need to overcome. As these challenges are resolved, we learn from them and are better equipped to resolve the next one. And even if you were to find a magical moment where everything was just perfect, one unexpected phone call or some unexpected news and everything changes.
Whether people are aware of it or not, the decision to wait for the perfect time is a stalling tactic. An excuse. Albeit a super-effective excuse. Super-effective? Yes, it gives us permission to do nothing, indefinitely, because the perfect time never comes.
Here’s what we know: The most successful people in business are those who take action. Not the talkers, not the tellers, but the doers. That’s great news. Why? Because whilst many things in business are out of your control, taking action isn’t one of them.
- Do the research.
- Check the numbers.
- Seek out the advice and feedback you need.
- Put a plan together.
- Then set a launch date.
And stick to it.