5th November 2020
Sheep Land (can you spot the sheep behind my garden office?)
Here’s my second monthly Geospatial Marketer Newsletter, a monthly newsletter from me, Elaine Ball, on all the stuff that matters in geospatial marketing.
A warm welcome to Peta, Kelly, Natassja, Jamie and Amalia! I hope you find this insightful and useful. I’d love to hear from you, so drop me a text or WhatsApp at any time on +44 7825 517 850.
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If you didn’t read my first edition, then click here for a catch up! It will give you some context to my vision for geospatial marketing, and why I might be worth listening to (in other words, my background in this field).
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity!
– Albert Einstein
Can you spot which one of these is my dad, and which is Albert Einstein? Apart from the fact that one picture’s in black and white, the only clue may be that I’m Facetiming one of them! (Do you think my dad will kill me for putting his picture here like this?)
My dad always made the most of opportunities, and I like to think it’s in my blood. Despite how hard something may be, we have to make changes, think creatively around the obstacles, and challenge the status quo.
In March, I was zooming down the slopes of the French Alps without a care in the world. The sun was shining and I was managing to keep up with my speed-demon of a husband. Suddenly, we noticed that the slopes were eerily quiet, with not a soul in sight.
Had they evacuated because of an avalanche risk? Nope: they’d shut down the country. And so the Coronavirus pandemic began for me.
Initially, my clients had the heebie-jeebies. I was told to ‘hold tight” (or in my Yorkshire vernacular, “Hold onto your knickers!”).
As it turned out, despite all the turmoil, my clients didn’t seem to suffer too much. My company even picked up 3 new customers during lockdown! As Covid continues to bounce around the world, I’m hearing the same thing, from survey-company owners to equipment manufacturers: “The show must go on!”
This got me thinking about my client base, and of course the wider geospatial community. I know major construction projects that have started must continue according to some of my major construction clients and friends, but what about all the smaller jobs? And isn’t marketing the first to go in any company that’s scaling back, because leaders often don’t understand its value?
A question of leadership attitude
So what is it about the leaders of the companies I’ve been talking to… are my type of followers just forward-thinkers? Problem solvers? Get-up-and-goers? Maybe.
I guess they may all have one thing in common: they’re opportunists!
CSTi, based in New Mexico, is a survey team of 8 people with two very forward-thinking surveyors at the helm, John and David. What sets these guys apart is their vision of success and the way they seize opportunity! (More of them later)
Is your boss right behind you?
Today I spoke with two marketers. Both are surveyors; one’s from a survey company, one’s from a reseller of geospatial equipment. They’ve ended up doing the marketing for their business. Both are very enthusiastic and keen to improve their marketing. They want to show their sales team what they can do, but more importantly they want to be seen as experts and build their reputations.
But both have the same problem. Management isn’t interested: they see marketing as a giant money-pit. Either that, or the department that does the colouring-in. In this time of COVID-19, management are thinking especially carefully about where they spend their money.
Maybe now’s just the right time to change their minds.
Here’s an example
Let’s strip this back a little and dive into the weeds.
At CSTi, things are moving along nicely. Their brand is growing, even more so during the current conditions. Their vision is: “To be the premier geospatial services and facilities company in the Southwestern USA”.
I believe the secret behind their marketing success is that they take the same approach to marketing as they do to their survey work. “What IS that approach?” I hear you say. Well, here are 5 key pointers:
- Both of CSTi’s owners are doers. This means they get their hands dirty when it comes to marketing, not just surveying. They see the value of marketing, and they understand how difficult it can be. It’s far from ‘colouring-in’!
- Both have a strong vision, and a focus on the end goal. This makes it easier for them to use every decision, large and small, to maneuver their business in the right direction.
- They have a commitment to their strategy, and communicate it to their staff. Everyone knows what to do, and why it’s being done, and why it matters. They outsource some parts of their work to keep their core strong.
- They are consistent with their ‘content marketing’ (more to come on that later on), which improves their search-engine and social media visibility, and demonstrates their thought leadership.
- They believe in their methodology, and are patient about giving it time to work.
There’s no reason why you can’t do this, even during a pandemic!
In “the middle of difficulty”, CSTi made the decision to plow on. They invested $$$ in their marketing, their equipment and their focus. And it’s paying off.
Where is YOUR “opportunity”?
Here are my tips for making the most of your own opportunities – whatever they may be – in these times:
- Unravel, understand and challenge the vision of your business. Find out where you’re headed and what that looks like. If you change nothing, will you end up in a good place? Or do you need to chart a different course? This is the start of your marketing plan. If you know where you’re going, it will be much easier to align the stepping stones towards your vision.
- You need to find a way to get commitment from management. They need to be shown how to trust in marketing. To do this, why not launch a pilot program to prove its worth?
- Start small. Get the commitment to at least show them your idea; a mini campaign so you can then develop it and prove the way forward
- Decide on what your end goal should be. 5 hot leads, or one sale worth $$$? If 5 hot leads, what would they look like?
- Work backwards from your goal (re-engineering the process):
- Launch a webinar on why managing utility strikes will save you $$$ on your construction site. Add a call to action for the prospective client to arrange a free consultation with the surveyor.
- Write a white paper on the facts of surveying around utility strikes, using the customer’s point of view and testimonials on things like why it’s important to reduce downtime and lost revenue.
- Write a website landing page for the campaign, with links to external resources, the webinar link, projects you’ve done, and references (to show authority and build trust)
- If it’s a new service, write a press article on your new methodology and submit to it editors
- Design some groovy graphics or invest in a photographer (like CSTi did) to give that Wow! factor. Remember to add the call to action of the webinar
- Hire a videographer who can produce videos for awareness (a minute or less to capture that initial attention) with a call to action to share with a friend and over 3 minutes to educate the prospect. Add the call to action: sign up to the webinar.
- Have a string of posts ready for your social platforms, touching on the key customer pain points around utility strikes. Use Instagram ‘Stories’ to build in that human feel, giving your followers a real connection.
- If you have a management team to persuade, then make them look good; manage upwards!
- Do a pilot to prove it works – it’s less risky for the boss, and a chance for you to shine! By committing to a pilot program you can tweak, improve and alter things with minimum risk. Then you’ll have something tangible to show management and get greater commitment from them.
Ensure your plan is consistent. If you plan to post 4 times a week, then make sure it IS 4 times a week… believe me, it will pay off. CSTi is proof of this approach working well. Word of mouth has increased among their stakeholders and you can see all the building blocks beginning to form. And as that happens, people will trust your methodology.
Attend my FREE value-packed workshop:
10 simple steps to generate more sales
Learn my proven secret formula for growing your Geospatial Business!
Find out more or sign up today for my FREE workshop on Monday 30th November 2020.
This will give you an amazing new skill to implement immediately in your geospatial business, whether you’re an equipment reseller or a survey company.
Remember – in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity! See you on 19 November for my next newsletter.
PS: In December I’ll be launching THE GEOSPATIAL MARKETING ACADEMY, a marketing platform for survey company owners, marketers of survey firms, directors, managers and marketers of geospatial equipment manufacturers and dealers. Each lesson encompases “how-to” methodology; you’ll learn at your own pace, and you’ll build the confidence to implement your learning. Each lesson comes with Industry examples. Fancy a sneak peek?