Jim's Marketing Blog

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

Author: Jim Connolly (page 138 of 176)

Are you getting bankable results from your blog?

Fact: Very few small business owners who blog, generate anything like the results they could.

Why?

This is the easiest question I have ever answered here! The reason so few bloggers attract the volume of sales, leads or enquiries they should, is that they copy what they see other bloggers doing.

Here’s what I see all day every day:  I see bloggers writing a valuable, correctly optimized blog post, before heading off to their preferred social networking sites to try and get the post noticed.  Sound familiar?  If it does, I hope it’s not because you are using that same approach.  If you are, you are missing the most important elements – those rare, additional steps that make all the difference and get people spending money with you!

I was explaining this to a new client of mine yesterday afternoon.  She’s intelligent, charismatic and a specialist in her profession.  However, like many specialists who use blogging as part of their marketing mix, she had been using the same approach that I outlined above – which failed her (which is why she hired me.)

An hour into our meeting, I showed her what’s possible when you use the right approach.  I quickly checked the email account, which gets all the enquiries generated from this blog.  In that hour alone, there had been 3 emails, including an enquiry for my services.  By the end of business yesterday, that enquiry became a confirmed, new client and I’m really looking forward to helping them achieve bankable results too.  I’m not telling you that to impress you, but to impress upon you just what’s possible, when you use the correct strategy.

Of course, there are 2 major problems with trying to achieve success, by copying what you see others doing.

  1. You might be copying what does not work.  It’s easy to see a blog with lots of comments or lots of retweets / facebook “likes” etc – and assume this means the blog is also commercially successful.  It doesn’t!All those measurements show you is that there are people who commented there or retweeted the post.It tells you zero about how commercially effective that blog is at generating new business for it’s owner.  Many of my clients come to me with large social networks and active blogs that they have worked really hard on, with nothing to show for it.  You know what?  People will have been copying THEIR approach too, because it looked successful from the outside!
  2. Not only may you be copying what does not work, but even if you found a blog that was doing things right, the untrained eye will miss it completely.That’s because the many differences between a blog that’s an income generating machine and one that’s not, are extremely subtle.For example, I don’t know much about golf, so when I see a golfer hitting a golf ball, that’s all I see.  When a professional golfer sees that same guy hitting that same ball, they can identify exactly what’s happening – what’s failing, what needs removing and what needs to be added to the golfer’s swing etc.

When it comes to marketing, a blog is like any other tool.  If used correctly, it can easily become your best source of new, targeted business.  However, just like every other marketing tool, only a tiny fraction of small business owners use blogs correctly, for what they want to achieve.

The rest just dabble and as a result, it costs them a fortune in lost business and YEARS in wasted time.

In short, if you want to enjoy better results you need a better strategy.  You need an effective strategy that’s been developed for; you, your business, your industry, your unique resources and what you want to achieve.  Whatever you elect to do, if you are not currently getting the regular stream of new business from your blog that you deserve, please change course.

As I have said here many times before; if you are rowing your boat in the wrong direction, no matter how hard you row, you will simply end up further and further away from where you want to be.  You deserve far better than that!

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

Using Google Buzz?

I recently took the plunge and started using Google Buzz.  My initial thoughts are that it has a lot of potential, which is why I wanted to mention it here.

Google Buzz: So, what does it do?

VERY briefly, Google Buzz is a micro blogging application, which comes as part of Gmail.  It lets you post comments or share links, like you can on Twitter, but without the 140 character restriction.

Google Buzz also lets you share rich content (video, pictures etc) with other users, without having to leave the application.  Just like on Facebook, you can comment on what you see and add a “like” to items etc.  Unlike Facebook, each item you post can be made public or private, giving you control over who sees what, on a per-post basis.

You can also aggregate (or feed) your blog posts and Tweets straight into Google Buzz, as well as items from your Google Reader, Picasa, Flickr etc.  The platform is clearly still in its infancy but improvements are being made regularly, by a development team who are active members of the Google Buzz community. I like that.

All you need to get started, is a Gmail account and then to set up a Google Profile (here’s mine) and you’re good to go.

It’s way too early to say if Google Buzz will fly or not, but it does have the finances and talent of Google behind it; so it may be worth you checking it out and then making up your own mind whether it’s right for you.  I think that right now,  it maybe something for early adopters like myself, rather than the wider population?  I’d like to know what you think.

If you use the service or decide to join, you can connect with me on Google Buzz here.

Existing Google Buzz users

Are you already a Google Buzz user?  If so, what are your thoughts or experiences regarding it?

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

Just because you CAN does not mean you SHOULD!

Have you ever wondered why there’s so much poor quality, ineffective marketing out there?

The answer is simple: Many DIY marketers do things purely because they can, rather than because they should!

  • Just because they can subscribe you to their newsletter list without your permission, they do.
  • Just because they can leave a spammy comment on your blog, they do.
  • Just because they can cold call you and launch into a sales pitch with no respect for your time, they do.
  • Just because they can send you a link to their wonder product via Twitter, they do.
  • Just because they can attend a local networking event filled with people trying to sell and no one looking to buy, they do.
  • Just because they can send you poorly targeted, poorly written emails or marketing letters, they do.

Business owners intent on handling their own marketing will often seriously damage their reputation, purely out of ignorance.  They don’t add you to those lists, cold call you or bore the crap out of you at networking events etc to deliberately make you angry.  It’s simply that they have no idea what they should be doing or how to do it correctly.

I genuinely cringe when I see the way some people use marketing tools.  I often wonder if these people use the same approach when their computer needs repairing – Attacking it with a soldering iron in the hope that if they solder enough things together, something might just work.

Here’s a tip for anyone intent on handling their own marketing

Make sure that before you do anything, you run it past these 2 questions.  Then, ONLY proceed if the answer to both of these questions is a definite “yes”.

  1. Do I know for certain that the marketing I am about to use, is correct for what I want to achieve?
  2. Do I know exactly how to use this form of marketing, in order to get the result I want?

It’s all too easy for small business owners to damage their reputation and waste time, energy and money by doing the wrong things – or doing the right things, but doing them incorrectly.

So, what if you can’t answer those questions or are just plain tired of watching your business spin it’s wheels?

If you want to finally start making real progress and real money, (remember, like you promised yourself when you started out?) then there are two options left open to you.  You can either start investing all the time and money required to master small business marketing, or you can get the answers you need from someone who already has them.

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

Photo: Michael Karshis

Just imagine this!

I had breakfast this morning with my son, like I do every morning.  Today, we were joined for breakfast by; Noddy, a kitten, Luke Skywalker and a cow.  He saw them, we both spoke with them and I’m pretty sure everyone had a great time.  That’s because the imagination of a 4 year old child is incredible.

How often do you tap into your imagination?

Our imagination can be an amazing asset to our businesses (and our lives), if we use it correctly.  For example, just imagine for a moment:

  • If your business were perfect in every way, what would it look like?
  • If you spent the next 7 days focusing on what you want, and refused to think about what you fear, how would that change your decision making and your results?
  • If you were able to have any 10 people in the world as contacts, who would they be and how would your connection with them change your business and your future? (I explain, in detail, exactly how to do this and a lot more, in my audio program)

Someone once told me that our imagination is our window into our future.  I think he had a very good point.  Everyone I know, who has ever achieved anything, saw what they achieved in their imagination before they saw it with their eyes.  They felt it with their emotions, before they could feel it with their fingers.

What do you use your imagination for?

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

Loving life: Today and every day!

My friend Doug (not his real name) has everything going for him, but until recently, if you had met him you’d have thought the weight of the world was on his shoulders.  He has a great family, wonderful friends and a successful business but never seemed particularly happy.

Then a few months ago he changed, I mean HE REALLY CHANGED!

Literally overnight, he became a totally different person.  He seemed enormously happier, more relaxed, more attentive and a lot more fun to be with.  I wanted to know why, so I took him out to lunch yesterday and asked.  His answer may seem a little basic, but it has already had a massive, positive impact on me.

Here is a truncated version of what he told me, which he was keen for me to share with you:

“I found an old workbook, which had my a first ever list of goals.  Of course, they were the goals of a 25 year old guy and I have long since achieved them.  I had never previously thought about it like that.  You see Jim, after achieving a goal, I replace it with another one, so that I continue to grow as a person.  So, the list just continued and never ended.  There was no closure.  I suddenly realized that I was in a game, which I could never really win, because everything that really mattered was being deferred until I reached the next goal, then the next, then the next…

No matter what I achieved, I always just saw it as a step to the next improvement or increase.  This means I spent 20 years with a feeling of dissatisfaction with everything, always seeking to improve.  I never once stopped to appreciate what I had at any point along the way.  Now, I take time to smell the roses.  I celebrate everything and am thankful for everything and everyone in my life.

It’s easy for any of us, as business owners or entrepreneurs, to focus too much on the future and not focus enough on getting the most out of the now.  Yes, we all need goals and targets, but something special happens when we learn to fully enjoy what’s worth celebrating in our lives right now.

Have you any experience, personal or otherwise, of learning to enjoy life’s journey?  Do you have any useful tips on how to get more juice from life?  Share your feedback with your fellow readers and myself!

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

Photo: Jim ScottIMD

Facebook, marketing, privacy and You!

Facebook is used by millions of social media savvy businesspeople, as a way to develop relationships, connect with people and share ideas / content.  The service is free and boasts over 400,000,000 users.  This offers huge marketing potential.

So, why am I increasingly being asked by business owners if they should even use the service any more?

Facebook and privacy

The challenge is one of privacy.  By default, most of what you do on Facebook is searchable or findable by others.  Even if you have managed to locate and use the various privacy options, most of your data is still findable.  Facebook have also changed how privacy works, so many people who have not recently reviewed their settings are now sharing more than they might think.

Facebook, Marketing and privacy

For people like myself, who exclusively use Facebook for commercial purposes, there’s no real problem.  I’m happy for 100% of what I put onto Facebook to be seen by everyone.  However, many small business owners use a single Facebook account for both personal and business use.  For these people, it seems a challenge exists, as it’s increasingly hard (some say impossible) to keep the personal stuff personal.

I wanted to know what business users of Facebook thought about these privacy issues.  I have already received feedback from over 70 people; via Twitter, email and comments.  Some people had very specific, individual issues; however, I was surprised that the vast majority of people responded to me along similar lines.

They don’t seem to agree with Facebook’s approach to privacy (and neither do I, for the record) BUT they are now self-regulating what they post there; assuming it’s all going to be searchable and used by Facebook to sell on to it’s advertisers.

Facebook & other free online services

Many people I have spoken to about this, have stated that with every popular online service, there’s a price to pay; even if we don’t need to give someone our credit card details.

Examples people gave me included the way that free wordpress.com blogs have Google ads inserted into the user’s posts, which the user themselves can’t see or control.  Gmail was another example offered, where Google  scan your emails for key words, so they can serve up ads to you.

What Facebook does is similar, BUT different.  Facebook has been less than consistent with it’s privacy messages, as can be seen from this post by The EFF Electronic Freedom Foundation.  This clearly shows that Facebook has kept moving the goalposts, after gaining huge market share.

It seems that there is little choice currently, for those with concerns over Facebook’s under-fire attitude to it’s users privacy.  Users can either stop posting anything that they don’t want made very public – or stop using the service.

Facebook and marketing: Your thoughts

I would really like to know your thoughts and suggestions for businesspeople, using Facebook as part of their marketing.  How do you use the service now?  Are you one of those who have recently left the service?  Do you moderate what you put on Facebook?

Please let us know what you think!

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

 

4 Secrets of the world’s most successful businesses!

Thankfully, we don’t have to guess or wonder what it takes to be successful in business. The answers are in the stories behind every successful businessperson, who has been kind enough to share them.

Here are 4 things I have seen over and over again, in every successful businessperson I have ever studied:

1. Expert advice

Successful businesspeople invest in expert advice. As a result, they make better decisions and take the right actions, for what they need to achieve. Unsuccessful businesspeople do the opposite. They try and do too much themselves and immediately lose ground to their successfully guided competitors. They literally set themselves up to fail, under the misguided belief they are actually saving money.

The stock reply whenever I speak with someone, who refuses to pay for specialist help, is that they can’t afford it. The belief here, is that every small business, other than theirs, has access to a stack of money. The reality is very, very different.

It’s about priorities!

I spoke with a guy recently, who “can’t afford” a professionally designed logo – yet he “can afford” $4 a day (over $1,200 a year) on a “grande” cappuccino.

I’ve discussed this bizarre approach to business with scores of people over the years and the general consensus, is that this is what happens when someone without a business mindset, decides to start a business. These guys focus on loss, so they lose. Successful people focus on achievement, so they achieve.

2. Comfort zones

All business owners will tell you that they work hard, and most of them do (really hard.) However, hard work is not the key to success. If it were, our grandparents would have been millionaires!

Here’s where the difference is: Successful businesspeople work hard doing what needs to be done, whilst their less successful counterparts work hard doing what’s most comfortable. Successful business owners love what they do, but realise that they often need to break out of their comfort zones if they want their business to grow.

Less successful business owners only really leave their comfort zones, when pushed by external factors – like the loss of a major client or another problem that forces them to s-t-r-e-t-c-h. As a result of this unwillingness to grow, their business reaches a certain point and stays there, spinning it’s wheels; until they retire, go broke or learn how to take action!

3. Association

As human beings, we are all of equal value. However, in business, we each have a value; based on what we bring to the marketplace. This is why some hard working people earn minimum wage and others work the same number of hours and earn 7 figures every year.

Here’s what we know about people who are commercially successful. We know that they associate with other, commercially successful people. This is because they understand the  massive power of association. As my friend Michael told me, when I was starting out in marketing, 25 years ago:

Jim, hang around with enough people who are going nowhere and one day, everything they have will be yours!

You should always be aware of the impact your associates are having on you and your happiness / success. Why? Because everything we come into contact with has an impact on us, either positive or negative. When it comes to our associates, especially those with whom we habitually associate, it pays to ask ourselves some questions about the impact they are having on us. For example:

  • What have they got you reading?
  • What have they got you saying?
  • What have they got watching and which other voices do they have you listening to?
  • What have they got you believing?

Even well intentioned associates can knock us off course, without meaning to. It’s up to us, to filter out the negative influences and spend more time around those who help us be happier and more successful.

4. Learning

The most successful businesspeople I know, are lifelong learners. I don’t mean they just read books, buy programs or attend seminars / training events. I mean they learn from life. They know that if they try something and it doesn’t work, they need to learn from it and move forward. They see a bad result simply as valuable feedback. This attitude means they become better decision makers and action takers, because their “mistakes” are of value to them.

Now, compare that approach, to the approach used by people whose businesses spin their wheels. These guys keep repeating the same errors. It’s why they make so little progress.

Remember: If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got!

A common example I see in my profession, is when business owners waste years, trying to improve their marketing by doing it themselves. They grab information from the Internet / newsletters etc – NONE of which has been developed for them, their business or their skills or resources. This actually costs them massively more in both time and money, BUT it’s comfortable and as said in the previous section, they love being comfortable above everything else.

I hope you found those 4 ideas useful. More importantly, I hope you do something with them.

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

Facebook privacy: Your feedback please!

Facebook Privacy – Feedback request

I’m in the process of writing a post about the concerns many people have expressed, regarding the way Facebook handles it’s user’s privacy.  This is becoming a very big issue right now and I would like to know what you think.

If you have any feedback you would like to share with me, please get in touch.  Either leave a comment here, send me a Tweet or email me at jim (at) JimsMarketingBlog.com  Please state if you would like your feedback to remain anonymous.

Thank you!

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