Jim's Marketing Blog

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

Month: January 2009 (page 1 of 3)

Quick marketing tip

Here’s a quick marketing tip, which has helped thousands of people to massively improve their sales results.

One of the most common marketing problems businesses have, is reaching the right people at the right time. You need to get YOUR message in front of people, at the exact point where they are extremely interested in buying your kind of product or service.  So, how does it work?

Marketing, word of mouth and a recommendation too!

This quick marketing tip is all about identifying the people, which your prospective clients contact before they are about to purchase your kind of product or service – and getting these people to recommend you.  This means you not only get a supply of sales leads from extremely hot prospective clients, you also get to benefit from the power of a referral too!

Example:  Although this process works for business to business providers and in many different industries, for this example, let us assume that your business supplies and fits wall and floor tiles.  You would start off by asking yourself; “what do people do just BEFORE they get their bathroom or kitchen re-tiled?”  Well, in some cases, the person will have just experienced a flood etc and called in a plumber.  Equally, they may have got a plumber in to fit a new bathroom suite and now require the floor and walls re-tiled.

So, you would contact the plumbers, who work in the areas and the kind of homes you want to work with, and offer them a standard referral fee for every piece of work their referrals generate for you.  Obviously, you would show them some examples of how brilliant the quality of your work is, so they knew they were recommending a high quality service.

What kind of businesses can use this marketing tip?

I have seen this simple idea work wonders for; web designers, accountants, hotels, marketing consultants, recruitment companies, trainers, insurance providers, lawyers, hosting companies, maintenance providers, PR firms and stacks more.

By being selective about who you get to recommend you, you will also be able to attract work from the ideal profile of client or customer for your business too!  This is a great way to attract excellent quality, highly targeted leads – Without wasting a penny on ineffective advertising. You only pay when a lead becomes a piece of business, making it one of the most profitable forms of marketing out there.

Why I’m leaving Twitter!

It’s sad, but the time has come for me to leave Twitter.  At the time of writing this, the three most followed people in England are; John Cleese, Stephen Fry and then me.  I have made some great connections because of Twitter and met a lot of interesting people too.  Twitter has been a great experience for me – BUT it’s time for me to go!

Twitter’s technical problems highlighted one of my own

My Twitter account was one of many to have recently suffered from the dreaded caching error. After 5 days, it was manually fixed by Crystal in Twitter’s tech support team.  This was a blessing in disguise!

For 5 days, whilst my account was waiting to be fixed, I was unable to follow anyone or see who had followed me.  I noticed that I suddenly had lots more extra time each day, so I decided to do some Twitter research! I wanted to know just how long I actually spent using Twitter each day.

I was amazed to see that even during a fairly quiet period, I was investing an average of 2 and a half hours each day!

Even more amazingly, less than half of that time was spent actually ‘tweeting’ with people!

The rest of my Twitter time was spent dealing with the hundreds of Direct Messages I get each day and filtering through the hundreds of people who follow me each day; to see from their profile whether or not to follow them back.  This is an increasingly time consuming problem, as so many people are now doing that follow / unfollow trick, to attract auto follows and make it look like they have lots of followers.

Most of the Direct Messages I get on Twitter are people asking me; ‘please share this link with your followers Jim’ or asking me to look at their blog / website and give them some tips.  I’m also getting stacks of spam sent to me via Twitter’s Direct Message.  This all takes time to review, answer or delete. Yes, almost all of these Direct Messages are from people, who have never tweeted with me or commented here!

The 1000 people on Twitter who connect with me

Although I have over 23,000 people following me on Twitter, I found that only around 800 / 1000 or so are in regular contact with me.  These are the people you see in my Twitter stream and commenting here on the blog.  These are the people, who I built this blog and my Twitter network for.  These are the kind of people, who make Twitter the best social media site / app on the Internet (In my opinion.)

The reason I am leaving Twitter, is that it’s the other 22,000 people, who never connect with me, who require the vast majority of my time!

The sensible thing to do, was for me to find a way to focus all my energy on the people who actually ‘connect with me’  – And that’s what I will now be able to do!

How I solved my Twitter problem

One of my options, was to delete 22,250 people from my Twitter account.  This would take forever and it still wouldn’t stop the flow of new people every day; who follow my account and require filtering. Yes, I could just set up an auto-follow, so every spammer on Twitter could target me, knowing they will get an automatic follow back – but that’s not why I invested my time in Twitter and it would only help with part of the problem.

FriendFeed and Twitter

Thankfully, I have found an excellent way to communicate with everyone, who wants to keep in touch with me – WITHOUT me having to waste all those hours each week on those who don’t!

I have decided to replace what I have been doing on Twitter, with FriendFeed.

Whilst FriendFeed is not as instantly usable as Twitter, it doesn’t come with the same insane focus on followers / following either.  Just like Twitter, you can interact with people without following / subscribing to them.  However, unlike Twitter – on FriendFeed the follower / subscriber thing is far less of a big deal!  There are also no issue with Direct Messages, which ate into so much of my time each day.

This means I can focus massively more of my time on the ‘social’ side of social media.

FriendFeed will allow me to have proper, threaded conversations with all of those who want to join in or share their content with me. 

I hope to see as many of my regular Twitter pals on FriendFeed as possible; so we can continue the conversation.

However, even if you don’t want to join with me on FriendFeed, you can still find out what I am doing via Twitter!

You will still see me on Twitter, via FriendFeed

Even if you don’t have or want a FriendFeed account – you will still be able to see what I post via Twitter anyway! I am going to keep my Twitter account active; so people who want to, can still follow my stream without having to do anything. One of the great things about FriendFeed, is that it will automatically send all my updates direct via my Twitter account – so anyone following me on Twitter will be able to see them.

This is not one of those; “which is best Twitter or FriendFeed?” arguments. It’s just that FriendFeed is the best option for me right now.

UPDATE:

Over the past 48 hours, I have found that most of the people who were regularly tweeting with me, have now found me on FriendFeed; with others introducing themselves all the time! Thus, I shall not be sending my FriendFeed updates through my Twitter account.

I don’t want to just broadcast via Twitter – Twitter’s supposed to be about communicating NOT broadcasting!

Is your marketing exposed?

One of the secrets behind the most successfully marketed small and medium sized businesses, is that they utilise more forms of marketing than their less successful counterparts!  In my experience, ‘the average’ business will use just two or three different kinds of marketing – yet the most successful businesses will be benefiting from eight or more.

Compound marketing leverage

By developing a marketing strategy, which leverages many complimentary forms of marketing, you start to build a ‘compound marketing’ effect.  This is where the results you get for your combined efforts, are far, far greater than they would be; if you had done each activity in isolation.

Also, by relying on a number of different forms of marketing, your business’ future is far more secure.  I interviewed a businesswoman once, who relied on an advertisement in an industry magazine for almost all her new business. A competitor then started advertising in the same publication.  Overnight, her sales and enquiries dropped by more than half and she eventually went broke!

If you currently rely on just a small number of marketing activities, no matter how effective they currently are, make sure you are not too reliant on any one of them and always look for new ways to get great results.

Over to you

What forms of marketing have been the most (or least) effective for YOU? Share your experiences with a comment below!

A residual income & stacks of kudos

When I wrote and published my Motivation Master Class audio series, I did so because I knew the product would be a success.  It has generated a very nice residual income for me over the past 3 years and helped thousands of people, spanning 4 continents, to achieve some great results.

Once the audio series was written and produced, I was able to refer to myself in my marketing as Jim Connolly; author and marketing coach.  You might (or might not) be amazed to know what an immediate, powerful impact that had on my marketing results. Response rates improved across the board.  I also found that I was able to easily get guest spots on the radio and to have my articles published.  The Business Editor’s of newspapers were keen to give me write ups in their business pages – and all because I decided to put some of my knowledge onto CD’s.

Two good reasons to get that book of yours on paper

These days, many people with a specialisation decide to write an ebook.  These are usually given away for free, though some are sold.  Whilst this is great, it’s becoming increasingly common.  In other words, telling people you are the author of an ebook has a lot less impact, than being the author of a hardback or paperback book. That’s because anyone with a computer and some free software can publish an ebook.

However, only a tiny percentage of people (and a microscopic number of your competitors), will have been published as the author of a traditional, softback or hardback book.  The good news is that now, you can self-publish a book for very little and benefit, the same as me, from; a new income stream and a stack of kudos!

How?

There are a number of websites, which will allow you to produce high quality hardback or paperback books in extremely small numbers (or huge ones).  Try a google search for “self publishing”.  Lulu.com is probably the best known of these self-publishing websites.  So, if you just want to produce 10 or 50 paper-based copies (just to get you started or test the market)  – Now you can!

A new income stream or career?

There could be a huge public demand for your book – and a great way to find out is to get it ‘out there!’  I sold copies of my audio program all over the world and made a lot of money with very little effort.  I know a large number of my readers are specialists in their area of business, just like I am with marketing.  However, I also know that many of my readers are not professional marketers – but you don’t have to be.  Many of these self-publishing sites will even help you market your book, if you want them to.  They will also deal with things like distribution.

I’m not suggesting this is ideal for everyone.  I would only suggest doing this if you genuinely believe your book will be of interest to people – the idea is to produce something of value, with potential to become a profitable income stream for your business. The kudos of the author title, whilst powerful, should be secondary.

Twitter follower problem

Until earlier this morning, my twitter account had been ‘broken’ for the past 5 days!  This meant I was unable to follow anyone back; which for someone like me, with a reputation for developing communities, is a HUGE problem!  Twitter didn’t seem interested though; despite me currently being one of the top 60 most followed people on twitter!

Twitter tech support ignored me

With each passing day, the problem became more frustrating.  Over 1000 people had followed me, unaware that I was unable to follow any of them back.  I tried everything – I sent emails to twitter’s tech support, I sent ‘tweets’ to the tech support staff, I even contacted twitter’s boss Ev Williams. No one fixed the problem or even responded to me – no tweets, no emails, nothing!

Until….

I managed to find a contact, who knows someone at twitter and was kind enough to email them for me.  Then, I sent a tweet out and everything changed – within minutes!

Twitter, Scoble and FriendFeed

My 5 day old problem was fixed within 5 minutes of me sending the message below to the 22,000 people who follow me. It basically says how Robert Scoble suggested I use FriendFeed instead of twitter – along with my FriendFeed user name (which is jimconnolly)

twitter followers

Boom – 5 minutes later my problem was fixed!

What I found frustrating and disappointing, was that it was not until some well-connected people got involved, that anyone listened to me.  When they did, this 5 day problem was fixed in minutes.

Amazingly, within literally seconds of the fix, I received my first and only communication from twitter – a tweet that said; “It’s a bug : ( see status blog!” That post has been on the status blog for days and my problem had lasted for days – yet the fix and the only response I got from twitter, both arrived at the same time; 5 minutes after my post!

Twitter and me

I WILL continue to help YOU develop your twitter network; because for 99.9% of users, Twitter is still the amazing service I have always VERY PUBLICLY raved about. I will also continue to tweet, just like before.

However, I shall no longer be promoting my own twitter account via this blog; which is responsible for attracting so many of my followers (twitter associates) – until they invest in better tech support.

Apparently, my rush of new followers is what caused the problem.

Twitter is a wonderful facility!

I know the team at twitter work extremely hard, because I have spoken to people who have visited the offices and interviewed them!  That’s why I’m going to stick around.  I’m hoping that as the business model develops, some money will be invested in helping twitter’s dedicated, but overloaded tech support team. When it does, the service will be amazing!

However, based on the messages I have received since my problem started, it seems that currently, unless you have high profile contacts, are famous or your problem is very public, like the recent phishing attacks, they just don’t have the resources to respond effectively. There are exceptions to this, but my personal experience and the stack of feedback I’ve received confirms it’s a valid concern.

I can’t wait until the tech support issue is resolved and I can fall back in love with Twitter. This is only a lover’s tiff, not a divorce!

UPDATE

I just heard (10am Sunday 25th January) that Robert Scoble @scobleizer has also got the exact same problem I had; unable to follow people back. I wonder how long it will take before his problem is fixed? Will twitter fix it super fast OR will they make him wait the standard 5 days; just to make a point about how ‘evenly’ they treat all their users?

The Twitter follower mystery

Mike Butcher – The UK & Ireland Editor for Techcrunch, sent me a couple of tweets today and also an email.  By the time Mike emailed me, he thought I had to be using a robot or something, to have developed such a great twitter network so quickly!  We spoke and by the end of our phone call, everything was fine – but the story is excellent and well worth sharing with you!

Here’s Mike’s initial tweet to me (he’s actually a really nice man when you speak with him – honest!)

Mike tweeted:

You have 22k followers, a big UK Tweeter. Your tweets are rather dull. Your blogs slow/derivative. What gives?

Although Mike had read my blog and was following me on twitter, he was amazed that other people were doing the same.

I gave Mike a very friendly reply:

I’m guessing you are asking the wrong person – Thanks for the compliment though ; )

Shortly after, Mike sent a far more friendly tweet to me:

No probs, just trying to keep you on your toes. I’m pretty dull too, but then I don’t have 22k expecting Socratic insight.

A problem with Twitter & a Journalists instinct!

Twitter is experiencing a problem as I write this; where certain people (me included) with large follower / following numbers are unable to follow people back.  My follower count has froze and anyone I follow is getting notification, but twitter isn’t allowing me to follow them.

I told Mike I would follow him, so he could send me a DM (direct message) and I did – but the Twitter problem meant he never got followed!

This, apparently, is why Mike assumed I was using a robot, to follow people and then immediately unfollow them.  It’s odd really, as I’m actually following over TWENTY THOUSAND PEOPLE back. So, he emailed me to say he thought I might be tricking Twitter.

In fairness to Mike, he’s not using twitter the way I do.  He currently has over 6,000 followers (because he’s a famous editor), but only follows less than 1,000 of them back.  That’s fine, but the complete opposite of the kind of ‘community building’ I focus my Twitter efforts on.

Twitter mystery solved!

I called Mike this afternoon, to let him know about the Twitter follow problem.  He’s actually a very nice person to speak with.  I also sent him a few links, to show how this blog and my twitter account act as two ‘outposts’ for the same, large network.

Twitter and community building

Mike’s right, it is unusual to have 22,000 followers on Twitter (and so quickly), but then it’s ALSO unusual for this blog, which was only launched in the middle of October, to already have posts with hundreds of comments.

Building your twitter network

One post here has 550 comments, all from Twitter users and all containing their twitter user names, so you can follow them! It’s called Building your twitter network and you can add your twitter details and find great new people to follow too!

It’s not as high tech as using a robot, but a network is all about people – right?

Record breaking results

With the media focusing constantly on negative business news, it’s refreshing to see some good news stories coming out; (yes, there are still a lot of businesses doing really well!)

Apple announce record breaking revenue & profits

This article, from my tech news blog, gives some background to yesterday’s announcement by Apple; that their figures for the last quarter are the best in the Company’s history!

Remember; Apple produce an expensive range of high quality products, which are non essential goods. They also operate in a market sector, which is supposed to be among the most challenging right now.

Great marketing + Great product = Great results!

The truth is, whether you love or loath Apple’s products and services, their marketing is superb. With the right kind of targeted marketing and a good quality product or service, there’s still a stack of potential out there, for your business right now!

I will be focusing on some inspiring success stories, from small and medium-sized businesses shortly.  To ensure you don;t miss them, subscribe to my RSS feed.

Time for marketing

QUESTION: What does great marketing have in common with great comedy?

ANSWER:
Timing!

Marketing & timing

I received an email earlier, announcing the launch, today, of a new website.  If you check the date of this post (20th January 2009) you will see that it’s the day that President Obama was inaugurated.

This international,  mass media event, has received blanket coverage across the news networks and even seen services like Twitter struggle to cope with the huge increase in activity.

In other words, it’s a terrible day to try and launch a new website!

If you are thinking of launching something for your business, make sure you check out what’s happening on that day.

Email marketing and mail shots

Of course, timing is important to many elements of marketing. For example, the day of the week your mail shot arrives, will have an impact on your response rate.  I advise B2B marketers not to have their mailings arrive on a Monday; because Monday’s are typically very busy for businesses AND your letter will also be with all the other mail that arrived over the weekend.

The day and time of day that your email marketing arrives in someone’s inbox, will also impact your results.  An email, which arrives at 7am on a Monday morning, will arrive in an inbox filled with a weekends worth of junk mail and spam.

That same email, arriving at 11am on a Tuesday morning, will arrive in an inbox, which has already had the spam / junk mail removed.  This makes it easier for your message to stand out and increases the chances of it being read and acted on!

Always check out what’s happening in your prospective client’s world before setting a time to take action.

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