We have an interesting view out our office here.

Unfortunately, interesting doesn’t mean particularly enthralling.

We’re opposite a building in Southend which has long since been ‘closed’. I can only assume it was offices before, but have no direct knowledge.

The thing that makes me chuckle slightly, is, as we’re 4 stories up, we look out and pinned to the boards which cover the windows is an advert for a property services company.

The only people that could possibly, ever see that, is us – and the office next door to us.


I don’t know if this is one of those scenarios where they got inches and feet confused, and expected it to cover half the building, but either way, it’s barmy.

But it drives the question: where is a good place to advertise?

The best place to advertise is obviously, where your potential customers are.

This might sound like a completely barking mad obvious thing to say, but quite often the place where your competitors advertise is not the best place for you to advertise. Industry/trade magazines might get the readership, but people are largely so used to seeing adverts from that industry they all blend in.

You need a way you can identify your target market, and advertise in a place that they don’t expect. Like if you were selling high profile watches, you’d want to advertise in a high end sports car magazine, or something similar.

Facebook lets you totally drill down your target, so when it comes to online, you can profile your future customer quite nicely.

Google again has similar targeting, meaning you can run display ads to capture peoples interest on all sorts of sites.

There’s a ‘Where to Advertise Guide’ on my new site; it’ll cover some of this in a bit more detail.

In fact, the whole site covers a load of things in a load of detail.

And it’s all free.

Am I mad? No. Clearly not. There’s obviously paid for content on there too; but as I’ve demonstrated before, the best way to convince you that the paid-for content is worth paying for, is to show you how much more money you can earn with the free content.

How do you find out about it? Check back here or, depending on when you’re reading this, look at updated blog posts. The best way to find out is to get on my daily email list:

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Window Shoppers vs Buyers

If it’s one thing that holds a lot of people back, it’s indecision and poor assumptions.

It’ll result in lost sales, irritated customers and/or a variety of other things. It applies to all areas of life but especially business.

Some time ago, I was in the market for a new TV.

Long story behind why but basically… I wanted a new TV.

I went into the local high street store to buy…

Now, a lot like your website, a lot of people will simply go in thinking of maybe buying, but they’re not ready yet… so I pretty much expected the staff to treat me like I wasn’t going to buy, because that was probably their expectation.

I was right.

I was toying between 3 different TVs, and each had a significant advantage over the other, but I couldn’t work out which one really gave me the best quality/features.

So, I had a query about one (about “would you really see the different of 300hz on the processing rate” when querying between 500hz and 800hz).

I know the faster the processing rate the better for action, but at the end of the day TV is broadcast in 50hz (25 frames per second) and so whilst a rate of 100hz or even 200hz could perhaps improve fast action (because the TV ‘inserts’ a frame, making the illusion of smoother motion) I just find it unrealistic about all the way to 800hz.

Anyway…without boring you to death on a Monday morning, I basically had a few questions like that.

So in the end I had to ask 3 separate people these 3 separate questions, because once they’d (rather very briefly) answered these questions they were off, quicker than I could say “oh but wait, here’s my credit card”.

I ended up taking my business to a different store, because they didn’t have the one I wanted in stock; their indecision about how to best go around ordering it because they weren’t sure if they could get it delivered to the store instead of me was the final straw.

You’ve got to remember that you’ll have a lot of window shoppers, but you’ll be hard pushed to tell who’s a serious buyer and who’s just researching.

That’s why follow up is so important.

I go into how to do this with my book.  I go into how to follow up with your leads so that you’re not leaving people hanging after asking one question, and makes it easy for them to buy because you’re always around.

And don’t forget, the beauty of this book is that it’s completely guaranteed. No fuss. If you’re not convinced the book is astronomical value for money, just let me know and get a full refund.

Get yours here.

Knee pain… no more running?

So, it’s not uncommon to get various aches and pains as a result of excercising.

…probably why I avoided it for the last 20 years.

Recently I have had a lot of knee pain. The funny thing is, I know, if I had this 5 years ago it would have been enough to make me say “oh well, can’t run anymore, I’ll do something else”… then never do anything else.

I know that, because it’s not exactly what happened but it’s not a million miles away.

But this time, no chance. I’ll see whatever physio I need, I’ll get whatever treatment is necessary and I’ll do whatever I need to do to keep on running. Why? The decision.

Ultimately, life is a series of decisions – I’ve gone on about that in the past and no point in going over it again – but I made a clear decision: to never go back to the way I was… (That and I seriously love running..)

Obviously I want to go forwards too, get lighter/faster/healthier… but one step at a time. Fix the knee.

To grow your business you need to market it properly; but you couldn’t market your business if your sales process was broken could you? Or, a significant fault in your production line would hinder your abilities to turn a profit.

The best way you can find out how to grow your business without risking anything is through getting a business report. Why? Because for a start, it’s risk free. If you’re not convinced it’s worth £10,000 to you over the next year – it’s free. That’s a promise.

This is what Bettina from Liberate said: “When I spoke to Ben about getting a Business Report/Marketing Strategy done, I was expecting the usual – Google AdWords, SEO and lots of money spent on marketing. What I got was a report tailor-made to my business including insights and ideas I would never have expected and which have given me the impetus to see & do things differently. No, I probably won’t be putting ALL the ideas into practice, but there are plenty to choose from to suit me and the way I run my business.”

Update: You can’t get this any more (I don’t work one on one with people anymore), but you can get my book.

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger…

I went out for a run last night, beating my previous personal best for the second time in a row.

I wanted to go for a longer run, but time is always an issue – it just depends on how quick the kids get into bed. If they’re down by 7.30 then I’m good for an hour run – as by the time I’m changed we’re eating dinner and it’s not generally later than 9pm.

If it’s after that, I don’t want to go out for an hour (well, 1:09 at the moment) as it just eats up into the ‘unwinding’ part of the evening. The part where the kids are (hopefully) quiet in bed, and you can just sit on the sofa with a drink of wine squash and relax.

Joking aside, back on the “diet” now…so no alcohol for a while.

Anyway, the reason I mention all this? Slow, continuous improvement.

You see, I beat my personal best by 6 seconds, but I beat it. Thanks to my super-ridiculously-awesomely-snazzy watch, it let me “race myself”. So every time I slipped behind, it’d buzz me and I’d know I’ve got to pick up the pace. I spent the latter part of the race in first place, with varying levels. At one point I was about 80m ahead, and finished at something like 26m ahead.

Anyway, how does this slow continuous improvement have any bearing on you whatsoever? Well, quite a lot actually. One of the most important phrases with Google is “Pay Per Click is a Marathon, not a Sprint”.

It might be that month on month, you’re only improvement your cost per conversion by a fraction; it might be you only increase your conversion rate by 0.4%, but as long as you’re always improving, you’re always going in the right direction. Over 12 months you might have increased it by 4.8%, which isn’t shabby at all.

One of our biggest success stories was a campaign we took over mid-late last year. The campaign performance when it switched to us took a nose dive, albeit temporarily, because of the way the previous company had set it up. So, we had to take some drastic action re-structuring the campaign.

But, once it was re-structured, it’s had nothing but continual improvement over the last 6 months…. in fact now pulling in more enquiries than it ever has, for the same budget.

PS. Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger is possibly one of my favourite Daft Punk songs. And motivational to run to too…

One lump or two?

Hope you had a good weekend; whilst we didn’t get down to the Zoo we did get to a Fun Day at a place called Orsett Hall.

It’s basically a day aimed at kids (with a huge amount of inflatables) and “free entry”.

…”free entry” if you don’t want your kids to go on the bouncy castles of course…

I’m not objecting to it, actually, I think it’s great marketing. You had to buy a wristband for the child which was £8, but they had a massive selection of things to go on.

But from the businesses perspective, if you think of a fun day with bouncy castles that are maybe £1.50-£3 a go, you’d probably only go once or twice at the most? (I guess it depends on how many bouncy castles there are, what else you’re doing and how much cash you’ve got on you at the time…).

So what they’ve managed to do, is implement a way of extracting twice, if not three times the amount of money out of a parent (without the parent objecting (as far as I knew…the size of the line for the wristbands was a hint)) as they would normally get on a fun day.

If you ask me, that’s smart.

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20 miles, 200 obstacles, 7 hours…

So I’ve had a week off! Going by tradition, this mornings email should be about Run Club. But, as I went for a run on Sunday and managed to injure myself, I had to give it a miss. Annoying, as I really wanted to go.

So I’ll stick to what I had planned to send last Monday, the email about Rat Race.

So if you’ll remember, the weekend before last I was going to Rat Race Dirty Weekend – the worlds largest assault course… I have to say my biggest fear was holding our team back, or at least, being the cause of them waiting around.

They were an amazing team…absolutely amazing. If you’re ever thinking about doing a team building excercise in your company, do something like this. It’s physically and emotionally draining, but the teamwork you find there is just something money can’t buy… (well, ok, you have to buy your way into Rat Race so…).

Anyway, 20 miles, 200 obstacles. I admit I skipped a few, but once was due to a serious attack of cramp (to the point I could barely stand, let alone walk….Andy to the rescue again (thanks Andy!)). The second one I had to skip (glossing over the monkey bars as they had an ‘alternative’ obstacle if you couldn’t manage those) was one where you had to lift yourself onto some bars and then move yourself down the bars with your hands. I just couldn’t do it, worn out or fresh … my upper body strength just isn’t there.

The last I skipped because I just felt so sorry for my team; it was a large wall, and they’d already pulled me over quite a few – we were pretty close to the finish and whilst they wouldn’t have thought twice about getting me over it, I knew what was near.

I was going to link to a photo, but have recently found this video – it’s largely the whole course (obviously much of it missed out) in about 5 minutes.

How long did it take us? 7 hours.

The thing is, it wasn’t about doing it in a time for me. Not this time anyway.

It was the same goal as the Marathon: just get round to the finish line.

The key is persistence. Persistence when you don’t know the outcome; persistence when it seems like everything is against you.

This is EXACTLY the message I am delivering with your marketing, but specifically at the moment, Facebook.

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Wind, Rain, Mud, Obstacles, and a 20 mile run…

Well, everything is packed, I’m ready to go (well, nearly).

I’m talking about the Rat Race Dirty Weekend, it’s this weekend… and after realising I was pretty massively underprepared, I took a visit to Trespass in Southend High Street.

To be fair, it was a steal… everything was half price – so I got pretty much all the kit I need for… well, half what I expected to spend!

One thing that seems a bit odd though, they’re an outdoors shop. They’ve got loads of camping gear and clothes, but they didn’t have one thing – a roll matt.

This is a minor thing, but a major thing…in my, most humble, opinion.

It wasn’t that they had sold out either, the guy in the shop who was most helpful, said that he has no idea why they don’t do them, apparently people ask for them all the time.

So, ok, they might have lost out on just a few £ yesterday because I couldn’t get my roll matt, and in the grand scheme of things that’s not exactly going to affect their bottom line – but over the course of a few years how many people are having the same experience? And what if that’s across multiple stores? I don’t know what their other stores are like, but as far as I’m concerned, you go to an outsdoors-y shop you expect outdoors stuff.

So the moral of the story here, is know your customers requirements – and try to cater to extras they might need. For each of your products there’s some accessory, tie in, additional extra they might want/need. If you don’t offer it, they don’t know you do it/have it.

You can do this in the upselling the traditional way (i.e. at point of purchase/just before purchase offer in an extra), or post sale – on the thankyou page when they’ve already purchased (or when you’re saying thankyou) then offering the upgrade/additional extra/whatever.

The latter is actually very powerful, and works wonders in E-commerce.

For me, though, it’s back to getting ready for Rat Race, including mentally preparing myself for the toughest thing I’ve ever done. In the mud. And rain. And wind.
It’s going to be awesome.

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Greasy hands on the monkey bars

So recently, with the two main people I “follow” in Marketing, there’s a lot of fuss about Facebook at the moment.

Don’t get me wrong, I still think updating Facebook twice a day and doing 20 tweets a day is a waste of your time. It’s worth doing for a little bit of interaction with some existing clients perhaps, and MAYBE to warm some people up to an opt-in page, but seriously the people that promise you buckets of sales from likes and shares, they drive me nuts.

They drive me nuts because it’s not consistent. Not only does it not work with every industry/company, but it relies on the worst thing you can ever try and get.

Free Traffic.

Now, I want to go into why [a] Free Traffic isn’t free, and [b] why you shouldn’t bother anyway.

But, the information I want to give you is comprehensive. So, I’ve broken it down into a series of emails.

The emails will cover exactly how and why you should use Facebook, how you should make use of the advertising but most importantly, why relying on free traffic is just plain stupid.

So, would you like to know all the secrets and wonderful things about why and how Facebook is so amazing, and can actually add a serious amount to your bottom line? (And remember, likes and shares are as useful as a greasy hand as you approach the monkey bars on an assault course…which I’m hoping I won’t have on Saturday…).

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Serious Beef

A while ago we looked at things we could do for Zachs Birthday.

With 8 kids between me and my brothers it’s difficult getting everyone down for every Birthday, so we decided we’d just take him to the Zoo or something.

In the end, we decided to go to Chessington World of Adventure, and we went with one of Josh’s friends.

I haven’t been there in years, probably something like nearly 20 years. It’s crazy to think that a ride that opened nearly 20 years ago still gets queues of over an hour…. now that’s a good investment!?

I’m talking about Rameses Revenge. It opened in 1995, and if you don’t know it, you basically sit in a chair, get spun around loads and eventually soaked at the end.

The highlight of the whole experience for me though, was the hotel. We figured if we weren’t spending any money on a party for Zach, we’d stay in the hotel and make a real night of it…

…it was amazing.

Not only was the Restaurant really, really good – but the service was outstanding too. Everywhere we went (and this included every ride, stall or shop we went to when we were there) the staff [a] asked if we were having a good time and enquired about how long we’d been there/how long we were staying, but [b] made sure to say they something positive as you leave (‘enjoy the rest of your day/stay/morning/evening/whatever’).

Now to me, this is an American effect… and I know some people who seem to find that kind of niceness ‘false’ and it irritates them.

But the biggest point here, is if you have a whole park full of staff who are consistently wishing you a good day and being nice to you (service with a smile, and all that) then the effect rubs off on you. It de-stresses you a little, because waiting in a queue for 2 hours to go on a 30 second ride can sometimes really make you think “was that really worth it…”.

So… Chessington, highly recommended. What’s recommended even more though, is to make sure you engage with your customers, and that you’re always thinking about how you can make their experience that little bit better. What else can you offer?

PS. The Restaurant food – so amazing – this was some serious beef. In fact it’s hard to get the scale of how serious that beef was – but it was pretty serious. But what was the absolute, top highlight of all time – was because we were staying at the hotel, we got to walk around the Safari until dusk… meaning once we’d finished our meal, we went outside (with a drink in hand) and walked amongst the Animals. I have never experienced something quite as awesome as that!

Sprinting to Run Club…

I almost didn’t make it to Run Club last night.

I’m always the last to arrive, but last night was worse than usual.

Josh has Karate at 5pm, so I usually get dropped off there after work and we leave around 6pm. We sort dinner out and get the kids to bed for usually just before 7pm. In the meantime I’ve usually sorted out my running bits (which I had last night) and got ready, so I can just get one child in to bed and leg it out the door.

This worked OK (as usual), but I left the house at 7:12pm, giving me just 3minutes to get the gym. Impressively, I made it to the gym for 7:15pm (it’s really not far).

But the car park was full, and I sat there for a minute wondering if someone might leave (usually this trick works and in fairness, usually I have a window of 5/10minutes breathing space – but they leave the gym at 7:15pm to get running).

Whilst sat there, I saw another 2 cars driving around. Then 3 more cars pulled into the car park… Assuming I wasn’t going to get parked any time soon, I went and parked down a nearby road, ran past the run club people as they were walking to the start point, sprinting to get my gym gear in the locker, and sprinted back to the start of run club, just to start running.


Made it.


Many people would have given up, been too late, waited to park, etc etc. Or not even have attempted it in the first place.

There’s a reason I attend run club without fail; but that’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

PS. Something that was awesome though, was the amount of people – must have been at least 16 people… and it made for a very enjoyable run. It took nearly 0.5Km before my “Fast Locate GPS Watch” located me (15 seconds…pah), but overall nothing to complain about. Started at the back and finished around the middle… pushing for the front obviously, and I’ll get there one day…!