Jim's Marketing Blog

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

Month: March 2013 (page 1 of 3)

What do you do with your resources?

I have a question for you: What do you do, with the resources you have?

I was prompted to write this post, after receiving an email from a reader, which contained an interesting statement. The guy was explaining that his business hadn’t grown for 3 years, despite him working 12 hours most days, when he made the following point:

If I had more clients I’d invest in professional marketing, but with so little money coming into the business, it’s hard to justify.

Less rare than you imagine

PrioritiesWhilst you may think that statement is extreme in its lack of business acumen, it’s based around a belief that many small business owners have, regarding investing in expertise.

For example:

  • Web designers get inquiries from small business owners, who claim they can’t afford a great website, when their current, poorly designed site is costing them a fortune in lost business.
  • Accountants talk to prospective clients, who are needlessly wasting thousands a year because their accounts are being poorly handled – yet these prospective clients claim they can’t afford a better accountant.
  • Garage owners often speak with people, who refuse to invest in inexpensive car maintenance – only to see the same people return with expensive problems, which could have been avoided.

It isn’t that these business owners can’t afford the expert help they need, it’s that they consider it less important than the other things they spend their money on.

It’s what we do with what we have

Whilst some people, like Seth Godin and Sir Richard Branson, start off in business with a wealthy family behind them and world-class connections, most of us start with very little. It’s what we choose to do, with the little we have, which makes all the difference.

You can tell a great deal about a person’s chances of building a successful business, when you look at their priorities.

For example:

  • When we place the desire to have lots of expensive holidays, above the need to invest in our business, we will eventually find there are no more expensive holidays.
  • When we ‘invest’ £5 a day visiting a coffee shop, yet claim we can’t afford a new company website, we will soon find we can’t afford to spend £100 a month on frothy coffee.

These small, daily decisions are extremely important. They are what set the sail of our business and ultimately direct us – either to success or to the recurring frustration that comes from a lack of progress.

Cheap can be expensive

I was talking to a friend recently, about his Apple MacBook. It looks really scruffy. The lid has scuff marks all over it. It’s old and he admits that it hasn’t been very well looked after.

I asked him why he was still using it. He replied, ‘I use it because it has worked perfectly for almost 6 years’. He was right. It still does everything he needs it to and the screen is easier on the eye than some of today’s notebooks.

apples and oranges

Comparing apples and oranges

When he bought that MacBook, he could have bought 2 or 3 cheap laptops for the same price. However, they would not have offered him the same ‘fit and finish’ or quality. To suggest that the cost of his machine was three times as high as those cheaper alternatives, would be to confuse the price with the cost. It would be like comparing apples with oranges.

The price was 300% higher, but all these years later, the cost wasn’t.

For instance:

  • You have to factor in the value of owning the same laptop for almost 6 years and enjoying a 100% hassle free experience.
  • You have to factor in the value of using high quality components for almost 6 years, like a great keyboard and screen – rather than the kind of keyboards and screens that ship with cheap laptops.
  • You have to factor in the time saved, and frustration avoided, by not having to configure each of the new machines and transfer data between them.

Of course, this isn’t a Mac / PC thing. I am a PC user myself and buying a similarly priced top end PC notebook, could have led to just as sound an investment.

The point here, is to look beyond the base price of any business investment.

What this means to you

As a business owner, you need to explain the value of what you provide, compared to YOUR cheaper competitors. Prospective clients and customers will happily pay more, so long as the value is clear to them.

Do you have any examples or experiences of great value for money, which seemed expensive at the time? Share your thoughts with a comment.

Do you have a marketing question or business problem? Then Pick My Brain for the answers and ideas you need.

6 ways to become healthier, wiser and wealthier

Here are 6 professional development tips, to help you become healthier, wiser and wealthier.

Healthy wealthy wise

  1. You can use your past as a school or a prison. Learn from the past and become better, not bitter.
  2. Stop trying to be perfect. Nothing is perfect. Perfectionists are stalling, hiding from criticism or both.
  3. Your time is more valuable than money. When a day of your life has passed, it is gone forever. Money can be replaced.
  4. The best plan in the world can’t work, unless you do. Plan – then move.
  5. Hope is not a business strategy. However, hope is essential. Never lose hope. Never.
  6. You can choose the correct route or the easy route. Only choose the easy route, if it’s also the correct route.

I hope you find this list useful. More importantly, I hope you do something with at least one of these points.

A sign of success

Some of the most powerful tools in marketing are also the simplest and least expensive. I was just thinking about this, as I observed the effectiveness of a 3 word sign, placed by a stairway in a coffee shop.

a sign

Additional seating upstairs

The sign simply said ‘Additional seating upstairs.’ In the space of 30 minutes, I saw at least a dozen people spot that sign, as they looked for a seat in an extremely busy coffee shop.

I can only imagine how many people see that sign each day and walk upstairs, rather than walk off to a competitor’s coffee shop.

Yes, this applies to your business too

Never underestimate the value of a well placed, brief, powerful message. By the way, if you think this point isn’t relevant to you, because you don’t run a high street business, think again.

That same concept can work equally well, to signpost people around your website and ensure they reach the most valuable pages.

I can help you build a massively successful business. To find out more click here!

How to earn the trust and attention of your marketplace

Today, I want to share a simple idea with you, to help you earn the trust and attention of your marketplace.

I’d like to start by asking you a question: Where are you going to find your trust opportunities today?

opportunity trust

Trust opportunities

Trust opportunities are those situations, where you can earn the trust of someone or an entire marketplace, by demonstrating trustworthiness.

For example:

  • When you tell a client or prospective client, what they need to hear (with compassion), rather than what they want to hear.
  • When you admit that you don’t know the answer, but will find it.
  • When you show up yet again on your blog with useful ideas, demonstrating your reliability and eventually your longevity too.
  • When you show people what you are capable of, rather than just telling them.

Trust and getting noticed

One of the finest ways to inspire your marketplace to listen to you, is to embrace your limitless trust opportunities.

Why? Because your actions speak louder than your words.

Your actions also speak louder than the unsubstantiated claims of your competitors.

Business owners: Never confuse silence with satisfaction

In business, we need to ensure we don’t confuse silence with satisfaction.

Why? Because there is a sizeable percentage of the population, who dislike any form of confrontation. If they receive an average or below average service, they will choose to be courteous and say nothing, rather than complain.

customer complain

Not everyone complains

  • Some customers are too polite to complain about a product that disappoints them. They just won’t buy it again.
  • Some diners are too polite to complain about the poor quality of the food they receive. They just won’t eat there again.
  • Some clients are too polite to complain about the poor service they receive. They just won’t use that service again.

As a business owner, you need to look past the silence.

  • If you don’t receive regular word of mouth referrals, there’s a reason.
  • If your attrition rate is poor (the length of time you retain your clients), there’s a reason.

Listen and watch

If you want to know what your clients are really thinking, look at their actions. Talk to them, sure, however, pay very close attention to what they do and what they fail to do.

I can help you build a massively successful business. To find out more click here!

Older and wiser?

How can a 25 year old business owner out perform her 45 year old competitor?

  • ExperienceSome people have been in business for 5 years and they have 5 year’s worth of business experience.
  • Some people have been in business for 25 years and have 1 year’s worth of experience, repeated every year.

Learning and earning

The success of a business is always a reflection of the expertise and effort invested in it. If we fail to learn, we fail to earn.

I can help you build a massively successful business. To find out more click here!

Social Business: Before you publish, press pause and think

online reputation

I want you to think about the following for a moment:

  • The last tweet you sent.
  • The last blog post you published.
  • The last marketing email you sent.
  • The last blog comment you made.
  • The last Facebook status you wrote.

First impressions count

Each of those actions, could easily be someone’s first exposure to you. If so, it will form their first impression of you. First impressions count, even if they are inaccurate. First impressions count, even if you are having a bad day.

In business, the impact of a bad first impression can be huge. That’s because you often don’t get a second chance.

So, hit pause and think

It always pays to pause for a few moments before you publish anything, especially if you are angry or in a bad frame of mind. Think. Never underestimate the impact of an angry tweet or a caustic blog comment, etc. Once it’s published, it’s out there. It’s in play. It’s carrying your name. It’s carrying your reputation.

Today, prospective clients and customers habitually research us via search engines and our social networking accounts, before contacting us. Thankfully, we have total freedom over what we say and thus, what we think is perfectly acceptable for prospective clients and customers to discover about us.

Our freedom of choice on this speaks volumes about us – and it does so all day, every day.

I can help you build a massively successful business. To find out more click here!

Older posts