Jim's Marketing Blog

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

Month: February 2013 (page 1 of 4)

5 steps to increase the success of all your written marketing

Today’s post will show you a way to massively improve the effectiveness of any important content you write. It will also show you how to avoid one of the most common and damaging copy writing errors.

Stop limiting your options

5 steps

Most people will write their initial piece of content, call it their draft copy, then tweak it until it’s as good as they think they can make it.

The challenge with that approach is that you are working from the mindset that the initial draft is the best foundation for the content. This is almost never the case. You need to write from the best foundation possible, not simply the first draft you write down.

The most effective content comes from experimenting with ideas and one of the best ways to get new ideas, is to refuse to restrict yourself to working from one perspective. In other words, instead of writing an initial draft and then building on it, you commit to writing your message in 5 or more different ways. In my experience, by writing the content in a number of different ways you open up new possibilities, which often lead to breakthrough ideas that make your content massively more compelling.

Yes, it takes longer than writing from one perspective and hoping it will work, but the goal of your content writing is not to write as fast as you can – it’s to write the most commercially valuable content you can.

It works like this

  1. Write down exactly what you want to achieve from your content, so you know what your outcome is.
  2. Next, write down what kind of action you want the reader of your content to take. For example; email you, call you, visit your premises, fill in your survey, etc.
  3. Then, write 5 pieces of content, which address the previous 2 points as clearly as you can.
  4. Remember, you are not looking for 4 revisions of your initial piece of content, but 5 fresh perspectives to help you achieve the outcomes you listed in points 1 and 2.
  5. Finally, look for the most compelling of your 5 pieces of content, then build upon it.

If you do that, you give yourself a greater chance of writing your content from your best foundation – not just the one you thought of first.

Yes, sometimes that initial version will be the best, but every time it isn’t, you will have improved the quality and effectiveness of your writing.

Would you like to talk to me and Pick My Brain for answers or ideas? Well now you can.

How to use The Lock In Effect

There are 2 ways to retain your clients or customers, using something called The Lock In Effect.

What is The Lock In Effect?

lock in effect

The Lock In Effect is a term, which is typically used to explain a practice, where a company makes it extremely hard for their customers to leave them – even if the customer wants to.

For example:

  • UK banks are notorious for making it far more difficult to move to another bank, than it needs to be. Bill payments are often missed and a process that should take minutes electronically, can drag on for weeks or more. You feel locked in, because the pain and frustration of moving banks is so high.
  • If your company is set up to use a certain software package, which all your employees have mastered, it makes it a lot harder to drop that software, when a new alternative appears. The cost of buying the new software, the time and cost required to retrain everyone and the potential for lost data, makes the customer feel locked in.

An alternative Lock In Effect

Yes, there will always be business owners, who happily offer a very average service and try and lock their customers in. However, they don’t read this blog.

For people like you and I, there is a far better way to use The Lock In Effect.

We can create so much value through our products and services, that our clients or customers lock themselves in. This approach to business has been used by companies like Apple and Zappos – where we see their customers not only going back to them again and again, but also telling everyone about them. That’s why the best Apple salespeople, are Apple’s own customers.

Never miss an opportunity to find ways to increase the value of your products and services. Always look for ways to create a compelling customer experience. Never forget that your customers have the freedom to work with or buy from, whoever they choose. Make it your ongoing challenge, to inspire them to keep choosing you.

How curious are you?

There’s a key difference between the best people and least effective people in your industry.

curious

The best people stay curious

  • They commit to ongoing learning.
  • They keep up to date with the latest thinking and developments in their industry.
  • They embrace change and adapt.

The least effective people get proficient and then stop

  • They only learn something new when they are forced to.
  • They are out of touch with the latest thinking and developments within their industry.
  • They fear change and try to ignore it.

Stay curious

The nature of business is changing faster today than ever before. This is why it has never been more important to stay curious.

Expect change. Embrace your agility and remain a relevant, valuable asset to the marketplace.

Photo.

Who are you comparing yourself to?

People have a tendency to compare themselves to others. This is a well known cause of much of the stress and unhappiness we experience.

average

Why?

Because we tend to give too much credit to the work and achievements of others and too little credit to our own work and achievements. As a result, we often place our role models on impossibly high pedestals. This can cause us to feel like we are constantly failing, in comparison.

This got me thinking

How about instead of comparing ourselves to someone else, we decide to focus on being the best that we can be?

It’s just a thought.

Photo: A J Leon

Why bother to learn anything, when Google has all the answers?

That question is one I have heard regularly, ever since search engines became a part of out daily lives.

The wall

The answer?

Yes, Google has millions of answers. It has the correct answers AND the damagingly incorrect answers.

We need to carry on learning, so we know how to spot the most valuable answers and not just the most repeated.

We need to carry on learning, so we can identify the most informed voices, not just the loudest.

We also need to carry on learning, so we can discover our own answers.

How to build a great tribe, with this powerful and overlooked idea

In today’s post I am going to help you build a great community or tribe of people, with just one simple, overlooked idea.

tribe building

Recognition, exclusivity and a limited supply

People love to be recognised and we are attracted to things, which are exclusive and / or in short supply.

  • Recognition: Every qualification we earn comes with some kind of accreditation, certificate, letters after our name or all three. This shows recognition for what we have achieved.
  • Exclusivity: When the demand for something outstrips the supply, the price increases. When something is scarce because of its exclusivity, people are massively more attracted to it – such as seats in certain restaurants.

How do we apply this to building a community or tribe?

By combining recognition, exclusivity and limited supply, we can dramatically increase the perceived value of something. What follows is a simple example of what I mean.

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine was struggling to build a local business support network for creative professionals. He wanted a maximum of 50 members, but had been stuck on 9 members for months and wasn’t able to get beyond it. I asked him what the networking group was called. He replied with a pretty dull, generic name.

I suggested he changed the name to The XYZ Thought Leader 50, (XYZ was the name of his county).

Not only did he quickly get 50 great members, they are so proud of being in the exclusive group that they tell people. Members proudly state their membership of this elite group on their websites, business cards and their LinkedIn profiles, etc. The value of membership increased so much that every leading creative professional in his county, is either a member or on his waiting list.

All this, for membership of a tribe that people were previously not interested in.

Here’s what happened, to transform George’s results

Two factors came into play, to help George achieve his amazing results:

  • The name of the group referred to its membership as Thought Leaders. This is a title that is extremely attractive to his target membership. Look around you, the Internet is full of people who call themselves Thought Leaders, because they want to be seen that way. Membership of this tribe automatically recognises you as a Thought Leader, without members needing to self-proclaim it.
  • The name of the group also suggested a high degree of exclusivity. With millions of people living in his county, to be 1 of an elite group of just 50 Thought Leaders seems quite an achievement.

How can this work for you?

What do you call members of your tribe or business community? Names and titles are important, because they change the way we feel. For example, many small business owners STILL insist on calling their readers or email subscribers their ‘list’ – making people feel like inventory items on a spreadsheet. Instead of that approach, consider a name that shows recognition for people.

In the example above, I asked George what the people in his group would have in common and he said Thought Leadership. So, I incorporated that into the name, knowing that people like to self-identify with that title.

A few of suggestions for you to consider:

  • If you are a small business service provider, you almost certainly have a limit on the number of people you can serve. Why not try letting people know? People are hard wired to see more value in a consultant, web designer, trainer (or whoever), who has limited availability. It suggests quality and high demand.
  • If you sell products, consider limited editions.
  • Also, consider offering product lines that which are seasonal.

Get creative and experiment with different ideas. Test and measure your results on a small scale, then widen it out. Embrace the paradox that as you raise the barrier to entry or make something seem more exclusive, you can massively increase demand.

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

Photo: Bald Heretic

Is this a bad idea?

Progress is about putting great ideas into action.

However, trying to make a bad idea work is a source of little more than frustration.

Don’t try to save bad work

ideas

When I speak with a writer, designer, programmer, etc., who is struggling with a project, one of the most common things they will ask me is, ‘how can I save this?’ They have usually worked hard on something for a long time, then figured out that the original idea was a bad one, but they’ve put so much into it that they refuse to scrap it.

So, they invest more and more time trying to save a bad idea, until they either give up, or worse, hand their client a poor quality piece of work.

Persistence and delusion

Persistence is essential if we want to succeed in anything of value. However, there’s a difference between persistence and delusion. To persist with a bad idea when we know it’s going nowhere, is pointless.

Be kind to yourself. Refuse to waste your time working with bad ideas. Once you discover something is a bad idea, give yourself permission to acknowledge you are wasting your time, then reinvest your time, doing something that’s worthy of you and your talent.

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

 Image: The Italian Voice

Are you missing out on this amazing opportunity?

As small business owners, we are always on the lookout for opportunities.

opportunity knocks

  • We look for sales opportunities.
  • We look for networking opportunities.
  • We look for time management opportunities.
  • We look for opportunities to share our blog posts and our social networking updates.
  • We look for opportunities to boost profits and lower our costs.
  • We look for opportunities to generate better quality sales leads.

Another GREAT opportunity

One opportunity, which many small business owners fail to pro-actively look for, is the opportunity to earn trust. Yes, they act in a trustworthy way, I’m not talking about that. I’m referring to deliberately looking out for opportunities every day, to earn the trust of those around them and the wider community / marketplace.

The thing is, without the trust of our marketplace, none of those opportunities I mentioned earlier are likely to have much impact. We buy from people we trust. We hire them too. We recommend people we trust and we share blog posts, newsletters and social networking updates, from people whose work and reputation we trust.

So, it makes perfect business sense to constantly look for opportunities to build trust.

How do we build trust?

  • By offering to help someone, when it’s easier not to.
  • By keeping our promises.
  • By keeping confidential information, confidential.
  • By accepting responsibility.
  • By taking the initiative.
  • By showing up regularly.
  • By backing up our words with actions.
  • By responding with class, when things go wrong.
  • There are countless opportunities and usually, the hardest ones to implement are the ones that earn the most trust.

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