Jim's Marketing Blog

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

Month: January 2010 (page 1 of 3)

Your feedback please!

I have had an idea, which I would like your feedback on.

I get quite a bit of email from people, asking me the same marketing and business development questions. Some of these questions are brilliant.

So, rather than reply to each one by email, as I do now, and share that answer with just one person, I am thinking of posting the answers to the blog; for everyone to read. (Minus the details of the people that emailed me, of course.)

This would only apply to the general marketing questions I get, and thus likely to be of interest to the majority of my readers.

Would you find that useful? Please let me know; either with a comment here, via Twitter or email.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Image: JayfreshUK

REVEALED – The fast track to wealth!

It’s a fact: We live in an age where people are seeking instant gratification.  More than this, many people want results immediately – without having to do anything.

Ever wondered why there are so many of those spammy looking sites, selling ebooks / programs that promise to make you RICH in 30 days?

Those sites exist because there are a significant number of people who REALLY want to believe it’s possible.  They see the promise of instant wealth and think;
“It’s only a $29 ebook – why not?”

They then download the ebook and realise they’ve just wasted $29 and are no closer to that silver bullet for success they dream about.  It was a scam, like all the others.

By the way, I’ll give my secret to getting on the fast track to riches in a moment – And for free!

Get rich slow

I know lots of successful businesspeople, many of whom are self-made millionaires.  Guess how many got rich quick?

None!  By the way, that’s NOT a coincidence.

The simple truth is that lasting success comes as the result of an ongoing commitment to intelligent activity.

My last speaking gig (almost 5 years ago) earned me over £12,000 for around 4 hours work.  On my drive home, I had a sudden realisation.

I realised that I had just been paid £3000 an hour!

Then it hit me!

I was wrong.  What REALLY happened, was that I had been paid £12,000 for giving people the benefit of years worth of my experiences.  I had been paid so handsomely, because of my reputation as a marketer – built on the back of years worth of bloody hard work.

I had not earned that £12,000 on the day – But on all those days before the event; as I burnt the midnight oil, perfecting the effective marketing strategies and ideas that I had become known for.

My secret to getting wealthy as quickly as possible?

The fastest way to achieve the best possible results, is not to waste a second of your time thinking about short-cuts to instant wealth.

I would very much like to hear what you think about this!

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: Don Hankins

Giving oxygen to your marketing

One of the secrets of great communication, is to pick the correct delivery method, to get the maximum, targeted exposure for your message.  We refer to this as “giving oxygen” to your marketing.

Marketing oxygen

Some of you will have noticed that when I made my BIG announcement here yesterday, I closed the comments section for that post.  The reason for this, was to take the conversation about the announcement away from this blog and onto different communication platforms, so a totally new group of people would be able to see it.

As a result, instead of people talking about my “new” blog here, in the comments section, they were having that debate on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin etc.

The next time you make an announcement and you want it to reach the largest possible, targeted audience, I suggest you consider doing something similar.  Why?  Because yesterday’s post created a 30% increase in readers to this blog and almost 400% more unique visitors to my new blog.

What do you think?  Have you used a similar approach before? Do you find yourself struggling to get your marketing messages in front of new, prospective clients / customers?  Whatever your experiences or questions, take a moment to share them with your fellow readers and myself, with a comment.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

The Apple Tablet and Word of Mouth

apple tablet, apple islate, apple prAccording to tens of millions of dollars worth of FREE publicity, Apple Inc might be about to launch some kind of Apple Tablet computer this week.

Isn’t that amazing?

No, not the idea of an Apple Tablet!

I’m talking about the only hard fact in this whole story – the FACT that once again, Apple Inc has managed to generate multi-millions worth of free publicity and pre-launch advertising, for a product that not only doesn’t officially exist – it’s not even been announced at the time of writing this.

That’s one heck of an achievement!

To give an idea of just how smart the PR guys at Apple are, they have once again managed to get the BBC swept up in the hype surrounding their new product.  This gift from the BBC is priceless, as you (literally) can not buy advertising on the bbc.co.uk website.

In my opinion, the BBC are not doing anything wrong with their reporting of this (though many disagree).  The BBC need to cover the rumours surrounding the device, because the actual rumours themselves have now become news – Kudos to Apple!

The lesson here?

For anyone seeking to generate free, word of mouth publicity for their business, there’s a lesson here.  If you want people to remark on you, you need to be remarkable.  Apple would not have got this coverage, without a great track record for innovation, design and service.  That reputation generates expectancy.  So long as Apple keep meeting those expectations, the word of mouth will continue, from their loyal and vocal customer base.

Just for fun, check out how many free mentions you see for the new Apple device this week; including this one of course!

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: John Rawlinson

Quick business tip: Success leaves clues!

Who is the top person or company in your industry right now; locally, nationally and internationally?

Many businesspeople can’t answer that question.  Because of this, they miss out on some amazingly valuable information, which could save them years of wasted time and a stack of money.

As business owners, we tend to work hard in our business, looking after our clients or customers.  Therefore, it’s all too easy to become cocooned in our own little ecosystem.  This can place us in a very precarious position!

Study what works

In order for a business to grow, its owners need to look outside of their own experiences.  For example, what is it that makes one design company, law firm or training business etc, extremely successful – And another just manage to survive?  Well, a useful starting point for that answer, is to keep up to date with what the thriving businesses in our industry are already doing.  It’s a study of success.

As has been said many times: “Success leaves clues.”

In other words, by studying what already works with these successful businesses, we can uncover clues to success, which can then be introduced into our business (with a little unique tweaking.)

I did this myself when I started each of my blogs.  Before I launched this blog, I spent 3 months reading as many of the top marketing and small business blogs in the world as I could.  I was looking for clues to their success.  I then fused what seemed to work for them, with my own unique touch.  14 months later, this blog was ranked by Technorati as one of the world’s top 10 small business blogs.

The bottom line: It pays to study success!  It pays to learn from those, who have already made some costly mistakes, so YOU don’t have to.

Photo: Micah Sittig

Are you still on target?

I was listening to some people chatting yesterday, about their New Year’s resolutions.  It seems that just 23 days into the New Year, every one of them had broken their resolutions.  This is not uncommon.  The queue to use the equipment at you local gym will be getting smaller right now, just as the queues at your local Kentucky Fried Chicken get longer!

This got me thinking: How many of us are still on target, with the resolutions and plans we set for our businesses?

The ability to make a good decision, and then see it through, is one of the master skills of business success.

However, as my mentor Jim Rohn used to say, even if people could keep the doctor away by just eating one apple each day, most people wouldn’t!

Why not take a moment to review your business plans and check if you are still on target.  Those plans you made deserve the opportunity to fly.  You need to give them wings, by ensuring you take action to see them through.

By the way: If you need some powerful, motivational help right now, this could be exactly what you need!

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: Orange Acid

The marketing power of perception

This post is all about the marketing impact of perception, and how the way people feel has a massive influence, on whether or not they buy from or recommend certain brands.

The marketplace’s perception of a brand or industry is extremely important, which is why big brands work so hard to ensure that the general perception surrounding them and their industry is as positive as possible.

As a result, companies like Gillette, will pay David Beckham to ‘model’ their products. By aligning the way people feel about Beckham, with the Gillette  brand, Gillette can improve the perception of their brand or reinforce what’s already positive about it.

As well as the perception of our businesses, we ALSO need to be mindful regarding the marketplace’s perception of our industry!

What’s the typical perception of your industry?

When people talk about your industry in general, what is the typical perception?

For example, many accountants or CPA’s find themselves selling their services based on their fees – because the common (incorrect) perception is that all qualified accountants provide a service of equal value.

To market effectively, accountants need to break this inaccurate perception and THEN set themselves apart as being of greater value than their competitors.

Negative perceptions of social media experts

As you have probably noticed, there has been a huge negative perception shift, regarding the social media industry and especially those who work in it.

One particularly negative article appeared in BusinessWeek, called Beware: Social Media Snake Oil. The article names both Chris Brogan and Gary Veynerchuk, before saying:

“The problem, according to a growing chorus of critics, is that many would-be guides are leading clients astray. Consultants often use buzz as their dominant currency, and success is defined more often by numbers of Twitter followers, blog mentions, or YouTube hits than by traditional measures, such as return on investment.”

I believe much (not all) of the article was inaccurate.  However, if stories like that either reflect the current perception of social media experts or negatively damage it, it’s going to create a real marketing challenge for them.

Positive perceptions of Apple Inc

Thanks to the Apps Store, an entire industry has sprung-up around the Apple brand.  Moreover, it seems that right now, everything Apple Inc does is automatically heralded as great – often before it’s even announced.  The perception of Apple in their marketplace is something that as a marketing coach, I am constantly amazed by.  It’s incredible!

For example, there have been millions of dollars of free publicity gifted to Apple in recent weeks, for a product that as I write this, still does not officially exist and has not even been announced – the Apple tablet.

In closing

Feelings play an essential role in both the sales and the marketing process.  The more positive those feelings are, the easier you will find it to make sales.

This is why it’s so very important for you to understand the marketplace’s perception of your industry.  If it’s a good / positive perception, then you need to build on it.

If it’s a poor or negative perception, then you need to break it! Your marketing messages, your quality control, customer service and everything else, should be designed to absolutely shatter any negative perceptions about your industry.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Never, ever, settle for less than you deserve!

Here’s a quick question for you:

“Do you fit your business around your lifestyle or your lifestyle around your business?”

Many people start a business with big plans and dreams.  They want to get out of the rat-race and start earning what they are really worth; not what their boss pays them.  They want the freedom that comes from running their own business.

They know that better financial rewards and more freedom will give them a better quality of life or lifestyle.  It will allow them to live where they want to live, drive what they want to drive and more importantly; it will allow them to be the master or mistress of their own destiny.

So why is it that years later, most small business owners still work long hours and live an uninspiring lifestyle?

I believe these business owners make a subconscious decision:  They decide to fit their lifestyle around their business.

Their business grows to a certain point and then, usually after 2 or 3 years, it levels off.  They then adapt their lifestyle, to fit the limitations of their business.  Whether they know it or not, they are in just as big a rut as they were, when they worked for someone!

The answer? Fit your business around your lifestyle

I believe the answer is to turn the model on it’s head and fit our business around our preferred lifestyle.  In other words, we need to decide the income we want and the number of hours we want to work and draw up a new plan to take us from where we are right now, to the quality of life we deserve.

I meet people all the time, who have seen their business results reach a plateau.  Their business may have grown a little or shrunk a little, but it’s not growing in the way they originally planned, when they were inspired to start their business at the beginning.  Those dreams of the good life are a distant memory.

For example, they live where they can afford to live – not where they want to live.  They find themselves having to constantly settle for less.  They also have to spend too much time away from their families and friends – because their whole lifestyle is designed to fit around their business – which is NUTS!

Instead of being on top of their business, their business is on top of them!

So, right now, decide to reclaim your dream

Right now, if your business is not rewarding you with the results you need, in order to enjoy the lifestyle you want, CHANGE IT!  Reclaim your dream – get back in the driving seat and plan for what you want.  I suggest your new plan is based around developing your business, so that it generates the income you need, in order to give you freedom of choice.

Money is very definitely not everything, but it does give you options.  It gives you the option to decide how many hours to work, and with whom you work.  It gives you the option to decide where you live and in many cases, it can help you live a longer and healthier life too.

Don’t allow yourself to settle for less than you deserve and don’t be fooled into thinking that the good life is for others and not you!  With the right plan and the motivation to put that plan to work, you can achieve anything you want to.

What’s your take?

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: Melody Campbell

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