Jim's Marketing Blog

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

Month: March 2010 (page 1 of 3)

Floppy disks in 2010? Give me a break!

Last week, something occurred to me, which I would like to share with you.

I suddenly realised that right now, in 2010, many software companies STILL use that little image of a floppy disk, as the icon for the “save” feature on a software program!

It’s years since computers came with floppy disk drives as standard and many more years, since they were the primary way to save information.  As a result, there is a whole generation of young adults in the workplace, to whom that floppy icon will be pretty irrelevant.

Marketing and relevance

In marketing, we know that our message needs to be relevant to our marketplace, if we want it to resonate with them and motivate them to; buy from us, call us, visit us, click our links or email us etc.  This means that we need to avoid making assumptions and base our marketing around the challenges and opportunities, which are currently facing our prospective clients.

However, it’s NOT just about your marketing message…

You see, no matter how good your marketing is, its effectiveness (and your sales results) will always be capped or limited by the value of your services or products.  This means your marketing AND your products and services need to me relevant to today’s marketplace.

The bottom line: Great marketing by itself is NOT the secret to sales success.  For any company to enjoy sustainable sales success, it needs to be marketing something that is just what the marketplace needs.

If you offer a range of services or products and they have remained fairly similar for a while, it might be time to review them and see if they are still 100% relevant to your clients and prospective clients.  Speak with people in your target market and find out what their challenges and opportunities are today and moving forward.  Your commercial success will always be linked to how well you adapt to, and service, their requirements.

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

No matter how good your marketing is, its effectiveness (and your sales results) will always be limited by the value of your services or products.

Over 140 marketing and business development ideas!

marketing tips, marketing advice

Here you go: Access to over 140 ideas and answers to help you with your marketing and business development – all in one post!

These lists were scattered all over the blog, so I thought some of you might find it useful if I put them all in one place.  Enjoy:

34 Marketing tips and ideas

7 ways to get more sales leads and enquiries

My top 10 marketing tips

More traffic to your site in 2 easy steps

Your 5 step marketing make-over

Successful blog marketing – 3 things to consider

Your 2010 marketing check list – 11 things to consider

Lost for words? 10 ways to find inspiration

Make this your best year ever – 8 simple ideas

32 questions to kick-start your business

3 ways to quickly improve your results

6 marketing tips – Good timing!

2 ways to quickly improve your thinking

3 lessons from an Internet success story

10 ways to get massively more sales leads

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

Are you building a business?

Ultimately, what do you plan to do with your business?

One of the best pieces of business advice I ever received came from my mentor, Mr Jim Rohn.  Jim used to say; “start with the end in mind!”

In other words, know where you are going, before you get going.

Here’s the thing: Most small business owners I speak with (and I speak with them every day), have only a fuzzy picture of what they ultimately want to do with their business. Many have no real idea at all!  With that lack of clarity, it’s impossible to make the right decisions, as all planning is done in the short or medium-term at best.  Moreover, without knowing your destination, how can you even know if you are on course or not?

I have spoken with many consultants and advisers, who have faced ill-health or approached retirement, only to realise that when they stop working, their income will stop too.  They exchange their time for money and as such, even if they earn well, once they stop exchanging their time, they stop receiving the money.

Such people have NOT built a business – They simply bought themselves a job!

No matter what stage in the life journey you are at right now, here’s a great question to ask yourself:  Am I building something that has value in itself or am I simply employing myself?

You will be amazed how things will change for you, when you have a clear picture of your end game.  Decisions that were once hard, will become easy.  Questions you have never asked yourself will suddenly come to you and with these questions, you will find answers that will drive you forward, with a purpose.

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

Photo: Emio Me

Another reason why I love blogging

I switched my computer on this morning and was amazed with what I saw!

Last night, while I was sleeping, there were interesting conversations going on here; across 4 different posts and with dozens of comments.  That kind of feedback or interaction, is one of the things I value most about blogging and yet another reason why I believe blogs have a bright future, as a marketing tool.

Marketing and blogs

There are many reasons why blogs are extremely powerful as marketing tools.  One of these reasons, is that it is easier to build a targeted community around a blog.  For example, each of those 4 active conversations last night were directly relevant to the theme of this blog; which is marketing and business development for small businesses.

Now, some of the people involved in these debates, shared the debate on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter, which saw a massive increase in new readers and blog subscribers.  In simple terms, if I had written those posts as traditional articles on a website, with no comments section and no way for readers to contribute, there would have been far less interest and far fewer people would have seen it or shared it.

My posts acted as a catalyst, but it was the interest caused by the reader comments, which created the real surge in interest.  In addition, the people who commented on those posts increased the value of those posts enormously, with their insights and ideas.  I will be writing a lot more about the marketing benefits of blogging in the future.  For now, I simply ask business owners that are not already blogging, to consider the opportunities.

Do you have a business blog?  What are the main benefits YOU see from it?

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

Photo: Lin Pernille

More marketing pests: Your feedback please!

Several times a week, I get email from people, who claim to enjoy reading this blog and want to know if they can be one of my guest bloggers.  Clearly, they have never read the blog, as there is no guest blogging here. (The clue is in the blog’s name!)

Several times a day, I get email from people, telling me they enjoy reading my blog and would like me to link to them.  Clearly, they have never visited the blog, or they would know there are no link-exchanges here.  I link to a few sites, all of which are owned by people I know and trust.  NONE of them asked for the link.  BTW: I just added Danny Brown’s blog to my links (Get well soon Danny!)

In yesterday’s blog post, I wrote about the mindset that says it’s ok to piss-off 99.9% of people you contact, to reach that 0.1%,  who may listen to or read your message. That post was about cold calls from unprofessional tele-marketers, but the same applies to other forms of impersonal, mass produced junk marketing too.

…and the best part?

The massive majority of email I receive, asking for links and postings, comes from marketing companies or SEO / SEM (search engine marketing) companies; on behalf of their clients and in their client’s name! It’s their client’s reputations that are being rendered toxic – and I’m willing to bet that in many cases, their clients don’t even know the damage being caused to their name or brand.

Your feedback please

Do you get these cut-n-paste link request emails too?

If so, do you check them out or delete them on arrival?

How does it make you feel about a company, when they send you that kind of email?

Please share your thoughts.

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

Photo: Arnold

How to lose sales and anger your marketplace

No one likes being pestered. This is especially the case, when they are extremely busy.

I was thinking of this, whilst sitting in a friends restaurant. He received a telemarketing call from one of the many salespeople, who target his industry with cold calls. The call was made during lunchtime, on a Friday afternoon. This is a very busy time for city-based restaurants, as they deal with not only a large volume of diners, but diners, who need to get back to work quickly.

You would think that people selling to the industry would have the common sense to avoid making cold calls, during these super-busy times.

Not only are they seldom going to speak with the decision maker (he or she’s too busy) but the caller actually positions themselves to the person receiving their unwanted interruption, as a nuisance or pest.  That’s not a great way to start of a relationship or a sales negotiation.

So, why do these kind of poorly timed telemarketing calls get made?

In my experience, many telemarketing companies believe that although they will probably be seen as a pest to 99% of the people they call during that peek time, maybe 1% might speak with them.  That’s a limited and short-sighted mindset!  It’s a mindset that says it’s fine to be seen as a pest by 99% of your prospective marketplace.  This is a VERY short-term strategy and quickly sees those use operate from it, running out of people to call; as their reputation sinks lower and lower and their phone numbers get barred.

The thing with marketing is this: Just because you CAN do something, does not mean you SHOULD do something

Whether it’s cold calling people, when they clearly don’t want to be called or adding people to your newsletter list, when they never asked to subscribe (do you get that too?), it’s a bad idea to do anything that will almost certainly anger or alienate 99% of your prospective clients.  None of us need that kind of reputation.

I would be interested to know, which types of marketing “interruptions” you see as most annoying.  Share your experiences, below.

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

Photo: Victor Castillo

Marketing: Make everything count!

If you are serious about getting the maximum return from your sales and marketing efforts, this message is for you:

In marketing, nothing is neutral.  Every marketing activity is either working for you or it’s working against you!

For example, look at Internet marketing.  When I look at 99.9% of business websites or blogs, I can see immediately that they are not generating many sales, leads or enquiries.  The owners of those sites wrongly assume that this is “just how it is.”  They know that they need a site to help market their business, and wrongly assume that the results will come magically somewhere down the road.  It doesn’t work like that.

Keep doing what you are doing and you will keep getting what you are getting!

If your site is NOT a lead / sales generating machine for your business, then it’s not a neutral marketing function.  It’s working against you, by blocking all that business you should and could be winning.  The same is true of every activity the typical small business invests time, money, energy or all three in; without the correct results.

Successful, growing businesses typically invest in between 10 and 12 marketing activities, which are deliberately designed to produce results.  Their marketing is working for them.

However, we know that those businesses that just get by, invest in a few marketing activities, which they HOPE will start working one day.  They get the occasional result, but typically find that they waste hours of their time and sometimes quite a lot of money too, on activities that under perform.

These are not neutral marketing activities. These activities are actively wasting the time and money of these businesses.  Worse still, it’s totally avoidable!

Be sure to review your marketing activities and pay particular attention to anything, which you consider to be neutral; neither helping or hurting your business. If it’s neutral, that means it genuinely is NOT helping you and needs to be stopped and then either fixed, or replaced.

Remember: Keep doing what you are doing and you will keep getting what you are getting!

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

Photo: Ansik

Get your marketing emails opened!

This post is all about email marketing; specifically, how to get your email marketing opened!

The reason I am focusing on getting your marketing emails opened, is that no matter how great your marketing message or offer is, unless people actually open it and read it, it’s not going to generate the results you want.

How to get your emails opened

So, how do you quickly determine the best way to get your marketing emails opened?  Simple: You keep copies of the marketing emails, which you have opened and you ask your contacts to do the same.

Then, you look at them and see what lessons you can apply to your own marketing!

Is this the best way to ensure your email’s get read? No!  The best way is to hire a proven expert.  Is this an effective way for a keen, small business owner to improve his or her email marketing results? Yep!

Email marketing clues

Once you have looked at the marketing emails that either you or your buddies have opened, you need to start looking for clues.  By the way, it would be particularly useful, if you could get existing customers to let you know the kind of marketing emails THEY have opened, as they are the same profile of people that you want to target.

Here are just a few of the clues, which you may find when you examine those successful emails:

  • The email was sent to you, from someone you know and trust.
  • The email came from a person or company, which you remember subscribing to.
  • The subject line contained the correct spelling of your name.
  • The subject line contained the name of a person or business that you know personally or professionally.
  • The subject line contained a question that got you curious.
  • The subject line contained a bold statement, which grabbed your attention.

Many great marketing opportunities are missed by small businesses, simply because their emails never get opened or read.  The sender often thinks the message or the offer was unattractive, when the reality is that too few people actually saw it.  Don’t let this happen to you!  Email marketing is one of the most effective and cost effective marketing tools on the planet – So long as you use it correctly.

If you have any email marketing tips you would like to share, please do so by leaving a comment below.

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

Older posts