Meet Jayne Carmichael-Norrie, Growth Engineer extraordinaire. Founder of Tech Tonic Studio, Jayne came into entrepreneurship by way of software development and teaching.
An Alumni of New Beginnings and part of the team at IS HQ, we sat down with Jayne to get her top tips on customer acquisition using a tried and tested formula: KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)
Hindsight is 20/20
Jayne's business journey is quite inspiring. As someone who has launched two businesses, she's encountered a fair few major hurdles trying to attract and retain customers. The lesson? Simplicity in marketing is key.
Jayne: One of my biggest mistakes was thinking that customers needed to be excessively courted and wooed. I used to lure them in with multiple layers of marketing content, thinking that they would eventually commit to a purchase.
But I soon realised that this approach attracted more spectators than buyers. Real customers don't need a lot of coaxing, and a simple, straightforward message is often more than enough.
Over time, I learned that “fancy” branding doesn't always lead to sales. I've found that people are more likely to click out of curiosity than an intention to buy.
One of my highest-converting landing pages is incredibly simple – it's just a picture of a gin and tonic, with a form to collect visitors' email addresses.
Finding the Perfect Customers
Navigating business start-ups as a first-time founder feels like a grand adventure and a daunting maze, all at once. Spotting your perfect customer? Like trying to find a hidden treasure without a map.
Jayne: It's easy to assume that what you like is what your customer will like. I used to make this mistake too, but I realised that my customers are not clones of me.
One method I found effective was to reach out via blog posts, articles, and podcasts to meet my potential customers where they were. This helped me not only to find them but also to understand their preferences better.
Challenge Your Assumptions
Jayne's past experiences have given her a whole different approach to understanding customers.
In particular, she challenges herself and others to think differently about customer interviews and to focus on the data.
Jayne: One of the biggest lessons I've learned is that your customers might unintentionally lie to you. They may try to tell you what they think you want to hear, or they might not even know what they really want.
In the case of Scottish Gin, for example, I had to swallow my pride and acknowledge that my initial assumptions about customer preferences were wrong.
People weren't necessarily looking for gin because it was Scottish; they just wanted a gin that tasted nice.
Understanding this forced me to change my approach and branding, but it was crucial in driving purchasing decisions.
That's why data-led decisions are so important alongside testing and experimentation. It's like being a scientist.
The process involves looking inward and examining all of our assumptions. I use a platform called Unbounce that allows us to test different aspects of our offerings such as headlines, copy, imagery, and so on.
This way, you get unbiased information that when applied gives you more reliable results.
Make Space to Create
With more than 50% of entrepreneurs admit to feelings of burnout, decision fatigue and depression, it's important to remember that entrepreneurship is an endurance sport - not a sprint.
Jayne: The biggest challenge is valuing your own expertise and time. When I first started, I didn't believe I had any real expertise.
I realised later that my time and knowledge were valuable, and that I deserved to be paid well for it. Coming to that understanding was a difficult process, but it's essential for any entrepreneur.
It's also important to create space to be bored, to think and to analyse. This is the best way to make data-led decisions. Adding "more" just slows down your results.
There are so many hats to wear as a founder and a few years ago, I found that I was spending around 40 hours a week on social media. I began to focus on 'Digital Minimalism,' and limited my social media time to no more than 20 minutes a day.
While it may seem counterintuitive when you're focusing on sales and growth, it actually freed up a significant amount of time for thinking and problem-solving.
It's easy to think we’re being productive by constantly checking our social media feeds and emails, but it can actually distract us from making important decisions. Now, I'm more conscious and intentional about using tech for my benefit and not for anyone else's.
Valuing your time and expertise is also about recognising that free time is crucial if you want to stimulate your brain to solve the big problems that truly move the needle.
The Secret to Scale Sales
It's easy to think that "more" is better in the eyes of sales and marketing. However, it's this approach that creates excess waste in startups as founders relentlessly look for "quick fix" solutions that promise the moon and deliver dust 😏.
Jayne: It's all about finding solutions that are scalable and grow with you. We often make the mistake of thinking that the more we invest in tech, the better the results. But sometimes simpler, cheaper options can serve us just as well without compromising on the results.
For example, HubSpot is often recommended as a one-size-fits-all solution. But it's a sophisticated tool that’s not cheap and not suitable for every business. There are alternatives that cost $50 for a lifetime subscription. They're cheaper and easier to use.
My key advice to scale sales: TEST. EVERYTHING.
Don't think that doing more or investing more is always the solution. Sometimes, the issue lies in the infrastructure or the setup. Don't let biases cloud your judgment.
Take a step back, think critically, and don't be afraid to test and experiment. Your success might lie in the places you least expect.
Find what works for you and your business, and don't be afraid to scale back and simplify if it serves your needs better.
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