SustainaBrum networking event followup

A quick post to follow up on a lot of the topics discussed at the recent excellent SustainaBrum networking event, held at Kilo Ziro. There were so many fascinating things talked about – and so many of the people I met wanted to know more than we could talk about in the time available – that creating a post for it seemed like a good idea.

The blackboard from the Clean Kilo, with my name on it as a supporter

Business Network International

First up: BNI – or Business Networking International. The BNI are a networking group that is one of the best ways to get new business I have ever heard of. Each chapter allows one person per business sector to attend, so there will only ever be one printer, one accountant, one lawyer, one online marketer. Then, each person is expected to look out for business for everyone else in the group – and because you are the only person attending from your business sector, all such leads go to you and no one else. The BNI have created a dedicated system that works extremely well for word of mouth marketing, In effect when you join a BNI chapter you get a sales force comprised of every other member in the chapter you join, who will look out for work for you.

And if you run a venue, I would strongly recommend you work out how to host a BNI chapter. Not only would it be a guaranteed booking each week for breakfast of between 20 and 30 people, but all of these people would be looking for work for you too.

Check out the BNI Birmingham site to find a chapter to visit. And – if you wanted to join the BNI, but did not have the time to do so then get in touch: I could always go along as your part-time salesman, dedicated to BNI meetings!

You are not the target market of you own site

Apart from that I was asked a lot about my own credentials, which I list on the main about me page, and what I would do to help each businesses site.

So, in a brief summary, the way that I make websites work is to define success clearly, and then systematically remove the barriers to the site’s visitors achieving their goals… – with the key assumption that the site makes money from visitors achieving their goals.

One key part of this is to make sure that you are not the target market of your own site: you will always care more about the site than any visitor: visitors come to websites with a very specific goal in mind – and as soon as the site fails to allow them accomplish that goal, they leave.

As I always say – think about your own behaviour online: we now only give a site 0.5 seconds before we form an overview of it and decide one of 2 things: leave immediately and never return, or keep going.

When was the last time you yourself made a purchase from a site on your first ever visit there?

Email marketing is still the most effective channel

Next is the issue of the best online marketing channel, and everyone is always surprised to hear that it is still email. People always think that it is one of the social media channels like Facebook, Google adverts, Instagram Twitter or TikTok. The thing is – email has been genericised in the same way that “hoovering” has – and that Googling is becoming. It is not a company with a massive PR budget and marketing reach: it is a common, everyday tool.

And yet, every online marketing expert will tell you – email marketing outperforms all other channels easily – with one caveat: that you have a large enough list of email addresses from people who actually want to receive your emails.

I would be happy to meet up and talk more about any of this – I am thinking of asking the amazing people at SunstainaBrum if they would like me to put on an “online marketing masterclass’ as a similar price point to the networking event.