Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

3 Things to focus on the next time you’re worried

Here are 3 things for you to remember, the next time you’re worried about your business:

  1. It’s your business. This means you have ultimate control over what happens.
  2. Any time you decide to, you can start making better decisions. You can improve your strategy.
  3. By making better decisions and backing them up with action, the potential of your business is limitless.

So, stop worrying about what could happen. Instead, focus on improving your strategy.

Then work that strategy.

I have a confession to make

marketing 101

Okay… it’s confession time.

Whenever I read a marketing message, where the words you are get shortened to your, instead of you’re, it changes how I feel about the message and the person who wrote it. It makes me wonder what other basic errors that person makes. So, I no longer treat the message with as much importance or interest.

I know I’m wrong to do this. It could just be a one-off mistake that slipped past them.

Here’s why I’m sharing this with you

I’m not the only one who feels like this, when they see that kind of basic error in a marketing message. It’s a natural response.

When someone claims to be a business professional, yet they make sloppy mistakes or allow errors to be published without correcting them, we doubt their message.

It works like this: By claiming one thing with a marketing message [professionalism], yet demonstrating something different with our actions [rookie errors], we create a fractured message. Fractured messages lead to confusion and doubt.

Once a prospective client doubts you, the chances of them doing business with you plummet.

It turns out that when it comes to marketing messages, the little things can often have a huge impact.

What everybody needs to know about marketing advice

If you’re currently following marketing advice, yet your business isn’t achieving the results you need, this post is just for you.

The problem with general marketing advice

I’m fortunate to work every day with clients worldwide. Over the past 20 years, I’ve worked with clients in over 40 countries. This has given me a wonderful insight into the differences, when it comes to successfully marketing in various parts of the world.

What I have found, is that some very popular marketing publications and marketing blogs are either unaware of the differences or they choose to ignore them. Instead, they tend to offer general advice, which is provided as THE WAY to do something, when it’s often totally unsuitable for many of their readers.

One very often repeated piece of bad advice is, “the best time to publish your newsletter, blog post or social media updates”. There is no general, one-size-fits all answer to this.

Here’s the thing: Different countries have different working cultures. For example, my American clients usually start work earlier than my European clients, however, my European clients often work later. So, if your business is in Europe and you’re reading a marketing blog for American businesses [or vice versa], any information on the best time to publish something is incorrect.

Equally, even within the same countries, different industries work different hours. For example, designers, developers and those in the hospitality industry, often work later than other industries. So, using generic advice on the “best time to publish”, even if it’s from a locally-based marketing expert, is a waste of your time and is likely to make no meaningful difference.

There’s more

I see equally inaccurate information shared on content marketing blogs. No distinction is made between the kind of copy required to sell expensive, professional services — and the kind of copy needed to build an affiliate website or sell low priced items. A very different approach is required for each of these. As a result, I get emails from professionals with terrible blogs, newsletters and websites, who want to know why their readership isn’t growing and why they get few if any enquiries.

[Note: To find out what happened to one of my readers when she took that kind of advice, read this.]

Those examples of non-specific, general advice are sadly typical of what I see many hard-working small business owners waste time and money on. So, before you use general marketing advice, make sure it’s applicable to your business. If it isn’t, that free advice could lose you a fortune.

How to make your business massively stronger

How to

Today, I’m going to show you how to protect your business, so that it will still thrive, even if you lose your biggest customer.

I need to start by asking you a question. It’s an important question, so take some time to consider your answer:

In financial terms, what would happen if you lost your biggest customer or client?

Many small business owners are heavily reliant on just 1 or 2 main customers. These major customers often account for a hefty percentage of their income. When [not if] the customer leaves or ceases trading, the vendor is left in an extremely precarious position. Despite this, small business owners will usually wait until the worst happens, before they proactively seek out new, major customers.

Why does this happen?

Small business owners understand the seriousness of their situation. It’s just that when times are good, there’s little motivation to invest in marketing or business development. So, they tend to put it off. Then, when they lose a major customer, they enter panic mode. They rush. They often make bad decisions, as fear influences their thinking.

This causes what is widely known as the feast and famine cycle.

A far better approach

The most successful business owners have a different mindset. They understand that the time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining. So, they make business development decisions from a position of strength, rather than wait for disaster to strike. They avoid the feast and famine cycle, because marketing is an ongoing part of their business.

I hope the sun is shining on your business right now. If it is, this is the perfect time for you to focus on attracting more high value customers or clients.

Are you doing your best work?

Most of us are capable of so much more.

I was reminded of this earlier, when reading the following quote from Dr Martin Luther King Jr:

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well’.”

I wonder how a business would improve, if instead of doing enough, the business owner did all their work to the very best of their ability.

A powerful lesson from Martin Luther King Jr: Love and light.

3 Great opportunities, which you can start on today

Here are 3 amazing opportunities, which you can invest in right now.

  1. Look for opportunities to make promises, and then keep them. This is a wonderful way to earn trust and build a great reputation.
  2. Look for opportunities to invest in others. Leave the people you connect with in a better position than when you found them. Even something as simple as a smile from you can make a difference to someone. It may be the only sunshine they see today!
  3. Look for opportunities to learn. Commit to lifelong learning. It’s one of the best investments you will ever make.
  4. Bonus: Look for opportunities to do more than people expect from you. There are no traffic jams on the extra mile, because although every business owner claims to go the extra mile, very few do. Be one of the rare few.

I hope you find these opportunities interesting. More importantly, I hope you do something with them.

How to beat your biggest competitor

winning

Your main competitor is seldom an alternative provider.

Your main competitor is usually apathy… the decision to do nothing.

Before working out how you compare to competing providers, measure your service against the decision to do nothing.

  • Why should people risk placing their trust in you?
  • Why should they give you their attention?
  • Why should they go through the hassle of hiring you or buying from you? [Tip: This will help.]

Answer those questions correctly and you will have crafted a clear, motivating story for your prospective clients.

Bloggers: Are you 1 question away from 10000 daily readers?

In this post, I’m going to share what is easily the single best piece of blogging advice I know.

Here it is: Drum roll please…

If you would like more great people to read your blog, start off by asking yourself the following question:

“If I already had 10,000 prospective clients reading my blog each day, how much time and money would I be prepared to invest in developing it and delivering useful content?”

When I ask people that question, they often say things like:

  • Wow… with 10,000 readers each day, I’d invest as much time as I possibly could.
  • The  blog would be worth a fortune, so I’d invest in a professional design. With all those readers, I wouldn’t want to look cheap.
  • I’d publish posts most days and really work hard to make the content as useful as possible.

Cause and effect

After listening to their answers, I sometimes take a look at their blogs and usually find that they have not invested much time, money or energy into them. They want a highly valuable blog, but they won’t make the commitment required, until after their blog is a success.

That approach is a little like a restaurant owner saying she refuses to serve great food, until after her restaurant if full every night!

My mentor used to say that it would be crazy to walk up to an empty fireplace and expect heat. We know we need to do the work of building the fire and lighting it, before we can enjoy the warmth.

We don’t need to be geniuses to build a successful blog, but we do need to be wise enough to understand that our results will be guided by our actions.

A leap of faith

The people that already have thousands of daily readers, did the work and made the investments before our blogs became popular. We paid the price for success in advance.

That takes a huge leap of faith, but unless you show faith in your blog, you can’t expect others to.

P.S. Still not convinced? Here are 25 Reasons to write a business blog.

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