May 2017 - Small business consultant

Monthly Archives: May 2017

About Scarcity Marketing

Let’s get down to it. Scarcity marketing. Have you seen it? Have you succumbed to scarcity marketing? Have you used scarcity marketing in your business? Can I honestly say its never sat well with me, I’ve tried it, it’s failed and I thought it was me. I’m not so self-centred to believe that’s not the case, but I’ve been thinking about scarcity tactics a bit and a video interview between Marie Forleo & Seth Godin helped me see why it doesn’t work.

So what is scarcity marketing?

Scarcity marketing is saying things like: ‘must end 9pm tonight’, ‘must close 5pm Sunday’, ‘valid for the first x people’. It’s imposing limits around the availability of a ‘thing’. Availability is generally restricted by volume or by time available. The idea being that it elicits as sense of urgency, and don’t get me wrong a good scarcity campaign gets my heart pumping, and that is meant to drive you to take action NOW!

The last time I fell to scarcity marketing was trying to get Ed Sheeran tickets. I subscribed to the pre-sale, I tried to no avail, to get early tickets. Nada. I had FOMO, I wanted those tickets and I wanted them BAD! So when they went on sale the following week, I logged in early and I waited, and waited, and waited. Two and a half hours later I was still waiting, but you know what, I got those tickets. I was elated. But I promise, every time the ticker reset my heart skipped a beat.

The aim of scarcity marketing is to kick off that FOMO feeling. They want you to fear missing out and being left behind. Would it have actually been the end of days if I didn’t get the Ed Sheeran tickets? No, I could go and listen to him at the venue (standing outside of course) for free. I can listen to his songs I already own. But they wanted me to fear seeing him live. Um, the idea of ‘seeing’ him is actually really to hear him sing. Anyway, I digress. When you are in this FOMO fight or flight mode your body is pumping adrenaline, cortisol & norepinephrine. Now most people know that adrenaline is the one that gets your blood pumping, cortisol is the stress hormone, norepinephrine is there to keep you focused & on the ball. Wow! That’s some hormonal cocktail! You’re switched on, pumping, raring to go and you’re thinking that this thing just ‘has to happen’.

So what’s the reality?

So in the case of the tickets, I was right, there were only a certain amount of tickets, but me being inside or outside has no impact on my ability to listen to the songs. Ironically, in some locations the scarcity marketing was lost when they announced additional shows!

So what’s the point?

There rarely, if at all, is true scarcity. We are no longer trying to hunt that one lone woolly mammoth traipsing across the grassland. In fact, the internet removes scarcity. Like I said, I already have the songs. If you want tickets to an event, access to a product, see a person, the internet has untold number of options to you past the one presented to you right at that point in time. When we do come across a true woolly mammoth situation where scarcity is actually a matter of life and death, then our adrenaline, cortisol, & norepinephrine were warranted. But it’s not.

We’re being played. Manipulated. Our innate instincts are being used against us.

So what’s the answer?

Look, just because I’m not a fan doesn’t mean that it’s not the right thing for you. I just want you to realise why it might not work. You are not Robinson Crusoe in your business journey, there’s a high probability your product or service is available elsewhere. Let’s face it, there’s more than one cola company around and they are able to survive and thrive. Your customers are learning, if they don’t already know, that you are not the only one and this is why they ‘shop around’. So I’m just making you aware that it might not work as you expected & this is why. I want you to consider how your audience is reacting on a cellular level to your marketing. As a consumer, I want you to understand why you react the way you do. Finally, I want to let you know that I will not use scarcity marketing unless there’s a mammoth around.


Customers Are Always Watching You And Your Values

This week I want to chat about taking values offline and into reality. As always, I need you to think about your personal, business, & client values. Let me start with a story to help set the scene and hopefully make it a little clearer.

A couple of times a week, I drive through a school crossing. There’s no ‘guard’ on the crossing, just flashing lights before & after school. When the lights are flashing, you have to drop your speed. (Pretty normal here where I live) Unfortunately, this story is also pretty normal. I’d just dropped my kids at school, I approach the crossing, drop my speed only to have an electrician continue through the crossing at normal speed. Ok, so there was no one on the crossing, there rarely is, but that’s not the point. You see, as a Mum, I value the safety of children. It’s one of my personal values. And it doesn’t have to be just mine, it’s enough for me to think ‘what if it was my child crossing’. So, I made a mental note never to use that electrician and continued on my way.

Watch my Facebook Live about this:

Hang on, what? Yup, I will never use them because they don’t match my values. If they can’t value lives enough to slow down for 100 metres or so, then I’m not interested in giving them my money. And that business will never know that.

So it got me thinking, how often do we consider and apply our values and our clients’ values offline?

When I was working in the Australian Government these things were drummed into us. We were not allowed to take gifts, we were not allowed to drink alcohol when representing the government, etc etc. These were some of the things put in place so that we were demonstrating the agency’s values to the public. Don’t get me wrong, it was hard and draining always being ‘on’. The thing is, it worked. It wasn’t just face to face either, it also extended to any correspondence we had. In fact, one of my former bosses used to say, ‘Don’t say anything you don’t want on the front page of the local paper’. It was true. And yes, I had journalists ring snooping for information.

So what’s my point? When you’re out representing your business, you’re on. There’s no down time. And the thing is, you also have to be mindful of who’s watching. Did you read my article on the number of ‘touches’ or interactions we need to have to convert someone over into a paying client. It’s whenever they see or hear your business name, & that could be anywhere. So you want to make sure that it’s a good thought they associate with your business.

The thing about these touches is that it takes one to turn a potential client off and 7-12 to convert them over. The other issue is that the thing determining if the touch is for or against you is if your behaviour aligns with their values. If it goes against your values then you’re working uphill to recover them, that’s if you ever find out!

So, please be mindful of what you do and ensure that when you recruit, that you recruit people whose values align with those of the company and the company’s values can show clear links with your ideal client. In the end, you don’t always know where your next client is coming from and you don’t want to put them off before you even have a chance to show them how wonderful you are.

Pushing the Facebook Group

There is a push in Facebook Land towards Facebook Groups. It reminds me of when Pages first came out and then there were all of these developments Page Owners could leverage. Now they’re increasing the offerings to Facebook  Group owners and I want to not just explain them, I want you tell you how you can leverage them.

Here’s the thing… before you go throwing your page out with the bath water, you need to realise that a Facebook Group needs as much work. A disengaged group is as much of a wasteland as a postless page. It also has the same baring on your business. Facebook Groups are not the Holy Grail.

Getting people into your Facebook Group

Let’s face it, we would all like more people in our group. So let’s talk about it first.

Facebook have recently integrated a 3 question screening to Groups. This means that you can make people requesting to join your group are required to answer up to 3 questions. As the Facebook Group Admin, you set the questions and your only constraint is a 200 character limit for each question.

Entry questionnaires are nothing new, admins have been sending them out or redirecting applicants for years, however this is integrated into the Facebook Group. This reduces the time taken by Admin and saves messages being lost in that pesky “Others” folder.

The questions you ask are entirely up to you, but consider them as not just ways to screen but also ways to gather information about the content you provide and how your group is being promoted.

You can find the questionnaire under the ‘Group Settings’ for your Facebook Group.


The following options are being tested and rolled out. This means that they may not be available to you or they may be withdrawn. Regardless, they are worthy of mention as it demonstrates the increased push to Groups.

Ads shown in Facebook Groups

I have only ever seen one Ad displayed in a Facebook Marketplace (buy/sell/swap) Group. I understand that in the US, some advertisers have access to advertise into groups but it is not a global option.

The ad I saw was run off of a Pixel, meaning that I saw the ad because I had visited a website. This is handy for applicable pages as you can then run ads in shopping groups built around reselling your product.

I am interested to find out if you can target your own group. This would mean that you could offer specials or promotions just to your group based. This is helpful for large or highly active groups where posts move quickly.

Linking Facebook Pages to Facebook Groups

I have seen this on one of my client’s pages. They do not have an associated Facebook Group and Facebook is telling them to create one. I, however, have a group but no option to link said group. (yet)

Why is this important? Well, many pages see Groups as a way to deepen interaction. Some businesses use them as an income stream. Other businesses have them as part of their sales process. There are many reasons to link a Facebook Group to your page. In the main, it’s a community place to expand relationships with customers.

There is a lot of psychology around groups, group think, and group behaviour. It differs from a page, where it is more one-to-one. When we know we are in a group, we tend to chat more as a collective. Think of it as the difference between an email or phone conversation and a chat at the bar.

I am looking forward to using this as I transition from email to where my clients enjoy hanging out – Facebook.

Trial Facebook Group in Mobile Toolbar

I am seriously loving this change and I hope it sticks. I’m using it as often as possible to ensure the beta testing data goes back to Facebook.

Last week I updated my app, I’m an Android Facebook Beta tester, and I found that there was a Group tab to the left of the Marketplace tab. Of course I explored away.

What it does is that it shows me any outstanding notifications for the groups I am in. This is great as I am a member of far too many groups, but I love them. So, at a glance I can see if there are unread posts; best of all I can see if there is anything needing attention in my own group or groups I admin.

Under that, I can post to a group – any group I am a member of, without actually going into that group and down some mysterious Facebook Group rabbit hole. (You know the one where you’re scrolling, liking, commenting and lose track of time. Or is that just me?)

Next down the screen is the notifications. It’s a chronological (yup it is, no algorithm here as yet) list of posts and comments on posts on all the groups I elect to receive notifications on. Perfect. A one stop shop to catch up on the Group happenings.

I love this update as it puts the groups in one spot, in one app, with the rest of my Facebook – just like on the desktop. I was never a fan of the Groups app. I found it clunky and as a result, I didn’t use it. Having a way to interact with my Facebook Groups where I hang out is smart business and a move for Facebook to listening to user behaviour.

So what does it all mean and where does it come from.

This is a quote taken from the 2017 update to his 2012 letter on his Facebook Profile.

It shows that they have realised the power within Facebook Groups to drive community, the original reason behind Facebook. So leveraging this space where people again derive community is a crucial business move for Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook.

As a publicly listed company and one entering its second decade of operation, Facebook will look to new avenues of revenue – it seems that Groups is the new frontier.

So what do I recommend for businesses? Jump into Groups if you haven’t already. Get started before the rush and your competitors take the lion’s share of a new marketing space. Hone your skills, nurture your community, and grow your business.

Why Marketing where your Clients Hang Out Matters

Ok so further to my discussion on aligning to values is this one on meeting clients where they are. This is all about marketing and the psychology and human behaviour of the tool you use in your marketing.  You see, I asked in my business group about emails and they solidly said that they don’t read weekly emails. There isn’t enough time. They build up to the point where they delete them all and unsubscribe. Totally my fear as an owner of a list and my behaviour as the owner of multiple email addresses.

Let’s face it, I should be all over this as it’s about influencing human behaviour through marketing. You see, getting someone to do something they don’t enjoy is compliance and not a good place from which to make them take the next step of connecting/purchasing/booking (essentially moving up your sales chain). It’s a big jump from complying to committing. I know you can do it through smaller acts, even things offers such as free + shipping, but it’s still an act of commitment.

So why do we do it?

Like a lot of marketing tools, we’ve been told we should. It’s the best thing. It’s the latest thing. It’s made me $X and it will for you. What a load of crock. My Dad would say ‘if your friends jumped off a cliff, would you?’ Well would you?

Our success is not predicated by the success of others. Their business, personality, & clients are different. You can’t expect the same result.

A lot of the time we do it because of FOMO. But what if they’re right? What if I don’t send that email and I miss out on a sale? What if I don’t do that post on my profile and I miss out? What if… Check your stats and look at how many sales you get via the different marketing methods you use, that’s a pretty good indicator of where you need to be. But it’s only a start.

Why does it matter?

You can’t force someone to do something they don’t want to do. More so, you will struggle to get them to do anything after you’ve forced them to do something.

We have different styles of learning and communicating. And yes that means we have to ensure that we cater, in some way, to truly interact and leverage our relationships with our online marketing.

We have a preferred method. This includes a place too. Some of us like email, some like Twitter, some like Facebook, some like Instagram. It depends on our learning style and lifestyle.

Here’s an example:
– I like to learn through reading and watching and examples
– I spend my private social media time (ie non-working) on my phone
– I like Facebook and Pinterest for social media

Because I spend my time on my phone for my own pleasure, I don’t like reading email. It’s difficult to read on a phone, not impossible but difficult. If I see your email come in, I might read the subject line and if you’re lucky I will go back and read it on my laptop. Thing is, laptop time = work time and your email is competing for time I could be billing clients.

So for me, I will ingest crucial information best through Facebook or Pinterest. If you have a video which is less than 5, and preferably 2, minutes long then you’ve got me. My time is precious, billable, and in demand by my competing priorities. If I’m your ideal client, then you need to match it.

What’s the answer?

Look at your stats on where your fans hang out, where you get the best interaction, where they enjoy being with you. It’s no point being somewhere where they aren’t. It’s like having a billboard in a country town when the freeway bypasses the town altogether.

Ask them! If you’re noticing a downturn in a particular area then directly ask using a different platform. That means don’t ask the about Facebook on Facebook. Go to your best one and ask there.

Look at the stats with the results of the ask and consider the following:
– am I doing the best I can to meet them?
– is there an issue with the platform I can overcome?
– can I still use the platform in another way? (I’m moving to monthly)
– am I able and better off outsourcing it to someone who is good at this platform?

Test! Change! Test Again! Yes it’s time consuming but it’s rare to stumble over the magic formula straight up. Ask for feedback on how you’re going. This online marketing needs to be of use to the person you are trying to influence.

I think that’s the key, too often we use marketing to please ourselves rather than to please our audience. This is why we get caught up in online marketing ‘shoulds’ and ‘musts’. It’s why when they fail we lose heart, self-doubt, and give up. Thing is, it’s not you it’s them and if you don’t keep them happy they’ll leave. You need to meet them where they live.

Aligning values

Values, you know that little gremlin who sits on your shoulder, gnawing away at your conscience and telling you that it’s not right. It could be that you value trust, truth, family, honesty. Any of these things. But when they get out of whack with your behaviours, watch out! And business values are no different.

When I am coaching or teaching businesses on improving their online relationships I start with values. They are at the core of our behaviours. It’s very hard for us to behave outside of them. But I have and I am stopping.

You see, I was always led to believe that I should send a weekly newsletter. It’s one of those things we should do, meant to do, to be a proper and serious online business. Thing is, one of my core values is ‘not to make anyone’s life harder than it has to be’. Of late, I have been going through and deleting and unsubscribing to emails. I know I’m not alone in this either. In fact, I am wondering about the efficacy of email lists for regular emails.

So back to values… If I do something that doesn’t sit well with my values I feel uneasy, psychologists call it dissonance, it chews away at my thoughts. A constant niggle. So what about your clients?

If you try to make them do something that doesn’t align with their values

If you have kids or work with kids, you will know what it’s like to try and get a toddler to do anything it doesn’t want to do. Think tidy toys, have a bath, eat vegetables. They dig their heels in and generally go kicking and screaming to the bitter end.

That’s what psychologist call compliance.

That’s not what you aim for with a client. You do not want to drag them kicking and screaming into a business relationship with you. It’s not going to be built on the right foundation, it’s not likely to be lasting, and they are definitely unlikely to recommend you.

If your values don’t align but you’re not asking the client to do anything

Well a few things can happen here.

They will just ignore you and what you are saying and go on their merry way. Case closed, conversation ended, crickets. Hmm crickets, sound like the response you get to your social media posts?

You will get questions and this can go either way. In this scenario, a client is trying to learn more about your values and the more questions they ask, the more they want to see if you are aligned. So you can either convince them of your stand point and have them change their values (not likely and takes time), you will get compliance (as described above), or they will walk away (potentially with a bad feeling or ‘taste in their mouth’). I don’t know about you but to me that sounds like a lose/lose/lose rather than a win/win/win scenario.

When your values align with your clients

Ok, so the angels don’t descend and start singing, but something magical does happen. You see, and I talk about it in the video, I used this precise tool to motivate staff to move mountains. They were disenchanted and we had a 2 year backlog when I started and before I aligned their values. Fast forward just 3 months and the backlog was gone, my staff were happy, and they were asking for work. Just because I was able to demonstrate how their values aligned with those of the workplace.

So imagine what could happen if you showed a client how their values aligned with your own or those of your business? It works for a number of different reasons:
– the client feels understood
– the client feels a sense of kinship or belonging
– the client trusts you and your business
– the client likes you and your business.

Yes it’s incredibly touchy feely, but that’s what relationships are, good strong, longstanding relationships are like this. We feel understood, like we belong, and we trust.

So back to the email…

I don’t enjoy email for the sake of email or information. And let’s face it, that’s what my weekly emails were. I don’t want to make your life harder than what it already is, that’s one of my core values. I know it’s just an email, but I know people have anxiety over unopened emails (not me though) and I don’t want to contribute to this.

So I will no longer send my blog by email. I already publish it on my Facebook page, Instagram, & Twitter. You can find it there. I will though add it to my free business group, so you will have it personally delivered and where you can read it at your leisure of a weekend and you will be invited to share your own blog post or one you found interesting.

So when I do email you, it will be important. Most likely to let you know that I am about to do something big, different, or new. I do have some of these things in the pipeline. So you will want to be on the list, but don’t worry we can chat elsewhere. x