Jim's Marketing Blog

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

Month: April 2009

The Seth Godin Blog – Highly Recommended

Occasionally, a blog stands out to me as being extra special and when it does, I award it one of my rare ‘Highly Recommended’ awards.  Today, I am highly recommending Seth Godin’s blog.

The Seth Godin Blog

seth godin blog tribes purple cowFor those of you, who do not already know, Seth Godin is a highly successful author, marketing expert and entrepreneur.  However, it’s Seth Godin’s blog excellent blog that I would like to bring to your attention.

Seth’s blog is updated every day and primarily covers marketing.  His blog posts are written for ‘real people’ not marketing experts.  They tend to be short posts, thought provoking and always interesting!

Seth’s approach to marketing is very similar to my own, with an emphasis on building communities and delivering value – rather than pursuing people / business with marketing tricks.

As you may already know, I have worked in marketing for over 20 years and have run my own successful international marketing business since the mid 1990′s. In my opinion, you and your business will benefit greatly from a subscription to Seth Godin’s blog.

Keep it focused

When you write a marketing message, make sure that it’s focussed 100% on getting the right message to the right person.

Too much marketing is vague; intended to appeal to as wide a group as possible.  However, by being vaguely relevant to everyone, the message is going to be directly relevant to no one!

Motivation and marketing

The word motivation comes from two words; motive and action. If you want to motivate someone to take action, (email you, call you, visit you, buy from you) your message must be motivating.

Never dilute your marketing in order to give it a wider appeal.  Instead, make your marketing as focused and compelling as possible, to the kind of people you want to do business with.

Do this right now

Question: What happens whenever the economy gets tough?

Answer: People become massively more value focused!

Right now, there are businesses in the same industry, in the same town, selling to the same people; with very different results. Some will be struggling, whilst others will be seeing their market share increase – even in a recession.

We know that people are searching for great value right now, so ‘right now’, could be the perfect time for you to look for new ways to pump more value into your product or service.  No matter what you do or how well you do it, there will be something you can add or refine, which will increase the market value of your offering.

Most ReTweeted

I received a very interesting email on Tuesday, which will be of interest to ANYONE who is using Twitter as a way to market their business, but not getting the kind of results they need.

First off, for those of you who do not already know, I used to be the 3rd most followed person on Twitter in England and one of the world’s top 50 most followed people. As a marketing professional, I quickly saw the total lack of value in having such a massive, yet untargeted network and got my Twitter account reset to zero! After this, I started achieving amazing marketing results from Twitter – In total, I have now generated around £50,000 in new business, via contacts I made on Twitter – using the service for an hour or two a week.

Bob’s Twitter problem

Bob, not his real name, wrote to ask me for some advice. He said that he spends around 3 hours each day on Twitter and that he has over 50,000 ‘followers’ – BUT that he has nothing to show for it; other than regularly appearing on various lists as one of the most ‘retweeted’ people that day. Bob wanted to know how to transform what he referred to as “all this popularity” into income for his small design business!

Twitter is NOT the end game – It’s just a tool

Many people, who start off using Twitter as a way to market their business and make new contacts, end up quickly forgetting this and instead, become obsessed with attracting as many followers as possible.  Building a large following on Twitter then becomes their end game – instead of building their business with the help of Twitter.

I took a look at Bob’s Tweets and they are mainly just him sharing other people’s favourite links.  As a result, his ‘following’ is untargeted.  He explained in his email that his ideal follower is the owner of a small business.  As far as he knows, very few of his followers are in that position.  Those who are, are usually following lots of other designers.  He went on to explain that the additional traffic his website gets because of his Twitter use, has been of zero value to him. No sales, no new clients and no referrals.

100 followers and 2 new clients in a month

Yesterday afternoon, I was speaking with a client of mine, who’s an Accountant.  He has only been using Twitter for a month, (around an hour or two in total spent Twittering) – YET he has already attracted 2 new clients directly via Twitter, using the same approach as me!

In February, I made over £7,500 from a project I undertook, for a contact I met on Twitter.  In total, I have made in excess of £50,000 via contacts I have made via Twitter.  I achieved this, even though I only invest around 20 minutes using Twitter, 3 or 4 days a week.

How come?

Professionally marketed businesses achieve great marketing results because they use an effective marketing strategy to develop their business.  The other 99% of small businesses ‘play it by ear.’  Most marketing carried out by small businesses is undertaken simply because it’s free / low cost – like email marketing, blogging or using Twitter, FaceBook or LinkedIn etc.

These businesses will send out emails, purely because they have a ‘list’ of names and it’s free to send these messages.  They will write a blog, without a clear idea of exactly what they are seeking to achieve. I had a comment on this blog from a reader, who has been blogging for 5 years, and has yet to acquire a single client through his blog!

Understand Twitter’s limitations

I have mentioned a few times already, that I have generated tens of thousands of pounds in business from people I MET on Twitter. The key word here is MET - I met them on Twitter – but I did not get to know them or try and market to them via Twitter. Twitter was exclusively used as a method to meet interesting people.

Twitter is a very poor tool, if you want to develop a relationship with someone.  Because of this, I make it super-easy for people to email or call me.  I advise my clients to do the same.  The contact page of this blog, for example, has my full contact details; postal address, phone number and email.  THAT’S where I ‘connect’ with the people I ‘meet’ via Twitter – NOT via Direct Messages!

Twitter is a great place to meet, but once you have met, if there’s any synergy between you and your new contact – GET THE HECK OUT OF TWITTER AND START TALKING!

For marketing, Twitter is NOT about numbers

Bob spends 3 hours a day on Twitter, ReTweeting other people’s links and communicating with a few dozen ‘regulars.’  That’s why his business is seeing no return for all his efforts.

From a business perspective, it’s far more profitable to have a smaller Twitter following, made up of people with a genuine interest in your core business.  These can either be prospective clients or prospective ‘introducer’s’ – People, who will recommend you to their contacts.

When I had tens of thousands of followers and followed over 20,000 people back, I was wasting a stack of time dealing with messages and direct messages from people, who had zero interest in me or my business.  They just wanted me to ReTweet links to their website, ask people to follow them or whatever, but they were really just sucking hours of my time each week, with no return on my part.  I occasionally got 600 direct messages in a single day!

Quality is key – not quantity.  Today, I have 2000 followers and I follow around 80 people.  However, I have spoken to or met way over 100 of the people who follow me. Add those I have sent / received mail from and that figure is closer to 1000.  NONE of these relationships have been built on Twitter.

Conclusion

You would not dream of meeting someone at a networking event, who was interested in your services, and then refuse to follow that up with a call or a meeting would you?  Just because you meet that same person via Twitter, the rules stay the same!

In my experience, the most profitable way for a small business to use Twitter as a marketing tool, is to use it as a way to connect with targeted people.  Once you have connected, if there seems to be a synergy, treat them like ANY other business contact and talk to them.  Show them that they are worth more than 140 characters to you.

Also, focus on quality and not quantity.  If you want to attract people with a potential need for your products or services, keep your Tweets on topic as often as you can.  I have people who I study on Twitter, like Bob the designer, who make it impossible to easily find out what they do for a living, based on their Tweets.

Your profile might say what you do and link to your website or blog, but remember; if your Tweets do not get people interested enough, they won’t check your profile out!

A pain in the neck

In case you were wondering how come I have not posted anything to the blog for the past couple of weeks, here’s an update!

Over the past eight weeks, I have been suffering with an increasingly painful trapped nerve at the top of my neck. The end result was that for the past two weeks, I have been totally unable to type with my left hand (hence no posts to the blog.)

After realising that the medication I was on was not going to work, I decided it was time to call in a Chiropractor – and there’s a valuable lesson here, for anyone in sales!

I actually met with three qualified Chiropractors, before picking the one I trusted the most to get me out of pain and mobile again. Interestingly, the one I picked was NOT the least expensive. He was actually the most expensive by some margin!  However, he WAS the only one of the three to actually ask me about how the pain was making me feel; how the sleepless nights were impacting my quality of life etc.  He engaged me on the most basic level, by connecting with me as a human being. He fully understood my exact position and all the problems the pain was causing me.

Twenty minutes later, he had a new client.  Within 24 hours of my first treatment, he had reduced my pain by around 50%, I was able to throw the pain killers away and most important of all, I started being able to sleep again, after weeks of sleepless nights.

Sales lesson?

There’s an old saying in sales, which tells us that; “you buy the person, not the product / service.” By identifying the impact the pain was having on my life as a whole and showing me genuine empathy, my Chiropractor had set himself apart from the other two people I met. Their talk was all about them, how great they were and how affordable their services were.  They came across like salespeople, which is always a mistake, because there’s so much resistance out there to sales / marketing messages!

As Seth Godin, a friend of this blog said recently, “Selfish short-sighted marketers ruined it for all of us. The only way out, I think, is for a few marketers to so overwhelm the market with long-term, generous marketing that we have no choice but to start paying attention again.”

By the way, you REALLY should subscribe to Seth Godin’s blog – it’s excellent!

I have made many, many millions of pounds and dollars worth of sales over the years for my clients and myself and can honestly say, I have NEVER sold anyone, anything! However, LOTS of people have bought things from me!

Enough with the pitches – it’s 2009 for heaven’s sake!

Look for ways to contribute for free to your marketplace.  Engage people and show them you understand their ‘pain.’ There’s a recession on right now and many of those in your marketplace are hurting – get out there and find a way to help as many of them as possible.  For example, I offer free advice to people via this blog and my marketing newsletter. 95% of the people who read my material never even say thank you or comment here or email me – but that’s not important!

You see, there’s a MASSIVE 5% of people; who say great things about me, who recommend me to their clients and friends, who invite me to speak on their TV shows and radio programs and who pay me to handle their marketing for them.  These people forward my newsletter on to other people, they recommend my blog to everyone and they link to me. That’s why this blog as almost 13,000 links, even though it’s just 6 months old.

This is also the reason why I have no advertising on this blog.  I don’t want to sell you anything. I want you to come here, knowing that there’s no sales pitch.  I want you to know that when I say Seth’s blog is great or that FriendFeed‘s a great service, I am saying it for free, because I genuinely believe it.  If you like my work, use my ideas and see great results and THEN decide you want me to work with you, you will have to dig around the blog and find the one page, which tells you about my services.

Attraction marketing

Some call this approach ‘attraction marketing.’  That’s a fairly accurate description, because it’s an approach to business development and sales, which ‘attracts’ leads, enquiries, sales, orders and new clients / customers – rather than the traditional ‘pursuit marketing’ model.  There’s another post all about attraction marketing here.

Have a great day and please feel free to be one of that rare 5%, who forward this post, tweet about it, get in touch or leave a comment!