Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Author: Jim Connolly (page 3 of 187)

How to grow your business in a uniquely valuable way!

The Internet has presented business owners with a series of benefits and challenges. One challenge, is that it is now extremely easy for competitors to discover and copy one another’s best ideas. It’s little wonder then, that providers in just about every industry now offer an almost identical range of services.

Today, I’m going to show you how to overcome this challenge and build a massively valuable marketing asset for your business.

How to stand out in a meaningful way

Some things are easy to copy. For example, if a local restaurant starts opening an hour earlier and then attracts an extra hour’s worth of profitable trade, it’s simple for competing restaurants to do the same.

However, some things in business are extremely difficult to copy because they’re based on unique, human experiences. A wonderful example of this is the use of a newsletter or blog, to showcase your expertise and knowledge.

Here’s why it works

You are unique. You have a unique collection of life experiences, which your unique mind processes in a unique way. When you write (and speak) your communication style is unique too.

This uniqueness allows you to stand out from the pack and connect with your future clients!

Here’s an example of what I mean. Both Seth Godin and I write about marketing, yet we write very differently:

  • Seth grew up in a very wealthy family and was educated at Stanford — along with the CEO’s of many of the world’s leading companies.
  • I grew up in extreme poverty, the son of penniless immigrants.

It would be extremely difficult for either one of us to write like the other. For instance, when Seth thinks about being broke, he (thank God), won’t recall his mother begging for food to feed her children, the way I do.

So, when Seth and I write about business owners experiencing hard times, we will see the hard part extremely differently. This is reflected in what we write and how we write.

Your unique voice

Your life experiences will cause you to write very differently from your competitors. The only caveat here, is that you need to allow your personality to shine through your writing. If you try and sound like someone else, you lose your unique voice — the very originality that will allow you to stand out.

Now, compare that to the generic approach most business owners take with their newsletters and blog posts. Instead of delivering useful, valuable information from their own unique perspective, they churn out a series of thinly-disguised sales pitches. They then wonder why it isn’t working.

Allow your unique voice to communicate value. These brief tips may help:

  • Learn about the challenges facing your marketplace. A great way to do this is to connect with them on social networks and listen. [Compare this approach, to the typical service provider who uses social networks to broadcast.]
  • Provide answers to the most pressing challenges facing your marketplace. This positions you in the mind of your prospective clients, as a source of expert help and advice.
  • Share case-studies of how you have helped people, who had similar challenges to your prospective clients.
  • Turn up regularly! Treat your newsletter or blog as a high priority business activity. If you think it’s hard to write regularly, remember that writing is a lot like speaking — and you speak every day.

The unique connection these prospective clients form with you, is a massively valuable marketing asset.

Think of it like this: Who are they going to hire?

  • Some stranger they find on Google.
  • … or you, someone they feel a connection with and whose expertise and knowledge they already know about.

Yes. You win!

PS: This will help you — How to get more clients from your newsletter or blog.

You are extraordinary

Have you ever imagined what you could achieve, if you summoned the courage to put into play, everything you have learned so far?

The extra that makes all the difference

I have had the privilege of working with some incredible people — people who have achieved amazing things. In every case, without exception, these extraordinary people were just ordinary people, who put extra into what they did. Extra time, effort, care, passion, attention, joy and creativity, etc.

Make no mistake, you already possess what it takes to be extraordinarily successful.

The only question is, are you prepared to do the extra required?

Is your website hurting your business? Quite possibly!

I have a question for you: What do prospective clients think, when they visit your website or blog?

[You do know they check you out online, before they decide to get in touch with you, right?]

Just as you check out a potential provider’s website, so do your prospective clients. What they find will either position you in their mind as a professional they feel they can trust… or plant toxic, seeds of doubt in their mind.

Even low traffic sites are checked by prospective clients

Many small businesses make the mistake of thinking that the only people who check their websites out, are those who tell them they found them via the website. For many small business owners this is a tiny percentage of the leads they get, so they assume their site isn’t helping or hurting their business.

What they seem unaware of, is that the people who hear about them via; referrals, word of mouth, email marketing, advertising, social networks etc., also check their website out, before deciding whether to get in touch or not!

Here’s the thing:

  • We wouldn’t eat at a restaurant, which had dirty tables.
  • We wouldn’t hire a fitness instructor who was out of shape.
  • We wouldn’t by a car, which looked like a wreck.

In the same way, we can’t expect a prospective client to believe we are professional if we operate behind a cheap looking website. A badly designed, dated or poorly-written website says 2 things about us.

  1. We think it’s fine to operate behind an unprofessional website.
  2. We can’t afford anything better.

Both of those messages are extremely toxic. Combine them and you end up with a message that causes enormous damage to your business and your reputation!

The kicker here, is that websites today need not be expensive. An entry level, professional website will cost you hundreds not thousands.

That’s a tiny price to pay, to stop turning away all those prospective client inquiries. Right?

Tip: Read this – Is your website ready for the fastest growing group of Internet users?

In praise of the tricky stuff

There is always a shortage of people, who are willing to do the tricky stuff.

The rare people who develop those habits are always in demand. That’s useful to know, for anyone interested in massively increasing their value to the marketplace.

7 Proven ways for you and your business to prosper

Here are 7 ideas, to help you and your business prosper.

  1. Work hard AND work smart. You need to do both.
  2. When you have an idea, capture it immediately. Write it down. Then, put it to work. This is what turns ideas into results.
  3. Instead of networking the way most business owners do, learn how to make extremely valuable business contacts instead. Here’s what you need to know.
  4. Increase your failure rate. If you’re not failing enough, it means you’re spending too much time in your comfort zone. If you want something you’ve never had before, you will need to do something you have never done before.
  5. Use your time wisely. Here’s how to get more done in less time.
  6. Do at least one thing every day, which will take your business in the direction of your major goal. If you build enough molehills, you end up with a mountain.
  7. Learn the basics of how to become a millionaire. I explained how in this article.

I hope you find these ideas useful, but more importantly, I hope you do something with them.

How to get what you want from your business

Sadly, most business owners fail to achieve their goals.

A key reason they fail, is that instead of doing one hundred percent of what’s required, they do one hundred percent of what they’re comfortable with.

One hundred percent

To give one hundred percent, is to give everything:

You can’t have what you want to have, without doing what you need to do.

The solution

The solution is always the same.

It’s as easy and as hard as this: Find what you’re avoiding, then summon the courage and knowledge to conquer it.

What everybody ought to know about Strategy

The Internet is full of lists. That’s because they are easy to read and often rich in ideas.

The thing is, a list without a strategy is like having ingredients without a recipe. It’s one thing to know what the 21 habits of successful business owners are — but how do you put those habits into action? How do you make the changes required? Where do you start?

A proven approach

Successful business owners are the same as successful sports people. They have a coach or mentor to guide them. They refuse to waste years going in the wrong direction or going nowhere.

Here are a few examples of extremely successful people and their mentors:

  • Steve Jobs was mentored by Robert Friedland.
  • Jobs then went on to mentor Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Larry Page.
  • Bill Gates was mentored by Ed Roberts.
  • Michael Dell was mentored by Lee Walker.
  • Reid Hoffman, co-founder of Linkedin, was mentored by John Lilly.

Those with time to waste use a different approach

Those who wrongly believe they are time rich, that they can keep throwing months or years down the drain, go it alone.

  • They collect ideas from newsletters, blog posts and books and end up with lots of lists, but no specific strategy.
  • They have no formula to get from where they are to where they want to be, based on their unique situation, challenges or resources.
  • They end up with lots of disconnected ideas, steps, tips, techniques and tricks.

As millions of people will confirm from their personal experience of that approach, it doesn’t work.

In short: Get the help you need, from someone who has achieved what you want to achieve. Life is too short and too precious to waste.

Listen up!

listen

It’s both easy and dangerous, to confuse silence with satisfaction.

Customers and clients who receive an average service, don’t shout about it. An average service isn’t good enough or bad enough, to motivate them to make a noise.

Silence and indifference

Silence is a sign of indifference… and indifferent people tend not to stick around for long.

If your clients, prospective clients, newsletter subscribers or blog readers, etc., don’t say too much, take heed.

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