Jim's Marketing Blog

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

Month: February 2010 (page 1 of 3)

The most powerful form of marketing on the planet?

Endorsed relationships

Endorsed Relationships, have been referred to by marketing experts, including Jay Abraham, as the most powerful form of marketing in the world.  I totally agree.  This brief post, will show you what endorsed relationships are and how you can use them to market your business.

Endorsed relationships: What are they?

An endorsed relationship, in marketing terms, is simply a relationship you form with another person / company / brand, where they endorse (or recommend) you and your services to their clients, customers and contacts.  This can come via literally any form of marketing.

The most powerful form of endorsed relationship comes when someone, who already has the trust of a network of people, personally recommends you and your services to them.  Unlike a testimonial, which is usually placed on YOUR website or in YOUR marketing, an endorsed relationship sees the endorser recommending you to THEIR clients and friends – People they have a strong, existing relationship with.

This is where the real magic is and why this is such a powerful and effective form of marketing!

I have personally used endorsed relationships for over 20 years, to generate millions of pounds and dollars worth of new business, for my clients.  I have OFTEN seen them generate over 50% positive response rates and occasionally, over 80/90%!

Endorsed relationships in action

Here is a quick example:

Bob runs a IT repair business.  He encourages his accountant to endorse him, when the accountant next does a mail shot to his 1,000 locally-based clients.  So, when the accountant sends his next mailing, he includes a powerful endorsement of Bob’s IT services and recommends his clients call Bob, if they have an IT problem.

Because the accountant is a trusted advisor to these 1,000 businesses, the endorsement of Bob’s services is extremely powerful.  With a correctly written letter, Bob could generate more new business from this one, simple exercise, than from 2 years worth of networking or thousands spent on advertising!

Endorsed relationships: Some simple guidelines for marketing success

  • Endorsed relationships, like the Joint VenturesI wrote about yesterday, have to be mutually beneficial for them to work.  If you want someone to recommend you and your business to their highly valued clients or customers, there needs to be a good reason for them to do so. People will not “just do it” because it’s going to make you rich!
    • For instance, I once knew a Bank Manager, who recommended me to all his banks clients, because if they worked with me, their businesses grew and so did their need for more and more of the bank’s services.  By recommending me in this way, his clients benefited, he benefited and so did I.
  • The relationship between the person endorsing you and their contacts is pivotal to the success of the exercise.  Getting a highly respected professional to recommend you to a group of people, who value and trust that person’s judgement is marketing gold dust.  Last year, one of my clients generated the equivalent of 25% of her annual turnover in just 12 hours, after a successful endorsed relationship exercise, with a highly respected professional!
  • If the person endorsing you is regularly recommending people to their contacts, their recommendation will be of far less value, than one from someone who is more discerning.  For example, there are well-known self-help / personal development gurus, who will recommend ANYTHING for a fee.  As such, their recommendation means very little.  So, align yourself with people, whose word is trusted and respected.
  • If you are using written marketing for an endorsed relationship, the wording is extremely important.  Because of the potential value to you of the end result, I would STRONGLY recommend you get a copy writer to compose it.  It could be one of the best marketing investments you will ever make.

Think first!

In order for your endorsed relationship to work, you will need to plan it out in advance.  You will need to hand pick the right people, find a motivating way to reward them.  Just as importantly, if you want it to work, you will need to have a process in place, to deal with what is often a massive number of enquiries or leads in a very short period of time.

Although it sounds simple, I strongly recommend you do your homework before diving in.  The vast majority of endorsed relationships conducted by non marketing professionals fail, because of poor planning. I have no doubt that some of the people reading this, will already have experienced what happens, when you pick the wrong partner or they use the wrong message when endorsing you.

So, plan ahead, take your time and do it right!

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

What are Joint Ventures and how do they work?

Joint Ventures, often known simply as JV’s, can be an extremely effective way to generate new business.  This is probably why so many of you asked me for information on Joint Ventures, when I asked you for your marketing questions recently.

The following is a brief explanation of what JV’s are and how they work.

Joint Ventures explained

I’m sure there are a few different definitions of the term Joint Venture, but it’s actually pretty straight forward.  It’s simply a way for 2 or more parties to market their services more effectively.  This usually means reducing the cost of one’s marketing, increasing the reach of one’s marketing or both.  Here’s a common example:

2 or more companies can put a mail shot together, where a piece of marketing from each company is included in the envelope.  The cost of the mailing is usually shared between both companies.  This is most effective, when YOUR marketing piece is being sent to THEIR mailing list.  You should then reciprocate, by offering THEM the same opportunity with YOUR mailing list.  This form of cross marketing can be extremely powerful, if you pick the right JV partner.

Joint Ventures and potential hazards

There are a few things you need to consider, before investing in a Joint Venture.  These include:

  • Never do a JV with someone you don’t know or have not thoroughly researched.  This week alone, I have seen someone on Twitter, openly recommending a well-known con artist to her clients and friends!  Whilst this was not a JV, it is an example of how easy it is to align one’s reputation, with someone that can seriously damage their own good name.
  • Find a Joint Venture partner, who is in a complimentary but non-conflicting industry to your own.  For instance, an accountant could offer my marketing services to her contacts and I could offer the accountant’s services to my contacts.  That’s because neither of us offer a service, which might take business from the other.
  • The most successful JV’s are mutually beneficial.  As with any deal, it’s really important that both parties benefit equally.  If you find that you’re the one getting all the new business and not the other person, there’s no incentive for them to continue.If this happens, consider offering the other person a commission or reward for anything you generate. Keep it balanced and everyone benefits!

Joint Ventures can be a useful way to reduce your marketing costs and get your message in front of a stack of new, prospective clients or customers. 

However, in my next post, I am going to show you something that’s more powerful than a JV and which can help you generate amazing results very, very quickly!

Until then, I would love to hear your thoughts or experiences on Joint Ventures. Please share your feedback with a comment below!

Photo: Freewine

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

What’s your biggest marketing challenge?

This blog contains thousands of free marketing ideas and marketing answers, to help you achieve your best sales results ever.  With new marketing material being added all the time, I hope to provide you with an increasingly valuable marketing resource.  However, in order for me to make this blog as valuable as possible to you, I need to know which marketing challenges or problems are most important to you.

For example; lead generation, email marketing, social media marketing, mail shots (direct mail), networking, retail marketing, referrals, joint ventures, etc.

So, I would really appreciate it, if you would take a moment to let me know what areas of marketing you would like me to focus on, by leaving a comment below.

Your feedback will directly influence what I write about and help me to focus on the areas of marketing, which are most relevant to you and your business.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Photo: Margaret Anne Clarke

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

Marketing time for your business?

This quick marketing tip is all about how to improve your marketing results in the medium and long term.  In fact, it will give you one of the marketing foundations behind the most successful businesses in the world.

Marketing & small businesses: Never enough time!

I often hear the owners of small businesses, saying that they don’t have the time to market their services as an ongoing activity.  They tell me that it’s only when they lose a major account, that they have the time available, to dedicate to marketing.

The primary problem with this approach to marketing is that it simply does not work.  It causes a business to reach a plateau or spin its wheels.  This happens because periods of growth mainly come, AFTER there has been a loss of business / revenue / profits.  The loss of business having prompted the marketing.

When I hear the time argument, I explain that when marketing is conducted on an ongoing basis, it actually takes very little time each month.  Unlike panic-based marketing, when there’s been a big, sudden drop in business, working to a marketing strategy takes surprisingly little time.

In contrast, successful businesses of all sizes, work on their marketing all the time. It’s just a normal, ongoing business activity.  The difference between the two approaches to marketing is that one type of business uses tactical marketing, whilst the other uses strategic marketing.

I wrote a post about this, which explains the difference between tactical and strategic marketing and also explains compound marketing / leverage.  Be sure to check it out!

Tailor your marketing strategy to your resources

When I work with my clients, I always start off by ensuring that their marketing strategy is tailored, to match their resources.  It has to be manageable and easy to do.  It also needs to not get in the way of their core business.

Your marketing strategy needs to be similarly developed around your unique situation.  When it is, marketing becomes manageable and easy to implement into your working week.  This is the secret to developing a predictable, confidence inspiring flow of sales / new business.

What have your experiences been?  Please let us know with a comment.

Photo: Laffy4k

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

Marketing and Business: It’s all about the people!

Successful marketing is all about people.

It’s not about; brands, venues, websites, companies or social media tools – Marketing is all about people.  You see, without people, none of those things matter.

I met with a friend of mine this morning, who owns a large and very successful nightclub.  We had our meeting this time, in the nightclub itself, rather than his office, and the sensation was amazing.  I have only previously been there, when it’s been packed with hundreds of people, having a great time and enjoying the music.  This morning, you could have heard a pin drop, as we sat, drinking coffee and talking about his marketing.

You see, it’s not the building, fixtures or fittings that makes his nightclub a success; it’s the people who work there and party there. Without people, the place means nothing. The value is in the people.

I’m sure you have seen what happens, when a great restaurant or bar changes ownership, and suddenly the atmosphere plummets. The building and the surroundings look just the same, but it’s a totally different experience.  That’s because it’s the people that make the difference!

Online networking: It’s the people not the tools

In online networking, I see people who are more concerned about how to get their friend / follower / fan numbers up, than they are about actually being human with the people they have already connected with.  For them, it’s all about the tools, not the people.  Their focus is on growing numbers, rather than building relationships with people.

These guys often have very professional looking Twitter profiles and great looking websites / blogs – but very little feeling of community.  That’s because they focus on the tools, not the people.  They may have 500, 5,000 or maybe 100,000 ‘names’ in their online network but they probably know just a fraction of them!

In short: People can enrich our lives or they can keep us poor. It just depends on how we treat and serve them.

Photo: Hipposrunsuperfast.com

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

It’s time to get passionate

As a marketing coach, I love working with people, who are passionate about their businesses.  Passion is infectious.  Passion is inspiring and motivating.  Passion is power.  You see, no matter how great your plans are, without the passion to see them through, they will simply remain plans.  How sad would that be?  What a waste – To have the ideas and make the plans, but to lack the passion to see them plans come to life.

Here’s what my mentor, Jim Rohn, used to say;
“We each have a decision to make.  We can either pay the price for discipline or the price for regret.  Discipline weighs ounces, but regret weighs tons!”

Business, goals and passion

When we are passionate about our plans, it’s easy for us to discipline ourselves to do what’s required, in order to achieve the results we want.  The challenge is that most businesspeople develop plans that fail to motivate them.  Their plans lack the power required, to give them the inspiration to leave their comfort zones.  Their business plans don’t jump off the paper and motivate them to take action – so they remain plans.

The same is true of goal setting.  People waste a fortune attending seminars and buying products to help them set and achieve goals; when the problem is usually that they simply need to set goals that inspire them and ignite their passion.  The best goal-setting methodologies are worthless to us, if we use them to set goals that lack passion.  It’s the passion, that motivates us to take action and make things happen.

Here’s what I have discovered: Your business plans and goals should be based around what YOU want to achieve.  It’s hard to be passionate by proxy!  Many people set the kind of business goals they think they SHOULD set, rather than the goals that truly get their passions going.

So, why not take a look at some of the plans you have made, which you have still not acted on.  Ask yourself, honestly, if you are truly passionate about them.  If not, there’s a good chance they are the wrong plans for you.  If this is the case, replace them with something that really inspires you.  You will be amazed at the results!

What part of your business are you most passionate about?  What plans or goals are motivating you right now?  Let us know!

Photo: Pink Moose

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

Why copycat marketing can hurt your business!

Following on from yesterdays marketing tip, a number of readers have asked me the same question:

“Why do so many people do the same type of marketing, if it doesn’t work?”

Here’s the answer.  Amateur marketers will copy what they see others doing, wrongly assuming that it must be working.  This then gets more and more people repeating the same ineffective marketing, which encourages even more people to do the same, etc.  In other words, they copy what they see the crowd doing.

Marketing copycats and the wisdom of the crowd

I remember speaking with the owner of a hotel, who advertised for a year, paid in advance, in a local newspaper.  I asked him why he did this, as it was perhaps the worst possible place for him to advertise.  He told me that the local newspaper called him to say his largest competitor was advertising there and that the paper wanted to “give him the chance” to advertise there as well. So he did.

Of course, his advertisement didn’t generate a single piece of business.  Apparently, the biggest hotel in the area got their advertisement for free from the newspaper.  The ad sales guy at the paper then used that hotel’s ad, as a way to pressure other hotels in the area to buy advertising. Eventually they got 8  hotels to advertise, when none of them should have even considered it!  That’s the danger of copycat marketing.

Is your marketing on course?

Here’s a useful question to ask yourself:

Who (or what) encouraged you to use the various types of marketing that you use today?

You see, if you are not getting the marketing results you want, it’s entirely possible it’s because you are doing the wrong marketing activities, for what you want to achieve .  Just like that guy, who rows his boat in the wrong direction, no matter how hard he rows, he will never get where he wants to be; because he will still be heading nowhere.  In fact, the harder he rows in the wrong direction, the further away he will be from his destination. This is why so many hard-working business owners earn so little.

The bottom line here is this: If your marketing direction is wrong, you need to change course NOW!

What lessons have you learned along the way, which you would like to share?

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

Marketing tip: Stop shouting for attention!

Is your marketing shouting at people?

If you go into Starbucks today and start shouting at the people around you, you will definitely grab their attention.  However, it’s not the kind of attention you want to attract.  Many small businesses use a very similar approach with their marketing.  In an effort to capture attention, they act in a way that gets them noticed, but for all the wrong reasons.

They not only fail to generate new business; they can permanently damage the reputation of their business too.

Some examples of how companies shout at people with their sales and marketing:

  • Adding people to their newsletter list, without permission. It’s spam.
  • Spamming people on Twitter.
  • Meeting people at networking events and using that transparent crap; “tell me about your business and how I can help you.” Wake up, it’s not 1985 any more!
  • Asking people to join their Linkedin network, claiming they worked with them (when both parties know it’s a lie.)
  • Unwanted telemarketing calls to people’s homes at 8pm.  Just what you need when getting a young child to sleep or relaxing after a hard day.

In marketing, it’s easy to confuse movement with progress.  People see that they need to win more business and they know that they must do something – quickly!  So, they do what they hope will generate the new business they need.

The marketing challenge here, is that just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should.  Just because we can pay someone to spam 500,000 people with a marketing email from us, doesn’t mean it will generate anything positive.  Yes, you can waste half your life attending the same networking events, with the same people, all there to sell, none there to buy – but it’s massively ineffective.

Thankfully, we each have the freedom to make our own choices about the way we market our products and services.  If we use our freedom of choice wisely, our success is guaranteed.

What do you think about the typical small business marketing you see?

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

Photo: The Dream Seeker

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