Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing tips & ideas to help you grow your business, by Jim Connolly

Month: November 2008 (page 1 of 2)

How I attracted 8000 Twitter followers in 14 weeks!

As this morning saw me attract my 8,000th ‘follower’ on Twitter, I thought it was a good time to share with you, how I have built my network of Twitter Associates thus far, (I don’t like the word ‘followers’.)

Some background

Whilst a few social media / marketing people have more followers than me, I have attracted almost all of my followers in just 14 weeks – NOT 12 months or 2 years!  I also did this without the benefit of thousands of blog readers, legions of ‘fans’ or famous blogging friends. 

I have also managed to build a targeted network of Twitter Associates, not just NUMBERS!  My network on twitter is composed primarily of; business owners, entrepreneurs, bloggers and those linked to marketing, PR or social media. (The exact same people who use my marketing services.)

I believe building a network of Twitter Associates is not just about attracting numbers!  It’s about attracting people, who are in your target group and then earning their trust.

The three key words here are people, attract and trust.

People

The people I associate with on Twitter are NOT my followers; they are my equals.  We are part of the same online network.  I refer to them as my Twitter Associates, because we associate with each other on a level playing field, using Twitter.  The only time I use the term ‘follower’ is (like in the title of this post), when I need to give people a quick point of reference.

You see, this is a two way deal with me, I follow all those who follow me, unless they are spamming me of course. With me there’s no tribes and no leaders – just people who want to connect!

Does an equality-focused approach actually work on Twitter?  Well, there’s anywhere between 1 and 3 million people using Twitter, (apparently).  As I write this, I am high in the top 1% of all Twitter users, based on ‘followers.’  I don’t say this to impress you, but to impress upon you the effectiveness of treating people as equals and with respect!

This means communicating rather than dictating.  It means engaging people and listening to what they say. It means taking time to help people no matter how many followers they have, just because you like their work.  It means becoming part of a network or community, without feeling the need to lead it!

Think of the people YOU buy from, enjoy the company of and recommend to people.  These will tend to be people you trust, people you like and people you value – NOT people who treat you like some dumb ass follower!

Attract

There’s been a lot said about the power of attraction, with some referring to it as the law of attraction. Whatever your thoughts on the subject, we know that cause and effect play a major role in every area of our lives.

If we want to attract people, we first need to make ourselves attractive to them!

On Twitter, the most attractive people are those who share – rather than just self-promote.  They are the people who take time to answer questions and engage people in dialogue.  They are the people who look for ways to connect others and help them thrive.

One of the fastest ways to attract the interest of another human being, is to show your interest in them first!  We all like to feel valued and when another person takes time to notice us, it makes US feel good!  Don’t wait for people to follow you – develop your network of Twitter Associates by looking for great people and FOLLOW THEM FIRST!

This means that you not only attract more people, you ALSO get to develop a network of associates who are the kind of people most suited to you and your business.

Use the Twitter Search facility to identify people who ‘tweet’ about things you are interested in, and follow them. Then, introduce yourself and add something of value to the conversation!

Trust

We live in an age where; diets promise we can lose 20lbs in a month, we can have rock-hard abs with just 3 minutes exercise a day and where we can become rich in weeks (if we just buy that $29 ebook!)

We expect results immediately, yet developing trust takes time!

Paradoxically, I believe one of the reasons my network grew quickly, is because I took my time!  I am simply not influential enough to develop a network that big, that quick, all by myself!  I rely massively on the help and co-operation of others and that only comes after people trust me enough to recommend me to their Twitter Associates.

I see people using auto-responders when I follow them, with links to sales pitches – because they come to twitter expecting immediate results! Who is going to recommend someone like that to their Twitter Associates?

I get people I have never heard of, telling me to send a message to my Twitter Associates, recommending they follow them or visit their website/blog!  Who is going to recommend a person like that to their Twitter Associates?

I mentioned earlier, the importance of treating people with respect, as equals.  This is a great way to earn people’s trust and their good will.

When this happens:
- People will recommend you to their Twitter Associates.

Also…
- People will go and visit your site or blog.
- People will enquire about your products or services.
- And people will buy from you. I’ve recently sold over $30,000 in services / products via people I met on twitter.

Your tips, ideas and suggestions!

This post is based on my experiences and observations as a twitter user.  I’m certain there are many, many more ways to develop a valuable network via twitter…

AND this is where YOU come in!
What kind of things make you more, (or less), inclined to press someone’s follow button?  Share them here and please feel free to include your twitter username, if you would like new people to discover you!

…. and if you found this useful, don’t forget to subscribe to my RSS feed!

Seth Godin and Twitter

A number of people contacted me yesterday, with a link to this post on Seth Godin’s excellent blog. In his post, Seth warns people about using Twitter. His argument is that it’s easy to be misunderstood, so you should avoid it for anything important or controversial, unless you want people to “assume you are an ignorant jerk and move on.”

Twitter would look very different to Seth Godin

I believe we have to look at this through Seth Godin’s eyes, if we want to understand his point and see why he doesn’t use Twitter.  Of course, Twitter would look very different to Seth, than it looks to you or me.  He hasn’t got hundreds of ‘followers’ – he’s got millions of ‘fans’ who would love to chat with him.

As you might already know, Seth Godin has banned people from commenting on his blog.  He says the primary reason he has banned comments is because:

I feel compelled to clarify or to answer every objection or to point out every flaw in reasoning.

If Seth is genuinely as obsessive about this as he suggests, with the huge following he has, he would find it impossible to use Twitter the way we do. People often disagree with what you say and it’s easy, as he points out, to be misunderstood.

Seth Godin is a very clever man and a superb writer too.  However, in my opinion, I think his reasons for not using Twitter and for warning people about it, are perhaps less relevant to the rest of us, than they are to him?

I believe Twitter is a great form of communication for 99.9% of us.  Believe me, lots of people get a great deal from Twitter; including me and most (if not all) the people I chat with there.

I also think that Seth’s good friend and business associate Robert Scoble @scobleizer, proves that you can be controversial on Twitter and people will not just ‘move on’ – As Seth stated.  Robert currently has over 40,000 followers and can be extremely controversial in what he says about business, politics and technology.

Over to you!

Have you found Twitter useful? If so, in what way has it helped you or your business?  Share your thoughts, and include your Twitter username, if you would like people to contact you!

Get your timing right!

One of the fastest ways to dramatically increase the number of sales you make, is to make sure you ‘close the sale’ at the right point in the negotiating process!

Why is timing so important to your sales success?

marketing timing sales In any sales situation, there is a certain point in time where the prospective client or customer is most likely to agree to buy from you.  If you ask for the sale within this golden period, you stand a far greater chance of the prospective client saying “yes.”

Here’s why:
If you ask them to make a buying decision before they are ready, they will think you are either ‘pushy’ or desperate.  This will massively reduce your chances of making the sale, because people hate to feel pushed or pressurised.

If you ask them to make a buying decision after their interest has dwindled, they will be far less motivated to buy from you.  This will massively reduce your chances of making the sale, because without that all-important motivation to buy, there’s little reason for them to purchase. The moment will have passed.

Hot stuff!

A great way to remember the role of timing in the negotiating process, is to think about what you do when you boil some milk in a pan.  You start off with the milk at room temperature.  Then, once the pan of milk is placed on the hot stove, it slowly gets hotter and hotter until it starts to boil. Once you turn the heat off, the temperature slowly drops until it goes back to room temperature again.

In a negotiation process, you need to ask for a buying decision ‘when the milk is at boiling point!’  This is the point where the prospective client or customer is at their most motivated to buy.

How to improve your timing

No two people are the same.  When some people are at their most motivated to buy, they will lean forward with their eyes wide open, nodding their head in agreement.  Others will hardly change their physiology, but ask you lots of relevant questions, and some will do neither!  Whilst anyone involved in face-to-face negotiating should study the basics of body language, you need to combine this with additional resources.

For example, try asking the last 10 people who didn’t buy from you, what it was that made them decide not to proceed and pay attention to anything that suggests your timing was off.

If you regularly hear people say that “it all happened so fast” or their head was spinning from all the details, this might suggest you need to slow down a little.  If you regularly hear people say that they just “went off the idea” or they are going to “review it again next year,” this might suggest you need to speed up a little.

I have been in sales and marketing long enough to know that there are many, many reasons why people decide to use one provider over another provider.  However, by paying close attention to this often-overlooked area of the negotiating process, you can significantly increase your sales conversion rate.

The advertising question

I’ve had quite a few people asking me recently, why there’s no advertising on jimsmarketingblog.com.  So, I thought I would let you know.

The short answer is that this blog is NOT here to sell advertising!

Some commercial blogs start off with the sole intention of selling advertising – which is great.  However, the primary focus of this blog is very different!

I decided to simply build this blog as a way for me to connect / network with great people (like you); who share my interest in marketing, networking and business development.  The community here is extremely important to me, which is why I work so hard to get readers ‘involved’ in the blog – with your comments, suggestions, ‘tweets’ and emails.

As you can see from the amazing number of comments this blog already attracts, (after just 11 weeks of marketing) – the community is both growing and very active!

So, what IS the “business model” then?

I want to show you the effectiveness of my work; through the marketing ideas I share with you and the obvious success of this blog itself. Then, if you decide you want to achieve massively better sales/profits or simply develop an amazingly successful blog, you might decide to give me a call or drop me an email.

That’s it!

Of course, as a result of the growing number of people now visiting and commenting here, companies have started asking me if I will advertise their products or services.  This blog’s community is very targeted; primarily people who own a business, are self employed or are ‘decision makers’ in larger companies.  Our community here is what advertisers dream about.

I will happily offer advertising on the blog, but only if it’s a product or service that I use or have researched and believe to be massively valuable to you.  Nothing offered thus far fits into either category – hense no ads.

Internet marketing experiment update!

It’s almost 2 weeks since I started an experiment on jimsmarketingblog.com.  I wanted to see what REALLY happens when a blog offers a valuable, ‘do-follow link’ to everyone who comments there.

What does ‘do-follow’ mean?

In brief, every time you comment on my blog, you will receive a special kind of link back to your website or blog.  This link actually tells Google and Co to visit your website or blog – which can really help your Search Engine Optimisation.

Sadly, the vast majority of blogs (over 99% apparently), offer ‘no-follow links’; which tell Google and Co NOT to follow the link to your website or blog. They do this to stop the mighty Google penalising them with a lower page rank and also to stop spammers targeting their blogs.  Links from do-follow blogs like mine are a lot more valuable, so spammers apparently target them more (or do they? – Read on!)

Here’s what’s happened thus far!

Comment numbers are about the same

This surprised me.  The percentage of people commenting here is, surprisingly, no higher than it was BEFORE I gave do-follow links!  The original post, where I announced I was offering do-follow links, has now had well over 200 comments.  However, the number of comments on my posts since then, have only grown at the same rate as my readership.

Links have doubled in 12 days

There has been one amazing, immediate improvement, since offering do-follow links!  You can call it the power of attraction, karma, sewing and reaping – but the number of people linking to this blog has literally doubled in just 12 days!

No increase in Spam

Another surprise is that I have not seen any increase in the amount of spam I get, not yet anyway.  I am getting the odd idiot try to use the comments section of various posts, to advertise their latest wonder product – but that’s nothing to do with the do-follow links – that’s just what some misguided people do on any well read blog.  These are deleted immediately.  Everything else has been caught by my spam filter.  I use the Akismet plugin for WordPress.

Google isn’t happy with me

Google traffic here had been increasing until I started offering do-follow links.  Now, it has stopped increasing and has actually dropped slightly.  That said, all search engine traffic combined accounts for less than 1% of the people who come here.

In case you were wondering, the 4 biggest sources of people to this blog are:
1. Direct traffic
2. Twitter
3. StumbleUpon
4. Links from other blogs and websites

Conclusion

It’s still very early days, but I have seen nothing to stop me offering do-follow links.  The readership is growing extremely well and I have attracted over a thousand new links; since offering do-follow links to my readers.

The lesson thus far, has been that the Internet is actually about PEOPLE and not about Google or any other company!  If people like your website or blog, and you market it correctly, they are going to share it with their friends and contacts.  If the people at Google are as smart as I think they are, they will catch onto this and stop trying to punish blogs that, like mine, are committed to helping others.

So, the experiment continues!

What do you think?

If you have any ideas or opinions regarding what I am doing I would love to know!

twitter marketingEqually, what have YOUR experiences been with linking, Google or blogging in general – share them with my readers and myself in the comments section.

If you are a Twitter user, please leave your user name in your comment, so people can follow you – I’m @jimconnolly by the way!
.

Getting your marketing balance right!

It’s a fact: People will only buy from you, if they believe that the value of your product or service (herein called a service), is significantly higher than its cost to them.  If they believe they can get better value (or a better deal) elsewhere, they will go and spend their money somewhere else.

Equally, if people think after reading / listening to your marketing that you must be out of their price-range, they won’t even get in touch with you.

You need to know how to strike the correct marketing balance and that’s what this article is all about!

Effective marketing works on a number of different levels.  For example, it should show people what a great service you provide and also reassure them that your prices or fees are set within their range.  You achieve this by pumping massive value into your services, PLUS showing that people, just like them, are already using and benefiting from your services.

For example, when I market my services, I have to make sure that people know that I work primarily with small businesses and that my fees are easily affordable to them.  Otherwise, I risk people NOT calling me or emailing me for more information, wrongly assuming I’m out of their price range!

Getting your marketing balance right

marketing balance value fees priceTo find out if you have got your marketing balance right, you will need to measure the quality and quantity of the responses you get.  If people often tell you they’re surprised at how expensive your price or fee is, it means you need to pump more value into your services.

Yes, some people will say they think you are expensive, just as a way to try to negotiate your fee down – and you will always a get a few of those; but if this response becomes regular, it’s usually an indicator that the perceived value of your service is too low.

Another indicator that there’s a problem with your marketing balance, is if prospective clients start asking about your price or fee, early into your first conversation with them.  When this happens, it usually means you are either marketing to the wrong crowd or you have caused them to think you are probably out of their price range.  When people think your price / fee is likely to be great value or nominal, they are less concerned about it and more interested in how you can help them or how your service works etc.

How to make testimonials work!

One of the ways I demonstrate both the value and affordability of my marketing services, is to provide testimonials and that’s what I suggest you do too - but not just ANY OLD kind of testimonial!

YOUR testimonials need to show the value and the affordability of your service.

Most testimonials I see, are from people simply saying how great, professional or effective a service provider or product is – which is fine – but only if it’s clear that the people giving the testimonials are just like them. This way, the reader can relate to the message and ‘see themselves’ in those testimonials!

For example, the testimonials I use are all from people who run small businesses or are self-employed – who are elated at how I’ve helped them achieve fantastic results.  These are the same kind of people I market my services to.  This means that these testimonials tick both boxes; showing the value and relevance of my services.

What next?

Take a look at your current marketing feedback and see if you can spot a pattern.  If you find people are often too fee-sensitive when they respond or that you do not get as many responses as you would like, take a look at your marketing balance.

This is obviously a big subject and there are dozens of elements to consider, if you want to blow the lid off your sales and profits.  I will be addressing all these in future articles / blog posts.

Over to YOU!

What tips do YOU have, to overcome prospective clients or customers that are fee-sensitive or too price focussed? I would love you to share them with the readers and myself!

Dear Google

An open letter to the Google algorithm

.
Dear Google algorithm,

I see from what you have done that I have REALLY offended you.  You have reduced the amount of traffic you send here by 50%, so you must be very angry with me.

In view of this, I just want you to hear my side of the story…

I know you like to see blogs post content every single day, regardless of quality.  I know you have ‘issues’ telling great content from crap, because you are just a piece of software, and that you use how regular someone posts to a blog as a way to determine the quality of that blogs information.

You really need to understand that the Google way of deciding value seems insane to us humans!  If we used the Google quality model, a blade of grass, for example, would be of higher value than a flawless diamond. Grass is really common you see Google, but flawless diamonds are extremely rare.

I ‘could’ have written a few more posts this week, just to keep you happy Google, and I would have – only I decided to spend all my ‘blog time’, actually communicating with the people who read and comment in this blog!

Google – If you ever decide to start ranking blogs based on the quality of the writing, the quality of the comments and the number of people who actually read and comment there – we can be friends again.  There are flawless diamonds in the comments section of this blog – if only you knew!

However, whilst you continue to rank blogs based volume over quality, you can take the worthless 0.4% of traffic you generate for me and poke it up your software driven, clueless *@*!$
.

Love and hugs,

Jim Connolly

Focus on people – Not ‘hits’!

Because of the amazing growth of this blog, since I started marketing it just 9 weeks ago, I am getting a lot of people asking me the same question:

Could you take a quick look at my blog / website Jim and give me some tips for how to get more traffic?

This question is based on an easy to make, but incorrect assumption.

It assumes that I’m a SEO expert
- When I’m actually a Marketing Professional!

I’m not a SEO (search engine optimization), expert.  Those are the people who can get you to the top of Google and help you get tons of ‘traffic.’  I am a marketing professional with a blog.  The success I have achieved with jimsmarketingblog.com has been achieved through marketing, not SEO.

In fact, even though my last post has already attracted over 155 180 comments, I break many SEO ‘rules’!

For example, I’m told a blogger should post something every day, for the best SEO results.  That’s why your favourite Internet Marketing or Social Media ‘Guru’ will often use guest bloggers to write stuff for them – just so they can get SOMETHING out there and keep Google happy. I prefer to post only when I have something of value to share with you – because I blog for people and NOT for Google.  As a result, people know the content here will always be consistent and from the same, trusted source.

blog marketingAlso, I refuse to compromise on the way I write, just to make it easier for search engines!  I am not repeating ‘key phrases’ or ‘key words’ over and over again.  Why?  Because if I only compromised my writing style by 1% in order to keep GOOGLE happy, that 1% could be the message YOU needed to hear in order to achieve a great sales or marketing breakthrough.

It’s just NOT an option for me.  I write for YOU - Not for Google.

I use two forms of SEO here

I change the title tags of each post, to make them as relevant as possible to people and I also use alt tags for any images.  These 2 forms of SEO take seconds to do and don’t get in the way of what I am trying to achieve.

So, what am I trying to achieve?

A blog powered by PEOPLE – NOT just another blog where GOOGLE decides who finds it and how successful it will be!

SEO is ONLY important if you want search engine ‘hits’

SEO is something I believe you need to embrace, ONLY if you want to attract better search engine results.  I recommend you invest in as good a SEO provider as you can afford, if you want more traffic from Google and company.

However, I also think you should invest in some of the free, non-SEO ideas I have used on jimsmarketingblog.com. That’s what this post is all about!

Community

Look through the 160 180 or so comments on my previous post and you will see something amazing! You will actually be able to sense the genuine warmth my readers have for each other and for me.  There’s already a strong community developing here and that’s what has led to the success of this blog.  This feeling of community is why people are so comfortable when commenting here, contacting me or even hiring me for their marketing.

Because of this sense of community, you will also see lots of comments from people who use Twitter.  There’s a good reason for that too! When I started marketing this blog (just 9 weeks ago), I had about 160 contacts on Twitter.  Today, I have over 5,100 contacts – thanks to the JimsMarketingBlog.com community. Isn’t that amazing?  I use just one social networking service and yet connect with more great people, than many who are in half a dozen networks.  That’s the value of community!

I find many small businesses think about their online marketing in terms of; hits, clicks, visitors or traffic.  I believe a far bigger emphasis should be placed on; people, community, connecting and networking.

Use great SEO – but never forget the human element.  Those hits, clicks and visitors are people, after all!

What do YOU think about mixing SEO with a MORE people-focused approach to marketing? Let us know!

Older posts