Jim's Marketing Blog

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

Month: July 2013 (page 1 of 4)

10 Great ways to be a quitter!

quitter

Quitting gets a bad press. In reality, it can be one of the most productive and progressive things you do.

Here are 10 great ways to be a quitter:

  1. Quit worrying and start living.
  2. Quit complaining and start planning.
  3. Quit looking for excuses why you can’t and start looking for reasons why you must.
  4. Quit curating content and start sharing what you think.
  5. Quit blaming others and start taking responsibility.
  6. Quit following and start leading.
  7. Quit wishing it would happen and start making it happen.
  8. Quit criticising and start producing.
  9. Quit focusing on what you fear and start focusing on what you want.
  10. Quit aiming to be perfect and start aiming to be your best.

Quit something today, which is not working for you. Then, replace it with a better alternative. It’s one of the master skills for achievement.

How to get your marketing noticed AND improve your response rates

marketing, get noticed

If you’re not seeing the kind of response rates your business needs, I believe you will find the following ideas really useful.

Training the marketplace

The store that’s open from 9am to 6pm, but has a sign outside 24 hours a day, saying ‘We’re Open!’, quickly trains people to ignore the sign.

The business that advertises special offers, which are just not special, quickly trains the marketplace to ignore their future offers.

Here are a couple of questions, to see if we can find a way to massively improve your marketing response rates and help you avoid the most common mistakes.

How special are your special offers?

For a special offer to work, you need to focus hard on the ‘special’ part. A small discount or a slightly faster delivery time are not special.

Not even close.

That kind of generic non-offer is so predictable and of so little value, that it washes over people. Get creative. Make it truly special.

How accurate are your marketing promises?

You say you offer ‘outstanding customer service’. Are you absolutely certain that your customer service stands out from the best of your competitors? Don’t forget, your competitors care passionately about their customers and go the extra mile for them.

Get specific. Show people HOW you came to the conclusion that your customer service stands out from the competition.

In short: You can either train the marketplace to sit up and take notice or you can train them to ignore you. It takes creativity to earn their attention again and again, but it’s the only way forward if you don’t want to be ignored.

PS: Read this post on how a special offer went badly wrong, before you work on your next special offer!

How to immediately get more Word of Mouth sales leads… for free!

steaks missed

If you want people to talk about your business online, the process is pretty straightforward.

  • Do something worth talking about.
  • Make it as easy as possible for people to share it.
  • And if you want people to know it’s YOUR business that’s being talked about, get YOUR name into the story.

It’s that final step, which I want to share with you today.

Steak out

I took the photo above, in a great village pub and restaurant. It’s a list of steaks they offer, which apparently always includes some unusual (worthy of sharing) steaks.

I decided to share their steak menu to my Instagram account. As I pointed my phone at it, one of the regular customers told me that people often took photos of the menu.

Take another look at that photo: Have you spotted something missing, which means they are gaining nothing from all the photos being shared about their amazing steaks?

The name of that pub and their website is missing from the steak menu.

A missed opportunity

So, they have created a visual story worth sharing, but when people share the visual, the venue isn’t included in the share.

  • No one knows the name of the pub, from the photo’s being shared on social networks.
  • Because there’s no website on the menu board, you can’t find the place either, if you want to try one of their steaks. FYI: You can find the pub / restaurant here. It’s worth a visit.
  • No name. No website. No phone number. No Word of Mouth (or Word of Mouse) referrals from all those social networking shares of their menu.

The answer?

Make sure your website and (or) company name is visible on any element of your business, which people are likely to share online.

Then your business gets shared, along with the story.

The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago – The second best time is now

professional marketing

The thing about building a relationship of value, is that it takes time.

The same is true of business relationships. A trusted adviser only becomes trusted, after she has proven herself consistently, over the long haul.

Instant history

Ineffective business owners don’t get this. They chase that easy, fast money. They lack the entrepreneurial savvy to know that the get rich quick books, programs and webinars are bullshit… that marketing tricks don’t work and almost always damage your reputation in the process.

So, their need for speed approach sees them try to create instant history, rather than build relationships.

For example, they buy ‘lists’ that contain the names of people they don’t know – then write to these strangers as if they have known them for years… ‘Hey Bob, I hope this email finds you well.’

It’s lies.

  • They don’t know Bob.
  • They have no interest in Bob’s health.
  • Bob knows this too.
  • Bob isn’t an idiot, though the marketing trick vendors always assume he is.
  • Bob isn’t impressed that they are faking it.

It’s both a low leverage and toxic approach. That’s a dangerous combination.

Plant the seeds… then harvest them

The most successful business owners create awareness of who they are and what they do today, so people know who to call when they need help, in 6 months or 12 months time. They show up regularly, with value.

  • Some, like me, do it with blog posts.
  • Some publish newsletters. (There are people reading my blog today, who started off reading my marketing newsletter in the 1990′s!)
  • Some speak at events regularly.
  • Some use podcasting.
  • Some have Internet radio shows.
  • Some have YouTube channels.

And they do these activities regularly, over time, building trust and credibility within their marketplace.

Planting seeds of progress

There’s a wonderful old proverb, which says: The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time, is now!

The same is true when it comes to connecting with your marketplace. If you have not already opened a communication channel with your marketplace, (started a blog, newsletter or podcast, etc), start one now and show up regularly with useful information.

No, you won’t get rich quick.

You may get rich, though.

Video: Does brainstorming really work?

For years, I have seen people use brainstorming as a way to generate ideas and solve challenges.

brainstorming

For years, I have found traditional brainstorming sessions to be of very little value.

It seems I am not alone…

Does brainstorming work?

In this RSA video (below), journalist and author, Jonah Lehrer, argues that traditional brainstorming just doesn’t work. It produces fewer original ideas than people achieve when working by themselves.

He recommends an alternative approach, which I hope you find useful.

If you can’t see the video correctly or are reading this post via email, click here.

Are your fees too high or are you marketing to the wrong people?

aston martin

Yes, your prices or fees could be too high.

Alternatively, you could be marketing to the wrong people.

Insanely expensive or a wonderful deal?

I was with a friend yesterday, who has just bought a car. Someone overheard him telling me what he paid for it and immediately told him, he must be insane and that the price was way too high.

Here’s the thing: The guy that said the car was too expensive, knows nothing about the market value of a 4 month old Aston Martin. The guy who bought the car, is an Aston Martin specialist. He has owned half a dozen of them, he follows the market and he knew he’d just got an incredible bargain. To qualify that, he could resell the car in a week and make £20,000 profit, if he wanted to.

So, here’s what we have

The same car.

The same price.

Yet, one person thinks it’s insanely overpriced. One person knows it’s an amazing deal.

What this means to you

If your business provides a product or service with an Aston Martin level of quality, it will always be too expensive, if you’re marketing it to the wrong people.

In short: Decide who your ideal client is and market exclusively to them. They will eagerly buy from you, because they are in the market for your ‘Aston Martin service’ and value the quality you provide.

PS – Here is a 3 part series I wrote, on how to work for the best clients and the highest fees:

How to attract the best clients and the highest fees – Part 1.

How to attract the best clients and the highest fees – Part 2.

How to attract the best clients and the highest fees – Part 3.

What type of clients do you choose to work with?

cycle spiral

Are you working with the right type of clients or customers, doing work that inspires you and rewards you on every level?

Well, you should be!

The challenge here, is that many small business owners and consultants, are not choosy enough to work for great clients. Instead, they decide to work with pretty much anyone who will pay them. In doing so, they create a cyclical challenge, which many never recover from.

It looks like this

They find themselves doing work for people, who don’t give them the freedom to do amazing work. After a while, the great clients won’t hire them, because they want to hire the ones who ARE doing amazing work.

I called this a cyclical challenge earlier. Here’s an example of what I mean.

I wrote about this previously and a reader whose business is really struggling, told me that she will carry on taking whatever work comes her way, because she ‘can’t afford to be choosy’.

After a while she explained what her ‘cycle’, was. She said she was working flat out, doing crazy hours, and so broke that she can’t afford to turn away the low paid work that’s destroying her business. So, she accepts more low quality work and ends up undervaluing her time and doing work that makes her unhappy and pays poorly. The cycle then repeats itself.

Until you decide to take control.

It’s your business: Take control

Sometimes, especially when business is sluggish, it’s easy to forget a few critical facts:

  • The marketplace doesn’t set your prices or fees. You do.
  • The marketplace doesn’t determine how much unique value you provide. You do.
  • The marketplace doesn’t decide who you choose to work with. You do.
  • It’s your choice… a choice you make every working day of your life.

At any point, you can choose to draw a line in the sand and do work that matters, rather than work that merely pays. You can choose to operate at the top of your industry or profession, rather than the uninspiring, unrewarding and overcrowded middle.

The key here, is that YOU get to choose… every day.

It must be true if Mark Twain, Einstein or Will Smith said it

quote

The Internet is packed with interesting, inspiring and meaningful quotes.

It must be true: Using a famous person’s name as a decision making short-cut

People are far more likely to accept an idea, if they respect the source. They use the way they feel about the person, as a short-cut in their decision making process. They are also far more likely to spread that idea (or quote), if they are a fan of the person the quote is attributed to. The bigger the ‘name’ the bigger the impact.

Like Will Smith.

Will Smith has seen his name attached to hundreds of quotes he never said. What started off as a prank, led to fake quotes from the Hollywood superstar, being republished all over the Internet, including some leading online publications.

Albert Einstein, Bruce Lee, Marilyn Monroe and Ernest Hemingway are others, who often have quotes wrongly attributed to them.

The bigger picture

With so much scepticism regarding who said what, it’s easy to miss out on the bigger picture… how useful is that quote to you? If it lifts your spirits, inspires you or causes you to reflect, does it matter who said it?

Yes, if you plan on using the quote for a project, invest the time required to do some fact checking and satisfy yourself you have the correct source.

My point is this: Be your own filter. When you find words that motivate you or inspire you, don’t dismiss them because you’re not 100% sure of the attribution. See the words for what they are… what they mean to you.

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