Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Author: Jim Connolly (page 2 of 197)

How to get the best free marketing advice for your business

How to

There’s a lot of free marketing advice available online. Some is good, but sadly a great deal of it is ineffective and often toxic. Today, I want to help you identify the best advice and show you how to avoid the worst.

A new client with a familiar problem

I was inspired to write this, after my initial session with a new client this morning. I went through some questions with her, as I do with all my new clients. I quickly noticed that she was making a number of serious marketing mistakes. During our session, I asked her where she got those marketing ideas from and she named half a dozen marketing blogs.

I soon figured out what had happened. She had been taking advice from sources of ineffective and sometimes toxic marketing information.

Today, I want to help you avoid making the same, costly mistake. I want to start by drawing your attention to 2 types of marketing blogger.

1. The small business marketing blogger, who doesn’t have a business

Many marketing blogs are written by people who are employees. Some are regular employees with holiday pay and a boss, who write a blog that’s not directly connected to their employer. Other’s are junior employees, paid to produce lots of “content”.

Think about that for a moment: On sites like that, small business owners could be taking marketing advice from someone, who has either never had a small business or whose business failed, so they needed to get a job.

2. Guest bloggers on popular marketing blogs

Many of the top marketing blogs rely heavily on unpaid, guest bloggers. Guest bloggers write for free, in return for access to the popular blog’s large readership. With just 1 exception, every guest blogger I checked on the sites my client mentioned, had a low authority blog, with very little engagement or traffic.

Think about that for a moment: Their readers could be taking marketing advice from people, who feel forced to work for free, because they still haven’t figured out how to build a valuable enough readership, community or tribe of their own.

Check the source

No, not every employee who writes about marketing is clueless. Some, like Scott Monty, are highly respected and highly knowledgeable. No, not every guest blogger lacks a valuable community or tribe of their own, either.

What I’m saying is simply this: When it’s a name you’ve never heard of, it’s always best to check before you act on what they tell you.

This is especially the case if that stranger has never achieved what you need to achieve.

Well written and sincere

Lots of people write extremely well and make a compelling point… when what they’re telling you is incorrect. They may be sincere, but being sincere mustn’t be confused with being right. It’s possible to be sincerely wrong.

I estimate my new client has lost at least 5 years worth of business growth, and who knows how many thousands of dollars, thanks to following the same bad marketing advice as thousands of other small business owners.

Don’t let it happen to you. Check the source. Always, always check the source.

PS: Here are 7 valuable lessons I’ve learned, from 20 years as the owner of a successful marketing business.

How to get people to respond to your marketing, in just 2 steps!

Are you tired of prospective clients or customers, who don’t get back to you when they say they will? If you are, then the following short post is just for you.

The biggest lie in business

When that person said they didn’t have the time to meet you, return your call or consider your offer… they were lying.

They had the time! They had time to do all the urgent or important things. They also had time to do the things that interested them or captured their attention. What they lacked wasn’t time.

What they really lacked was the motivation to do whatever you requested. It wasn’t important enough to them. It wasn’t a priority. So, it didn’t get done.

2 Steps to get people to take action

To get your prospective clients and customers to take action, you need to do the following:

  1. Make your offer as attractive as possible. Look at what you’re asking people to do and make it more captivating. More interesting. More motivating. More curious.
  2. Give them a deadline. Deadlines focus the mind. This is why so many kids do their assignment the night before it’s due.

Nothing inspires people to take action more than a highly compelling offer with a deadline. Get those 2 steps right and you’ll find the marketplace will always have time for you.

How to know when the moment is right

I was emailed earlier by someone, who told me she was almost ready to launch a new business. She’s just waiting for the right time.

She went on:

“[…] I’ve been waiting to pull the trigger on this project since April 2014 but things have been hectic to say the least. I’m hoping things settle down this year so I can get started.”

The best time to start

The problem with waiting for the perfect moment is that it never comes. Life is a series of challenges. As one challenge passes a new challenge arrives. Even if you were to find a magical moment where everything was just right… one unexpected phone call or some unexpected news would soon change everything.

The decision to wait for a so-called perfect time is nothing more than a stalling tactic. Call it out for what it is.

Then go and do what you have been avoiding!

How to build a successful business that inspires you

level up

Today, I’d like to start by asking you a question.

Are the people around you, challenging you to take your business to the next level?

Think about your co-workers and clients. Are they inspiring you to do better work? Are they motivating you to try harder and move your business forward in a meaningful way?

Uninspired and average

If not, then maybe it’s time to reconsider the kind of people you work with. Co-workers who fail to inspire you are a liability. The same is true of average clients, with their average demands, average projects and average fees.

Surround yourself with people who push you to create your best work. Make no mistake, the impact this can have on your business is enormous. This will help you.

Which gets expert attention: Your hair or your business?

Most business owners have been back to work for at least a few days, following the New Year holiday. Many will already be sensing a familiar feeling.

Their big ideas and dreams from New Year’s day will be starting to meet the reality of their real life decisions and actions. They are setting the scene for a repeat of 2014.

  • If 2014 was a year of breakthrough progress, carry on.
  • If you need to see better results. If you don’t want to spin your wheels for yet another year… then you need a better strategy and you need to work that strategy.

How do you find the right strategy to grow your business?

You get expert help. Someone with the answers you need and a proven track record of success. Someone who can stop you wasting years of your life and all of your money.

We know that most small businesses fail in the first 3 years. Millions more only exist a little longer, because the business owner is living on peanuts and funding their failing business from savings or an alternative income.

Hair styles deserve expert attention

Those same business owners will get an expert to style their hair. However, they take a DIY approach to the success of their business and the financial security of their family. The way their hair looks is treated with greater respect, than the development of their own business. It’s nuts.

For the rest of us, it’s time to decide. Are we committed to doing the right things correctly in 2015? If the answer is yes, then it needs to be backed up with action. Remember, old ways won’t open new doors. That means finding out what needs to be done from someone who knows.

Doing more of the same is only an option, if you want to see more of the same results.

How to get more done in less time AND improve your thinking!

How to

Many people ask me how I manage to run a busy marketing business and still produce so much creative content every day.

So, here’s my secret!

My secret

I figured out a long time ago that there is never enough time to do everything.

However, I also discovered that you can always find time to do the important stuff, so long as you decide to stop reacting to the unimportant stuff.

Please allow me to explain.

Reacting or acting?

  • You can start the day by checking your email inbox and reacting to what you find. Alternatively, you can start your day by listing what’s most important and getting started on that – then opening your email.
  • You can react every time your phone alerts you to a text message. Alternatively, you can finish what needs finishing and then read any messages you’ve received.
  • You can react every time you see a social networking notification. Alternatively, you can wait until you’ve stopped for a coffee etc, then use that time to check your notifications.

Never miss the important and urgent

Tell your family, friends and clients that if they need to contact you for something that is both important and urgent, to call you. Then, if your phone goes and you can see it’s one of them calling, you know it needs answering. Otherwise, unless you are a fire-fighter, plumber, midwife etc, people will not expect you to respond instantly.

This gives you the freedom to regain control over your time, your focus and your output… without worrying that you have missed something that’s both important and urgent.

Regaining your time and your focus

One of the reasons small business owners find it such a challenge to get important things done, is that the distractions they react to, cause them to lose focus. This is especially the case, when they need to do something creative.

Here’s the thing: It’s extremely hard to focus on something that requires your creativity, when you allow yourself to be distracted and your focus to be scattered.

For example, if you want to write a newsletter article first thing tomorrow morning, but you decide to read your emails first, instead of focusing on your article, you will find your focus scattered between the article and all the questions and demands from your inbox.

By writing the article and then dealing with your emails, you can focus 100% on the article. You end up with a better article and then get to invest all your focus, on dealing with your emails.

Getting through the day or from the day?

Most small business owners are happy to just get through the day. However, the most successful business owners take a different approach. They get from the day. They start their day with a list of important objectives and then determine to master their time and their focus, so the important things are always taken care of, with their full attention, in reasonable time.

We all have 24 hours available to us each day. It’s what we do with our time, which makes all the difference.

7 Valuable lessons from 20 years in business

seven 7

I started my business 20 years ago today. Here are 7 valuable lessons I learned along the way, which I wish I’d known at the start.

Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Don’t focus on closing sales. Instead, focus on opening relationships. You do better work when you see the acquisition of a new client as the opening of a relationship, rather than the close or end of a process.
  2. Consider firing your worst clients or customers. It will lower your stress. It will also give you more time to delight your best clients. Delighted clients stay with you for longer and are a wonderful source of referrals. They also tend to refer other great clients, [birds of a feather and all that].
  3. Customize the service you provide, so that it’s a reflection of your unique approach to business. This makes your business one-of-a-kind. I did this and no longer have competitors. More marketing professionals hire me than any other profession.
  4. Open your mind to new information. Things change. People change. If your opinions and views remain static, you will make bad decisions.
  5. Get the best accountant you can afford. I tried to save money with a cheap accountant in the early years and lost thousands as a result.
  6. Keep your body active. Do some kind of activity for at least 30 minutes every day. As Leonardo da Vinci said: “Iron rusts from disuse; stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigour of the mind.”
  7. It makes sense to outsmart your competitors. It makes even more sense to outCARE your competitors too.

I hope you find these useful. More importantly, I hope there’s something here you can learn from my experience, rather than learn the hard way.

How to master your New Year’s resolutions!

Today marks the start of a New Year. Along with the New Year will be millions of people with New Year’s resolutions… things they want to achieve.

So, here’s a simple idea, to help you make your 2015 New Year’s resolutions work.

Here’s what we know:

  • Gymnasiums will be a lot busier than usual, filled with lots of new people. Until the middle of March, when most of the new members will have quit.
  • Inactive bloggers will start posting regularly again. Until they run out of obvious things to write about and decide to quit.
  • Sales of healthy food will see a surge for the next few weeks. Until people slip back into eating convenient or fast food and quit their healthy eating regime.

Quit quitting

The best New Year’s resolution we can set for ourselves, is to quit quitting.

Make the decision to do something you know is good for you, then resolve to stick with it… for 24 hours. When tomorrow comes, resolve to do the same.

Does it work? I quit smoking [23 years ago] and drinking alcohol [29 years ago] using this method.

Tip: You can get yourself a copy of my Motivation Master Class audio program here. It runs for 111 minutes and contains lots of ideas you can use, to motivate yourself and motivate others.

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