Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Author: Jim Connolly (page 138 of 197)

The 4 step process behind every commercially successful site!

No matter how wonderful your SEO is or how much you spend on advertising, great content is essential if you want to transform your site’s traffic, into commercial success.

Why is content so important?

When people find interesting or valuable information on a site (great content), they are likely to take 4 steps.  These 4 steps are what’s needed in order to develop a commercially successful site.  Here’s what they do:

  1. They look around the site for more things to read.content marketing, copywriting
  2. They return to the site regularly / subscribe to it’s RSS feed; so they don’t miss any new posts.
  3. They recommend the site to their friends and share it via social networks.
  4. Over a period of time, they will make an inquiry, information request or purchase (depending on the site’s business model.)

SEO & Content

No matter how great a site’s SEO is or how much traffic it attracts, it will not cause people to take any of the 4 steps above, unless the content of the site is powerful.  SEO will help people find you, but when they find your site, it’s the quality of your content that will cause them to keep reading, revisit regularly and recommend you to people.  Before someone will click your links, call you, email you or place an order, your content needs to inspire, compel or motivate them into action.

I described the importance of site content recently, by comparing it to what you find, when you check out a new TV channel that you see advertised.  If you tune in and quickly see that the programming is dull.  What do you do?  You go and find something interesting to watch.  You don’t simply keep watching just because you landed on that channel.  Equally, you don’t set your DVR to record it’s shows and you don’t recommend the channel to your friends either.

The bottom line: No matter how well content is advertised or optimized, it’s what people find when they arrive that determines whether it succeeds or not.

If you are getting targeted traffic from your SEO, but these are NOT converting into customers / clients / inquiries, it’s time to rethink your content strategy.  Spend some of that SEO time, or your SEO budget, on either hiring a local copywriter or learning how to write compelling copy yourself.  Of course, as the quality of a site’s content improves, more sites are likely to link to it, which helps enormously with your SEO anyway!

The balance we are always looking for, is to be as easy to find as possible, by people with a need for our services; whilst ensuring that when they arrive, they value what they find enough, to take those 4 steps.  Don’t be like the majority of small business owners, who focus most of their efforts on chasing traffic, retweets, diggs, stumbles etc – Whilst neglecting their content.

It’s all about getting the balance right, with effective SEO and great copy.  That’s how you transform your site into a business generating machine.

What is your opinion on the kind of content you tend to find on small business blogs?

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

Here’s why I don’t give reviews, but why you may want to

I have had many people ask me why I don’t provide book reviews here, so I thought I would quickly answer the question in this post.

Like many well read bloggers, I was sent a review copy of the excellent, new Tony Hawk book a few weeks ago, along with the opportunity to interview Tony, which I certainly would have done, if I had decided to write a review.  The book, How Did I get Here? the ascent of an unlikely CEO, is a great read and I have no hesitation in recommending it to you (look, no affiliate link!)

I am extremely happy to personally recommend the book and I will be sharing some ideas inspired by Tony’s book with you in future posts, but as a marketing guy, writing book reviews is a very low leverage use of my available blogging time.

Equally, it’s my experience that this is not the best way for YOU to discover the best new books either!

Here’s the simple 3 step process I use, to discover great new books:

  1. I look out for recommendations, especially if they come from people that are not being paid, directly or indirectly, to recommend the book.  I have already bought 2 copies of Tony’s book for Christmas presents.  That’s a powerful, unpaid recommendation.  If I saw an endorsement like that, I would go to step 2.
  2. Because these are business books, I always look for 2 or more reviews from professional book reviewers / literary critics.  I’m talking about the kind of highly skilled people, who have the ability to read, digest and communicate the REAL core of a book, without missing a thing.  These guys have read everything and usually specialise in books within a certain business niche.  Yes, some may be biased pro, or against, certain authors, but that’s the reason for checking out several professional reviews and for taking the next step.
  3. Finally, I check out independent reader reviews on sites like amazon.com.  Time and time again, independent reviews are cited by people as one of the most influential motivators, when researching a purchase.

By running a book purchase via those 3 filters, I have discovered some amazing books and missed a lot of the crap, that paid reviewers often rave about.

I am a marketing professional and not a literary critic.  As such, that 3 step process is just my way to discover the gold dust on the bookshelves.  This is not the right way and it’s not the best way  – It’s just the way I filter out a lot of the cleverly marketed dross.

As a result, it would be wrong for me to offer book reviews, knowing that I myself wouldn’t be swayed by the kind of reviews that I would be writing!

Yes, I could be a hypocrite and pump the blog full of reviews (and money-spinning affiliate links), but that’s not part of the business plan here.  This blog’s business model is to offer you free access to marketing and business development ideas and thus position myself as a marketing resource, when you need professional marketing help.

By the way, if you have an affiliate business plan, then there is a solid business model behind joining the review circuit; so long as you have the targeted traffic required.  Affiliate income can be very significant.  Just because this does not fit into my business model, does not mean it isn’t a great idea for others.  I know of people making thousands a month, working the affiliate income model (yes really!) It’s about deciding what you want to achieve and allowing that to guide your decisions.

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

It’s yours!

If your newsletter fails to inspire people to call you, it’s not their problem. It’s yours!

If your website fails to attract enough inquiries from genuine, prospective clients, it’s not their fault. It’s yours!

We can only make real progress, when we accept full responsibility for our results. If Bob blames the marketplace for his lack of sales, he places the development of his business out of his control. All the while Bob complains that “people are too cost conscious”, rather then accepting that HE is attracting cost conscious inquiries due to HIS poor marketing, he can’t improve his results.

If we focus on improving the areas of our business (and our lives), which we can control, we put ourselves in the drivers seat.

If we decide to blame the economy or the marketplace for our problems, we put ourselves in the passenger seat, of a car we don’t own, on a frustrating journey to nowhere.

And the choice – It’s yours too!

Now you can attract more great clients and increase your income too!

This brief post is all about how you can attract more high quality clients or make more sales, by understanding and servicing the needs of your marketplace.

marketing, small businessFor example, if Bob is really hungry and he smells something great cooking from a nearby food outlet, it will immediately capture his attention and he will almost certainly walk over and see what’s cooking.  At that point, with Bob’s stomach empty and the irresistible smell of great cooking wafting up his nostrils, he is an extremely hot prospect.

Scammers and conmen have used this same principal for years

Conmen and scammers exist, not because the world is filled with stupid people; but because there are millions of ill-informed people, looking for a way out of a bad financial situation.  They usually got into that bad financial situation because they knew very little about how money works; making them ideal victims for the conmen and scammers! A lot of the people currently being scammed, have bought into similar scams before and will do so again and again, until they finally get the idea that scams are a bad idea.

What does this mean for legitimate business owners?

Because the marketplace naturally gravitates toward people, who offer answers to their problems, you can accurately build a high quality customer base, by offering to solve the most pressing problems of YOUR target market.  Here are a few examples:

  • If you are an accountant, don’t “just” offer to keep your clients compliant with the law!  Offer to partner in the development of their business.  Offer to help them grow a robust business, with the benefit of your business acumen.  Give them the peace of mind that comes from having an expert on hand, to help them every step of the way.
  • If you are a web designer, don’t offer people web design!  Offer to help them build an online presence that will encourage their potential customers to trust them and buy from them.  Show them how your design skills can sky-rocket their online image, head and shoulders above their competitors.
  • If you sell insurance, don’t just offer to give people X amount of financial coverage!  Offer to help people plan for the future, knowing that they have the foundations in place to weather life’s storms.  Offer people comfort and peace of mind.  That’s a lot more powerful.
  • If you have a legitimately good MLM business, don’t market it like the scammers with their get rich quick bullshit!  This almost always means throwing away the predictable marketing crap that your upline send you.  Your MLM offering is a business opportunity, so market it like a business and NOT a get rich quick scheme.  If you do that, real people, looking for genuine opportunities will flock to you.

You get the idea?

With the right marketing, you have complete control over how much money you make and who you work with. Now, go and check out your marketing messages and see if you can make them more compelling.  If you do, your results will improve in direct proportion.

Here’s a quick tip: Don’t copy what the others in your industry are doing.  It makes you invisible!

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

Targeted marketing: See how easily you can make more sales!

This post is all about targeted marketing and why YOUR marketing needs to be targeted, if you are serious about developing your business.

targeted marketing, target marketing, focusHere’s a great example of targeted marketing for you.  I am around 99% certain that you are a business owner.  In fact, I believe you either own a business, or are a consultant or a freelancer.

I was spot on or pretty close, wasn’t I?

How was I able to be so sure?

Targeted marketing

I have grown the readership of this site, via targeted marketing.  Everything I have done in order to develop this blog, has been based around attracting the attention of intelligent, small business owners who want better sales results for their businesses.  The content here is also targeted, with everything I have written, focused on the subject of marketing and business development.

As a direct result, I have a highly targeted readership of small business owners; the exact profile of people who use my marketing services.

Targeted marketing and time wasters

Just as targeted marketing delivers targeted results, the opposite is also true.  Small business owners, who use a less focused approach to their marketing, tend to attract a little of everything.  As a result, they typically get fewer business inquiries and many of the inquiries they do receive, are from the wrong kind of people.

For example, I spoke with a business owner recently, who told me how frustrated she was with all the time wasters who contacted her.  I asked her what she meant by time wasters.  Was she referring to people who were asking her for free advice?  No.  She said she was referring to the number of people who contact her looking for help in areas that she doesn’t cover.  Similarly, I receive emails all the time, from people who complain that their prospective clients are too fee sensitive.  With a little investigation, I often find that they are marketing a premium quality service, to people who buy bargain bucket services.  That’s what happens when you fail to target your marketing correctly.

If you find that you are attracting the wrong kind of inquiries, or enquiries from the wrong end of the market, it’s entirely possible that the focus of your marketing needs to be improved.  If you use social networks to randomly connect with people because they look interesting, that’s a GREAT strategy for socialising; however, it’s less effective if you are looking to build a targeted network of great business contacts and prospective clients.  It’s like attending a networking event and randomly talking only to the first 10 people you see; rather than being a little wiser and connecting with the 10 most suitable people in the room.

Targeted marketing messages

When you write, do you write for as wide an audience as possible?  Do you try to tell everyone who could possibly buy from you, every benefit of your services?  If you do, you are making a mistake!  Your marketing needs to be targeted to your prospective clients and their needs.  That’s all.  By trying to be vaguely relevant to everyone, your message becomes weakened.  In order to compel or inspire people to call you, visit you, email you or click your links, your marketing needs to motivate them to take action.  This means delivering targeted marketing messages to the right people!

If you want to be able to confidently predict who sees your marketing, and therefore contacts you, get specific.  Don’t focus on the size of your network or the number of leads you generate, until you are attracting the right people.

Your feedback

How targeted is your approach to marketing? Do you write exclusively for your target market, or for everyone who could possibly buy from you?  How confident are you, that 95% of your readership are the exact people you need to market to?  Please take a moment to share your feedback.

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

What everyone needs to know about success and failure!

My mentor, Jim Rohn, used to say that we must each experience one of the following:

  • The pain of discipline.
  • Or the pain of regret / disappointment.

The pain of discipline weights ounces.

The pain of regret weighs TONS!

As business owners, we each have the opportunity to REALLY go for it and see just how far all our ideas and hard work can take us.  However, to benefit from our best ideas, we need to give them the wings they need in order to fly. This means putting them into action.

There’s a risk involved here, because we may well fail.  In fact, we could end up failing a number of times, in order to find and benefit from the ideas that lead us to the major breakthroughs that are required for extraordinary success.

How willing are you to get it wrong?

How prepared are you to throw all your energy into something, without the guarantee of success?  It has been my personal experience that the more willing you are to accept the occasional knock-back, the greater your chances are of achieving your full potential.  It has often been said, that if you want to achieve more, you need to increase your failure rate.  Whilst this may sound counter-intuitive, it makes perfect sense.  The only people who seldom fail, are those who do nothing.  They listen to advice, attend the classes, read the books – Then do nothing.

Gather your best ideas and put them into play.  Give them everything you have got.  Make the phone calls, write the emails, make the connections, meet with the people.  Do whatever is required, to give your ideas the opportunity to succeed.

I’m telling you, the results can be life changing!

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

Jim Connolly and Facebook: Back together again!

jim connolly facebook

I’ve decided to rejoin Facebook, after an absence of a couple of years.  My decision comes following the recent changes Facebook have made, regarding user privacy and their decision to allow users to get all their information back, if they delete their Facebook account.  These latest moves suggest to me that Facebook is finally starting to take the needs of it’s users more seriously.

Jim Connolly on Facebook

If you would like to connect with me, there is now a Facebook Page for Jim’s Marketing Blog, which you can join me on if you want even more free marketing and business development info.  Of course, I also have a Facebook account, where we can be friends if you want to connect with me and share ideas.

I look forward to connecting with you and getting to know you even better!

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

The secret to achieving your best results ever in 2011!

As you get within touching distance of a New Year, you are presented with an amazing opportunity.  You can either watch your business get a year older or you can help your business become a year better.

A year better

To make your business a year better, you need to do two things:

  1. Collect every business lesson you have learned this year.
  2. Invest what you have learned into 2011.

In real terms, this means making a few tough decisions.  It means accepting that there are things you do (and have probably done for years) which are not helping your business, but are somehow “comfortable”.  Success comes from doing what is right, rather than what is easy, which is why so few people ever achieve real success.  The easy route is exactly that: Easy.  It’s also pointless, from a commercial development point of view.

People taking the easy approach do not get a New Year on the first day of January.  They simply get another chance to relive the same old year over again!

The world is full of business owners, who complain but stay the same.  They want things to improve, but they keep doing what’s easy, rather than fixing what’s broken. The challenge here, is that this form of neglect is so subtle.  You see, these errors in judgement, repeated each day, seem to have little negative impact on us in the short term. It’s only when we pull back and look at our overall progress (or lack of progress) that we see the cumulative damage caused.

What areas of your business are silently begging for your attention?

Find them.  Put a plan together to fix what’s wrong and work that plan!  If you know there’s something wrong in a particular area of your business, but you are not sure what it is or how to fix it, speak to someone who has the answers you need as soon as possible. Expert advice from a great; accountant, business advisor, marketing professional or IT consultant etc, can help you turn things around and get your business moving forward.

Remember this wonderful old saying: “If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got!”

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

 

Photo: Junichiro Aoyama

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