Jim's Marketing Blog

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

Month: April 2011 (page 1 of 4)

The simple secret to increasing your income

I heard a guy on the radio earlier.  He wasn’t happy at all.

He was complaining that his boss did not pay him enough for the number of hours he works.  I wish the host of the show had explained to the caller, that he’s NOT getting paid for the number of hours he works.

If he was only getting paid for his time, he could just send his clock to work!

As my mentor used to say:

We don’t get paid for the hour.  We get paid for the value we bring to the hour.

To earn more, we must first become more.  The great news here, is that we can start the process of becoming more commercially valuable, whenever we wish.

We can get started, with a commitment to:

  • Read the books
  • Take the courses
  • Question the status quo
  • Associate with the right people
  • Listen to the experts
  • Refine our philosophy

Whilst it takes time to see our income increase, the process of positive change starts immediately; the instant we make the commitment and take the first step.

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

Photo: alexkerhead

Show them who YOU are and what YOU stand for

In business, do you lead or follow?

Leadership is one of the most used words in business, yet it is one of the least practised disciplines. It seems the massive majority of business owners prefer to blend into the background.  Ironically, this includes many of those who refer to themselves as leaders.

This presents those business owners with the courage to confidently be themselves, with an opportunity to gain the visibility essential for commercial success. If you can fully appreciate the value of what I am saying here and then act on it, you can gain a huge commercial advantage in your marketplace.

The marketing power of being yourself

It was my late mother, who explained to me the importance of standing up for myself and what I believed in. It’s a lesson that has served me very well and one that paradoxically, has made my progress through business (and life in general) a lot easier.

By having the courage to be myself and the confidence to share my own thoughts, I have developed a unique, very visible position in the marketplace. This has helped me build a very successful business and attract amazing clients for my services.

I want you to enjoy the same results, hence this post.

The world of the invisible sheep

Amazingly, even in my own profession many people get it wrong. They copy what each other are doing like sheep, and become camouflaged. As a result, they constantly struggle to attract clients.  That’s why you see marketing people attending networking events, frantically handing out business cards to strangers. It’s why you see marketing (and PR) people on social networks, ass-kissing those they think may pass them traffic or leads. It’s hard to look both competent and needy!

Camouflage is self-sabotage

In an overcrowded marketplace, sheep-like business owners will always struggle. Whilst it may feel comfortable to be part of a flock, that same camouflage will make you invisible. Taking what seems like the easy route, will simply sabotage your chances of success.

Camouflage is useful if you are a chameleon, seeking to avoid being eaten by a predator, but it’s a stupid move for the business owner, seeking to be discoverable.

Here’s an alternative approach, for the courageous business owner:

  • Be yourself. You are just as good as that guru, author or social media rock star!
  • Share your own ideas. This is what makes you unique.
  • Stand up for yourself and what you believe.
  • Don’t suck up. Suck-ups lose the respect of everyone, especially those they suck-up to.

Show your marketplace who YOU are and what YOU stand for!

Increase your fees and profits with these simple ideas

Today’s post is about how to set your fees correctly, so that you attract more clients and are well rewarded for providing a great service.

fee settingLet’s go!

Fee setting: The golden rule

The starting point, is always to ensure that your fee makes mathematical sense.  For example:

Barbara is a web designer, who wants to earn £100,000 a year.  She plans on working  8 hours a day, 48 weeks of the year.  If she charges £50 an hour for her time, she isn’t going to be able to reach her income target.  Even if every single hour of her working week, every week, was spent on billable work, she would still be £6,000 below her income requirement.

In short, if you exchange your time for money, make sure the numbers add up.

Fee setting: Finding the sweet-spot

The marketplace will always let you know if you are offering good value for money.

If you explain what your service is, for example, then quote your fee, your prospective client has a simple value / cost equation to do.  If the service sounded appealing, but they thought it was overpriced, they won’t hire you.  If the fee seemed to represent good value, there’s a good chance they will hire you.

Interestingly, you can lose business by quoting a fee or price, which is too low.  If they think your fee is too low, they will wonder why.  The marketplace is not stupid.  People know that if a provider promises them a diamond quality service, for a bargain basement fee, something is wrong.  They will think that either the service is not as good as you say, or that you will find hidden ways to increase the fee you quoted.  I refer to this gap between the fee and the promise as a fee fracture.

To set your fee, so that it offers the perfect balance of value for the client and value for you, you need to start with a fee, which you believe to be good value for both parties.  Then, measure your feedback.  I very strongly recommend you check out what your competitors are charging, so you know what you are competing against.

If prospective clients eagerly hire you very quickly and without negotiating, it could be a sign that you have tipped the deal too much in their favour.  Conversely, if they hear your fee and very few elect to hire you, it’s possible you have tipped the deal too much in your favour.

Fee setting: Add more value rather than lowering your fee

The temptation, when people tell you that your fee is too high, is to lower your fee.  Whilst this may be the solution, it is very certainly NOT the first thing to do!

You should always seek to pump as much value into your service as you can, thereby increasing what it’s worth.  For example, consider offering something extra, which has a high perceived value, but a low delivery cost to you.  This approach is a far better way to increase the sale of your services, than undercutting people, in a fee “race to the bottom.”

Fee setting is a huge subject, far too big to cover in a blog post.  However, I hope these few ideas and tips help you to earn what you deserve and avoid underselling yourself.

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

Photo: TarO

Reliable?

How reliable do your prospective clients think you are?

  • If you use social networking sites, can they rely on you to show up regularly and contribute?
  • If you write a newsletter, can they rely on you to get each edition out on time?
  • If you write a blog, can they rely on you to publish posts on a regular basis?

Until they have the opportunity to work with you and discover how wonderful you are, prospective clients only have your marketplace facing activities, like those I just mentioned, with which to assess how reliable you are.

Building a reputation for reliability is extremely valuable, as it helps you earn the confidence of your marketplace.  Use your most visible marketing efforts, to show them that no matter how busy you are, you can be relied upon to show up.

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

 

Photo: alancleaver_2000

Revealed: The marketing idea that changed my life!

Almost 25 years ago, I discovered a marketing idea which changed my life.  It allowed me to go from being broke at the age of 21, to financially secure for life in around 8 years. 

Today, I am going to share it with you!

Marketing and me: 1987 style

When I started out in marketing, one of the many marketing experts I studied was Jay Abraham.  Unlike most of today’s top marketing authors, who tend to focus on sharing interesting concepts, Jay focused on making money.  Jay would give you a nugget of information, which you could pick up and use there and then, to start making more sales.

Ironically, although Jay was working in content marketing a decade or more, before today’s Internet marketing gurus appeared, he hasn’t embraced social media and many of you will never have heard of him.  It was one of Jay’s real world marketing ideas, which started me off in content marketing:  Though back in 1987 we called it consultative selling.

The idea behind consultative selling was simple:

  • You operated as a consultant – Not as a salesperson.
  • You shared knowledge – You didn’t sell.

I focused on building a reputation as a knowledgeable expert, by sharing valuable information or content.  I did radio interviews.  I wrote articles for business magazines.  I spoke to groups of business people.  Remember, this was pre Internet.  It’s a lot easier today!

Pretty soon, I had influential decision makers calling me, because they automatically associated me with whatever industry I was working in at the time.  I was able to meet with people that the sales guys couldn’t get near.  I was also able to build a huge referral network, because people were always happy to refer me to their contacts; knowing I didn’t push anything on anyone.

By the age of just 29, I had made so much money that I was able to leave a highly paid job, to set up my marketing business.  Of course, 16 years on we now have; blogs, newsletters, webinars, podcasts and social networks to share knowledge and consultative selling has been rebranded as content marketing.

I can honestly tell you that since the day I started this business, have never had to actually sell anything to anyone or spend a penny on advertising.  I have always attracted 100% of my clients via content marketing and today, I show business owners like yourself how to do the same.  It’s a great way to build a highly successful business.

The name may have changed from consultative selling, to content marketing, but the results have remained consistently amazing.

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

Attract more business inquiries than ever before with these 6 powerful marketing tips!

Do you want more client inquiries from your marketing?  Would you like to make your marketing more compelling, so it encourages more people to take action when they read it?  If you would, then read on!

Most marketing content is written to capture the attention of, and then inform, a targeted group of people.  Great marketers add a 3rd element.  They capture.  They inform.  They compel!

Compelling marketing

Average marketing leaves people thinking, “so what?”

Compelling marketing encourages people to take action.

Compelling marketing is focused on “them” not you. It’s about their needs and solving their problems and making their experience of you and your business as good as possible.  Them, them, them.

Compelling marketing messages

One of the reasons small business owners find their written marketing far less effective than they want, is that it fails to inspire the reader enough, to motivate them to take the desired action.  Here’s an example of compelling copy, which I wrote for a marketing company that had been really struggling to get enough people to subscribe to their newsletter.

Boost your sales and profits starting today, with a free subscription to our marketing newsletter.  Subscribe now and I’ll send you a FREE…..

Previously, they were doing what 99.9% of newsletter providers do; simply asking people to:

Subscribe to our marketing newsletter and receive a copy of our marketing check-list

The new message, which out-performed the old one by over 850%, was all about the reader and giving value.  It starts with a promise, to help them make more sales and increase their profits.  It then gives them a direct request to take action now.  If you want people to take action at all, ask them to take action NOW! It then finishes with the promise that if they take action now, as well as all that valuable newsletter information, they will also receive more great value, in the form of a marketing check-list.

Compelling marketing: 6 quick tips to motivate your prospective clients to take action

Here are some ideas to make your written marketing more compelling:

1  Scarcity: Whenever possible, give people a reason to take action now rather than later.  This comes from the principle of scarcity.  The fear of losing out on something is an extremely compelling reason for people to get moving!

2. Study your target market: The more you know about what’s important to them, the easier it is for you to understand what’s most likely to motivate them.

3. Avoid the use of generic terms: Generic terms simply wash over people.  The most overused word in this category is the word “solutions.”  It’s OK to use the word in context within a longer message (such as a blog post.)  However, using it on your “about” page, social media bio or profile will hurt your response rates.

Telling people something like; “we provide solutions to the XYZ industry” means nothing and is not compelling in any way.  If you build websites, which make companies look fantastic online and helps them attract throngs of eager clients – TELL THEM!  Don’t say you “offer integrated website solutions.”

4. Headlines matter most: This one is simple.  No matter how amazing your marketing message is, if no one reads it, it can’t convert.  The headline or title of your marketing is what compels people to read it.

Why do you click certain links on Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin etc?  It’s because the title makes the link sound compelling enough to check out.  The title sells the link.  Why do you open certain emails and not others? Again, the title or subject line compels you to open it.  I recently blogged about how to attract more traffic from Twitter using attractive headlines.  That post has some useful headline writing tips.

Tip: Keep a list of the next 50 links you click via social networks and study them to see what compelled you to take action.

5. Add to your marketing vocabulary: Having a limited vocabulary and trying to inspire people with your messages, is like having half the ingredients missing from a recipe and trying to make the meal taste right.  Business owners always seem to assume that they have a great vocabulary.  The reality, as you see every day for yourself, is the exact opposite.  Most small business content and general marketing is written using an extremely limited palette of uninspiring words.

6.  Embrace brevity: The fewer words in your marketing message, the more impact you can create.  Most of the marketing copy I see is at least 50% too long; often 75% or more.  A targeted, information rich message that is packed with value, will out-perform a long winded, meandering message that drags on, which few people even finish reading!  In today’s marketplace, where people have more to do than ever before, short marketing messages have more impact than ever.

The bottom line

If you want people to call you, email you, buy from you, subscribe to your blog or newsletter etc – YOU need to motivate them to do so. If you get it right, the potential to attract more inquiries, clients and sales is enormous!

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

Photo: Cappellmeister

The simple secret to attracting all the help you will ever need

How good are you at attracting the help, goodwill and cooperation of others?  If you think there may be room for improvement, this post is just what you need!

Today’s post is about one of the cornerstones of business success, something called reciprocity.  Here’s a very, very basic explanation of how reciprocity works in business and life generally:

By helping other people, we begin the process of giving and open the channel for receiving.  This giving, starts a positive cycle where we not only make more friends and feel better about ourselves, but ALSO encourage others, without asking, to want to help us too; (to reciprocate.)

Reciprocity in action

Over the past 48 hours, I have experienced reciprocity in action here on the blog.  I have had people from all over the world, help me get the word out about my new content marketing service.  Without asking anyone, they just decided to repay me for the free help I provide here on the blog, by sharing my new service with their friends and contacts.

Of course, their kindness has not gone unnoticed.  I remember those who help me, just like you remember those who help you.  This is one of the wonderful things about helping others.  Every time we do, we plant a seed that has the opportunity to blossom into something magical.

The reciprocity mindset is NOT just about personal or professional gain and if you think it is, you are totally missing the point!

It’s simply an amazing way to proceed through business and life.  It’s the attitude of contribution.  It’s about building relationships with great people, by instigating the process of giving.

It’s beautiful.

It’s simple.

It costs nothing.

It’s also a wonderful way to build a rewarding life and a fantastic business!

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

Photo: vtdainfo

Improve your cash flow with this 1 important marketing tip

Have you ever had clients, who refused to pay you on time?  If you have, you may find this post extremely useful!

Marketing and cash flow

The easiest way to avoid these low-value clients from hurting your business, is not to work with them in the first place.  I have not had a late payer in 15 years, because I don’t target those idiots with my marketing.  As a direct result, the clients I attract are people like you; professional people who don’t accept services, knowing they can’t pay for them.  If you want to attract great clients, read this!

Make no mistake, those selfish bastards will ruin you, if you decide to work with them.  The reality is that more businesses go broke because of bad cash flow, than because of a lack of earnings.

I was prompted to write this post, after a wonderful person who wanted to work with me lost her place, because of money owed to her, which was massively overdue.  She has lost an amazing opportunity, all because a major client of hers decided (yet again) that he was going to make her wait months and months and months for money he owes her.  She believes she needs his business.  I believe she doesn’t.  No one needs clients like that.

Professional marketing repels deliberate late payers

Professional marketing includes setting the scene with prospective clients, so they know what to expect when working with you.  This includes making it clear, that you are not prepared to work with deliberate late payers.  Deliberate late payers are those people, who have the funds to pay you, but elect not to; either as a power trip or because THEY think YOU are just not important enough. Let me reiterate: I’m not referring to someone, who is very occasionally a little late paying you.  I’m talking about those who believe it’s perfectly OK to deliberately withhold your money.  I have met many hard working people, who went broke thanks to deliberate late payers starving them of essential cash flow.

You don’t lose anything of value, by repelling those assholes before they can hurt your business.  In fact, it is impossible to grow a successful business, working with deliberate late payers.  They kill your finances, drain your energy and leave you unable to invest in the essential services your business needs, in order to grow.

Developing a great client base of people who value you, respect you and PAY you, is one of the best reasons to invest in professional marketing.

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

Photo: Luz

Older posts