Jim's Marketing Blog

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

Month: January 2011 (page 1 of 3)

Special Announcement: It’s here!

Today sees the launch of my brand new website, dedicated exclusively to Internet marketing.  It’s the perfect accompaniment to this site and will be of interest to you, if you want to learn how to use online marketing as a way to attract more clients, customers, inquiries or sales.

There will be new, unique content added to the site all the time, so take a look and remember to subscribe if you don’t want to miss anything.  This additional, free marketing resource, is designed to provide you with even more practical and powerful marketing advice.

I am REALLY excited to have this opportunity to be of further service to you and your business.  Of course, if you think the site will be of interest to your friends, please feel free to share it with them too.

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

Marketing copywriting: The power of reasons

Today, I thought I would share a very quick, yet very powerful copywriting idea with you.  It’s all about the power of reasons and it can dramatically improve your copywriting results!

The power of reasons

business development ideasIf you give someone a request, it has been proven time and again that they are massively more likely to comply, if you give them a reason.  By the way, Brian Clark covers this as part of this excellent persuasive writing post on copyblogger.

As you might expect, if you give people a GREAT reason to do something, there’s a good chance they will do it.  However, even if you give them a relatively weak reason, they are still more likely to take action, than if you give a request, with no reason.  In other words, from a conversion perspective, it’s best to explain WHY you want someone to do something, rather than just ask them.

Here’s an example of what I mean.  Imagine you want people to to subscribe to your newsletter.  You would almost certainly get a significantly better response by offering them a reason to subscribe, rather than just asking them to.  Look at the following 2 requests:

Subscribe to our newsletter today.

Or

Subscribe to our newsletter today, for the latest news, information and special offers.

So, whenever you ask your readers to do something, give them a reason.  The better the reason, the more likely they are to proceed.  If you want to show your friends how helpful, wise (and cool) you are, share this post with them!

…see what I did there ;)

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

Is fluff killing your business?

Fluff is your enemy!  The kind of fluff I am referring to here, is the overly long copywriting, which takes your powerful marketing message and dilutes it into something weak and uninspiring.

To be or not to be?

When I started studying copywriting back in the 1980′s, one of the first lessons I learned was the importance of brevity.  Keep it short and simple.  When Shakespeare wrote his final work, after decades spent writing thousands and thousands of words in longhand, I wonder if he knew that his most famous quote would contain just 6 words and that they would each contain 3 letters or less?

“To be or not to be.” Short. Powerful. Easy to remember. Perfect!

As a copywriter, I know that the sooner I can make a point, the more likely it is that people will read it.  People are super-busy these days, with little time to wade through acres of vague, pedestrian copy.  If I can get the value of a 1000 word post into 400 words, I know I have achieved something.  I will have taken 1000 words worth of value and concentrated them into a powerful and compelling 400 word marketing message (or blog post / landing page etc.)

How can fluff be killing your business?

In order for you to generate inquiries or sales, your marketing copy must motivate people to take some kind of action; click a link, email you, subscribe to your newsletter or call you etc.  Most small business marketing has horribly poor conversion rates.  It’s vague.  It often rambles and usually tries to achieve too many different things at once.

If you want to see an immediate, measurable improvement in your marketing response rates, learn to de-fluff your copy.  Make each piece of copy, direct the reader to do one thing and don’t deviate.

Do you see that simple 2 sentence box below this post?  (If you read this via email, click here.)  Those 2 sentences generate thousands of page views every week.  Here’s why:

  • The message is focused exclusively on just 1 service.
  • It is aimed exclusively at just 1 group of my readers.
  • It asks you to do just 1 thing.

Short, targeted messages work.  You want proof?  I know, with 98% certainty, that you are a business owner or entrepreneur.  No, I can’t see you from here, but that’s who THIS blog is aimed at and as a result, I have a highly focused readership of great people.

Take a look at your marketing copy.  Check every place, where you use words as a way to communicate with your perspective clients.  Is each message focused on just one outcome?  Is each message trying to appeal to everyone or are they focused like a laser-beam on your target market?

In short: Cut the fluff!

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

See how easily you can increase the quality and quantity of your copywriting

If you find it a struggle sometimes, to produce great written content, today’s post is just for you!

Before launching this blog, I used to write a newsletter.  The newsletter was published just twice a month and I often struggled to find something to write!

Compare that to today.

As well as blogging here 5 or 6 times a week, over the past 2 weeks I have also written over a dozen posts for my new Internet Marketing site, which launches on Monday.  This is in addition to posting a few times on my thunky site and replying to hundreds of comments.

So, what changed?

I decided to start blogging here a minimum of 5 times a week.  Initially, it was challenging.  Then, as I wrote more and more posts, it became easier and easier.  Posts that used to take an hour to write were written in 30 minutes.  Ideas for new posts came regularly throughout the day.  Just as importantly, I found that the quality of my writing also improved.  I saw posts getting shared more often and more people subscribing to the site.

Priming the water pump

It was a little like priming an old style water pump.  It took some work to get the flow started, but once it started flowing, it was easy to just crank the handle whenever I needed to write something.

If you genuinely want to become a better and more prolific content producer, here’s a simple suggestion.  Set yourself a target to write 10 posts or articles, over the next 10 days.  This will focus your mind on writing and hopefully, help you learn how to write when you don’t actually “feel” that everything is perfect.  The strive for perfection kills creativity and productivity.  This 10 day period is also long enough to help you get into the habit of capturing and recording your ideas, so you never have to start with a blank screen and no direction / inspiration.

Before you know it, you will have a stockpile of great content, just waiting to be published!

Your tips

Do you have any tips, to help people create more great content?  If you do, please share them with us!

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

Photo: Augapfel

The secret to attracting great, FREE media publicity

Photo: Jessica Rose Lane

In yesterday’s post, I wrote about the importance of getting your stars out; a term I use to describe showcasing any references to you or your work in the media.  One of the people who commented on that post, asked a good question.  He wanted to know how to get that kind of media publicity, where you are referenced as an expert in your field.

That’s what today’s post is about!

The most typical route, is to hire a kick-ass PR agency and get them to use their skills and contacts each time you want to be mentioned.  That’s not how I did it and it’s not what I am going to cover in this post.  I would like to share an alternative approach, based around my concept of combining visibility with being remarkable.  As I have said here many times before, if you want to generate word of mouth publicity, you need to be remarkable in some way.

People remark on that which is remarkable.  The media are no different.

Being remarkable

If you are a designer, coach, accountant, advisor, even a GREAT one, that’s probably not enough for The BBC or a national newspaper to call you.  There needs to be something remarkable about you, before those guys remark on you.  Before the media became interested in me, I had worked hard for years to get a lot of people talking about me.  I had developed a newsletter, with thousands of readers, which contained marketing ideas and advice that was powerful and often very different from the conventional wisdom of that time.  People started seeing amazing sales results from my work, so they spread the word.

I often found myself going against the flow, which was also a great way to capture people’s attention.  For example,in the mid 1990′s, I was telling people to give away as much free advice as they could.  My fellow marketing professionals said I was insane!  Today, we call it content marketing or tutorial marketing and it’s commonplace; thanks to the advent some years later of business blogging.  I got noticed, by doing what I believed was right and saying it with conviction, without seeking permission from anyone.  A few years ago, when lots of marketing people switched to being “social media gurus” I decided to pass.  Today, many of the top social media people are transitioning away from social media, into becoming personal development and self-help gurus.

Remarkable people

One of the people attracted to my different style of marketing, was my good friend, the Grammy Award winner, Bruce Elliott-Smith.  When I saw Bruce picking up his award in Hollywood, it was hard to believe that when we first met in the 1990′s, he ran a great little insurance business.  He was as hard working and dynamic in that business, as he is today.  A great way to get people talking about you is to do remarkable things, with remarkable people.  My long term association with Bruce and his reference to me as “a legend when it comes to results” was a door-opener, when it came to media exposure.

When I coached a BBC presenter live on air, during her first ever radio program, it generated a lot of interest in me.  However, it was the legwork I did in the years before that day, which encouraged them to call me to be the guest on Lara King’s first solo show.  The fact I am media trained and was already a regular BBC contributor, meant they knew who to call.

Showing how remarkable you truly are

In short, whilst there are many tricks you can employ to gain the attention of the media, the real secret is to be visible and remarkable.  You don’t need to do anything earth shattering, I certainly haven’t (yet), but you do need to be prepared to stand up and stand out.

  • It means taking the opposite approach, to what you see every day online, where grown adults follow and quote Internet gurus, like sheep.
  • It means avoiding going with the flow, when you think the flow is flowing toward bullshit.
  • It means developing your own ideas and having faith in them.
  • It means having the courage to risk being wrong.
  • It means being you.  Being proud of who you are and confident in what you believe.

The more you try to blend in, rather than express your unique individuality, the less remarkable, (which in this sense reads newsworthy), you become.

Here are 2 quick tips you can get working on right now, to get the right people talking about, and to, you:

Your visibility - Get yourself a blog and use it as a super-effective platform for people to find you and discover your story.  Pack it with YOUR thoughts.  Update it regularly and watch what happens.  If your message is compelling enough, people will share it across their social networks and they will link to it.  When you get the links, you start getting search traffic.  This makes you easier to find, when the next reporter or journalist is looking for an informed opinion in your field of business.  I will be covering this in detail, on my new Internet marketing site!

Your remarkable self -  When they discover you, make it very clear that they have just found someone with something new/fresh to say.  The less your site reads just like all the others, the better.  Why would a reporter or journalist quote me or my site, if I was just repeating what Jay Abraham or Seth Godin say?  There would be no point.  Similarly, if you emulate the style / opinions of those at the top of your industry or profession, you cease being remarkable.  This is why it’s so important for you to be you.  Be your own breaking news.  Be your remarkable self.

Is it easy?  Nope.  That’s why most people don’t do it.  It requires courage, hard work, study and confidence.  That’s quite a challenge for any of us.

Is it possible?  Yes.  That’s why so many people DO do it.

In my experience, very few people know just how incredible they are.  You are almost certainly at least as remarkable as those who are already capturing the attention of the media and the masses.  Please don’t keep it a secret!

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

Get your stars out!

I was joking on Twitter earlier, about how I was featured in one of the world’s best known newspapers today, but with the wrong surname attributed to me!  I bet Seth Godin doesn’t have that trouble :)

Anyhow, the columnist very kindly linked to a post here on the blog in his article, and the link is even more valuable to me these days, than the name check.  However, being mentioned by an influential person or quoted in a well-known publication, can be a great marketing asset IF you use it.  That’s what today’s brief post is all about.

When someone discovers your website for the first time, they will often use social proof as a short-cut in their decision making process.  This can be as simple as visiting your blog and seeing lots of comments and shares, or reading testimonials on your website from clients who love your work.

Awards you have won and coverage you have attracted from well respected media providers are also potentially very powerful influencers.  Yet, many people seem a little shy about showcasing these kind of marketing assets; even though they can create a powerful initial impression for those new to you and your work.  You are showing them that others have deemed you worthy of those awards, testimonials or media mentions.

Get YOUR stars out!

Modesty is a valuable character trait, but so is self-confidence; especially in business.  So make it easy for people who have not yet interacted with you, to see just how awesome you are.

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

Photo: Anosmia

How to handle your marketing for success

“Handle with care“, is a term usually associated with objects, which have the potential to be dangerous or volatile if used incorrectly.  In my experience, handle with care should also be associated with marketing advice.

Just about every form of marketing has the potential to massively under perform, if handled incorrectly.  For example, email marketing in the right hands, can generate fantastic results, but when handled poorly, it not only under performs, but angers people too.  That’s because poorly handled email marketing can look a lot like spam.

Before you implement any kind of marketing, you need to run it through the following 2 questions and get a “yes” as your reply:

  1. Am I using the right kind of marketing for what I want to achieve?
  2. Am I using this form of marketing correctly?

Why not take some time today, looking at the various forms of marketing you use and running them through that simple, 2 question filter.  Handle your marketing with care and either remove or repair anything that contains a “no” response to the above questions.

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

Photo: Splinter

Announcement: New Internet marketing site!

I have some great news to share with you today!

Are you ready?

(drum roll)

I’m launching a new site, dedicated to Internet marketing!

I started work on a new site recently, which will provide you with EVEN MORE free marketing information.  The new site is focused exclusively on Internet / online marketing and goes live later this month!  If you want to make better use of the Internet and online services as a way to market your business, you will love it!

The new site comes as a result of a series of marketing research projects I did last year; to find out the areas of marketing that small business owners and entrepreneurs were most interested in.  You may even have taken part in one of these projects yourself, I called it the thunky project.  I did a lot of listening and I’m so glad I did!

The importance of listening

The research combined to provide some extremely valuable feedback.  The single biggest message, was that there was a huge demand among respondents for clear, common sense Internet marketing information.  Many small business owners find Internet marketing exciting, but confusing.  They see so much opportunity and choice, but also a lot of confusion, bullshit and hype.  Many have tried various forms on online marketing, invested a lot of their time, but have little tangible or bankable to show for it.

People told me they wanted plain English, buzzword free information, on how to use the Internet and online services to boost their revenues and profits.  They want to know how to use online marketing effectively, so they can reach more potential clients, engage more people, build better relationships, attract more inquiries and generate more business.  That’s what the new site is all about!

The new blog is a companion to this one.  Posts on this site will not appear on the other and visa versa.  Each site is designed to compliment the other and I believe you will find both blogs to be a useful source of free marketing information for your business.

Finally, I would like to thank those of you, who provided feedback to my surveys and questions last year, and the thousands of you who contributed to my thunky project.  That information has allowed me to provide you with the perfect companion to this blog and focus specifically on an area of marketing, which I believe the vast majority of you will find extremely valuable.

I have set up a Twitter account for the new site, which you are very welcome to join me on.  Just “follow” the account and say hi, and I will follow you back.

If you have any questions or requests regarding the new site, Tweet me!

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

Photo: Robert Couse-Baker

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