Don’t let greedy amateurs get you down!

Professional development

Following my last post, Darren [not his real name] emailed me with a great question. I promised to answer it here, as it’s a marketing issue, which a lot of people struggle with.

He wanted to know why the vast majority of subscribers to his newsletter; “never spend a dime”. It’s important to point out that Darren’s content is superb and he offers a great range of services.

He went on: “They grab all the free advice Jim, but lack the decency to even say thanks for the hours I put in.”

Darren wanted to know if, and how, I deal with this problem. Here’s my answer. I hope you find it useful.

Don’t write for most people

I know the people behind some extremely popular newsletters and blogs. All of them have just a tiny minority of readers, who hire them, buy from them or thank them.

And that’s fine.

Most people who read this will never hire me either. They won’t bother thanking me for the free information I provide them with. They will just take. Why? Because they’re life’s takers. They’re the amateurs who are attracted to “free” like moths are attracted to a lamp.

And that’s fine too.

You see, I don’t write for most people. And neither should you.

  • I write for people who take their business seriously.
  • I write for people with the sense to invest in their businesses.
  • I write for people who have respect for themselves and for others.

In other words, I write for professionals!

Professionals are the ones who hire me and show appreciation for my work. I’ve never been hired by a selfish amateur, since starting my business in 1995. Not once.

Yes, the content marketing model attracts greedy amateurs, who lack the business acumen and courage to invest in their business. And yes, they won’t even thank you.

However, if you get your content marketing right, you will attract lots of professionals too. And it’s these who deserve your full attention.

Who are you trying to please today?

marketing tips, marketing advice, advise,

If you try to market to everyone, you’ll fail to be relevant to anyone.

Here’s why this matters: Your ideal prospective clients respond to directly relevant marketing.

It cuts through the noise and grabs their attention. It’s clearly intended for them. It’s meaningful. And it’s incredibly powerful at converting prospective clients into actual clients.

It looks like this:

  • Decide who your ideal client is.
  • Market exclusively to them.
  • Talk their language.
  • Help them identify opportunities.
  • Solve their most pressing problems.
  • Give them 100% of your marketing investment.
  • Ignore the rest.

And let the best prospective clients fall in love with you.

Exciting times

Business development, marketing tips, biz dev

These are wonderful, exciting times.

It has never been easier to build a great business. You have opportunities that previous generations could not have imagined.

Think about it:

  • With a laptop and an internet connection, you can tap into an unlimited marketplace.
  • Your website can be a 24/7 lead generating machine. Not just that, a lead generating machine that sends you highly targeted prospective clients.
  • You can create digital products and sell them while you sleep. I do this here.
  • You can get a message in front of your prospective clients in seconds.
  • Your current clients can use social networks to spread the word about you. And none of that costs you, or them, a penny.

So long as you do the right things correctly, it’s relatively easy to grow an amazingly successful business.

The opportunities are all around you. Like delicious, ripe fruit just waiting to be harvested.

The question is, what are you going to do with all this potential… what’s your plan?

3 Reasons why NEW is overrated

marketing tips, marketing ideas, marketing advice

New is overrated. At least when it comes to marketing.

There are 3 reasons for this:

  1. The newest service is a risky bet. At best, it’s a bigger gamble than the trusted incumbent. At worst, the customer feels like a paying guinea pig.
  2. The newest service is seldom the best. It lacks the improvements that come with time.
  3. New doesn’t last for long. This makes it a short-term marketing message. Anything that’s new is only new for now.


Offer something, which is proven to motivate your marketplace to hire you or buy from you.

For example, instead of offering them a new way to do something, offer them:

  • A faster way.
  • A more enjoyable way.
  • A greener way.
  • An original way.
  • A safer way.
  • A cost effective way.

The fact your service is new is only of interest to you. So, focus on what matters to your prospective clients. Remember, people buy for their reasons. Not yours.

Birthdays and billionaires

Professional development, business, improvement, marketing tips

It’s my 50th birthday today. Landmark birthdays, those with a zero at the end, get lots of attention. But nothing really changes.

I see it like this:

  • If you’re just a penny away from being a billionaire, and then you earn that final penny, nothing really changes. You were pretty-much a billionaire already. You may feel different now you have that extra penny, but you’re just a penny richer than the day before. That’s all.
  • A landmark birthday works the same way. You may feel different now you’ve reached a landmark birthday, but you’re just a day older than yesterday. That’s all.

Counting what matters

Maybe rather than focusing on how many years we’ve been alive, we should focus on how many times we’ve been alive. I mean REALLY alive.

I believe that a life worth living isn’t measured by how many breaths we take — It’s measured by the moments that take our breath away.

So here’s to the rest of our journey!

Why marketing blogs remove the dates from their posts

content marketing, blogging, newsletters, articles

A lot of popular marketing blogs now hide the dates of their posts from their readers. A number of you have emailed me to ask why this happens and why Jim’s Marketing Blog doesn’t remove the post dates.

Firstly, here’s why so many marketing blogs have removed the dates: It’s a proven way to increase the number of times an old post is reshared on social networks and linked to.

It works like this:

  • One of your friends shares a post on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • You see their update and click the link. It then takes you to the blog post.
  • With no date to guide you, you assume this newly shared post is current.
  • You then share it, thinking the information you’re sharing is up to date.
  • And in doing so, you’ve just shared inaccurate, potentially damaging information with your friends.
  • The blogger gets the extra traffic and social links.

As you can see, it’s all about the blogger. It’s 100% selfish. More importantly, it’s extremely reckless.

Why marketing blogs need dates on their posts

Marketing blogs offer information, which hard working people use in order to build their businesses. If a business owner makes decisions based on inaccurate marketing advice, it can seriously damage their business.

For example:

Imagine you have found a marketing blog post, on a blog that hides the dates from its readers. Unknown to you, you’re reading a post on how to get organic traffic from Facebook Pages, which was written in 2010. Back then, Facebook Pages were a great driver of organic traffic. Today, Facebook Pages are a terrible source of organic traffic. That post is not only out of date, it’s highly toxic. If you follow it you will waste your time and your money.

Marketing is not an evergreen subject

If you write on an evergreen subject, like baking, the date of a post is less important. A dessert you make from a recipe that’s 5 years old, will taste just as delicious today.

But marketing is not an evergreen subject. The tools change, as with that Facebook Pages example. And things change regularly too. Just last month, Apple decided to allow the blocking of ads on iPhones and iPads — changing the face of online advertising in the process.

By deliberately hiding the date of a marketing blog post from his or her readers, the blogger intentionally removes a vitally important element. They remove the data the reader needs, to know whether the advice is current or not. And they do this, just to get some extra traffic and social network links.

Here’s the thing about THIS marketing blog: I don’t like the idea of trying to fool people. I want you to know if you’re reading something I wrote in 2008 or something I wrote this week. That helps you evaluate the information more accurately.

And that means more to me than an increase in traffic.

PS: Here’s my approach to blogging and business. [And how it can work for you].

Blogging: Here’s why your readers are already your clients

blogging, content marketing, blog tips, marketing

Thank you for being a client. Yes you!

Think about it: A client is someone you provide a service to. I regularly provide you with ideas to help you grow your business. And you pay me. You pay me with your attention. [That’s why they call it paying attention.]

So, I’m the service provider and you’re the client.

More importantly

How might your attitude to writing your newsletter or blog improve, if you saw every reader as a client? [Remembering that a subset of your reader-clients will become fee paying clients].

And how might that client-focused approach improve your results? Well, the only way to find out for certain… is to do it.

Recommended reading: 25 Reasons to write a business blog.

Totally unoriginal. Wholly unremarkable

Professional development, business, improvement, marketing tips

You can optimize anything. If you want to.

  • You can automate your blog posts, newsletters, tweets and Facebook updates, so they are published at the optimal time.
  • You can use the optimal number of words or characters too, if you’re really keen.
  • You can use calculated keyword loading, to optimize your website content for SEO.
  • You can use clickbait titles for your blog posts and social network updates, to optimize traffic.
  • You can smash visitors to your website in the face with a pop-up box, to optimize sign-ups.

And in doing so, you’ll be like every other clone working the same tricks. You’ll be sheepwalking into anonymity. Totally unoriginal. Wholly unremarkable.

There’s an alternative approach, which some of us find extremely effective.

Rather than optimize everything, we turn up regularly and try to be useful.

The thing about turning up regularly and being useful

The idea is too simple for the content marketing gurus to sell a course on it. It requires way too much long-term thinking, for the growth hacker crowd to embrace it. And it takes a lot more courage, than many business owners feel comfortable with.

Yet somehow it works. And it works beautifully.

How to sell your services to huge companies

Professional development, marketing tips, business

Have you ever considered selling your services to huge corporations? If you haven’t, then maybe it’s time that you did. I’m going to show you how to remove the main barrier, and make it far easier for you to land extremely valuable clients.

Once you understand what I am about to share with you, you may find it easier to gain a $100,000 client than a $1000 client.

Allow me to explain.

It’s amazing what big companies spend money on

I was prompted to write this, after receiving an email from a friend. He’s a head of department for a massive corporation. Last week, he sat through what he called a “cringe-worthy” motivational talk from a former, professional sports person.

Apparently, the speaker:

  • Had no business background.
  • Had no idea about the challenges they face.
  • Didn’t understand their industry.
  • Didn’t offer a single idea for how they can improve things.
  • He “shared a few funny stories, dropped a few famous names and finished with a predictable, self-improvement pitch”.

My friend wanted to know, why do such people get hired as speakers by huge corporations?

Here’s why that guy was hired

The reason people like that get hired to speak is simple. More importantly, it also explains what motivates massive corporations to spend money on any kind of product or service.

That speaker may have been a waste of company money, but he was a very safe bet. An easy hire, with no risk attached.

Hang on Jim, if the guy is a waste of money, how can hiring him possibly be a very safe bet?

That’s a great question! :)

Here’s how it works:

  • The decision maker [who hired the guy] isn’t spending his or her own money. The money comes from a budget, which they need to spend.
  • The decision maker’s priority is to spend their budget every year, without screwing up. So they “invest” in what they hope will be the safest, least risky option.
  • The risk with a speaker like this is close to zero. That’s because it’s hard to measure the impact of a talk in any meaningful way.
  • Bonus: The decision maker can’t be blamed even if the speaker is demonstrably terrible. After all, they did hire a famous person!
  • So, decision makers eagerly grab any opportunity to spend lots of money on these low value, but 100% risk free, speakers.

The lesson here?

I think there are a couple of lessons.

1. Corporations should reward courage

Corporations need to stop rewarding decision makers, for making lousy, but safe, decisions. Instead, they need to reward courage. They need to reward decision makers for advancing the company with smart investments.

Until then, former sports people [and social media “gurus”] can fill their boots with very easy money. At least until their impact is measured and they are no longer a safe bet for decision makers.

2. It’s easy [really easy] to sell into huge corporations

Here’s what you need to know.

If you’re selling into a billion dollar corporation, remember that the decision maker is frightened. They will only buy from you if you can convince them that you’re a very, very safe bet. If they see you as a close to zero risk, they will pay you thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands. And if you’re better than average, they’ll pay you regularly too.

Of course, in order to sound as safe as possible, you need some supporting evidence. Former sports people have their fame. Social media gurus have their huge follower numbers, [most of which are the result of following hundreds of thousands of strangers, using software].

If you’re neither famous or a social media sleaze bag, you will need to work on building your brand, like the rest of us.

If the decision maker hasn’t heard of you, you’ll sound risky. So get your name out there for all the right reasons. Highlight notable media mentions, accomplishments and anything else, which will reduce or eliminate the decision maker’s fear.

Then remember the following, before you market your services:

  • You’re never selling to a billion dollar corporation.
  • You’re always selling to an individual, whose priority is not to make a mistake.

Lasting success for your business

I have been in business for over 20 years and have worked with some of the largest corporations in the world. I’ve learned that lasting success comes from being a safe bet… AND from being someone who provides measurable value and takes the lead on ethics.

Get the balance right and you’ll build yourself a world-class reputation. You’ll also find yourself able to attract the most valuable clients, again and again.

You may delay, but time will not

professional development, marketing, business

Much has been said about the importance of persistence. And rightly so! After all, if you persistently do the right things correctly, you will succeed.

However, persistence is also the cause of almost all business failure.

Allow me to explain:

  • If you persistently repeat patterns of decision making, which are failing you, you’re wasting your time.
  • If you persistently attend a networking group and get the occasional crumb from a struggling business owner, you’re wasting your time.
  • If you persistently use marketing that fails to generate the volume and quality of clients you need, you’re wasting your time.
  • If you persistently work hard for too little reward, you’re wasting your time.
  • If you persistently find yourself lowering your goals, to make up for an under-performing business, you’re wasting your time.

And the kicker here, is that we each only have so much time.

The clock is ticking

As ¬†Benjamin Franklin said; “You may delay, but time will not”.

Your time is too precious to waste. So use your persistence wisely. Find patterns of decision making that are not working for you. Then, replace them with more effective alternatives. If you do, you will find yourself persistently doing the right things correctly… making progress and enjoying the fruits of your success.

If you’re not sure about what you need to do, I’m here for you and happy to help.