We strive in our industry through our unique process, approaching every project differently. There is no template that is a one-size-fits-all in marketing, and if someone tells you there is, run. Run as fast as you can. Sure, there are similar concepts and processes with each of our clients, but it is crucial to approach each project as if its the first of its kind, We fight the current, and we fight mediocrity. There is no “going through the motions” with us. We will not even take on a project if it is on the sole purpose to serve as a line item in the client’s marketing budget. We make plays when the game is on the line, not when we are up by two touchdowns and the only thing left is to run out the clock. We live and breathe to make an impact; we live to disrupt the current.
1. Know the Client’s Problem. Well.
First, before all else, we must understand exactly what it is with your business that we need to solve. It is very often that a client does not know the questions to ask us. It is our job to ask the important questions and divulge a plan to figure out the problem.
This is likely an issue of visibility, meaning your target customer is having trouble finding you at the crucial contact points. We need to dive in and find out where your customer contacts points are. An example of a contact point is appearing on a google search. For example, if you own a hairstyling store, and through our research, we discover 90 percent of your target customers search the following phrase, “haircut stores in beverly hills” on google, the first thing we would likely propose is for us to build a highly optimized website that pops up on google when prospective customers search anything similar to “haircut stores in beverly hills”. Many times, this starts with a revamp of the client’s web presence, as the majority of businesses in today’s economy are found through the web. A solid foundation (website) where we can guide the customer is the first priority. The next phase would be to explore ways to get the customer to the ideal location through different advertising mediums.
Creative roll out strategy is one our biggest strengths. Having launched new online stores to hard rock albums, our entrepreneurial juices are always flowing. The most important emphasis here is the initial research. To the best of your knowledge, will the dogs eat the dog food? Counterflow operates under lean business theory going through the necessary iterations and pivots to test the demand for the particular product or service at hand. It does not matter whether it is a new business or a new ice cream flavor for Ben & Jerry’s, we are the ones to rollout your out your innovations. It takes true fire and grit to try new things. This company was founded with the entrepreneurial fire at its core.
Delegate my friend. Easier said than done, and we understand that. That is why we explore all ideas in and outside of the box. We will research the client’s business processes and compare them to their competitors. We will then look for ways to automate mundane and tedious tasks. A really simple example: we have come across numerous clients who got stuck on the phone answering the same questions over and over. Especially in regards to sole proprietors, this can be very detrimental to business. We implemented an interactive contact form with drop down options helping the customer navigate through these high volume questions. Where did we put the form? Right next to the phone number on the website. This is a great and somewhat simple tip. Please take a note of it and do some of these little things to your site to make your life easier.
This is actually one of the more fascinating issues. A novice would say, “charge more for your products or services” or “cut costs”. To an extent this is right, but it is far more complicated than this.
There are many different things to research here. The first thing, and as in the question above, we must research the processes. Automation, again, is something we definitely need to look for. This is not about firing employees and hiring robots. This is about fundamentally saving time out of your day. We had a client who owns a nationwide business and came to us because she felt she was putting in far too many hours a day for what she was making. We found that she was spending hours upon hours a week hand-writing individual checks to pay her employees. Among an entire platform for her business, one of the things we implemented was a way for her to do her payroll on the backend of her website. No more hand written checks. We saved her almost 8 hours a week. Time is the most valuable thing one can have. First look for ways to automate. Second, we must look into cost inefficiencies. How can you save money by looking for companies that you can partner with? Explore the age old question, should you rent or should you lease? An example of this is a photographer having to spend the exorbitant money upfront for camera lenses. Why spend $2,000 dollars and deplete your cash reserves when you can go to borrowlenses.com and rent the same lens for $15/ week? We look for smart ways to keep cash in your pocket. Lastly, maybe you are selling your products for too cheap. We will dive in and perform the competitive research on where your prices should realistically be. One of the biggest mistakes of the small business owner is selling themselves short. A more professional web presence and SEO strategy most certainly can enable you to increase your sticker price.
Here are some other questions that we are frequently asked on a regular basis. Do you have the issues with your business or profession? Let’s get to the bottom of it.
Below are some more questions that we often come across. In many cases, the client may not know the questions to ask. It is our job to ask the right questions and divulge a plan to figure out the problem. Does your business ask any of these questions? Let’s talk.
Are you selling mostly secondary products or services and not your core competencies?
Are you not selling enough of your products or services?
Is your revenue not spread out across your business enough?
Are you losing money?
Are you constantly getting flack from your customers for being too expensive?
Are you launching a new product or service?
2. Answer Why?
Our biggest emphasis at Counterflow is to first, know our client, and second, know our client’s customer. If we do not know where our client is coming from or the demands of their customer, we cannot implement a plan to maximize value for both of them. Do you know the proverbial saying, “To really understand someone, you need to walk a mile in their shoes?” Well we walk ten miles in each of their shoes. We must dive into the target customer and understand why they do what they do. Why does the customer spend 10 minutes on a webpage on our client’s website but never even clicks the most important page on their website? Why does the customer cancel their purchases so often on our client’s website? Why does the smaller web ad get more clicks than the bigger web ad? Why does this stupid photo of a kitten have 1,000 more Instagram likes than our important posts? You get the point. Every client is different and our experience across many industries allows us to implement game changing strategies in different areas. When we can answer the why’s we can then answer the what or how; now that we know why the customer does what they do, how can we kick ass?!
3. Answer What, show the customer how.
Once we can understand why things are the way there are, and why the customer thinks, feels, acts or breathes the way they do, we can then arrive at what needs to be done. The problem at a wine tasting vineyard might be that they are going through too many bottles of their limited product. The why is probably because the baristas are over pouring, or they are giving away too many free tastings. What can be done? Baristas can use a device that fits on the top of the wine bottle that only pours 2 ounces at a time. How will this be implemented? Since only the limited edition bottles are of concern, the vineyard can maintain their friendly brand reputation of over pouring at their tastings by only putting the measuring devices on the limited edition bottles. This is an elementary example but it illustrates a great concept that the vineyard may have lost some brand equity if they decided to put measuring devices on all of their bottles and not just the ones that were problematic. This can be the same issue when looking at SEO strategy and paid search marketing. It may become apparent that these two concepts are needed, but it is most important to properly implement how they will be used. Often times, the what is the easy part. At Counterflow, we show the client how we will move forward to solve the problem.
4. Measure progress before, during, and after.
Measurability in all industries is one of the most crucial components. It is fundamentally impossible to see progress and contribution from individual components of the business without putting in place tools to evaluate performance. We may have done the best work in the world and directly caused our client to make millions of dollars, but if we can’t measure exactly what contributed to the growth, it may as well been one of the 7 wonders of the world. We would never be in business if there was no way of showing that we kick ass. On the contrary, we should never be in business if we cannot show you the value that we bring to the table.
It all starts with being able to measure the present. We cannot make informed decisions and research the next steps to execute without knowing where business currently sits. Before making any changes, we measure the current performance of simple business metrics:
Below are some basic marketing and business things that we like to measure initially to allow us to set benchmarks and goals.
How many website views are you getting?
How long are people staying on your website?
how long are people staying on specific pages of your website?
are people staying attentive to the critical website pages ?
how many phone calls are you receiving monthly?
what rank is your business on google?
Are the right services of your business ranking on goggle?
How many contact points do you have?
what is the company’s annual revenue. monthly?
what are your profit margins?
Once we can take a look at some of the basic marketing metrics of your business, we can then get to work and set the essential milestones that we want to reach. We will also put in place measurable analytics tools to be able to evaluate our performance and work hard to break records of our own doing. If you can’t measure it, then it is not relevant. If you don’t measure your business progress, then it must not be relevant to you. And if fighting for every last piece of positive growth is not relevant to you, please do not call.