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Last year, COVID managed to wipe out the revenue streams for businesses whose products and services relied upon face to face delivery.

Leonie Cutts, a professional facilitator and coach, and co-founder of a business called CCS Corporation was one of these businesses.

One of the products that she has co-developed is the Compatibility Communication System (CCS), a communication tool that helps create open and honest communication, and has been used by thousands of trainers, coaches and learning experts around the world.

However, the use of this tool was primarily restricted to being used in face to face sessions with groups of business people.

So with this blow to her businesses revenue stream, Leonie new that she had to do something differently.

She had always had marketing in the back of her mind as she was working on her business, but there had never really been a catalyst or a compelling reason to invest in it. She wasn’t really sure what it involved and she really didn’t want to waste any time or money in something that wasn’t going to directly impact her bottom line.

Fast-forward to today and Leonie has a fantastic content marketing system in place that truly leverages her strengths and her passions.

As a result, she is increasing her visibility, growing her connections and her community and through all of this, demonstrating her expertise and how people can use her products to facilitate honest and open communication.

In this episode, you’ll hear from Leonie about her transition from being really hesitant to invest in marketing, to now embracing the opportunity, having fun with it and having complete clarity about how what she is doing in this space, will ultimately affect her businesses bottom line.

If you would like to get in touch with Leonie, you can find her here:

Website: https://ccs.cards/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/leonie-cutts-15772840/


Episode Transcript:

Jane:

Hello, Leonie. And welcome to the how to do marketing show.

Leonie:

Glad to be here. Thank you for asking me.

Jane:

No problems, always a pleasure to chat to you. Now, if people are watching the video file of this, there is a little bit of a delay between me talking and you talking. So please bear with us a little bit and particularly on the audio file as well, but we can still hear you loud and clear. There just seems to be a bit of a delay. Now, before we kick off with our discussion around your experience with marketing, I would love for you to share with our listeners a little bit more about your business CCS corporation. Can you just run through what CCS corporation is all about, who you help, how you help them and all the rest.

Leonie:

Thank you. Yeah. So CCS corporation, so CCS stands for compatibility communication system, which the reason for the title is that it came from a game that we created about 20 years ago called compatibility. So that was our kind of our basis. And we are the makers of the CCS cards. So the compatibility communication system cards. So they’re used as a tool really to help people have open and honest communication. So wherever that’s needed. So what we’ve found is that it’s actually incredibly useful in a diverse number of areas. So we’ve used it in the cop world for team building vision creation, eliciting values. We’ve used it in schools. We have created products with other relationships Australia. Our latest product development has been in the aged care market. And we’re currently working with The Men’s Table to help people to have that really open and honest dialogue.

Jane:

Yeah. Fantastic. And can you explain how these CCS cards actually do that? So, and it’s so wonderful to see that there is and I guess no surprises that there is that need but that diverse range of people and groups that can use some facilitation and some help to actually open up communication and help people kind of articulate what they’re thinking or better communicate what they’re thinking, but how do the cards do this? How do the CCS cards actually do that?

Leonie:

So really it’s a really simple tool. It’s a selection of 53 photographs, illustrations, and words, and what we know, and also the other key thing is that every person has the same pack of cards. So in our early stages of development, we had a number of people mentor and give us advice and some input. And one of those people was Dr. Stephanie Burns. And she said a really interesting thing. She said, what the cards do, because everyone has the same pack of card. Is it levels the playing field. So what you automatically have is you had this equality across the board. It also has just recently working with people in that working dyslexia. That’s what we’re talking about in your city. And they said, how important images are for people dyslexia, but also when we’re thinking about people thinking in different ways.

Leonie:

And so any tools that we can have, that help us articulate ourselves a little bit more succinctly, and clearly then the better that is. So it’s like a number of different layers that really helps people open up in that communication. So when we create visions, for example, in a team situation, often people get stuck because they wordsmith and they’re like, Lord, I don’t know about this word. I don’t know about that, but by having a tool like the images and when we’re all working together, we can really quickly get to a place where we can create agreement and alignment.

Jane:

Yeah. And I know where I’ve used cards like that. That’s exactly been the scenario where we’ve been trying to kind of as a group express, maybe how we feel about a particular topic. And so you’ve got a whole bunch of cards, images, and words, and those sorts of things around the room and the facilitator will say, go and pick the images that represent this particular feeling or this particular notion or concept to you. And so then you might go and pick your three different cards. And then you’ve got to come back and say, well I chose the rainbow, because for me, I’m really optimistic about this, or I see that there’s hope, or I see that this is a really colorful opportunity. And so just by explaining the image, I’m kind of explaining my thoughts and processes around the particular concept.

Jane:

And I agree like perhaps if you would have said explain in corporate language exactly what you feel that this should be. You’d want to try and you try and put corporate terminology around that or say the perfect thing, but by just explaining what a rainbow means to you in the context that really helps. So yes, but a fantastic tool. And obviously I’ve been working with you for a while now with your marketing. And so I’ve heard about lots of the different applications for the cards and how effective they can be. But then you’ve also got a whole bunch of other products as well that you work with organizations. So, why did you start this business in the first place Leoni? What was the catalyst of starting this business and coming up with these products for these people?

Leonie:

Well, the catalyst was probably my partner who would always come up with games. He came home one night and said he had this idea of, you know, he’d seen a focus group using images and thought would similar people put similar cards down. So he created, he’d cut out and newspapers and magazines and made to image decks exactly the same and said, okay, try this out. Pick five cards that show what love means to you. And I did that and he did it, and we found we had some matches and sent them. I had some amazing conversations. So that’s where the board game came from. And we were both from education and training backgrounds. So when we would play the game, we would notice that people had different conversations. Like we would end up with conversations that you go, oh my gosh, we would never have talked about this if we were not doing, having this game.

Leonie:

So we knew there was more to it. So I guess from my perspective, it was really about the connection that was created in a really short space of time and how people became. It was like the layers, you know, that sometimes can take quite a significant amount of time to peel off like that. It just happened really quickly. So for me, that was just an, oh my gosh, this is so exciting. And how do we help people do and where is this necessary? Yeah. So, hence not just so from the game, it’s gone into the corporate products and beyond. So in all different ways, always looking for little different areas where we can create an add value in other areas.

Jane:

Yeah. Yeah. And I love that. I love the idea that by simply approaching a situation like this, where you’ve got these images, as you say, that ended up being quite the level of, because even if you’ve got the CEO, as well as the clerical staff in the room, everybody’s got the same pack of cards to work with. And then everyone’s got their individual interpretation of a concept at work. And I love that. The way you’re describing that in terms of it is such a leveler. But it’s also a really great way to peel off all those layers of the onion so quickly to actually get to the heart of a subject rather than kind of just bounce around with, words and ideas that perhaps people would be a little bit shy to share, you know, if they would just ask for their, for their opinions when they’re just talking through a different image and how that, what that means to them, it becomes less threatening, I guess.

Jane:

What a great tool. And as you say anything I think that that creates the opportunity to connect human beings and really enhance those communication pathways is valuable to so many groups and so many communities and so many businesses. So I can understand why that got you very excited and you went off and started your own business with your husband, which is always exciting as well. So then you guys plugged away and because obviously it’s a really great product. So some of the other products that you’ve developed along the way are fantastic products as well. So organically, you managed to build quite a bit of success just because it was a great product. And you knew a lot of people kind of within the industry.

Jane:

And as you say, your kind of both from that education training background. So it’s combination of them both. You get the business up and running and then at some point you went, do you know what I think we need? We’ve got it to where we can get it to now we need a little bit of extra help from the marketing side of things. And it’s not like you hadn’t done any marketing, you’d got the website up and running. I think you already had your kind of LinkedIn profile happening and you had bits and bobs or happening there. What kind of made you reach out and go, okay, now I actually just want to get some marketing advice from a marketing person. What was the catalyst there?

Leonie:

So a couple of things from that, first of all, I think that our business was a little bit different, so you’re right. It was definitely when we moved into the corporate market, it was lots of word of mouth. We probably put in a good couple of years of doing all the proper business things. Meeting people and presenting. And then it was lots of word of mouth. And because we had, on the other side of our business was the creation of board games. So we’ve actually gone on to create about 20 different board games. So there was always, it always felt like if there wasn’t stuff happening in the corporate world, there were, you know, we got some royalties and things from the board game. So you’re always chugging along and our joy and happy place was creation. Just being able to do what we do, you know?

Leonie:

So I think many small business people are  like, I just love, being a facilitator and coach, I love being a practitioner. I love being with people. I love doing what I do. And we also love creating. And I think like, so to be honest, we’ve been in business for 20 years, over 20 years. So it’s a bit embarrassing, Jane, when I go, how long was it last year? So what did it take for me to approach a marketing person? Oh my gosh. So I think as you know, there’s the phrase we do more to avoid pain than we do to seek pleasure. So when something very painful happens, we tend to take action. So that’s exactly what happened in 2020, not just for me, but I’m sure a lot of other people as well, that COVID hits.

Leonie:

And what do we find? First of all, we have a face-to-face tool that people buy, well, suddenly there’s zero sales, so, oh my gosh, no longer are we face to face. So as a facilitator as well, I’m going, my happy place had absolutely been taken away because it’s in the room with people. So, it was this combination of things. And to be honest, for many years, that same thing, it’s that niggling pain. I was the little frog in the little pot of water that they talk about that ultimately gets boiled because it doesn’t know to hop out. So literally I’d been going, I know we have to do things differently. I know we have to do things differently. So then it was been the combination of knowing that for many years to then massive pain last year of going, whoa, okay.

Leonie:

Nope. We really have to do things very differently. And yeah. So hence forth. We, because of COVID. So it’s funny, half the world’s collides. So, I’m a person who loves connections, so COVID hits, I don’t have connection. I go on every single thing that I possibly can join to go, hello people. Are there people out there? And that’s how you and I met. So at the business chicks marketing and just one of the meetups. So we’re all just sharing our stories. And obviously I met you and I went here is someone who I just really, like, you were just a genuine, authentic, nice person. And I thought it was really funny. We often find this with the cards. So it’s a similarity effect, you know, when you feel like someone is like you. You go, I just feel connection. So the fact you are rural as well. And I went, oh, I want to connect with Jane. So let’s see where that can go. And I remember getting off the call and I think, I said to Craig. Okay, met this Jane girl, and she does marketing, and I just know we need to do something differently. So I want to pick up the conversation.

Jane:

Yes. Oh, God love you. And we went on to connect on LinkedIn afterwards. And it was a couple of months after that. We’d actually had that initial connection on the meetup. And these are like, these are meetups just to explain the concept of them. These were meetups that they were like little mini networking events that business chicks were holding for their premium members. And like, I don’t know, 20 or 30 people would turn up, would come. And I was like, I’m really desperate to connect with people and build relationships and all the rest. And yes, I remember connecting with you and going, oh, she’s also in regional Australia. Yay. And then yes, obviously being delighted when we spoke or maybe it wasn’t a couple of months, maybe it was only a couple of weeks later which was great.

Jane:

And then we’ve been working together since then. Because Leonie is one of my wonderful academy members. So it took you a long time to get to the point. And I love your analogy there about we avoid pain more than we do. You know, we go to more measures to avoid pain than we do to seek pleasure. What were some of the hesitations that were holding you back? So you knew you had to do a bit of marketing because so many businesses find themselves in this situation. They kind of leave it until the last minute. And then they’ll generally jump on the marketing call when their sales are all the way down, or they know something’s happened, the key person’s left the business or a competitors moved to town or whatever the case may be, but marketing takes a while to wind up.

Jane:

And I’m sure you would have experienced that with the academy. Marketing’s not generally something you can switch on tactical marketing techniques very quickly. Sure. You can just go and switch on your Google ad words and start running Facebook ads quite quickly. But if you’re taking a holistic and strategic approach to your marketing for a more sustainable result, that’s not something that just switches on really, really quickly. So what were some of the hesitations that you had around kind of going down the marketing? Like why did you think it would be a little bit painful, and like no offense taken a lot of people feel that it’s one of those things where it’s a bit of a dark art. They’re not sure if they, spend money in this space where it’s actually going to make any difference. There’s a lot of stories of a lot of Cowboys and marketing’s such a broad topic. Like there’s so many in quote marketers out there who can predict or can all solve all the problems of the world. It’s hard to choose. Like where do you start? There’s that confusion, but what was it for you? What kept you from investing in marketing, do you think to begin with?

Leonie:

I think because I’m very much about connection and the personal touch and because we had, I guess, a base of clients and we were maybe like many small businesses, you go, we’re happy with what we have and, you know, I don’t need to be the next, you know, I don’t, I don’t need to be mapping. Correct. So it’s like what? And it’s balancing that because it’s like, what I guess anyway. So that’s probably why we just did it ourselves. But also, I guess in the back of my mind, it always is this thing that feels like, and potentially we’ve dabbled in it before a little bit is, you know, massive investment for absolutely unguaranteed. You know, what am I going to get? Which, yeah. So that was probably my biggest thing.

Leonie:

It’s going well, not going to pay someone to go and put stuff out there. And they don’t really know us. They don’t know what they’re doing, and I’m going to give you loads of money. And then particularly when the pain hit last year, I’m going well, we literally don’t have a gazillion dollars to go and throw away, which is why I said to you when we had our first call about the academy, I’m like, Jane, that is brilliant because it just hits the nail on the head. I think the small business owners just to go, it’s not a hefty investment. And it empowers us to do just do better in that space. So it’s been a gift. Wow.

Jane:

That’s so wonderful to hear. It’s so wonderful to hear. And I think from a sustainability point of view, you know, for a lot of businesses who do either have the desire to either do the marketing themselves or to even if they’re going to pay someone else to do it for them to just have an understanding of how it works so that it’s not this dark art so that they can make a decision around, well, okay. If I understand what needs to be done with my marketing, then I can kind of go, right. Well, I probably just need to get an agency or a copywriter or a junior, you know, support person who can just rattle out these kinds of things for me under my direction or whatever the case may be. But until you kind of sit back and look at the situation cohesively and go, right, well, where am I?

Jane:

What is it that we’re trying to do? Who is it that we’re trying to kind of work with and serve? And how can we best kind of get our message in front of them. You’re guessing, you know, you’re stabbing in the dark. And you guys had obviously done a really, really good job of getting that inverter that website done and clearly have a good understanding of how human connection and communication works because your website had some really great details and some good stories and some videos and all those sorts of things. So you had a great foundation, which was great. What we needed to do with your marketing was really just take it from your existing networks and introduce you to more people, but we don’t have a massive budget. In fact, I feel like we had very little budget, which is absolutely like most small businesses.

Jane:

No-one’s got a hundred thousand kind of just sitting around, waiting to be spent in the world of small business. So we needed to make sure that we had some really considered activities, but that means that we’re going to have time when we don’t, we’re going to need time when we don’t have the hundreds of thousands of dollars just to go and plastic every billboard plaster out, you know, hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Facebook ads and all the rest, it means that we’re going to just take time and, you know, effort to actually get the message out there. It’s slowly but surely. So, yeah, I think that’s a really good point that you make there in terms of that you don’t have money to waste. And particularly in your situation, in COVID in so many businesses. In my situation, no one had spare change to just go and piece up the walls, so to speak.

Jane:

So yes that’s a very valid hesitation. So before you started with the academy, you’d obviously, as I said, you’d done a great job of your website and you’d got quite a few videos and you’ve got quite a few things going. What were your perceptions around what marketing might involve? Like when you thought of marketing, what did you think if I go to a marketing person, these are the things they’re going to get me to do? Or they’re going to say that they need to do? Did you have any perceptions around what it might involve?

Leonie:

I guess well, you always package advertising and marketing together, I guess. So it was a little bit around that going, how do I. Yeah, so I’d probably have said that.

Jane:

And when you say advertising, did you think, like social media advertising, or did you think like just that, advertising piece.

 

Leonie:

Yep. Yeah.

 

Jane:

And that does make up a fair proportion of small business marketing. Yeah.

Leonie:

Yeah. So that’s probably where I went more or else it was that again, I feel like, and I can’t sorry, I can’t put my finger on what we did, but I kind of remember doing something where we did invest a significant amount and it really was a no guarantee. So I had that sense lingering off going into this money pit that you put money into and nothing happens well. And maybe he actually, that was a PR person, but I probably paid.

Jane:

But this was in the past that you’d done. Yeah. Well, yeah, it’s can be sometimes a bit hard to measure with those sorts of things. Okay, great. So the first thing that we did when we, when we started working with you on the academy, it’s with all of the members, is we actually, before we even got thinking about any of the tactics, such as, you know, the social media marketing or anything like that, we actually developed a really simple strategy. So you and I had a one-to-one session where we discussed what your business priorities were, who it is you’re trying to target. Who else is in the market and those sorts of strategic considerations. Had this been a process that you had done before from the marketing point of view or even from a kind of business point of view, but had you kind of thought about those considerations before and if you hadn’t, or even if you had, were there any kind of additional aha moments that as part of this strategic process you went, oh, okay.

Jane:

Like, okay,  I get it, I get that now.

Leonie:

I think the first answer is no, which is embarrassing.,

Jane:

And it’s all business that I’ve worked with that has, so that’s fine. Don’t worry. Yeah.

Leonie:

So I think what was really interesting because in my life before creating our own business, I did work for a company and I was in a management role. And one of my loves was actually the numbers, which is weird because I felt like me, but at the, I guess it was more just going, yay. Like, this is what we did. So we check our sales and we check our things. And I absolutely love that. And it’s really interesting now business, while there’s been times, we’ve sort of tried that, I think we just get excited, we go make stuff and we do stuff. And that feels good. So, you know, as long as we can put food on the table, yay. Happy days. So what was interesting when we had our conversation was it was like, it really knighted that piece and going, oh, okay.

Leonie:

So now I can see, like, if I do this and I get that, then you just get that little boost. So I’m going to say, this might be wrong but the little dopamine kick that we get, you know, when you get the little in your body, the little endorphin high that that we get. Yeah. So that was why. But I want to share, I think my biggest aha initially was if I’m not sure if you intentionally did this, but what you helped me do was reframe LinkedIn. Right. So for me, I guess I’ve always just let my initial response. I know in LinkedIn, kind of in the early days, I had someone approach me and say, do you want to join me on LinkedIn? And I’m like me, no, I didn’t like any of those things. Like I really do not like it. And I know we talked about Facebook as well recently, and I’m like, I had a visceral response to what I was going to say.

Leonie:

I feel like green eggs and ham, you know what I do not like it, then I am. But I, yeah. So what you helped me do and potentially COVID helped as well because when you’re forced into a situation, you know, the absence of alternatives clears the mind beautifully. So that’s what, you know, maybe it was the combination of both of you saying, you know, well, here’s the thing. Let’s just focus on LinkedIn for a start. And we want to look at building connections and you may have said something like, you know, it’s,  a really nice way. Like you may not feel comfortable just meeting so many in a room and going up and saying hi, but on LinkedIn, it’s kind of easier. So what I did after that, with every single meeting that I went to online, I’d look at everyone’s name and I’d write it down.

Leonie:

And then I tapped something out. And for me, I guess the important thing is always about being genuine. Like I did meet you. I did see you. I did listen to your comments and I do want to connect with you. I’m not just going to throw out, you know? And I guess on LinkedIn, you see it too, with the sales thing where you get those sales emails of which I’ve had a lot lately where the person, if they don’t know me, they’ll just put me in there and they go, how can I help you in your business? And you go, okay, you have not qualified to ask me, how can I help you in your business? You don’t even know me that just annoys me knowing. So I do not want to be that person. So I guess that was helping me reframe LinkedIn.

Leonie:

And from that has been really interesting. So I’ve had, now some people that I’ve started to develop really beautiful relationships with, again, not necessarily, I’m going to sell you anything, but wow. I guess I’m always open to what’s out there. What possibilities are there. And to me that just excites me. So from a marketing numbers perspective, I’m not sure it hits the nail on the head there, but it make my world richer? Yes, it does. And you know, and like you say, even, I guess from a marketing head, you know, the big funnel, the awareness, you know, maybe there’s just a couple more people out there that go, actually I met Leonie and she does this and yes, you might be somebody you talk to you, but that’s, it’s certainly not even my intention. And that helps me to do it more authentically in the way that I need to do it.

Jane:

Yes, yes. Yeah. And I love that and I love that the strategic side of thing, reignited your love for numbers, because I think like, it almost goes back to your point around being worried that the marketing is just this pit of the unknown and you know, let’s all get creative and start coloring in and, you know, rebrand the logo and make some new photos and all of that sort of stuff. And it’s like, yes, sometimes that is what marketing involves. That’s probably more the branding side of things, but the strategic processes is 100% there to go. What is it that you’re trying to do in your business and what do we need to wrap the marketing goals and objectives around from a business perspective. So, yes, the majority of the time businesses want to increase their sales, but you don’t just turn that on. You don’t just go right world, I’m ready for my sales to increase. So if everyone would just like to pay attention to me. There’s a process that where we take people on the journey of getting to know us, getting to find out a little bit more about us and how we might fit into somebody’s world or fit into somebodies’ business.

And then, you know, they, they can buy from us and, or then they’ll trust us enough to buy from us. And I had a retainer client who started with me, I don’t know, three months ago. And I knew her because, you know, she’s from, from Port Macquarie and everyone kind of knows everyone-ish. But I said, oh, what made you think of me? Like, why did you think of picking up the phone? And she said, oh, I’ve seen your stuff for years. I’ve been following your stuff for years. And it’s just, now that we’ve needed you. And so for me, that just goes sometimes that funnel can take years to percolate. So the importance of making sure that you are there and introducing yourself now, and this person would have gone.

She’s not someone that I had worked with directly or whatever. So for her, she really did have to go through that process of getting to know me getting to like me, but then also being ready to buy, you know, and then it’s, you know, a fairly straightforward process from there. But yes, you’re absolutely right. And I think LinkedIn and you’ve, and we’ll talk about this next, but the majority of the work that you’re doing from your marketing point of view is on LinkedIn and you’ve done it. We usually, which is a perfect segue once we’ve kind of developed your strategy. And we worked out that it is very relevant or the majority of the opportunity kind of sat within that corporate space, that kind of business to business space.

So we identified LinkedIn as a channel for this. You picked up the reins and ran with it, and I love your point around. It’s not just about the numbers on LinkedIn. It’s not just about getting the numbers. It’s actually about creating those genuine connections. We use numbers in LinkedIn to help keep us accountable, to help keep us on the platform and going back and making sure that even when we get busy or even when we feel like we’ve created enough traction there, we use the numbers to make sure that we keep going back and building relationships and being active and making sure that people are, you know, we’re making people aware of us. We’re getting people to engage with us, but I’m like you, like, it’s not just about going out and getting as many connections as you can. It’s about meeting people and genuinely connecting with them. And instead of that being it, now we can meet like, you know, you’re two hours down the road from me, but we can meet face to face and then continue our conversation on LinkedIn from a professional perspective. And it’s completely okay to do that. People expect it. We’re not trying to sell each other’s anything. We’re just like, oh, I really connected with you. And I’d love to stay in touch with you on LinkedIn. And I think that’s a really beautiful opportunity, but you’ve taken it one step further. Can you tell us about the beautiful content ecosystem that you’ve put in place using LinkedIn to promote some of your thought leadership content.

Leonie:

So you even mentioned the word accountability, I think, in what you were sharing there. So I just want to link it back to that, because one of the other reasons that I signed up with you besides the fact that I liked you, that’s usually my first motivator, but it was also to have someone to, it’s almost like to have someone to be accountable to so that it would make me do things that I know I need to do, but didn’t necessarily have the confidence to do or to be, and to be honest, this little, this next bit about content creation is almost like I felt behind on my promises. So it was like when it’s too late, you know, so because we’d been in business for the amount of time we had, I always had wanted to run and have done in different forms, but wanted to run regular sort of meetups in some way, shape or form with our people.

Leonie:

And I hadn’t done that. And that obstacles always there it’s like, you know, what’s the venue you’re holding it in? How much do you pay for it? Do you charge people? Do you make it free? How much do you invest? You know, all those questions. So one of the gifts of COVID was suddenly everyone’s comfortable with zoom. Yay. And it’s free. Yay. Can I afford an hour? Can I hang out with people. Yes, I can. So it really wasn’t. It literally was not long after you and I started working together and I went, okay, I can do this. So that’s when our facilitator’s guide is called unpack. And so that’s when I thought let’s have the unpack series where I get a guest in. So I know that there’s a number of CCS users that have been long time.

Leonie:

User but had the areas of expertise that are valuable for people to hear about. Another joy of mine is that I just love hearing other people’s stories. Let’s tap into them and let’s join together and then share with our community. So that literally is something that has come because you and I have worked together. And so I put that in place last year and was doing those fortnightly and am doing those fortnightly and have, so then my rhythm, which you’ve taught me is so do the unpack session the next week. I do a blog based on what we’ve talked about, so I can share that as well. And then the next time is advertising my own pack session, and then we do our next one. So that’s a fortnightly thing. And it just feels, I guess, for me, it just hits all those good things.

Leonie:

Cause it’s something that I just, I genuinely, I love and am passionate about. I’m connected with my community in a way that is real for me. And I’m hopefully useful for them as well. And then we had our very first one for the year. So we had a break over Christmas. And I had the first one last week and I must admit, I had to, you know, it’s like anything, when your stuck in that, I’ve got to start again. And that energy to restart is tough and I could feel that resistance and I’m going, and that again, the self doubt comes in and what impacts are going to have? And am I doing the right thing? And then we had this session. I mean, I had a brilliant guest on who we’ve known over a number of years and she had just such valuable things to say, but at the end of the session, we had someone stay on and just say, I just said, I can’t tell you everything. But there was someone on these sessions who really needed to be here today. And she just gave us so much, you know, she just said, this was so important, what you just did. And yeah, so that gives me goosebumps

Jane:

Oh, I was going to say that ticks your box because for you, it’s about having that impact and making sure that you can, I guess, create those situations where you can help someone in that circumstance. And that’s so powerful to know that you have turned up and helped someone in that way and how amazing that you’ve been able to do that. And I completely get you in terms of taking a break from your content and getting out of that rhythm and just having to really re-energize yourself to get back on because that imposter syndrome or that self doubt, and this is something that we have to kind of have to push ourselves to do, or we have to push stuff out of the way to actually make sure that we’re doing it. And two, I think not the fear, but I know like with me starting back the podcast this year, I was like, I was kind of putting it back off. I was putting it off because I thought once I start, I’m in, do you know what I mean? I’m in, and it’s weekly and it’s this, and it’s this schedule and it’s this commitment. And it means that sometimes I’m going to show up on my insights and the numbers aren’t going to be good and that’s going to hurt. And, you know, sometimes the numbers will be good, which will be great, but it’s a freaking roller coaster and you can never, you know.

Jane:

The scary bit. You’re like, oh God. But you know, like I just think of how that content kind of drove me and it drove you and it drove a lot of people through that COVID period. And that just that awareness and that rhythm and the fact that people are now showing up and having those sorts of experiences, they’re the things that move people down that, that path of that marketing journey of getting to know, like trust, that emotional engagement they’ve had with you, they’re going to talk about you, you know, to other people, this is the stuff and that stuff doesn’t move quickly. Do you know what I mean? There’s, there’s only ever 3% of people that are ready to buy, but if we can make sure that our content rhythm is just in place all the time, hopefully we’re picking up that 3%, you know, when, and if they’re ready to buy.

Jane:

So first I’m going to ask the numbers. So there’s obviously been a terrific impact on the work that you’re doing and the impact that that is having, but you’ve had some really good numbers in terms of the top of the funnel and the middle of the funnel around creating awareness and engagement, because you’ve also got an email database, which you already had established. And as you said, you’ve been repurposing and integrating kind of your two and maybe three different channels, your website, where you’re hosting the blog, LinkedIn where you’re using LinkedIn to promote the fact that you’re having the webinar to actually get people to come along to the event. You’re actually using your guests as well to actually help spread the news of that webinar. And then when people actually register on that webinar, they actually drop into your email list as well. So you’re gradually growing your email list. You’re gradually growing your awareness by having the different guests. What are some of the, and you don’t actually have to say the numbers itself, but what are some of those kinds of metrics that have been encouraging you along the ways in terms of whether it be website clicks or, your email database gradually growing, or maybe, the amount of people that show up every fortnight? Are there any numbers that are encouraging there.

Leonie:

Well, definitely when we looked at the numbers, it worked in terms of our mail. Like I said, the people at the mail-out that list I think had increased, it was almost like 20%, which is fantastic. So it was even just making that a conscious thing like here’s how I can grow it. Like I said, the LinkedIn connections are definitely growing, I couldn’t tell you the numbers, but I definitely know, that has grown. And it’s interesting because I realized another one of the challenges is then also the time factor. And do I go back and check it? So clearly I haven’t looked at my numbers to prepare for this call but it’s interesting, I guess it’s like what, your first questionnaire, where do you know it was like a whole list of questions about what are your goals and your targets and your things.

Leonie:

And it became blatantly clear to me, the reason that the business is like it is, is because the motivation actually comes from more as that connection. So if I have one person that shows up, like I’m on a high, when I had that feedback from last week, I go, that’s enough. I can live on fresh air if I have that. I just want to know that, you know what I mean? So then it is obviously balancing the more impact you’re having that way, the better. So it’s yes. Also helping to do both. So I don’t know if that answers the question there.

Jane:

Yeah, it does. And I know certainly from the marketing point of view, so each month we all go through, each month or each quarter, we’ve got a monthly marketing measurement templates that we do our very best to fill in all of the different metrics each month, just to see if we’re creating more awareness of us, if we’re creating more engagement, you know, if we’re making sure we’re feeding that top of the funnel to make sure that we’ve got those people kind of spitting out the bottom, knowing that could take a little while to activate. And a lot of the time when I say to people, it might be six months or nine months into their marketing. And I’ll say, you know, we obviously measure how many leads we’re getting and how many sales we might be making as well.

Jane:

But we’re not measuring that concurrently within the month. You know, we’re not going okay, well, this many people saw us on LinkedIn and we made this many sales because the sales cycle is not that long. It’s generally, I’ve seen your content for the last nine months and I’ve attended five of those webinars. And now I’m just ringing up to see if I can organize some facilitation or get the cards or whatever. Do you feel encouraged? And this is, you know, answer this obviously very honestly. Do you feel encouraged that this kind of marketing will generally will lead to the leads and the sales that you need to get for your business from a bottom line perspective? Do you feel like this is something that will plug in, it might not be dropping out the leads and the sales like hotcakes right now, but do you feel like it’s headed in the right direction?

Leonie:

I feel like it’s headed in the right direction and I know there’s more we can do. And I think there’s something I wanted that’s just prompted me to remember. And again, this has come from working with you, I think it’s just opening your eyes to go, where should we be seen? What are the opportunities who do I need to connect with and looking at it differently? So what you have helped me to do is one of the groups that we’re involved with is called ILP. So they’re now they’re Institute of learning professionals. And again, this is through a connection. So as a long-term CCS user, he’s now COO of, of ILP. So we love him. So again, for us being a client for them, ultimately we’ve sponsored a page on their website and we’re now working together.

I don’t think I would have had the confidence to do that. Had we not done our work together? And now I feel like I show up differently to those meetings. So I think I would always have, I perhaps wouldn’t have had the confidence necessarily to work in the way that we’re working and it’s exciting. Like it feels like I’m not just throwing something out into cyberspace and hoping it’s something’s going to happen, but I have a genuine connection with this person. I love their work. These are our people. So they have four and a half thousand members who are absolutely targeted as our people. And I think I use that as my permission slip to not go on Facebook.

Jane:

But it’s such a valid point, like essentially looking for those opportunities where your target audience already is, why go to the broader market? If you know, you’ve got five, four or 5,000 people who are the type of people that are perfect for you sitting in a little group, they’re waiting for you to drop in, you know, I think that’s absolutely perfect. And I think that’s a really good point because we start somewhere with our marketing and we don’t set a plan in stone. We start somewhere and we get that going. And then we go, right, what next? Now we’ve got that content going, what next? And you’ve identified this as a great opportunity, but because you’re this far down the road, you’re also, as you said, you have got the confidence to go. And this is how I think we’ll be able to kind of use that, that relationship.

And I think it’s really important for people to know that it doesn’t just start dropping out of the sky immediately. These things take time. And even for me, like it takes so much time. And so much of me showing up. And then all of a sudden after doing that consistently, which I did last year, and then all of a sudden it will come, you know, that it will reign in and it’s not like I did just do it last year. I’ve been doing it for years, but sometimes it really is that now we can expedite that we can go and get a hundred thousand dollars out of the bank and go nuts and just get, you know, go in every trade publication and every email and every Facebook and everything in the whole world. But when we don’t have that budget, it’s a slow and consistent burn in the right spots.

Look for those opportunities because we’ve done the strategic planning in the first place to go, what is it that I’m trying to do? And who is it that I need to speak to? Because that’s our true north, that’s our guiding principles. And as soon as you know that you’re identifying the right opportunities and going, okay, this is something that will suit my budget. This is something that will compliment the content that we’re doing over here. So I’m so excited for you with this opportunity, with that IOP. Did you say it is? Yeah. That’s awesome. What advice would you give to another small business owner is rewinding at 12 months is in a similar position to you? Little bit hesitant about marketing might be sitting on the fence. What would your advice be to them about marketing?

Leonie:

I think I tapped into the words that you said before about show up. Yeah. So I think the message as we’re talking through it, that I’m hearing from myself is also about being authentic. It doesn’t have to be comfortable. Cause I know that sitting in comfort, doesn’t always get us places we need to go, but it has to be an area that you feel aligned to work in. And what I’ve loved about us working together also is you have definitely made me feel satisfied and comfortable that I am working in the area that I am happy to be so not pushing me to go. So for example, Facebook is like, okay, well let’s just leave that. So I love that. And because that helps you to be more inspired.

So it’s going, how do I do this in a way that makes sense for me and enables you to then show up, like you just said. And so what I’ve noticed about myself, I can show up authentically and that helps make a difference. That makes a massive difference. I think it just has to be, do it in a way that works for you. So I don’t think there’s a right or wrong and there’s obviously guidance and there’s parameters, but it’s like, okay, here’s this open space. What are we doing? How do we make the most of what you’ve got?

Jane:

Yeah. How do we leverage your assets? Like how do we leverage you and your IP? And as you said because I think originally we spoke about you creating some content videos. So you’re getting on and kind of talking about the cards and talking about the facilitation and that sort of stuff. And you just went, you know what? I’m not really comfortable with that and I’m not going to do it because, you knowI can do it. I can force myself to do it, but I just know that I’ll never prioritize it because I’m not comfortable. So you went, but what I am really comfortable with is doing, getting a video happening with a webinar, with other experts in my industry that we can both use the cards, use the product. So it’s still promoting the product. You were still, you know, highlighting you as a thought leader in that industry, but we’re all just involving somebody else as well.

Jane:

And you feel so much more energized by that. You feel so much more comfortable and your content rhythm has been faultless. Like you have literally you’ve showed up all the time. The numbers are increasing. You’re building that email database. And you know, you talk about not liking Facebook. I think the rest of Australia just joined you. Last week when they decided to cancel all the media pages and people now can’t share any news via Facebook. I think people were very miffed, but what that said to me, regardless of that decision something that we always say to small businesses is just, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. It’s so important to really have a diverse range of challenge channels, and an open mind to here’s all the different things that we could be doing.

Let’s work with what we’re comfortable with, but make sure that we’ve got a backup. You’re building this beautiful email marketing database where you can nurture relationships and really kind of use that very effectively with your marketing and that’s growing beautifully. Once your kind of building up that relationship with people, you’re in quite a powerful position to be able to kind of then you know, do more business with the people on that email database. Cause they’re kind of opting in, you know, that they’re qualified leads. We’re not just going out to the big, bad world of LinkedIn or Facebook or, outdoor advertising, all the cars driving past whatever. So it’s very titled. So you’ve kind of got this ecosystem and now this potential partnership or that leverage of the ILP and this bank of webinars, which has all this beautiful content and blog posts that you can put on your website, which is another area that you’re really building. And so you’re building up the SEO capabilities of your website and all the rest. So you are building this beautiful ecosystem that you feel entirely comfortable with. So well done the Leonie. We love your work

Leonie:

Right.

Jane:

Now, if any of our listeners would like to actually find out more about CCS corporation or find out more about some of these beautiful products that you use to help facilitate communications, where can they find you?

Leonie:

Thank you, Jane. So you can just go to ccs.cards.

Jane:

Perfect. And you’re also on LinkedIn. If they want to find you on LinkedIn, who do they have to search for?

Leonie:

Yeah, just Leonie Cutts.

Jane:

Yes. And she does a wonderful job and potentially if you’re interested in this space you may like to register for one of her fabulous webinars, which are getting the rave reviews, which is awesome. So thank you so much for your time. Leoni really appreciate your insight and feedback there and, and your truth about your experience with marketing really appreciated. Yeah.

Leonie:

Thank you, Jane. Fabulous.

 

 

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