Exposed: The great BIG marketing lie!

marketing tips, marketing ideas, sales

Ask any struggling business owner about marketing and they will tell you the following: “I don’t have enough time for marketing”. And it’s a lie.

Whether these business owners know it or not, they are marketing their business all day every day. That’s because everything in business is marketing.

It’s all marketing. It’s telling people a story about your business and what you stand for. It’s setting expectations. It’s building or eroding confidence in your business.

If you run a business, you are already engaged in marketing. And you’re doing it all day, every day. So, the question isn’t whether you market your business or not.

The question is this: Are you doing it correctly or are you losing a fortune?

Content Marketing: How to avoid a common, costly mistake!

Content Marketing, copywriting, coppy, writing

Did you know that your marketing message can fail, even before people read what you have to say?

Well, it’s true. And it happens all the time.

Spammers pointing lasers into my eyes!

I was prompted to share this with you, after I received a spam email earlier. It’s from a UK company that wants to sell me laser eye surgery. They even offered me a £300 discount. They assumed I’d be happy to place my health in the hands of spammers. They thought I’d be perfectly okay, about a spammer pointing lasers into my eyes.

Of course, they were wrong.

What your content marketing says about you

Now, that company may use the most highly trained laser surgeons. They may have the best possible equipment. But when we’re spammed by a company, all we know for 100% certain, is that they’re spammers. And it makes no difference whether they spam us with email or social network messages. Spammers are considered to be annoying, desperate and unprofessional.

Here’s the thing: The way you market your business is part of your story. It shows your marketplace what you believe to be acceptable. It shows them what your business standards are. It shows them how professional you are.

And that all happens, before they even see the content of your marketing message!

What next?

Take a look at the way you market your business, through the eyes of someone who doesn’t already know how great you are. If the kind of marketing you use inspires confidence in your business, then it’s a case of more of the same.

But if your marketing strategy is eroding confidence in your business, it’s time you switched to a better strategy. Today, preferably. Yes, it’s that important.

What everybody needs to know about optimism

professional development,

It’s great to feel optimistic about your business, so long as your optimism is justified.

  • Justified optimism is born from knowing that your business is making measurable progress in reasonable time. It comes from seeing your plans and ideas coming to fruition.
  • Unjustified optimism is very different. It comes from ignoring the reality of your situation and hoping things will ‘just get better’.

Here’s the challenge

Unjustified optimism has the same effect on your mind as justified optimism. If your business is stagnating or shrinking, yet you choose to believe everything is great, it acts like a narcotic.

A narcotic? Yes. It takes away the urgency you need to feel, in order to motivate yourself to fix what’s wrong.

It’s like seeing black smoke coming from the back of your car, but choosing to ignore it and instead, telling yourself that your car is doing great. The engine then gets trashed, because you didn’t take heed of the warning signs and take action when you should have.

Business owners tend to be optimistic. Let’s face it, the very act of starting your business, with no guarantee of success, requires a lot of optimism.

If you’re reading this, knowing that your business is on track to achieve whatever your goals or targets are, you are justifiably optimistic. Your optimism will shine through everything you do.

Off track?

If your business is off track or stagnating, don’t allow unjustified optimism to rob you of the motivation you need, to make the improvements required.

Instead, look at where you are right now and where you want to be in the medium and long term. Then, make the decision to give your business the resources it needs; the time, attention, energy and professional expertise.

Don’t see the black smoke and ignore it.

Tip: Read this — “A heartbreaking email that every small business owner should read“.

What you know about link building is probably wrong!

Content Marketing, copywriting, coppy, writing

And it’s not your fault.

Here’s the thing: When it comes to marketing your business, there are 2 types of link, not 1 as many people seem to believe!

  1. There’s the type of link you already know about. This is where a website links to your website or blog. This is sometimes called a backlink.
  2. However, there’s another type of link, which is seldom mentioned. This link has just helped me attract a wonderful new client. And it has nothing to do with hyperlinks, link building or backlinks.

In today’s post, I’m going to share how you can make that second type of link work for you and your business. Let’s start with a little clarity.

The type of link you already know about

You’ve been told a million times about the value of getting a link, from a highly respected website to your site. In short, if your site has lots of links pointing to it, especially from high quality websites, it will rank higher on search engine results pages. This kind of link building is the backbone of SEO.

  • It’s why infographics are all over the internet [they usually have link code embedded in them].
  • It’s why people will write guest blog posts for popular websites like The Huffington Post and Forbes, without payment, in return for a link.

Those links are valuable. However, they’re not the only type of link that’s of value to you and your business!

A different type of link!

I was contacted by The Wall Street Journal last year. Business Editor, Chris Gay, wanted some help with a marketing article. I was happy to contribute. More than anything, I was proud to have been approached for my expertise, by someone from such a respected publication.

You can read the article here: Four Marketing Strategies That Paid Off for Small Companies.

Yesterday, Grant emailed me. He wants a place on my Marketing Mentor Program. In his email, he explained how he first discovered my work because of the Wall Street Journal article.

Although there are no links pointing to me from that article, he was impressed enough with the idea I shared, that he searched for me. He found me and then subscribed to Jim’s Marketing Blog. Now, 8 months later, he decided he is ready to invest in my services.

That article didn’t have a traditional link to me or my website. Nothing for Google to follow. Nothing for Google to index. Nothing for Grant to click.

However, it DID provide a highly valuable link, which turned Grant from a stranger into a client.

Links: The power of association

Never underestimate the value of having your name or brand positively referenced in an A-List publication, even if they don’t link to your website.

Grant is a Wall Street Journal reader and he trusts what they have to say. Though The Wall Street Journal didn’t say they endorsed me, they did use my work as a positive example of a marketing strategy that paid off. Grant was then able to naturally associate [or link] my name, with the article and the source of the article — The Wall Street Journal.

That kind of link is powerful. Really powerful.

The combination of Grant valuing what I said in the article, with the trust he has for the publication, inspired him to go to Google and find out more about me and my work.

My point here is simple: When your name or brand is positively referenced by a trusted source, people will feel positively about you.

You need to be visible on search

Of course, had I been hard to find, Grant would never have visited my blog and subscribed.

To benefit from having your name mentioned in a publication that doesn’t link to you, you need to be easy to find via search engines. The same is true when you’re mentioned on radio or TV. Naturally, this is where SEO comes in. It’s why lots of good quality backlinks are important.

Grant is based in California and searched Google for Jim Connolly marketing. Anyone doing that search within The U.S. today, will find me listed as the first 6 search results; [either my blogs or my Twitter account]. If people search for you after reading about you, they will have your name and they will almost certainly figure out your industry. Your job is to make sure you’re easy to find when people do that. This is easier for some people than others. You may have a very popular name and work in a huge industry.

I suggest you search for yourself, using your name and a 1 or 2 word industry category. If you’re not happy with what you find, make sure you optimize your website, blog and social networking accounts so you’re visible. If you are not sure how, get expert SEO help. It’s worth it.

Why none of this would have worked without a blog or newsletter

Think about it: When Grant visited my site 8 months ago, he wasn’t in need of my services. He was curious. That’s all. Because I write a blog, he was able to subscribe and receive regular email updates.

This means I had a way to maintain regular contact with him, through my posts. It also allowed him to learn my approach to marketing and the value of my ideas.

Note: If Grant had initially found just a website, with no blog or newsletter, I’d have lost him 8 months ago.

Think about that for a moment. This will help!

SEO matters

It really does. And backlinks are essential if you want your SEO to really work.

The point of this message is simply that you shouldn’t ignore opportunities to promote yourself online, just because there’s no backlink to your website.

If a highly respected publication asks you to contribute to an article AND they position you as an expert, you will be linked mentally in the mind of their readers, to a publication they trust.

That’s of huge value to you and your business.

21 Powerful habits behind highly successful business owners

habits

Over the years I have worked with thousands of business owners. Many of these were successful, some were hugely successful.

Acquiring the habits for success

I noticed that the most successful business owners shared certain habits. They did things, which the average business owner didn’t do. I decided to learn from them… to acquire their habits, to see if it would help me.

It did. It really did. In big, meaningful, measurable ways.

So, in brief, here’s what I learned from them:

  1. They are driven by a passion to do something big. Something that motivates them AND those around them.
  2. They personalise their business, so it’s uniquely theirs. One of a kind. Rare and valuable.
  3. They know success is about more than money… that if you’re rich and unhappy, you’re still broke.
  4. They show people, rather than tell people. Anyone can claim anything, so they walk the walk.
  5. They out-care their competition. It shines through everything they do.
  6. They out-smart their competitors too.
  7. They set standards, extremely high, self-imposed standards… and they achieve them.
  8. They ignore the manual and write their own rules.
  9. They focus on what they want, not what they fear.
  10. They are excellent decision makers. They get the information required, study it, request advice if needed, then decide.
  11. They avoid those costly detours, which come disguised as shortcuts to success.
  12. They work hard. You can’t sleepwalk your way to the top… or even the middle.
  13. They also relax. If you work smart during work time, you can relax when it’s family and friends time.
  14. They seldom watch TV. None (zero) of the most successful people I know, bother with TV.
  15. They are extremely selective who they associate with and who they recommend.
  16. They lead. The world already has enough followers and the followers need leaders.
  17. They manage their time extremely well.
  18. They deliberately build a valuable network of people — before they need them.
  19. They are willing to stand out. They know it’s the only way to be outstanding.
  20. They summon the courage to do what’s required, rather than what feels comfortable.
  21. They make promises… then keep them.

Those are just some of the habits I have discovered and road tested, which improved my business and life beyond recognition.

I hope you find them useful, but more importantly, I hope you decide to try and make at least one of them a habit.

Are you good enough? I hope not!

good enough

Consider the following:

  1. Most small businesses are good enough. Their products, services and marketing are good enough.
  2. A tiny minority of small businesses are great. Their products, services and marketing are great.
  3. Great beats good enough every time.

It’s easy to be good enough: It’s about being average. Just follow the other followers and you’ll be good enough, just like they are.

It’s trickier to be great: It’s about being exceptional. You need to be prepared to set your own goals, set your own priorities and lead.

You have already chosen

Whether you know it or not, you have already chosen one of those paths. If you’re not sure which path you chose, take a look at the clients you work with, the fees you earn and the number of referrals you attract. Are they great? Are they massively above average?

If you think you’re on the wrong path… either settle for average or switch to great.

Oh, and if you think switching to great is hard, you haven’t understood the price people pay for being average.

So, you want more from your business? Try this!

marketing tips, marketing ideas, sales

To grow your business successfully, you need all 3 of the following:

  1. A substantial number of prospective clients, who you can locate and connect with.
  2. These prospective clients need to have a problem, which your service provides the answer to.
  3. Finally, they need to be willing and able to pay you for solving their problem.

That’s what you need for a successful business. And for most people, that’s all they want.

However, if you want even more from your business, something exceptional, you need to know the following.

Truly exceptional businesses are a little different

Exceptional businesses do 1 thing differently. To be exceptional, you need to change number 2 on that list, to this:

These prospective clients need to have a problem, which ONLY your service provides the answer to.

Yes, it takes more effort to develop a uniquely valuable product or service, but the rewards are disproportionately high. For example, you no longer have to compete for business based on fees. Also, by deliberately choosing the type of problem to solve, you can predetermine the quality of clients you work with.

Here’s a suggestion

Think about gaps in the market — problems that are currently not being solved by existing providers. Dig deep. Stick with it until you get some answers. Keep working on it. Give it the time and energy it needs.

Why? Because you only need to get this right once, for your whole world to change!

Tip: This will help you get started.

How to learn from the best, without copying them

learn from best

One of the best ways to develop your business, is to learn from what already works.

It’s not about copying. It’s about using what works for others, as a source of creative inspiration for your own marketing. Allow me to explain.

Here are 3 examples of what I mean

1. Think of the last product or service you paid for. Now ask yourself, what were the main motivators, which persuaded you to make that purchase? Look for a way to uniquely incorporate those persuasive factors into the marketing of your own products or services.

2. Think of the last time you recommended a product or service to your friends. What were the key factors that motivated you to give it your endorsement? Look for ways to uniquely incorporate them into your business, so you attract more word of mouth referrals.

3. Think of the last newsletter you read, which inspired you to make a purchase, click a link, email the sender, etc. What was it about that newsletter [or the person who wrote it], which motivated you to take action? Look for ways to uniquely build that into your own newsletter, so more people take action when they read it.

As you may have already noticed, this approach can be applied to any area of your business that you want to improve.

Learning is more valuable than copying

A well known example of this approach came from Steve Jobs. When designing the first iMac computers, Jobs studied the design of sports cars for inspiration. Apparently, people would see him in the Apple parking lot, looking at the lines and curves of sports cars. His machines didn’t look like cars, but the ‘design lines’ of some Apple products were influenced by them.

The key thing to remember is that the value comes from learning, not copying. Look at what works and search for the lessons behind it. If you fully embrace this idea, it will be a powerful development tool for both you and your business.

Here’s why your business isn’t growing and how to fix it

Business development

The basics of building a successful business are easy to find. There are countless business manuals that explain the process.

So, why do most small businesses slowly go broke or end up being little more than a poorly paid job for their owner?

I believe I have found the answer. And I’m going to share it with you.

The truth about business success

I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. I’ve found that time and time again, business success comes from doing the things you won’t find in a manual. Those basics are essential just to survive. To thrive, you need to do what isn’t in the book.

You need to think independently. For example.

  • Turn traditional business models on their heads. Perhaps you could give away the thing that’s usually expensive and charge for something else. You get the idea.
  • Create happiness in the hearts of your customers, rather than sell them a commodity.
  • Build your business around a team of people with individual talents, rather than an easy to copy system.
  • Make being one of your clients a unique, remarkable experience, which your clients tell their friends about. Think Tom’s Shoes or Apple.

Have you noticed something about those ideas? They sound risky. The reason they sound risky is that most small businesses prefer to follow a predictable path. They are risk-averse. So, they play follow-the-follower. This is why small businesses are almost always dull, financially challenged, stressful and going nowhere.

Building your remarkable business

Clearly, it takes courage to build a remarkable small business. This is because for some reason, many business owners feel safer following what their competitors are doing.

  • Even though they can see it isn’t working, their dull, predictable business is paying the bills.
  • Even though they’re settling for a lifestyle that’s not what they dreamed about, [because it’s all their average business can sustain], it feels safe.

In short: Their fear of failure stops them from succeeding.

The future belongs to those who are willing to risk being average, in order to become excellent.

Dive in, sink or swim?

As business owners, we have 3 models we can follow:

  1. Dive in, learn and succeed.
  2. Sink with fear.
  3. Swim.

Dive in, learn and succeed: If someone risks investing in a new business model, they could fail. However, they are then able to use what they learned from the experience, so that their next project has a massively better chance of success. This is the model I use for my business. It’s also a model I work on with lots of my clients. And it works. Beautifully.

Sink with fear: If someone carries on with an average business, which will slowly go broke or leave them with little more than a poorly paid job for the rest of their life, they will definitely sink. This is the model followed by almost all small business owners.

Swim: If they summon the courage to invest in their business idea, to work with passion and create something of huge value, they could swim. This model is what happens when you get it right first time. Rare, but wonderful.

That may not seem like much of a choice, but it’s all you have.

10 Powerful ways to get people talking about your business

word of mouth, viral, spread word

Here are 10 motivators, which inspire people to spread the word about you. See which ones you can adapt and apply into your business.

  1. People will share your message, if it makes them look clever. This is why social networks are packed with Einstein quotes.
  2. People will share your message, if it makes them appear generous to their friends or community.
  3. People will share your message, if they think it will make them look informed, ahead of the curve or cutting-edge.
  4. People will share your message, if it’s remarkable. Extremely satisfied customers tell their friends when they receive an amazing service.
  5. People will share your message, if they are paid to. Such as bloggers who write sponsored posts, affiliate marketers and advertising providers.
  6. People will share your message, if they are part of your community and want others to join in.
  7. People will share your message, if they believe it will help you and they care about you.
  8. People will share your message, if it’s baked into your product or service. When you see someone using an Apple MacBook in public, there’s an illuminated apple on the rear of their screen.
  9. People will share your message, if it says something they aren’t brave enough to say for themselves.
  10. People will share your message, if they believe it’s of great value and that their friends need to know.

You should be able to find at least a few ideas there, to help you motivate people to share your message.