Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Author: Jim Connolly (page 138 of 189)

Business blogging: The “get rich slow” approach!

A successful business blog is a great marketing and communications asset.

It’s no surprise then, that so many business owners start blogging.  However, many of them stop blogging after a few months, because they have not seen the kind of results they had hoped for.

It’s like a farmer planting her crops and then trying to harvest them too soon.  The farmer may have planted the crops correctly and tended the soil perfectly, but her crops might take 6 months or more before they’re ready for harvesting.

Building a blog that generates regular sales, leads or opportunities for your business often takes up to a year or more.  Pulling the plug on a blog after just a few months is like giving up on your crops before your seeds had a chance to grow.

Blog development takes time

My first blog post here was read by just a handful of people on the day it was published.  Over the next 2 years, I worked hard to make Jims Marketing Blog as valuable as I possibly could.  I wrote several hundred blog posts, replied to comments, improved the blog design and marketed it to new readers.

Why?  Over the past 12-months alone, this blog has repaid me, by generating over £100,000 in profitable, new business.  Had I stopped after the first few months, because I only had a relatively small number of readers, none of this would have happened and I would have missed what’s become one of the most fun elements of my business too!

Numbers are less important than quality, but you do still need the numbers.

How many readers do YOU need?

That’s easy.  You need enough targeted visitors to your blog each week or month, in order to provide you with a steady, predictable stream of high quality sales or business leads.  Now, in some industries, that may be 5,000 a day.  In most industries you will need nothing like that many! Lots of successful business bloggers do amazingly well with 500 unique visitors a day and others with half that number!

To get you from wherever you are right now, to that magical place, aim for developing a growing, targeted readership, through providing useful, focused content and embracing a good Internet marketing strategy.

The bottom line: Don’t get disheartened by comparing your visitor numbers with anyone else and allow your blog the time it needs in order to grow. If you are looking for a quick fix, business blogging is probably not for you.  However, if you are looking for a way to build an amazingly powerful marketing and communications asset in the medium to longer-term, I suggest you embrace blogging.

What have your experiences been of starting or growing a business blog?  I would really love to hear your feedback!

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

I’m all ears!

Here’s a quick communication tip, based on my observations of some amazing communicators over the years.  All of them shared a common characteristic, which is essential if you want people to REALLY connect with you.

communication skills

Your undivided attention

In every instance, these masters of communication gave 100% of their attention to the person they were speaking with, whilst they were with that person.  They maintained eye contact, nodded in agreement in all the right places and never once looked around the room.  They listened a lot, and spoke a little.  When they were with that person, they WERE with that person – 100%!

Some of the least effective communicators, like those you often meet at networking events, do the total opposite.  You can see them looking over your shoulder for their next networking victim, as they say; “tell me about your business” or “tell me how I can help you.”

Business is all about people

Business is all about people and the way they feel.  If we take time to show genuine interest in; our colleagues, our clients, our prospective clients and our contacts etc, we can massively improve our relationships and make business a lot more enjoyable and profitable.  Notice I said; “take time to show genuine interest”?  I know you are already interested in these people, but just like those expert communicators I mentioned earlier, it’s important to show people clearly we are interested in them and what they have to say.  Let them know you are listening, with visual feedback.

What are your communication tips?

There are many ways to improve your communication skills.  What communication tips would you like to share with us?

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


Photo: Living on impulse

How to get a million unique visitors & flat abs!

I was reading one of those; how to get millions of unique blog visitors articles yesterday, when I saw something that made me smile.  At the end of a long list of very obvious blog marketing ideas, was a sentence that told readers  NONE of this will work, unless you are producing remarkable content.

In other words, unless you are a creative, gifted content provider, capable of producing amazing material that people will want to share, you can forget everything you just read, because these “tricks” won’t work!

Why was that important disclaimer at the bottom of the post?

Because if it was at the top of the post, very few people would have read beyond it!

The marketplace is full of people, who are actively searching for that one elusive trick that will magically generate a ton of traffic to their site.  That’s who those posts are targeted at. They are the blogging equivalent of those infomercials, that promise you a flatter stomach in just 4 weeks, with just 60 seconds use a day; with that tiny disclaimer at the end that says it only works if you massively reduce your calorie intake and take regular exercise!

Business blogging: You don’t need tricks!

The reality is that you don’t need tricks if you want to attract regular sales or enquiries through your site.  You do, however, need 2 things.

  1. Great content.
  2. An effective Internet marketing strategy.

How many people produce great content?  Very few.

How many people work to an effective Internet marketing strategy?  Very few.

There’s the challenge!

Think of it like this:  Imagine my friend Bob the Blogger manages to get his business blog ranking highly for a certain search engine term that’s relevant to his business.  You search for that term on Google and see Bob’s link, so you click it.  However, when you arrive at Bob’s blog, you can tell very quickly that the content offers nothing new or interesting.

What do you do?

You leave!  Then, you then go back to Google and keep searching until you find something worth reading.

In that example, Bob made it to page 1 of Google for a relevant search engine term, you visited his site, saw that his content was crap, so he lost you almost immediately.  He did well with Google, but his content let him and his business down.

Now, imagine that Bob’s content is great, but his Internet marketing strategy is poor.  He fails to use the most effective, basic SEO techniques and isn’t leveraging social media either.  As a result, very few people ever discover his site and he becomes one of those best kept secrets in business; where the business owner usually works very hard and offers great value, but goes broke through lack of sales / new clients.

The balance that’s required, is great content, backed up by an equally good Internet marketing strategy.

Depending on your industry, there are potentially hundreds of thousands of sites out there, in your particular niche.  For example, I did a search on Google recently for the term “marketing blogs” and saw 145 million results.  That’s a BIG niche!  In order for my blog to rank on page 1 of Google for that term, which it does at time of writing, I need to out-perform a LOT of marketing blogs.

Business Blogging: Where people get it wrong.

In my experience, the area where most people get it wrong is not their SEO.  It’s their copy writing.  They write content that’s very similar to others in their niche and they fail to inspire their readers to take action.  This means that even when one of their posts or pages attracts a lot of traffic from search engines, there’s little there to inspire these search engine visitors to do anything.

People will only click a link, share a post, subscribe to your RSS feed or call you via your site, if there’s a compelling reason for them to do so.  All the SEO plugins and “killer techniques” in the world will not make up for generic / pedestrian copy.

Have something worth saying and learn how to write it as effectively as you possibly can.  Use the best SEO techniques you can find and weave them into your overall Internet marketing strategy.  If you want help, let me know. It’s what I do!

It’s time to say, “Thank You!”

In business, it’s easy to assume that people know how much we appreciate them, so we often don’t bother saying anything.  The thing is, your words of appreciation or praise are enormously powerful.

A quick email, Tweet, phone call or thank you note from you, can transform someone’s day from being just average to being wonderful and it only takes a minute or two of your time.  For those going through a tough time right now, your words of appreciation can be worth more than gold.

So, Why not make today the day where you:

  • Tell your clients how much you love working with them.
  • Email a few of your contacts, just to let them know that you value your relationship with them or the support they offer you.
  • If you write a blog, publish a post that thanks the people who have helped you and make sure you name names.
  • Tell the person that serves you in the coffee shop that you appreciate the way they look after you.
  • Write a quick testimonial for one of the companies that provides your business with a great level of service.
  • Reach out to a blogger, whose advice helps you, but maybe she doesn’t know yet. (Bloggers need a hug occasionally too you know!)

Thank you!

I would like to get things started, by thanking you! It’s almost exactly 2 years since I launched this blog and a huge part of it’s success is down to the way you have shared my posts with your friends.  Equally, the comments and emails I receive from readers are a constant source of inspiration.

Most importantly, without you Jim’s Marketing Blog wouldn’t exist.  That’s a fact, and one that I will never forget, as I strive to provide you with the best, free marketing and business development ideas I can.

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

What does your client list say about your marketing?

marketing strategyIf you want to work with better quality clients or for higher fees, here’s something to consider: It’s always your choice!

Your existing client base and fee income are reflections of your marketing strategies, thus far.  If you are not happy with the way your client list or income is developing, adjust your marketing strategy accordingly and it will quickly improve.

Otherwise, you risk being like the guy I saw this weekend, complaining about the quality of a new client’s business and how much he didn’t want to work with them.  That’s right, rather than fix the problem HE CREATED, his strategy was to complain about his new client, instead.

The marketplace is full of business owners, who are repeating the same approach to developing their business, yet hoping for better results each time.  They complain – But stay the same.

Don’t waste another day following your current strategy, if it isn’t working.

As Albert Einstein once said:
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

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

Photo: Fr. Antunes

Dead trees and a powerful copy writing lesson!

Writing marketing copy or sales copy that really works can be a challenge, especially for people with little or no experience.  One of the best ways to learn how to write great copy, is to read great copy and then study what you have read. Why did that particular message compel you to click a link?  What was it about the specific offer you just read, that made you follow-up on it?

Copy writing and Dead Trees

One of the best pieces of copy writing I have seen over the past few years, is just a simple, short phrase.  It’s often used when online publications refer to paper-based; newspapers, magazines and trade publications etc.  The term is dead tree media.  For example, when referring to a headline on the front page of the traditional paper version of The Times, a blogger will often refer to it as the front page of the dead tree edition of The Times.

The reason this is such a clever phrase, is that those 2 words, dead tree, are extremely emotive:

  • The phrase dead tree immediately focuses our mind on the fact that in order for paper to be made, trees not only need to be cut down; they have to be killed!  Even recycled paper was once a tree.
  • By calling the traditional version of a newspaper, magazine or whatever the dead tree edition, we start to think of it as out-dated.  When we see the term applied regularly enough, it can be a very powerful way to reinforce the belief that paper-based media is either dying or dead.
  • When there are 2 options available to the reader; either a dead tree edition of a magazine or an online version, the online version is automatically made to sound more attractive, simply because it isn’t being referred to negatively.

A quick copy writing tip

If you are serious about the success of your marketing, you need to get serious about copy writing too.  Here’s a tip.  Collect all the; emails, marketing letters, articles or blog posts that motivate you to take action and study them.  Study what it was that compelled you to click their link, visit their store, call them or email them.

For example, look at the box below this post, with a call to action.  Every hour of every day, people click the link in that box to find out how they can work with me.  Look at the message and think about how you can apply something similar to YOUR site; something that will provide you with sales leads all day every day.

The bottom line: Your site should (and could) be a relentless, lead-generating machine for your business.  If it isn’t, you could well be missing out on more sales and higher profits than you currently believe is even possible.

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

How long should your blog posts be?

Some of the best blog posts are also the shortest.  Blog posts that offer information rich copy, with all the unnecessary fluff stripped out, get to the point quicker and save the reader valuable time.  This post about social media experts is one of the most read on my blog and it’s just 112 words long!

Why do many commercial bloggers write mainly longer format posts?

From what people tell me, there seems to be 2 reasons. The first reason, is that it’s believed by many that unless a post is more than 300 words long, it will not rank well on search engines.  I have seen enough evidence of this to believe there’s truth in it.  However, if you are in the UK right now and you ask Google: “What is a social media expert?”, you will see that 112 word post I mentioned earlier on page 1 – Out of over 42Million results.

The second reason, which I am going to focus on in this post, is the belief that the longer a post is, the more valuable it will be, and the more people will want to read and share it. My experience over the past 24 years in Marketing, is that the quicker you can make a valid point, without all the fluff that typically weakens a message, the more impact your message has.  Because of this, I think it’s worth adding some shorter blog posts to your commercial blog.

Seth Godin understands the value of brevity

One of the reasons Seth Godin’s blog is so popular, is that his posts are never any longer than they need to be.  Seth’s blog posts are focused, information rich, but never too long.  That’s because Seth understands the power of brevity.  This means some of his posts are just 1 or 2 paragraphs in length.  With Seth’s blog, you get all the juice, without having to wade through acres of bloated content.

Interestingly, I noticed a post on Seth’s blog recently, which is apparently his longest post of the year.  If you look at the number of times people have ReTweeted that post, you will see that it was actually less popular (from a sharing perspective) than many of his very short posts.  BTW: It still achieved over 900 ReTweets, which is amazing!

I’m not suggesting you ONLY write short blog posts

There are good reasons for writing longer format posts, (including SEO.)  I wrote earlier this week about how to write more great blog posts, and it’s almost a thousand words long.

Here’s what I’m suggesting: The next time you have an interesting point you want to make, but you think it may be too short for a blog post, try publishing it anyway!  You may be pleasantly surprised with the feedback you get.  Don’t waste all your short, insightful ideas and opinions on Facebook or Twitter – Write them on your blog and then share them across your social networks.

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

Not all spam is created equal!

I was just thinking how the term spam is being used right now, for a lot more than unwanted, unsolicited emails.

For example:

  • If someone sends you an unwanted sales message via a social networking site, we call them social media spammers.
  • When they leave comments on your blog, purely to build links or sell us something (rather than contribute), we call them comment spammers.
  • When they fill forums with cut and paste marketing messages, we call them forum spammers.
  • When they send you unsolicited text messages, we call them SMS spammers.
  • When they subscribe you to their newsletters without asking, we call them newsletter spammers.

Not all spam is created equal!

What you may not have known, is that some of the people who use the kind of techniques outlined above have NO IDEA that we regard them as spammers!

In many cases, they are often acting out of ignorance.  They see others using one of those techniques, so they think it’s OK.  They assume that it must work, to some degree.  They forget that even if a small number of people visit their site after they did any of the above, they may have just ruined their reputation with thousands or tens of thousands of other people in order to get those few clicks.

Whilst it may be popular to assume that everyone who you consider a spammer runs a suspect business, I have found that in many cases the businesses are legit.  The businesses look dubious, simply because they are being marketed using dubious techniques. I’m not talking about those who send automated spam emails to millions off people every day.  I’m talking about poorly informed business owners, who send you messages you never asked for, newsletters you never subscribed to and Tweets that read like a sales pitch.

The bottom line is that anyone, even legitimate people with a great service, can be written off as spammers if they pester or pursue people with their online marketing.  No one needs that kind of reputation, if they are serious about developing a long term, successful business.

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

Image: Cookipediachef

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