Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Would your clients miss you if you stopped trading?

Here’s a great question for business owners to ask themselves: “Would people miss my business if I stopped trading?”

One of the best investments you can make in your business, is to constantly look for ways to be irreplaceable. Think of it like this:

  • If people want carrot flavour ice cream and you’re the only person who makes it, carrot ice cream lovers would miss you like crazy if you stopped trading.
  • However, if people want a predictable, good quality training provider, designer or consultant, etc., it’s relatively simple for them to find another good quality provider.

Not easy, but required

As a small business owner, there is enormous value in finding your equivalent of carrot flavour ice cream.

By being hard to replace, you give your existing clients no reason to look for another provider. Additionally, it is a great deal easier to successfully market a service, which offers unique value.

No, it’s not easy to develop a product or service that is irreplaceable. That’s why your competitors are not doing it and why the opportunity exists for you.

However, if you want to retain more of your clients, to generate more word of mouth recommendations and also earn the fees you deserve, it is required.

Bloggers: How to be an overnight success

blog letters

My wife’s blog has become an overnight success. Here’s how she did it.

Sharon started her blog around 12 weeks ago. Her first post was read by over 2000 people. Thousands of people now read her work every week. Not bad, especially as it’s her first ever attempt at blogging. It’s worth mentioning that Sharon hasn’t paid for advertising, hasn’t done any kind of SEO or asked anyone [including me] to share her posts or link to them.

So, what’s the secret of her success?

Before my wife published her first post, she had already built an audience for her blog. She is the admin of a history group on Facebook. Sharon spent time connecting with like-minded people, answering their questions and sharing ideas.

By the time she published her first blog post, there was a community of people who were interested. They already knew who she was and that she’s an expert in her field.

Compare that to what most business owners do, when they start blogging.

  • They write a post.
  • They share their post on their main social networks.
  • However, because they haven’t built a community of people around their work, very few people take notice.
  • They decide to publish some more posts and hope things will improve.
  • Fast forward 3 months… they still have very few readers.
  • So, they try some tricks they find on blogging websites. [They don’t understand that this is the perfect way to ensure your blog remains invisible.]
  • Eventually, they assume that blogging is a waste of time.

Here’s the thing: If you want to build a successful blog, you need to build a community.

You need to find a way, like Sharon did, to connect with your target audience. It takes time. It takes effort. But that’s why she already has thousands of readers. It’s why her 12 week old blog has a bigger daily readership than the massive majority of established, small business blogs. BTW: It’s the same approach I used to build Jim’s Marketing Blog, though I used Twitter rather than Facebook.

Great blog posts alone are not enough

Writing great blog posts is just part of building a successful blog. Without investing the time required to build a reader community, a blog will remain largely invisible.

Important: You build a community by connecting with people in your target group. Join in the conversations. Answer questions. Communicate. Notice something there? None of those are achievable through automation software. Broadcasting quotes and spraying links via your social networks is easy, but very ineffective when it comes to building human connections.

How long does it take to do it correctly?

Some of my clients have achieved measurable success within 3 months. Others have taken a whole year. Is it worth it? Well, over 80,000 people will get notified when I publish this post today.

What would it be worth to you and your business, if you were able to reach a growing targeted audience of thousands of potential customers every week… without paying for advertising? Think about that for a moment.

If you decide its worth the investment, find out how to do it correctly and get moving!

Be more interested in your client’s success, than your fee

There is a powerful success factor behind every great business, which you can implement starting today.

It can be summed up in just 4 words: It’s all about them!

It’s all about them

The most successful business owners have figured it out. They know that their success is always going to be an extension of what they do for their clients. So, they consistently look for ways to be of greater value.

In short: They are more interested in the success of their clients, than they are in their own fees or prices.

Why the me, me, me approach doesn’t work

The least effective business owners are focused on what they can get from their clients or customers.

  • They talk about closing the sale, rather than opening the relationship.
  • They talk about up-selling, rather than upping the value they provide to their clients.
  • They focus on what they can get, rather than what they can give.

That approach comes across in everything they do. As a result, their client retention is poor and they get few referrals from their clients, because we don’t recommend greedy, self-obsessed people to our friends.

Some ideas for developing the ‘them’ approach to business

It starts with an understanding that it’s all about what you do, not what you say. Every business owner claims to be client focused. So, you need to demonstrate that you are passionate about the success of their business.

For example:

  • Keep in regular contact and if you find they have a problem, offer to help.
  • Help them make connections. Think of people you know, who you can introduce them to… then do it!
  • Take a little time out every day, to help one of your clients in a way they were not expecting. This can be something as simple as sharing a useful blog post or newsletter article.
  • Find something valuable, which has a low delivery cost to you. Then add it to the service they receive from you… at no extra cost.
  • Keep your promises. Surprisingly few service providers can be totally relied upon. Become one of this rare group and your clients will notice (and tell their friends).

As the late Zig Ziglar used to say: You can have everything you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.

PS - I recommend you read this: How To Build a Massively Valuable Business, using a More Human Approach.

The magic of being first… and useful!

We remember Roger Bannister today, because he was the first person to run a mile in under 4 minutes.

Apple is the world’s most valuable company today, largely because of profits from the iPhone — the world’s first smart phone. [Here’s the original iPhone press release.]

There are 2 useful lessons here:

  1. When you are the first to do something, it’s remembered for a very long time. We remember Bannister, even though Australia’s John Landy broke Bannister’s record just 6 weeks later. Landy was faster, yet remained relatively unknown because he wasn’t the first person to go sub 4 minutes.
  2. It doesn’t have to be perfect. The first iPhone was buggy. It even lacked a basic copy and paste facility for over a year!

This begs the question

What product or service could you be the first to create for your marketplace?

Remember… it doesn’t need to be perfect. It needs to be useful.

Social Business: Before you publish, press pause!

online reputation

I want you to think about the following for a moment:

  • The last tweet you sent.
  • The last blog post you published.
  • The last marketing email you sent.
  • The last Facebook status update you posted.

First impressions count

Each of those actions could easily be someone’s first exposure to you or your business. If so, it will help form their first impression of you. First impressions count… even if they are inaccurate. First impressions count, even if you are having a bad day.

First impressions count, because if you screw it up, you don’t usually get a second chance!

Hit pause… and think

It pays to pause for a few moments before you publish anything. Think about the impression you are creating. Never underestimate the impact of an angry tweet, a needy Linkedin request or a spammy Facebook update, etc. Once it’s published, it’s out there. It’s in play. It’s carrying your name. It’s carrying your reputation.

Today, prospective clients habitually research us via search engines and our social networking accounts, before contacting us. Thankfully, we have total freedom over what we choose to say and the way we choose to act online.

Which is just as well… as our online actions leave a trail that is discoverable in minutes, by everyone who checks us out.

3 Opportunities to massively improve your business

3 three

Here are 3 opportunities, which every business owner should consider. Each one is based on the kind of work I do with my clients.

1. Attract clients, sales or enquiries

Have you ever considered attracting clients, sales or enquiries… rather than chasing them?

When people come to you with their need, you don’t have to sell yourself. You can reply to their enquiry as an expert in your field. They have a need, which they have asked you for help with. You are the expert with the answers they require. It works beautifully and the conversion rates are excellent.

Here’s the thing: When you chase prospective clients the way most small business owners do, that dynamic is destroyed.

You may be a lawyer, designer or accountant, etc., but when you’re chasing people for business, they will see you as a salesperson.

Think about that for a moment.

2. Fire your worst clients or customers

Have you ever considered firing your worst clients? Clients who pay you late or are rude or over-demanding, suck the joy out of your business.

By firing your worst clients and replacing them with great ones, you not only dramatically improve your client list, you massively improve the joy you get from your work. It’s your business, so build something wonderful that inspires you all day, every day.

3. Create and market a downloadable product

Have you ever considered creating a downloadable product? Well, you should.

Digital products require no shelf space. They require no handling, postage or packing. An audio program, book or video that you create once, can earn you a regular stream of income for years.

For example: I created my audio program 8 years ago. It has sold into over 100 countries, just from my blog! I’m making a highly profitable income today, from work I did back in 2007.

I hope those ideas have given you some food for thought.

2 Lessons from a bad idea

Sophie emailed me earlier, to tell me about her new business idea. She explained that she had met with 14 potential investors so far. None of them wanted to invest in her idea, however, that wasn’t the point of her email!

Here’s what Sophie discovered, when she asked the investors what their main reason was for not investing:

  • Half of them said the idea was bad, because no one had done it before.
  • The other half said the idea was bad, because it had already been done before.

2 lessons here

Firstly, every idea falls into one of those 2 categories. It’s either never been done before [though that’s highly unlikely] or it has already been done before.

Secondly, neither of those are valid reasons to say an idea is bad.

The fact remains that you will hear those replies time and again, whenever you try something new. They are bogus, but you need to be prepared to hear them.

Tip — Here’s some useful advice on how to create great ideas.

How to keep people interested in your marketing

How to

If your marketing is attracting fewer enquiries than you need, you may want to consider mixing things up a little.

Here’s why.

A marketing lesson from farming!

12 years ago, after a lifetime of living in cities, my wife and I bought our current home in the countryside. It’s surrounded by farm land. One of the first things I discovered about farming, is the effectiveness of crop rotation. The farmer plants different crops each time, because it keeps the soil fertile and produces a better harvest. Planting the same crop time after time produces a poor yield.

It struck me that the same is true when it comes to marketing. The marketplace soon gets tired of seeing the same marketing from the same people. It fails to capture their attention. Soon, they pay it no attention at all.

The answer

The way to avoid this costly marketing error, is to mix things up a bit.

  • Try different timing. For example, if you use email marketing, send your emails on a different day or time of day.
  • Try different images in your marketing material.
  • Try different language — the kind of words you use to communicate your marketing message.
  • Try different offers.
  • Try asking for a different response.
  • Try different marketing formats.

You get the idea.

In short: Marketing rotation can help you retain people’s interest. And an interested marketplace is far more likely to respond to you!

P.S. Here are dozens of marketing ideas you can use, from the most popular page on my blog.

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