Five fold increase in web traffic?

ImageEveryone loves a success story, but getting a five fold increase in unique visitors is quite dreamy. Here’s the story of Julian, his cattle and how Go 2 Market turned up the heat.

Go 2 Market started working with Julian Downs of Rannoch Meats in early February 2013 to help better understand the prospects for growing their farm direct beef sales. Julian, an IT professional during the week, and his wife raise Red Devon cattle in Greytown property in their spare time.

Rannoch Meats had been selling direct to the public for a few years and wanted to crank up sales. With little spare time on their hands they needed someone to come in and quickly assess and provide options around channels, recommend changes to current marketing and generate sales.

Go 2 Market quickly engaged with the hospitality sector to understand their requirements, the competition and the opportunities for a local food producer to get attention.

When introduced to the idea, Wellington restaurants liked having local beef on the menu especially if it came from a lesser known heard of bred of cattle. By calling in to speak with the chef at Ti Kouka Go 2 Market was able to have Rannoch Meats Red Devon beef feature in the restaurant’s dish for the prestigious Wellington on a Plate competition. Calls to other restaurants were also positively received and soon there was interest a plenty for Julian to followup.

The outcome was much the same for direct sales to home buyers. Go 2 Market spread the word and it didn’t take long for people to understand the value proposition of buying beef direct from the farm. Part of this awareness raising took place as a result of a survey. Go 2 Market surveyed past, current and prospective customers. The results were very informative and were turned into actions including communicating the main information customers wanted, more promotion, and changes to delivery.

Social media also played a part in awareness raising including reaching out to bloggers in the food community. As a result Rannoch Meats was promoted in a number of food related blog posts.

The outcome of all the calls, emails, social media and conversations, was an exponential increase in awareness of Rannoch Meats. Over the five week period of Go 2 Market’s engagement Rannoch Meats website had more than five times the number of unique visitors it had for the same period in 2012. Every day the traffic was higher relative to the same period the previous year.

Pleasingly, there were also 23% more page visits and 9% more time spent on the site. The bounce rate also dropped by 30% as proportionately more people reached the site they wanted, www.rannochmeats.co.nz Best of all, increases in all metrics over the same period last year continue to be at very high levels even after the engagement with Go 2 Market.

Julian has the final word on the engagement “Objectives have been achieved and I am one very happy customer of Go 2 Market.”

Thanks Julian, bon appétit!

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If first impressions count, then what are you telling your customers?

Have there ever been more options for pricing than there are today: one day deal sites, online pricing, freemium, optimised pricing, auction sites are just a few of the possibilities for setting a price, and an impression. So if first impressions count, then what are you telling your customers?

But of the four P’s of marketing, price usually receives far less thought than the other three. Not only does the price of your product or service say so much about what you are offering but it’s so important to your business’s survival.

If you have a new brand getting the price right is often very difficult. And while there is some room and time to fine tune things the longer the price remains unchanged the harder it will be to adjust customer’s perceptions.

Your business may suit being involved in an auction site where people bid for seasonal products e.g. Buystand. Alternatively you may have a more perishable product in which case there’s a real benefit in selling each days ‘stock’ for the best overall profit you can. That’s where price optimisation can help. One company who work in this area are Pricetech.  Their tagline appeals to me and gives you an indication of what to expect: revenue management and profit optimisation.

One thing’s for sure is that there will always be people willing to pay for the best, or even just willing to pay the most. This applies to houses, equally as it does for hotels, services, food, electronics … you name it. So depending on your product I’d always suggest seeing if you can get the highest price in the market. If your market share ambitions, brand, and the other elements of your marketing mix allow could you have a sustainable business by pricing as the most expensive? If not what’s involved to get there and how feasible is it?

But actually, you don’t have to have the highest price to get people wanting your brand. The point is that matching your price with the rest of your marketing mix will ensure satisfied customers even if customers pay very little for what they buy from you.

What about giving your product away? In the software game it’s called ‘Freemium’. One of the best articles about Freemium why and how comes from Techcrunch. On a similar vein I share thoughts in an earlier blog about Goupon type offers.

Go 2 Market principle: create the right impression with your customers by ensuring your price matches the rest of your marketing mix. You’ll create a positive impression with your customers and your bottom line.

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What we can learn from talent shows

As most of us aren’t in the entertainment industry selecting staff isn’t quite like the razzle dazzle of TV talent shows. But it’s X factor that sets people apart. Simon Cowell and Rachel Hunter know this, and I believe everyone needs some staff who have that something special.

We’re always going to need a range of staff, and for many jobs the X factor may not be so vital, but when it’s there seize it with both hands. Brining onboard someone a little less conventional, a little more outgoing, a lot more into people can really add to the EQ of your team, company and its reputation.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with some great people, and many didn’t have that X factor but those that did raised the bar for everyone.

Two examples stand out for me. One was a young woman who had a support role. Rocky (Rochelle) was her name, and she was hungry for work, to learn and to live. Her personality was pervasive and her ‘no problem’ attitude was a winner for everyone. She had the X factor plus.

The other example is a forecourt attendant who has motorists wanting to stop to fill up even when the tank isn’t half empty. Tony, was at a smaller Z service station, before the company moved him to one of the larger more high profile sites. They recognised the value he could bring to their brand that no marketing budget could match. Tony’s attitude and positivity welcomed customers time and time again no matter what.

Both of these individuals raised the collective at the organisations they worked for. Don’t get me wrong, they had a great team around them and no star makes a team. But these two are examples of how adding people with the right personality can leverage all the good work that’s done across the rest of the team.

So how to you find these people? When recruiting ask for people with the X factor, look out for them and approach them, ask others in the team for recommendations, keep looking. Also be a little more open minded with the CVs. It’s often easy to recruit someone who can do the job. Recruiting someone who has that something extra can take a bit more effort but it’s so worth it.

Go 2 Market principle: every organisation needs a Rocky or a Tony! Yes, everyone. Simon and Rachel have to find them, and so should you. Make sure you’re open to adding that special someone that will enhance your organisation’s overall performance.

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Why it’s good to fail

Win early, and win often is the best option but if you are going to fail then … fail early. Rob Adams, author of ‘If you build it will they come’, and many others including startup guru, Steve Blank, advise businesses to get out there and learn. Don’t refine things to the nth degree then launch, the market may have passed you by, or indeed your product may not meet customer’s expectations.

Everyone likes to win: “winning isn’t everything it’s the only thing” is a saying that comes to mind. But sometimes failing is the best way to win; quite logical when you think about it. The learning’s from failure will help ensure the next output is more likely to succeed.

So use market validation as the critical first step. This may mean an initial ‘fail’ and return to the drawing board to develop another idea to be tested on the market. But it’s better to fail early, than later with a full on product launch!

That doesn’t mean that you should plan to fail, but rather the time involved in planning and getting product to market are minimised knowing that there will be further iterations. In summary, once the product is in the market, move aggressively to figure out what’s needed to further penetrate the market, and quickly bring the updated version to market. By developing and shipping a series of minimally featured products at a rapid pace, you will receive regular feedback to utilise in future iterations. This approach is far more efficient than a longer development cycle while your market is shifting.

Some other ways to structure this approach are:

  • Market validation should be performed by a cross functional team supporting the product but led by product management
  • Recruit design partners (including those with real world user input)
  • Allocate 60 days to the market validation before starting to build your product
  • 5-10% of development budget should be allocated to this pre production stage.

An approach like this will validate the opportunity. You can then develop a product that has the minimally acceptable features and the level of quality to meet market standards while getting to market asap.

Go 2 Market principle: getting it right first time isn’t critical, but getting it right is. Embrace failure as part of a method to generate success.

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Airlines do it best, but you too can increase profits

Fries with your burger? Internet with your room? What are the add on sales you can make to enhance your customer’s experience?

Did you know that airlines worldwide will net US$36 billion in fees and upsells? That’s a lot of money! Their growth area is targeting the most lucrative customers with new products. Who are your most lucrative customers? And what are your add on sales?

Airlines seem to be flying highest (pardon the pun) with added sales. They are always searching for new opportunities to make more money. For example, paid apps are mostly not as successful yet major budget airline, Ryan Air’s £3 booking app is top of the iTunes chart!

So how can you go about gaining add on sales? I’d suggest you start by breaking down your product/service offer into as many pieces as you can. I’d encourage you to also have one or two comparisons from other industries to help you see what’s possible. For example, when booking airline travel who would have thought there could be so many choices and add ons. Certainly ten years ago there wasn’t!

Now think about the differentials you can offer, and charge for:

  • different opening hours for select customers
  • a unique product, or a standard product
  • special delivery
  • higher level of service
  • different payment methods and terms
  • complimentary products or services
  • faster service
  • additional service e.g. personalised, pickup or in home service
  • automated repeat order at a set date
  • early order discount, or higher cost for last stock item.

There are many options to differentiate your product or service, and therefore opportunities to increase demand for your offer. The outcome will appeal to different customers with offers that better match their needs e.g. travellers with or without bags, or travellers who like/dislike airline food, or taller travellers wanting more leg room. Here’s another example, where an e-reader service is letting readers pay per page!

By breaking down your offer you can then isolate pricing and also costs. As a result you should be more likely to make each cost pay for itself, and be able to renegotiate better prices from your suppliers. But at a minimum you’ll have a better understanding of which are the most important elements of your customer offer and where you make the most money.

Go 2 Market principle: what all business operators should want is a way to satisfy customer needs. By breaking down your offer into multiple parts you can differentiate your offer and better satisfy their needs plus your own to make a healthy return.

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